By: Sarah Silvester
Annette Bouzi is a professor at Algonquin. Shauna White is an Algonquin grad and returning student. Though they’re from two sides of the college community, both women share a single passion: roller derby.
“I’m passionate about lots of things in my life: passionate about my family, passionate about my job,” said Bouzi. “I think I’ve finally found a sport that I’m excited about.”
Contemporary roller derby is a full-contact sport, played by two teams of five players roller skating around an oval track. Points are scored when the designated jammer for a team laps members of the opposing team.
After going to a roller derby game with her sister nearly four years ago, White said her immediate thought was, “I need to do this.”
“I went to see my first bout and was totally and completely hooked,” said Bouzi.
Despite their enthusiasm, both women were initially apprehensive about joining a team sport.
“I’d never, ever played a team sport before,” said White. “I thought it was going to be difficult going into a team sport, but it was easy and fun.”
Becoming a team player has influenced her studies this time around, said White.
“I don’t know if that’s because I’m nine years older now,” she said with a laugh, “but so far I find it easier to work in teams.”
Learning a new sport has reminded Bouzi what it’s like to be a student, she said.
“I understand now. I can put myself in a student’s position,” she said. “I can understand the butterflies that students have. It’s really made me approach my teaching practice differently.”
Facing challenges is one of the most difficult and rewarding aspects of the sport for both women.
“It has been very challenging learning a different skill. It hasn’t always come easily for me,” said Bouzi.
But when she met her goals, she was ecstatic. “It was amazing. It was such a wonderful feeling to finally achieve such an important goal.”
The women agreed that balancing roller derby with life and school can sometimes be difficult, but it’s worthwhile.
Playing roller derby is a social activity and a release, said Bouzi. “If you’re more physically fit and have more energy to do things, I think you’re happier.”
“If you want it to take over your life, it’s amazing. I want to put every minute I have into this,” added White.