WALLA WALLA — Ghouls and zombies will be on hand Saturday night as the Walla Walla Sweets Roller Girls host the Rolling Hills Derby Dames at the Walla Walla YMCA.
The ghouls and zombies will be part of the Sweets’ Monster Mash Birthday Bash, a Halloween-themed bout that also celebrates the third anniversary of the team.
“We have some ghoulish surprises in store for the Walla Walla fans,” Sweets coach Barb (KrQQL-Aid) Commare said of the event.
And last month’s Sweets loss to the Port Scandalous Brawl Stars has spurred the Walla Walla squad for the final bout of the season, she said.
“After the loss, the girls were really inspired and motivated to play harder,” Commare said. “Their captain, Moonshine, has been working with them on a more aggressive offensive strategy. They scrimmaged this past Saturday against Atomic City Roller Girls from Tri-Cities, and tried out some of their new moves and strategy, and looked and played great.”
The celebration includes the three years the Sweets have been around, as well as their progress.
“When the league started three years ago, no one knew what they were doing, including the coaches,” Commare said. “Some girls didn’t even know how to skate. There was a lot of catching up to be done.
“The girls who could skate had to wait for the girls who could not to get their wheels under them,” she said. “Once everyone could skate, we learned how to hit each other and fall properly. That’s when the real fun started. Even though we didn’t know what we were doing, we all knew we wanted to be doing this thing called roller derby.”
The Sweets are part of a world-wide growth of roller derby.
“The enormous growth of roller derby around the world, and especially here in the Pacific Northwest, afforded us lots of opportunities to attend boot camps and to learn from more advanced skaters,” Commare said. “We have a core group of skaters that have been on the team since its inception and several newer skaters who round out the team to what it is today.”
And the Sweets’ play has also progressed over the years.
“We finally hit on the right coaching combination between myself and our captain, Moonshine,” Commare said. “We have been coaching the team together a full year and the team has really hit its stride with the stability we provide.
“I focus on conditioning, and Moonshine focuses on strategy,” she said. “When skaters attend boot camps, they always return with new drills and strategy ideas to advance the team even farther.
“It takes a village to build a derby team in a small town, and the Walla Walla fans have played a huge part in our success by attending our bouts and cheering on the team, even when we lose,” she said.
Saturday’s bout begins at 7 p.m., with doors open at 6 p.m.
“The team is very excited for the last bout of the season against Rolling Hills, a team we played last season and beat handily,” Commare said. “I’m sure Rolling Hills is a year stronger this time around and will be out for revenge for their loss last season.”