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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Rat City Roller Girls

Posted by on May 4 at 12:28 PM

I finally had the chance to see the Rat City Rollergirls in action last weekend, almost a year after writing about the then newborn roller derby league. The long effort to launch their league seems like it was worth it: Saturday’s bout at White Center’s Southgate rink, the league’s third, was sold out. The several hundred fans lucky enough to nab tickets had an incredibly fun time.

Before the doors opened, the rollergirls' four teams made grand entrances. Grave Danger arrived in a hearse, and the Throttle Rockets rolled in riding tandem on motorcycles. There was quite a line outside; it seems everyone arrived early to try and nab good seats. The Sockit Wenches have the best uniforms, blue and orange mechanics' coverals fashioned into little jumpers.

Inside, Sonia and I sat just inches away from the track, close enough to catch a breeze from the rollergirls whizzing around the track. We were on bleachers, so we avoided the fate of those sitting on the floor—errant rollergirls frequently skidded off the track and into the audience. The night also included at least two injuries, both suffered by rollergirls: a bloody chin, and a brief black-out. Yowsa.

I spent most of the first half trying to figure out how the game worked. Two teams go head to head for 14 minutes, which is further split into 'jams' that are two minutes, max. The other two teams face off next, and then there's a second round after halftime. It's confusing, but a cute 'educational' film at the beginning of the competition went a long way to explain what the hell was going on.

The Derby Liberation Front vs. Grave Danger pairing was my favorite. Those two teams were a good match, staying neck and neck all night. Two players even got into a fight, earning them each a penalty:

Derby Liberation Front was victorious in the end, after a second round of edge-of-your-seat nail biting action. I don't doubt that May's bout will be just as awesome. Tickets run out fast, but it's worth the effort (though I hear the league will be moving to spacious Sand Point digs by the summer, which hopefully will make tickets easier to come by).