LOCO Rollerderby with Nia Capps

is a phenomenal sport that hoovers new players within its folds with welcome arms. However, there are those who say when asked if they want to get into Derby:
“And get knocked around by those amazons? Could be bad for one’s health.”

LOCO could be the way to go – whether it be where the chapters of LOCO are starting up in Tri-City and Forest City [ Kitchener and London ] – and maybe with an eye to the future to helping other cities who want to sprout a LOCO organization of their own or be shown how to start up. When I first heard about LOCO after meeting Pepper Assault up in Tri-City it sounded like a very exciting way to spread the sport.

While Roller Derby Lite is a type of workout in Windy City or recreational Derby is practiced in Montreal as a form of Derby lite, or in local recreational leagues or skating associations around the GTA, LOCO has been more assertive in organization and recruiting.

LOCO Roller Derby was founded in 2010 by Nia Capps and Vansterdamn in London, Ontario. While the concept is called LOCO in London and Kitchener, back in 2006, Nia Capps was one of the original 14 with Montreal Roller Derby until 2008 with the team Les Contrabanditas. She then played with FCDG in 2009. Now situated in the Tri-City area, LOCO is Nia Capp’s way to keep her love of the sport alive.

The intent of LOCO Roller Derby was to create recreational roller derby in Canada, to give women that for various reasons could not, cannot, or would not want to train for competitive WFTDA roller derby a place to learn, get fit, have fun, practice, and play roller derby in a low contact, all inclusive environment. It is not a league created as any dramatic split from a local league, nor was it created to compete with WFTDA-style leagues. This is like your local city-run women’s hockey recreational sports league, only it’s for playing roller derby.

“We found that there were an increasing number of women in Canada that wanted to skate derby-style, but were held back from participating in our local WFTDA-style teams for a variety of reasons. For example:
1) They didn’t want to get hurt
2) They had financial issues with dues and travel costs
3) They had transportation difficulties to get to practices or committing to practice attendance regulations
4) They felt it was too much time commitment with practices, bouts, and events for full contact roller derby
5) They had a fear of re-injury after being felled by a full contact injury, or had been re-injured to the point that they could no longer play effectively.
6) They were not thriving under the pressure to compete and being forced to compete against league-mates for spots on teams.

LOCO Roller Derby founders figured out that what a low contact, recreational league can do in your city, to benefit the sport of roller derby and your local WFTDA league. These benefits include:
1) Providing a training ground for new and rookie skaters so that they learn the minimum skills in derby style, other than hard hitting, to prevent WFTDA competitive leagues from having to take time to train those minimum skating skills. Plus, LOCO refers new skaters that start at LOCO and become candidates for WFTDA play to the WFTDA-style leagues nearby.
2) You get an automatic volunteer group to help run bouts and events.
3) You get automatic cheerleaders and promotion of your league by the LOCO Roller Derby skaters in your area. LOCO skaters are all either retiring roller derby skaters, roller derby girls, or roller derby fans!
4) A practice environment for scrimmaging and learning how to play roller derby with reduced risk of injury for fresh meat players, with LOCO bouting with real WFTDA rulesets (minus the checks), full track, and clocks running. It’s a private way to practice how to play.
5) A skater forced to stop skating due to injury, pregnancy, scheduling or monetary conflicts will often feel as though they lost many of their friends. They will feel disconnected and sometimes rejected. Recreational roller derby gives them a place to continue feeling the good parts of roller derby, without having the pressure of not being able to continue at a competitive level. These skaters often become trainers to the rookies at LOCO.”

It is important to note that no-hit low contact roller derby does not mean NO contact.

Explains Nia Capps: “[LOCO means] I can still lean into you (legal blocking zones), push you by leaning and turning my skates to lead you out of bounds, booty block you, get in your way, but LOCO means if I come at you with full-on momentum for a full shoulder check, can opener, J-block, C-block, or hip check that sends you flying, then I’ll get a penalty. (Minor for change of skater position in pack, Major if she is knocked to the floor). So we still are playing the same game, just taking it down a notch.”

Roller Derby practices and drills on the current WFTDA rule set, without training to hit or check, but including all the work on strategy, skating, speed, endurance, agility, booty blocking, positional blocking, leaning, pushing, and pack control. No skaters are told they are not good enough, they all skate at their own desired level, and they are skill tested before being allowed to scrimmage for safety. Non-skilled skaters are not left behind, and are offered jobs as NSO or referees on scrimmage nights.

Even low contact can still be tough until skaters learn to skate and attain stability or hone the Derby instinct to respond to conditions on the track. Having passed Minimum skills don’t mean skaters can handle a full contact derby bout safely.”

LOCO is on the rise having “grown from the original 3 (Nia Capps, Vansterdamn, Switch Hit Her) to an average of 10 skaters a week in summer 2010, to an average of 30 skaters a week in one year.”

And LOCO is spreading with a second chapter of LOCO Roller Derby having just started skating in Kitchener, Ontario. Already LOCO Kitchener is advertising for new skaters with an open forum and is hosting 8 to 12 skaters each week in only three weeks of skating. LOCO is growing as more people get to know us, and we hope to change the view of recreational and low contact roller derby in 2011.
LOCO, WFTDA trained skaters serve as trainers, while most of the membership is fresh meat or retired skaters that are learning to play more effectively. Everyone that is insured, passes a reduced skill level test (a little below WFTDA level), that goes through some ref clinic training and can demonstrate knowledge of how to play can scrimmage to learn how to play roller derby. The scrimmage nights are open roster. We don’t turn away people and none of our trainers ever use the words You Suck! Nor do we tell any skater they HAVE to skate better, we just tell them, we’ll help you get past the minimum skills and when you are ready, you can play. Some skaters will do LOCO for fitness and never want to play in a bout in public. And that’s okay.

In conclusion:

LOCO welcomes everyone and anyone that wants to play as long as they keep the big hits out of it and are willing to play with fresh meat and help them learn the sport. We play for cheers and beers, losers buy the first round!

LOCO Roller Derby in London and Kitchener are currently recruiting, and are actively posting practice schedules, and promo videos on their site LOCO ROLLERDERBY and deciding on 2011 events and scrimmage schedules, but are already holding monthly open roster scrimmages (Low contact rules apply) in London, Ontario. Contact info@locorollerderby.com if you are interested in coming to skate, playing low contact, or want information on how to get LOCO Roller Derby into your city!

Final words for now: “Watch for LOCO Roller Derby in 2011 as they’ll be playing in some semi-public and public bouts for the 2011 season to show everyone what recreational roller derby can be! “

– 30 –

Keep in contact with:
LOCO London Schedule

Photos and Video via www.locorollerderby.com:

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