Event date: 17 September 2022
Rose City Rollers Wreckers vs Northwest Derby Company
Way back in 2007, when Wellington’s Richter City Roller Derby was a brand-new league, I got into skating and joined the casual Freshmeat team. A persistent ankle injury meant I had to step back from the skating, although I continued helping out as a volunteer for quite a while afterwards, until I got too busy with work. Since then, I kept an eye on Roller Derby, attending bouts when I could, bringing George along, too.
So when we moved to Portland, home of the World Champion Rose City Rollers, we had to get to a bout. Our friend, Amanda, played for the Wreckers for a while, so of course, we had to invite her to come.
We had hoped to get dinner there, but the only food available was a food truck selling a variety of (deep-fried potato) tots. We shared two servings between the three of us, and got raffle tickets to help with the fundraising, because of course – it’s part of being a roller derby fan!
As the guests, NDC got to warm up first. Amanda and I were concerned for them from the outset – unlike the demeanour of the Wreckers, these player felt very much like a social team, a bit wobbly on their skates, a bit awkward as they rehearsed their moves.
Then, the Wreckers got on the rink. Immediately, they showed their superiority – even their warm-ups felt threatening.
It was really awesome to see some really excellent Roller Derby – it’s been awhile, and I hadn’t realised how much I missed it.
Even if this was “only” the Wreckers, the team we watched that night would have completely destroyed the Richter City Roller Derby teams as they were back when I played. It was pretty grim watching them dismantle Northwest Derby Company, who put up a good fight even though they were obviously out-classed.
There were a lot of people behind us who were clearly there to support a friend rather than because they followed Roller Derby, so Amanda and I got to polish up on our rules by explaining them to other people. I was pretty pleased with myself that I remembered that much!
As the points climbed and the gap between the team widened, I found myself cheering the NDC players on, yelling like I was their coach or something. It felt weird, because of course, Portland is my team, but they had a lot of heart, and deserved the encouragement. When they hit 100 at last, the whole crowd cheered, which was pretty nice.
Still, as expected, the final score was inevitable – 266 to 110.
Would I go again? Oh, yes – but with my own food. Looking forward to seeing one of the “real” teams play – they must be phenomenal, given how good the “recreational” team are!
Here are my videos of the night, with most of the shouting redacted, because, well, there’s a lot of shouting!