Bruises all part of the game
In Secret lives of Kapiti, reporter
talks to a woman with a flair for full-contact skating, and pride in her bruises.
Monday nights are for meat’’.
Thursdays are more physical. The rest of the time Paula Caton works in a tidy cubicle in an upstairs office in Paraparaumu. ‘‘fresh
Caton is the president of the Kapiti Coast Derby Collective - a group that plays roller derby, the bruising, full contact sport played on roller skates.
The event manager turned up to the group’s inaugural training in 2013, laced up her very first pair of skates, and overcame her fear of ‘‘breaking something’’.
It took a few months to learn to skate - her debut came in the first Kapiti-hosted match: heavily promoted, she said, with a big crowd. The teams skate around a circuit, five-a-side, trying to score points by getting players called jammers, past blockers.
Newcomers are called fresh meat till they pass training and graduate to the game.
Caton, a blocker, doesn’t recall the first moment of contact in her debut, but three years later, she still gets nerves before a game.
It’s best to get the first hit over quickly. ‘‘I’ll say to my coach as we’re warming up, ‘hit me’, she’ll knock me over and that’s it, you’re in the zone.’’
It might sound brutal but the players have protective gear including helmets, knee and elbow pads and mouthguards, and every player learns how to fall correctly.
Roller derby was exciting, a great way to socialise with others, and a fantastic workout - better than the usual gym-slog people suffered through, she said.
Players chose their own derby name, and Caton’s was Glory Daze, a nod to singer Bruce Springsteen. ‘‘I’m a little bit of a fan.’’
The outfits can be racy, but some combinations, she said, did not necessarily work well with the velcro tabs on protective gear.
‘‘You can just imagine that getting caught in your fishnets.’’
People sometimes got a surprise that an office worker tangled with other players in roller skating combat in her spare time. But the 47 year old said most surprise was at her age.
‘‘People get more of a shock when they find out how old I am, that I’m a grandparent and I’m still playing.’’
Roller derby was a sport that embraced all kinds of people in its elbow-padded arms.
‘‘It’s not restricted by age, it’s not restricted by size, if you can still lace up your skates, and you’ve got stamina to race around the track, then it’s all open.’’
People interested can look up the team on Facebook.