You read that right: International Roller Derby. Although roller derby occupies something of a fringe in the larger sporting world, it’s certainly taken Eugene by storm, with four local teams vying for supremacy. And Roller Derby is beginning to take over the world too, with 1,250 amateur teams worldwide. Come to the Big O Tournament, where some of the world’s finest women’s, men’s, and junior teams will face off, and you just might become a convert.
So, what is roller derby? The sport involves two opposing teams on roller skates, each trying to stop the other’s “jammer” from scoring laps. Partial contact is allowed and encouraged, so things do get pretty physical.
The sport actually began in the 1930s and quickly gained popularity. But in the decades to come, roller derby faded into spectacle-driven theater, a la the WWF, then into oblivion, overshadowed by various sports involving balls of one sort or another. Grassroots DIY efforts in the new millennium brought roller derby back into the public eye, however. The sport has retained some of its theater, with participants wearing colorful uniforms and adopting unique personas. But the competition is serious, and so is the fun.
The action begins the Morning of May 3. For tickets and more info, visit the tournament website.