Local Roller Derby’s Difficulties Persist: Derby Dames Need a New Practice Space

Stitches ‘n Bones circumvents the pack; dressed in leg warmers, multiple layers and thick tights. Warm hats and scarves are not uncommon! Photo by Jim MacGruder.

Time to break out the winter layers, ladies. Within days of Sick Town’s pulse-quickening Dec. 8 bout, the league learned they had to be out of their Millersburg-area practice space, the affectionately titled “CDC.” Rather than squeeze in some practices before the holidays, league members spent 70+ volunteer hours moving into a smaller, unheated warehouse on the same property, patching the worn cement floor, sweeping and mopping, and putting their sport court flooring into storage (sport court is a portable skating surface made up of interlocking plastic tiles).

The new space is not that different from the old space: skaters still practice in poor lighting and near-freezing temperatures on a condensation-riddled floor. Contact with water is destructive to roller skates, and due to moisture issues, skaters can’t practice on the sport court flooring they skate on for bouts.

“When we put down the court in these buildings, the condensation action collects water on the floor under the court and on the ceiling above, where it then drips down onto the court,” says Sick Town President Stitches ‘n Bones. “The moisture under the court spits up onto the track when you skate over the tiles, and drips down, sometimes as steady as a light rain.”

The cement floor is more porous than plastic sport court, so it absorbs more of the moisture; while skaters still have to run practice with towels and mops at the ready, at least there are fewer standing puddles of water.

The Corvallis/Albany Sick Town Derby Dames have been hunting for a new practice space for over a year, searching from Corvallis and Albany to Philomath, Lebanon, Tangent, and Millersburg. They are seeking a warehouse or gymnasium-type space on which they can lay out a regulation-size track (usually of rope and tape). The space needs to be a minimum of 75’x110’ and 8,360 square feet, although 85’x120’ and 10,000 square feet would be ideal. In addition, the space needs to be as close to “clear span” as possible—free of posts. Electricity, heat, and running water would all be appreciated extras. Rent is negotiable depending on whether the space would be suitable to serve as a venue for public bouts.

While Sick Town has performed quite well this past year, imagine how much better our local derby league could be if they could focus more attention on the game and less on battling the elements. Not to mention that a more comfortable space would help retain new recruits, enabling the league to grow and find even more kick-ass derby talent here in the Valley. Think you have a lead? Send an email to sicktownderbydames@gmail.com.

by Mica Habarad