By: Michelle Poirier
Georgina Roller Derby League may be on hiatus due to COVID-19, but that’s not keeping its members from lacing up their skates for a good cause.
Michelle Vacca, a.k.a. Veronica disLodge #26, founder and president of Georgina Roller Derby League, and her teammates are taking this time to come up with ways to keep skating while giving back to the community through their #WheelsInMotion initiatives.
On June 10, the team participated in Pass the Panty: Roller Skate Relay to raise donations for Georgina Community Food Pantry.
While a traditional relay would involve passing a baton, or in this case panties, to keep it non-contact, the seven skaters involved skated their individual sections from South Drive along Lake Drive East and would maintain physical distance at their meeting points.
The relay ended at East Gwillimbury Park and raised $500 and several boxes of food for the Georgina Community Food Pantry.
“It was tricky to come up with things that we can do with skaters because, with roller derby, we’re always in pack formations and skating close together,” Ms. Vacca said.
With a successful relay behind them, the team is now planning to take part in an online auction to raise money for the Georgina Pop-Up Breakfast Club, which ends on Sunday, June 28, at 7 p.m.
“Our mindset is even if we could do a little, you know, together, we could accomplish a lot,” she said.
The first event for Wheels in Motion was a skate to the Ramada in Jackson’s Point, where staff from River Glen Haven have been staying during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The league provided entertainment and gave the staff 25 boxes of treats from Yummy Mummy’s Kitchen. They also skated over to River Glen Haven and delivered trays of treats there.
While the league is now focused on supporting the community, according to Ms. Vacca, there are still plans for a fall startup.
While they may not be able to play the sport, they hope to adapt their Learn to Skate Program and teach others to roller skate while maintaining physical distance.
Georgina Ice Palace may be closed, but Georgina has plenty of outdoor spaces to use, Ms. Vacca said.
Roller skating has been making a resurgence, and Ms. Vacca said this is because of the supportive community it provides, and nostalgia.
Roller derby is a female-oriented sport that allows people to take on a different persona through their derby name. According to Vacca, any body type or age can adapt and use what they have to their advantage in the sport.
“The thought that women can be strong and take up space and interfere with space. That’s the whole play of roller derby, blocking and opening up spaces to get through. And so that whole idea of occupying space for women really makes a stand. Like I’m here, I’m strong, it’s very empowering,” Ms. Vacca said.
But, while Ms. Vacca admits the roller derby does not allow for much physical distancing, that’s not keeping the women of Georgina Roller Derby League from coming up with new ways to enjoy their sport.
“You just sort of have to think out of the box. Actually, you have to think like there is no box. That’s how I like to think: there’s no box, as long as we keep within the province’s guidelines, we’re going to get out there; nothing’s going to stop us from putting our skates on,” she said.