EUGENE and SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- They’re rough, they’re tough, and they’ll take you down while wearing fishnets and kneepads.
The Emerald City Roller Girls are gearing up for a new season at the Lane County Fairgrounds.
Although their first bout won’t take place until Saturday, Jan. 30, the 2009 season champion Andromedolls are already spending at least two nights a week on the track at the Regional Sports Center in Springfield.
The Andromedolls, who sport space age uniforms and ray guns that flash, are women from the Eugene and Springfield area of all different skill levels.
Meet the Andromedolls:
Agent Orange has been skating with the team for the past year.
“I had never skated before,” she said. “But after practicing at Skate World and spending a year on the Fresh Meat team (a team for beginners), I learned how.”
She said participating in roller derby is a good stress reliever -- and a way for her to stay in shape while also reaping the benefits of team sports.
“This sport is designed for women who want to push their athleticism," she said. "It’s designed for people new to sports and designed for all body types.”
“You see derby all the time on TV,” said skater Turn’n TriXy, “but this is something different. This is not scripted. This is real.”
The league started in 2007 with a handful of women. Today, there are about 80 participants on three different teams: the Andromedolls, The Church of Sk8in and the Flat Track Furies. They also have an all-star traveling team called the Skatesaphrenics composed of members from all three teams.
About a bout
In a bout, the object of each team is to get their jammer -- the skater wearing a star on her helmet -- through the pack as many times as possible. The pack consists of pivots and blockers who try and prevent the opposing jammer from scoring points while propelling their jammer to the front of the pack. Jammers score points for every member of the opposing team they pass.
Oregon NewsLab reporter Bonnie Shelton (above left) met with the team at one of their practices in November in order to try out the sport.
Watch Bonnie Shelton try roller derby:
“It’s a good workout,” she said, “it took me a while, but once I got used to being on roller skates, it was fun.”
After learning how to stop, turn and fall on skates, Shelton was able to participate in a scrimmage as a jammer. “All of these women are athletes in every sense of the word," she said. "I’m just glad I could hang with them.”
Although tryouts for the new season are over, newcomers are always welcome to give roller derby a try.
“If anyone is interested in giving it a whirl, they should definitely meet us out at Skate World,” said Agent Orange.
For more information or to contact the Emerald City Roller Girls, visit www.emeraldcityrollergirls.com