The North Coast Nightmares’ first home bout was anything but a nightmare.
The team may have lost 230-133 to Dawson Creek’s Mile Zero Mercy, but Terrace’s roller derby team says the huge outpouring of support from the community had them feeling like winners at the end of the game.
“Even though we lost, we didn’t leave the arena feeling down,” said Nightmare Tarea “Dream Warrior” Roberge.
“We felt like we won. The turnout and support from Terrace was amazing and blew our minds. It really meant a lot to us to see so many people come out to watch our first home game.”
Ticket sales to Saturday, Aug. 31’s Night of the Living Derby, were close to 1,000 – with the team selling out of tickets early in the night during the team’s warm-up.
“We walked out of the dressing room at game time and I remember thinking… Holy crap,” said Roberge, of the crowd. “It was amazing. If I wasn’t in Derby Girl mode, I might have cried!”
And while the team may have been at the mercy of Mile Zero Mercy on the scoreboard, first-time players showed noted improvement as the game went on, and the team had a number of standout moments.
“One of my favourite moments in the game was Mala Noche’s (aka Leah Malo) 25 point jam, and the grin on her face and the roar of the crowd,” said Roberge. “We had a few girls on our roster where this was their first game – they did amazing and it was great to see the confidence they gained as skaters.
“Our entire team played hard,” she said. “We’ve got the aches to prove it.”
And it was Dawson Creek’s first bout – but Roberge said the team benefited from more experienced players hailing from Fort St. John and Prince George.
Officials needed to come from abroad, and the team is hoping this high-profile match will help draw more local refs, who the team would train, out of the woodwork and help ensure more frequent games.
“We were short two of the required refs to play, but got approval from the head ref Flip the Bird (Tim Bird) to move forward with the game, so we were grateful for that, and their hard work,” she said. “Some of the confusion, missed calls, or ‘bad calls’ were not really their fault, as they did amazing with the ‘man power’ they had … it is difficult to find refs available to travel this far – and also expensive as we pay their travel and lodging.”
For spectators unclear of the rules of roller derby, a breakdown of rules, ref signals, player positions, etc. was provided in the event program.
“We also did a brief ‘Derby 101’ before the first whistle, where our MC Sam Harling explained things as the girls demo’d a slow motion jam,” she said.
But on the off chance the rules are still hazy, the success of this game means the team will host another bout in the spring, once the ice is off the arena.
Until then, team members will be travelling to Prince George in November for the Annual Sk8FEST boot camp and scrimmage and hosting a ‘fresh meet program’ here in Terrace that will run for eight weeks this fall to introduce interested recruits to the sport.
“There seems to be a spike in interest since the game and we hope to see a lot of women come out for the program,” she said.
And the team is still looking for a practice location heading into the winter, using the tennis courts by the arena weather permitting andhoping to secure a space indoors.