Calgary roller derby enters new era
Team looks to shed false perception as they head to international championships
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Welcome to the next generation of roller derby.
Hilary Boswell and the rest of the Calgary Roller Derby All-Stars are trying to usher in a new era of the sport, one removed from the scripted theatrics that led to its demise in the 70s and 80s.
“We get compared to wrestling sometimes, and I would like to change that,” said Boswell.
While both sports feature unique outfits and colourful characters, Boswell insists that roller derby is more than just gimmicky entertainment – a reputation the sport garnered with the release of made-for-TV shows like Rollergames and RollerJam.
“[The skaters] do everything an elite level athlete would do, and it’s real,” said Boswell. She said that her team prepares like elite level athletes, with training that includes anything from CrossFit to yoga.
While most athletes compete under a pseudonym, Boswell said that she uses her real name to add legitimacy to the sport.
Aldera Chisholm, who plays for the All-Stars’ B team, has a different perspective.
“We want people to see us as legitimate athletes, but I think there are multiple ways to do that,” said Chisholm.
Chisholm acknowledges that it’s important for the top tier athletes to have an elite mentality, but said that it’s roller derby’s playful subversiveness that make the sport so appealing.
But when the All-Stars travel to Portland for the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association (WFTDA) Championships in November, there won’t be any traces of artifice – just up-tempo derby action.
Boswell said that it’s up to the All-Stars to pave the way for the next wave of young skaters, and winning the Div. 2 crown would be a good start. In the meantime, she looks forward to the most important tournament of her life.
“We’re going to win. Calgary is a winner,” she said.