When Keemia Alizadeh-Borji straps on her roller derby skates, helmet, elbow and shin pads, she becomes another person.
She leaves behind the life of a high school student, and is transformed into Axel Crow (her roller derby name), a pivot with the Eves of Destruction’s Rotten Apples junior roller derby team. As the pivot, Alizadeh-Borj calls the shots, helps her teammates execute strategy and has to change course instantly as events unfold on the track.
“I find in roller derby, I can be a completely different person and it comes with me being able to adapt to the game. Roller derby is a big part of me where I can let out an inner sense of confidence on the track,” the 16-year-old Langford resident said.
“On the track, once I’m in the moment I’m not nervous, everything leaves my head and the only thing I’m focused on is the other jammer and the team and the game play.”
Alizadeh-Borji’s aggression on the track helped lead her team to a 325-220 win during the Northwest Derby Company’s department of derby junior roller derby game last weekend. Held in Bremerton, Washington, the gender-inclusive team, comprised of those between the ages of 10 and 18, started off with a bang and slowly built on its lead from 30 points to 60 to 100, sealing their victory.
Not only did Alizadeh-Borji earn the title of game MVP, but it was also the team’s first win in the last three seasons. “It was amazing,” she said. “We were in the lead for all of the game.”
Roller derby is a full contact sport where five members of the teams skate in the same direction around a track.
Both teams have a jammer, who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team.
All the other players are blockers who try to stop the opposing jammer. There is no punching, kicking, hits to the head or clothes lining, however, players are able to do hip and shoulder checks.
Alizadeh-Borji’s passion for the sport started three years ago after seeing the film, Whip It, starring Ellen Page who joins a roller derby league in Texas.
Shortly after, Alizadeh-Borji stumbled on the Eves of Destruction, a Vancouver Island league.
In the three years she’s been playing, the Belmont student said being a part of the team has helped boost her confidence on and off the track.
“It’s a contact sport, but it’s not violent. No one’s intentions are to hurt anyone,” she said.
“The roller derby community is an accepting, inclusive community that I enjoy.”
Next season, in addition to playing with the Rotten Apples junior team, Alizadeh-Borji also joined the West Coast Crushers based out of Nanaimo that practices once a month and will allow her to travel and play against stronger and more competitive teams.
For more information about the Eves of Destruction, visit evesofdestructionrollerderby.com.