Story & Photos by Matt DeBow
The opening of the Emerald City Roller Girls league season packed a punch Saturday at the Lane Events Center. The doubleheader ended with the Roller Girls team the Flat Track Furies beating NOtown of Fresno, California, in overtime, and the other home team The Andromedolls beat The Church of Sk8in.
With the opening game beginning at 6pm, the bleachers were packed. Audience members eighteen and up also lined the edge of the rink called “the crash zone” where skaters could potentially fly into the audience.
In the first game of the night, NOtown took a giant lead in the first half leading 85-32. The gap was much in thanks to Korren “Betty Rocker” Corgiat’s fast skates and quick moves. Easily scoring the most points for NOtown, Betty Rocker went on to be the game’s MVP.
During the second half the Flat Track Furies had more success stopping Corgiat to end up with a tie 109-109 with nine minutes left. From that point on the game remained close, with a tie 128-128 as the final whistle blew. The jammer Katrina Van Rotten of the Flat Track Furies passed the last blocker on the final jam to win the game for the home team.
In describing the arena, Corgiat says the track felt softer than at home where the team plays on cement. “I love [roller derby]. It’s the best thing to ever happen to me,” says Corgiat, who got the name Betty Rocker because she likes to bake.
At halftime, University of Oregon a cappella group, On the Rocks, performed their version of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” They also performed the National Anthem at the start of the game.
Right before the second game between the Andromedolls and the Church of Sk8in the electronic scoreboard stopped working so the score was called by the announcers.
After that technical interruption, the Church of Sk8in started the second game with an early lead. It looked like they were on their way to dethrone the Andromedolls, who have been undefeated for the past two years and are returning league champions. The Andromedolls gained a lead going into halftime and kept it close for the rest of the night. Ultimately, their record remains unbroken.
Angela “Juicebox” Gonzales, vice president of the Emerald City Roller Derby league, says she would like to see roller derby taken more seriously as a sport rather than as just a show of girls in fishnets and skates.
“I can’t believe I have so much fun getting beat up on a regular basis,” Gonzales says. Roller derby, she adds, “shows your determination” as many of the derby girls end up spending more time with their teammates than with their own families.
One skater, Pookie of NOtown, had to be attended to by EMTs during the bout. She was out for the rest of the game, but was walking fine by the end of the night. Pookie fell on her knee late in the second half during the first bout re-aggravating an old knee injury.
Sunny “Rex Havoc” Arthurs, president of the Emerald City Roller Derby league, said she has had a partially torn meniscus, broken ankle, two broken ribs, dislocated shoulder, and dislocated jaw all from roller derby injuries. Knees and ankles are the most prone to injury in roller derby, Arthurs says.
“Derby is worth all the injuries, all the pain, and all the time commitment,” she adds.
The roller derby season lasts until May with the next bout on March 19. The Andromedolls will face off with the Terrormedixxx of Silverdale, Washington.