The day after the Northern Exposure tournament ended, Pandamonia is still feeling the effects.
“I’m tired and sore,” says Pandamonia (also known as Amanda Vliegenthart), a member of the Rated PG Northstars. “It was a very emotional weekend.”
The Northstars hosted the seven-team tournament at the Roll-a-Dome and came in third, losing the A final to Kamloops and then being eliminated by Saskatoon.
“It was good to get through to the A final,” Pandamonia says, “because it gave us that one game off to get some rest before we had to skate again.”
She’s one of the newer members of the team, only having played in bouts for about a year.
“I started the Fresh Meat program in September 2013,” she says, “and was benchmarked in March 2014. I played a few games with the house team, and I sort of jammed a bit, but on the Northstars, I’m a blocker.
“I want to be a jammer, but I know I have to earn my spot on the team. I have to learn to jibe with the rest of the team.”
What makes it easier to spend some time in the pack as a blocker is something she realized fairly quickly after moving up to the Northstars.
“I’m so glad for the jammers we have. I learn a lot just watching them on the track.”
Pandamonia had been interested in getting into roller derby for a few years, but, “When I asked about it, they basically said, ‘You’re too small’, so I let it go for a while.”
Then, walking through Pine Centre Mall with her family, she saw a booth for the Rated PG Rollergirls, with one of the skaters holding a skate.
“I said, ‘I want to try that,’ and I convinced my husband to let me try out for the team and the Fresh Meat program.
“I loved it.”
The first three games for the Northstars this weekend were against Grande Prairie, Saskatoon and Kamloops, three solid teams.
“This was the first time I had really played any of them. I played Kamloops at Chilliwack, but that was more of a fun tournament, so I didn’t think of it as a real game against them.”
She likes being with the Northstars for the team’s general attitude, which can sometimes surprise other teams.
“We’re really fun and friendly. In the match against Saskatoon, one of their girls was obviously having a bad day and she was crying, so we went out to give her and the rest of the team a group hug.
“You could see some of the Saskatoon players going, ‘What is going on here?’”
To get in some more track time, Pandamonia has been skating with the house team for Rated PG as well, which means she’ll be back on the track on April 4 when they host Gold Pain City from Quesnel at the Roll-a-Dome.
“My sister plays for Quesnel,” she says, “so there’s probably going to be some family rivalry stuff happening.”