Illustration by Sarah Bradbury

Rose City Rollers dominate the rink with body positivity

The Rose City Rollers (RCR) is Portland’s own women’s roller derby league. Made up of six adult teams and six juniors teams, RCR is one of the largest and most successful roller derby leagues not only in the United States, but also in the world. The RCR’s travel team Wheels of Justice has won two world championships despite the league having only just started in 2004.

Roller derby is played in bouts by two opposing teams with up to 14 players on a team and up to five members at a time on the track per team. The goal for each team is for one member, the designated jammer, to score as many points as they can by lapping members of the other team during the given two-minute jam session — the rest of the players try to make sure the other team’s jammer isn’t succeeding.

Though it is a women’s derby league, it welcomes trans athletes who feel the most comfortable playing women’s roller derby. (The RCR website has a more detailed gender statement for the league.) And in Portland, roller derby is “a very body-positive, inclusive sport,” said Northeastern University student Max Fournier ’20.

After skating in the RCR about two and a half years ago with the Death Star Derby Droids — a Junior Rosebuds home team — Fournier joined the RCR Wreckers for about a month during the summer before returning to school, and Fournier hopes to continue skating with the Wreckers in the future.

Fournier never cared much for competitive sports until they found roller derby. They always loved skating as a kid, “so of course derby really catered to that part of me because I got to be on wheels.” The community surrounding roller derby is also a unique one, and Fournier explained it as a sport where you can have any kind of body type no matter which position you want to take up. For the very physical sport that it is, Fournier said it’s really helpful with building up self-confidence as well. “It really encourages strength and a lot of self-confidence, which is really good to see in a woman-centered sport.”

Lewis & Clark isn’t too far from the RCR’s Hangar, which is located on the grounds of Oaks Amusement Park and right next to Oaks’ old-fashioned roller rink. From LC campus, it’s about a 17-minute drive and less than half an hour bike ride.

The Wreckers is the RCR’s recreational roller derby team with levels for new skaters, and the RCR is always looking for volunteers if you’re interested in being a part of this sport but don’t want to skate yourself. Most of the bouts are also organized on weekends — on average they’re about $15 per ticket. If this sounds like a Portland sport you want to support, it’s not going to break the bank.

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