Over the last decade, roller derby has exploded in popularity in North America. And over the last little while, that popularity has only been amplified by the film Whip It.
“People saw the movie, come out to the games, and want to join,” said Madonna Limoges, who plays under the name Brickfist at Tuffyknees with the Riot Squad in Ottawa’s Rideau Valley Roller Girls League.
The sport is rapidly expanding in Ottawa, with now more than 50 players in the league.
She said “the passion” portrayed in the film is very accurate. The sport, which has a reputation for tough girls in fishnets and short shorts, is really all about athleticism, determination, strategy and skill.
“The dramatic flair has tapered off a bit,” she said. “It’s about the sport … We hit really hard, we skate really fast and we have a lot of spirit,” she said.
Limoges joined the sport about a year ago after attending an open roller skate. “I loved it,” she said. “The fantastic thing about roller derby is that I realized I have a place in sports. They’re really inclusive. You have to be open to being a team player and have a high pain threshold,” she said.