Roller Derby may be a rough and tumble sport – but for one First Nations woman, it may have saved her life.
Over the years it has become an international sport where women have dominated in amateur leagues around the world.
“As soon as I put on my skates I just fell in love,” said Shasheen Wesley. “You are gliding, learning how to fall, learning how to play derby – it was very fun for me.
“It was something that was mine – I’m a mother so it’s my only tie out and I just loved it.”
The 37-year-old mother of eight said her family is everything to her – but roller derby gives her a much-needed break.
“I’ve been using schedules and routine with my children since they were very young,” she said. “So when I have my roller derby practices I take my older children with me and they help me out and my teens help out as well and my other half.
Wesley lives in Terrace, B.C., about 1,400 km up the coast from Vancouver.
Along with a busy family life, she also owns her own catering company called Sash’s place – making homemade pizza, and lunch specials to make a little extra income.
Wesley also coaches a junior league in her small town – a league that includes four of her own children.
She said it was a tragedy that led her on the path she is on now.
“In 2009 I lost my son to bacterial meningitis and trying to learn how to cope with that for 8 years,” said Wesley. “I was kinda lost into addiction and I just didn’t know how to cope I didn’t have the structure or support to do that so when I found roller derby it got me outta the comfort zone and I gained confidence I just wanted to do more and more I think for 8 years I was looking for something to fill that void
Along with her fellow teammates – on Team Indigenous, she has set her sights on winning the roller derby world cup in Manchester, U.K., on February.
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