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Rolling into Sequim: Roller Derby team opens fourth season hoping to build sport
Along with its beautiful scenery and special events and festivals, Sequim can add roller derby to its repertoire.
Port Scandalous Roller Derby, the North Olympic Peninsula’s all-female roller derby team, opens its fourth season in the Sequim Boys & Girls Club on Saturday against a team of top Seattle players.
Sequim’s first game features the “home team” for Port Scandalous, consisting of 14 local women including Sequim cardiac technician Marianne “Mary Magdalean Onya” Madsen.
“Sequim is a little bit more central,” Madsen said about the move. “It allows us to grow outside of our Port Angeles community, which has been a great fan base but a lot of communities haven’t heard of us. The venue is a little bit bigger (from Olympic Skate Center in Port Angeles). It’ll be a positive change.”
Players will convert the Boys & Girls Club’s gym into a rink Saturday morning to Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s standards.
Spectators can watch from bleachers or a separate beer garden (21 and up).
Team co-captain Molly “Stun Her” Jensen, another Sequim skater, said re-establishing the home games is important to the survival of the team because it helps the nonprofit build up its player base and stay afloat financially.
She said they haven’t skated locally for a while and the team used to sell out games and last averaged about 100 people.
“We hope to build this up so we can do it every month,” Jensen said.
Madsen said a few things hit the team hard last year, but they’ve been rebuilding the past months to come back even stronger.
“(This move) will be great for us down the road,” she said.
Traveling to success
For those unfamiliar with roller derby, a team scores points with its jammers, players with stars on their helmets, passing blockers, opponents without stars. They only can use certain parts of their body, like their shoulders for contact, and penalties result in 30 seconds in the penalty box.
Port Scandalous currently is split into two teams, the home team for Sequim games, and the travel team Intense City Rollers consisting of local players and Northwest Derby Company of Port Orchard. Due to the limited number of available players, both Port Scandalous teams consist of the same players but Jensen said they have five women finishing up their 10-week training program called “Prospects.”
“We hope as the league grows, we’ll have players who want to just skate for the home team locally and those who want to travel exclusively,” Madsen said.
So far the travel team has been lights out. They won their first three WFTDA games at the Wild West Showdown in late February at the Kitsap Sun Pavilion against teams from Oregon and Colorado.
Port Scandalous travels again to Boise, Idaho, for Spudtown Knockdown on April 5-6 against more nationally ranked teams.
“It’ll be huge for us,” Madsen said.
Drop in dedication
Madsen, a jammer, is one of the more dedicated skaters on the team. She broke her arm and had to sit out skating last season.
“I never left,” she said. “I was still captain — just not skating. I love it. It makes me happy.”
She grew up in Discovery Bay and heard about roller derby through friends at Olympic Medical Center who skate for the team.
“I went to the Fresh Meat practices (now called Prospects) and got hooked. I’ve been skating ever since,” she said.
Jensen, a blocker and utility player, first saw her dad’s co-worker’s daughter play in Everett.
“I played team sports in high school and community college volleyball and I liked the competition of it,” she said.
“The roller derby community is a lifestyle and it’s almost like you spend a lot more time with them than your own family.”
Port Scandalous continues to practice at the YMCA in Port Angeles up to three times a week.
Newcomers can consider three options to join, the Intense City Rollers, three times a week with travel to Port Orchard once a month; home team, twice a week practice with games once a month; or drop-in skate with a $5 per skate on Friday nights or Sunday afternoons.
Port Scandalous also is looking for non-skating officials, general league members and all forms of volunteers.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit portscandalous.com or facebook.com/PortScandalousRollerDerby.