This year is the 10th anniversary of the Rat City Rollergirls, Seattle’s roller derby team. I can’t believe it’s been a decade. I was a founding member and it seems like yesterday.
It all started in 2004, when my friend Lilly asked a group of her friends (myself included) if we wanted to start a roller derby league with her. She’d fallen in love with the sport after watching the Texas Rollergirls play in Austin.
Meeting One was between Hurricane Lilly and two of her friends, Rae’s Hell and Dixie Dragstrip. Meeting Two expanded to seven. I remember meeting in a living room and planning what would become part of the fabric of Seattle–although we had no idea at the time.
We researched locations, looked into things like insurance and marketing, and planned fundraisers, media strategies and recruiting events. The league needed uniforms, coaches, managers, players–everything! It was almost a full-time job, and we all had jobs!
We were engineers, writers, developers, baristas, managers, you name it. We combined our skills and passion and built up the league from humble beginnings in a rink in White Center to Key Arena! I never played at the Key though. I played at the hangars at Magnusson in front of 1500 screaming fans, but after season one, I retired.
I’m Jean of all Trades, and I didn’t have the commitment to devote to one thing. I was busy with motorcycles, art, animal rights, and I had a boyfriend and friends to fit into the mix (not to mention a new job).
But I’ll always remember the year and a half that I was Lady Die #83. I met powerful women, made great friends, and reached a level of athleticism I didn’t know I had.
I’d highly recommend catching a bout and celebrating season ten. Roller derby has exploded onto the scene in the last decade and there are other leagues in Washington State, the country, and all over the world. There’s probably one near you. If you go to a Rat City bout, you’ve got to cheer for Grave Danger, my former team.
(starting back row, left to right) Edie Brickwall, Daisy Mayhem, PamOpticon, Lil’ Hateful, Sake Bomb, Bruise Lee, Lisa Lawless, Rettig to Rumble, Lady Die, Darcy Rant, Tashya Round, Ann Munition, Jinx (Photo by Lilly Warner)