My derby name is Van Melising and my number, 28, comes from my love of hockey and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Growing up, Tie Domi was always my favourite player. I admired the way he would stand up to anyone, regardless of their size, and that he was never the best player, but had a lot of hustle and heart. I therefore wear Tie Domi’s number 28.
I am currently playing for the Beauty School Dropouts, Dollinquents, and the Dolly Rogers. I am in my second year of derby and completed my Fresh Meat course in December, 2014. I decided to join derby after feeling like my usual sports weren’t providing me with enough of a challenge. When I joined, I had actually never seen a derby game, but thought I had a general idea of what it was all about. I was wrong. I remember putting the quad skates on for the first time and thinking, “With my hockey background this should be easy.” I spent longer on my butt those first few Fresh Meat classes than my feet. All the coaches were really encouraging though, and eventually I caught on.
This leads into why I love the sport. Even though derby is a competitive sport, all the coaches and players, regardless of team, respect each other. There is not the cattiness that occurs in other sports and everyone is very encouraging. I also love the challenge of derby. There are so many new things I learn each and every practice.
My favourite derby moment happened during practice, when everything just clicked for me. I had spent many scrimmages seemingly turning in circles and not understanding what was going on. Then one practice, while scrimmaging, I all of a sudden knew what I was doing. My teammates had assured me that one day it was going to click for me and I would understand the game, but until this point I was skeptical. It was a great feeling!
(Photo credit: Joe Mac)