There’s one group of young girls in Prince George who don’t mind being called “Brats”.
They’re the members of the Rated PG Roller Brats roller derby team, and they’re taking to the track at the Roll-a-Dome on Saturday for their next match.
Nicole Kingsmith, known as Haute Mess when she’s on the track with the Rated PG Roller Girls (who are also on the track Saturday), is the co-ordinator for the Roller Brats program.
“We’ve got about 18 girls now,” said before a recent Monday afternoon practice, “and that’s up from six when we started about three years ago. The program is for girls 9 to 18. Our youngest right now is 9 and our oldest is 15.”
The Brats practice on Mondays, and the coaches encourage them to take part in public skates at the Roll-a-Dome to get some more track time in.
“Girls can start any time,” Haute Mess says. “If you want to see what’s it like before you sign up, there’s a $5 drop-in fee. All you need is a mouthguard, and you only need that for scrimmages.”
Karen Lucas, who is better known as Yard Sale of the Roller Girls, is in her third year as the coach of the Brats.
“I like working with kids,” she says. “I like their spirit. They’re fun to be around.”
She says getting girls involved with sports like roller derby at an early age is healthy on a number of levels.
“It takes work, it takes discipline. Three’s a certain level of bravery involved in getting into roller derby.
“The girls are very respectful of each other. I see the older girls teaching the younger ones, which develops leadership.”
She says for some of the Brats, the derby serves as a way to learn to handle other pas of their lives.
“This can be a physical sports, even though it isn’t supposed to be at this level, so the girls learn to face their fears. Some of the techniques they use here are ones they can use in other aspects of their lives.”
Yard Sale says she really enjoys watching the Brats during games, and marvels at how much they’ve learned.
“When we played Quesnel a few weeks ago, they played the diamond defence really well, and that’s a fairly complex system. There’s a lot of teamwork involved, and they’ve picked it better than I maybe expected.”
She says there is one aspect of working with the Brats that is quite different from skating with the Roller Girls.
“(The Brats) don’t get tired. I’ll be saying, “Do you want to take a break this time?’, and they’re saying, “No, I’m still good”.
“I’m thinking, “I would be dead if I was on the track for that long a time at one go’.”
The Roller Brats practice Mondays at 4 p.m. at the Roll-a-Dome, and any girls between 9 and 18 are welcome to drop by for more information. Bring $5, a parent (for consent) and a mouthguard, and you can take to the track to find out what it’s like.