When did sports become about performance-enhancing drugs, player strikes, owner lockouts and everything other than the game? Don’t ask the Rose City Rollers — for the past eight years, they’ve been competing with old-fashioned gusto and intensity, all for the love of the game — the game of flat track roller derby.
This all-female, all-volunteer-run league has battled its way to the top of Portland’s sports fandom in recent years, packing venues from the Memorial Coliseum, which accommodates thousands of fans, to the hangar at Oaks Amusement Park, where hundreds squeeze into an intense, intimate space to cheer on the passionate, padded gladiatrices.
The 2013 season is underway, and the ladies’ wheels are already spinning for the next bout, Feb. 22, when Salem’s 8 Wheel Assassins travel upstate to take on the local A-squad, the Guns ‘N’ Rollers. The season runs through Dec. 7 and includes bouts against international foes from Australia and London.
Tickets are available online to see these fast, furious, stunning and bold hometown girls, with names (like “Scarlene,” “Juvie Hall” and “Roarshock Tess”) as colorful as their hairstyles and body art. But to them, image is secondary – winning is everything. So pull up a seat along the track, and grab a beer or glass of wine from the concession stand, because this is how we roll in Portland.