Bonnie D. Stroir at Fergus, Ontario.

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Up early on a Sunday morning of July 8, 2012 —  made the proverbial dash to the Greyhound and literally just caught the bus in time to the fair city of Guelph again for the second time in two days. The night and day before on July 7,  the Sleeman Centre was the venue for the doubleheader featuring the Royal City home teams of Our Ladies of Pain and the Violet Uprising vying for the final spot in the league championships. This in turn was followed by the RCRG all-star team The Brute-Leggers up against the travelling team Bay Street Bruisers from Toronto Roller Derby. Pain won, Violet lost and The Brute-Leggers gained a painful lesson from the veteran Bruisers, although the Bruisers did suffer their own share of pain on the track. Afterwards, it was back to Toronto, just in time to pack gear again and reshuffle off to bed, before heading back to Guelph in the morning.

With Guelph beneath our feet, the friendly connection was made at the parking lot of the Guelph GO station, and we were driven up to Fergus through lovely farm country while learning a bit more of the history and goings-on of Fergus Roller Derby.

It was an afternoon of awe and words of wisdom from the teacher to the disciples circled around her at her feet as she gave incisive life lessons imparted in a friendly manner, her students reverentially embraced the shiny.

But what can we really say about Bonnie D. Stroir that the veteran derby expert and the co-founder of Fergus Roller Derby Cynthia Waldow herself can say best? Naught, so here are the words of Cynthia Waldow.

“Fergus Roller Derby was so excited to be able to host Bonnie. D Stroir as our first event. Our league hadn’t even been made public when we saw that she was looking for leagues to host her during her Cross Canada tour but we knew it was too good an opportunity to pass up on and we emailed her immediately. Within minutes of posting the event on facebook, it was almost sold out. We opened it up to other leagues because there are plenty of small leagues like ours that would never be able to afford to have a coach of this caliber come to coach us; the funds just aren’t there. But we feel that every time we share derby knowledge and resources, our sport gets better and the level of play increases.

“Bonnie was gracious, sweet and knows her shit. Wonderful coaching, she has so much to share! One of the things that she spoke about, ‘How to treat your puppy’, really touched a number of skaters. We seem to have a significant number of people in derby that don’t believe that they are good enough and don’t give themselves credit for [their] accomplishments. Instead of kicking ourselves or our ‘puppies’, we need to spend more time praising them and loving them for each time we progress. That was important for a lot of the group to hear.

“We’ve been extremely lucky since starting in May with three high level coaches coming through our area. We’ve been able to open up all of them to other leagues and we’ll continue to do this to progress our sport.”

Thank you again so much Fergus Roller Derby! Looking forward to Francey Pants in your neighbourhood soon! [note: August 23 on your derby calendar. Details on facebook! Fergus Roller Derby presents Francey Pants

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One year ago 

The nurturing mother of Derby ladies everywhere, the players at her bootcamp hanging onto her every word, bonding and making the most of the moments, jotting down notes and pearls of wisdom during her sessions.

It was about a season ago [November 26, 2011 actually] up in Tri-City that we first met the Bonnie D. Stroir.

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The rink was proverbially Tri-City shivering but just right for a whole day of exercises and demonstration jammer juking and blocking drills. The end of the session was everybody huddling around Bonnie D. Stroir and demonstrating one new thing they had learned that day. Then the fun Black and White scrimmage with the referees who had their own zebra bootcamp that day, 90 Degree Johnson from QCRG and others leading sessions and going over rulesets and doing the test in the classroom, and more skating finesse on the track.

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