Adventures with the Drayers – Roller Derby

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.

The first one we could attend was the Wreckers, the so-called recreational team, who were playing the Northwest Derby Company, Kitsap County’s only adult roller derby league.

The Rose City Rollers have a hangar on the other side of the parking lot from the Oaks amusement park, opposite the roller rink. We were the second group to arrive, so we got great seats.

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.

Click on this picture or the link below from the Rose City Rollers page to view their live video of the bout

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!

Published by Drayer Ink

Artist, designer, ideas person

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