Today's Business: Rat City Rollergirls debut in Shoreline Saturday

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dedicated fans are an important part of the team's success
Photo copyright Marc Weinberg

CORRECTION: Bout times have been corrected. 8-31-2013 12:59pm

Photos and text by Marc Weinberg

As promised, Rat City Rollergirls (RCRG) have rolled into Shoreline and they represent our newest ‘professional sports league.’ And I did mean league, as they are not just a team. In this article I will use the term league and team interchangeably to refer to Rat City Rollergirls.

New home town location is 19022 Aurora Ave North where you are invited to attend an opening day event .. $10.00 donation at the door.

Saturday, August 31, 4pm, Chicago vs Portland
Sunday, Sept 1, 1pm Chicago vs Rat City (B Team)

Defender hits the deck during a smashing Rat City charge
Photo copyright Marc Weinberg

Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is currently composed of 160 leagues and WFTDA is the international governing body. Be assured, this is not your mom or dad’s roller derby of the 1950’s-60’s with the banked track and people being hit off the track and over the rail. This is about women athletes competing in a sport that requires strength, agility, balance, endurance and strategic thinking and planning as well as lots of practice. WFTDA sets the standards and makes the rules of the game as well as setting safety standards. They also say which leagues become members. Right now there are 198 member leagues and 98 leagues in the Apprentice Program.

By reading just the first few sections of Rat City Rollergirls home page “About Us” you will get a good sense of who our new neighbors are.
About Us… 
The Rat City Rollergirls (RCRG) is Seattle’s premiere all-female, flat-track roller derby league. RCRG is still composed of about 80 active skaters and many more retired skaters who are still involved. The skaters are divided among four home teams: Derby Liberation Front, Grave Danger, Sockit Wenches, and Throttle Rockets. In addition, a small number of skilled, dedicated skaters are chosen to represent the league on its fifth team, the Rat City Rollergirls All Stars. 
Mission Statement: As Seattle’s premier, member-owned roller derby league, it is our mission to maintain a competitive athletic program, promote the sport of roller derby, provide quality sports entertainment for our fans, and make a positive impact in our community.

RCRG got started in April 2004 when a group of friends said, "why not here?" and "let’s do it now!" Shortly after that they formed Rat City Rollergirls, the first flat-track derby league in the Northwest.

They made their first tournament appearance in 2006 in Tuscon, AZ.  Since then this league of accomplished skaters has developed a very loyal fan base. The team has continued to maintain a ranking among the WFTDA in the top 10 best teams. Rat City is currently ranked #12 in the world and holds the #3 seed at the Division One Playoff Tournament to be hosted in Salem, OR in late September.

Jammer attempts to break through a strong three-person defense
Photo copyright Marc Weinberg

RCRG will continue to not only advance local derby activities in our community, but will provide coaching for juniors and adults and look for opportunities to participate in local festivities like Bumbershoot in Seattle and Shoreline events too. They have a history of local participation in charities and community outreach through their events and skating bouts.

They are proud to be skating at Key Arena where other great teams have preceded them.  According to Alyssa Hoppe, Chief Operating Officer, in addition to community activities and trainings in the Shoreline location, there will also be team bouts. These will be public events, and yes, seating will be limited due to the constraints of the building. 

Ms. Hoppe said on July 17,  “The new Shoreline location is more than twice the size of the current Ballard location and while tickets will be limited compared to Key Arena, they will be available to the public, not just Season Ticket holders and VIPs. Fans will have plenty of opportunities to see all kinds of flat-track roller derby, including world-class All-Star competition.”

RCRG has consistently graduated to larger and larger venues, finally finding a home at Key Arena, home of the Seattle Storm WNBA team and former home to the Seattle Sonics NBA team.

Of course, there's a real rat!
Photo copyright Marc Weinberg

For a guy writing about a group of women who call themselves ‘girls’ in today’s society, I am careful to only refer to them ‘as girls’ in the context of their sport. Everyone is a true athlete and to see this you’ll just have to come to a bout and judge for yourself. For me the most exciting moments have been when the ‘jammer’ skater, the one who can score team points, approaches the pack like a lioness on the hunt and instead of penetrating the lines of the defense with a heavy hand, she simply sidesteps her opponent blockers and slips through the crowd of defenders as they wonder what just happened. The crowd roars with approval and the game goes on. If you like the extraordinary moves in football and basketball, you will love this too. Check their schedule, plan an evening out, have some fun and show up for one of their bouts.


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