Terrace player Sasheen Wesley skated with Team Indigenous in the Roller Derby World Cup last weekend, where the team ranked #27 out of the 38 teams in the world.
They lost three games — to Italy, Nederland, and Denmark — but conquered Iceland by a solid 173-13.
Wesley said after the tournament she was proud of her team.
“We lost three and won one game, but our rankings were great considering we only had two practices together and met in person a few days before,” she said. “We blew everyone away with how well we played together.”
She added that the team dynamic was inspiring.
“Everyone was so respectful to one another, everyone had positive feedback and everyone was inspired by our atmosphere as a team when we are together,” she said.
With Tsimshian background, Wesley has an inspiring story of using roller derby to help her overcome alcohol addiction.
She was nicknamed Bashful in school, but has now embraced the nickname Bash-Full to represent her hard hitting jamming in the sport that she’s grown to love.
It was the first time the team has played together, and the first time the world cup has featured a team based on heritage rather than conventional nationality.
Team Indigenous was formed digitally, with video tryouts, and included 20 players from Canada, the United States, and a few from Argentina, New Zealand and Samoa, an island near Fiji.
They practiced twice in Manchester, England, prior to the tournament, and hit the track against Italy for their first game Feb. 1, a game they lost 67-91. Italy went on to rank #23.
Next they played Iceland, conquering 173-13.
On Friday, Feb. 2, Indigenous faced Nederland, losing 107-140 to the team that was later ranked #21. Then on Saturday, day three, they lost 134-225 to Denmark, ranked #18.
Wesley says for her, playing for the first time outside of the local North Coast Nightmares team, it was intimidating, but good.
”I have never played in the big leagues. I’ve only played for my hometown team the North Coast Nightmares, and I felt I did very well,” she said afterward.
“I felt the pressure in our first game… there was a lot of people, cameras, photographers, announcers and chaos. I let my nervousness hold me back from how I normally play,” she admitted adding that it improved after that game with a bit of encouragement.
“I ran into some roller derby idols like Lady Trample, Bonnie Thunders, Miracle Whips, Short Stop, Scald Eagle and Mary Fagdalen. They all gave me advice and fully supported our team,” she said.
“To be there, be broadcast live and be skating in the same arena as my idols… I am still speechless.”
Wesley flew back from Manchester early this week and will return the North Coast Nightmares squad, playing their next bout in Prince George Feb. 24.