Rose City fans in purple
Rose City fans in purple Kelley Gardiner

It’s the second day of Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTFA) Championships, and your hometown Rose City Rollers are one of the eight teams left in contention. Six games in one day is a lot of roller derby, even for the most dedicated seat-sitters among us: The first four games determine who’ll make the semis in the evening, and the two semis determine who’ll play for the championship trophy on Sunday. Here we go, roller people.

London Rollergirls 197, Arch Rival Roller Derby 94
Arch Rival isn't able to keep up with the cohesive and calm play of London, who aim to play a “beautiful game.” Geez, go eat a scone with clotted cream already! In a Super Adorable Moment, Arch Rival’s Harmony Killerbruise got around London’s Jukeboxx backward and one foot—then waved goodbye before turning around to skate away. I know, sounds showboaty. But the two used to be teammates in Minnesota, and they found each other for a hug after the jam was over. CUTE.

Gotham Girls Roller Derby 197, Angel City Derby Girls 168
AAAAAHHHH. In the past six years, Gotham has lost one game in WFTDA play. One. That was last year, when Rose City beat them for the championship. So when Satan’s Little Helper pulls Angel City to 182-155 with an 18-point scoring run with three minutes to go, the place goes bananas. Alas, the upset wasn’t to be, with Gotham picking up lead jammer status in the last stand, giving them the chance to end the game up by 19.

Victorian Roller Derby League 231, Jacksonville RollerGirls 98

Victoria is very good. Remember that for later.

Rose City Rollers 186, Texas Rollergirls 172
AAAAAHHHHHHH. Like close games? There are 11 lead changes and three ties in this one. The final tie was at 161 with 6:30 left, so as you can imagine, the place is bumpin’. In the very next jam, Portland’s Scald Eagle scores nine points to Austin’s Olivia Shootin’ John’s three, and then our own Loren Mutch secures the win. Texas’ Bloody Mary, BTW, has announced her retirement from roller derby after 15 years. (15 YEARS.) She is the original original roller derby player, and yes, I cry when I see her face after the game. But I’m eight months pregnant, so I also cried when concessions were out of pizza for half an hour.

Gotham warms up with a message
Gotham warms up with a message Kelley Gardiner

London Rollergirls 163, Gotham Girls Roller Derby 189
ON TO THE SEMI FINALS. CAN WE BREATHE NOW? NO, APPARENTLY. Once again, Gotham doesn’t really lose, AND YET London was ahead by two points with five minutes to go. But Gotham has Bonnie Thunders, who ESPN called “the LeBron James of roller derby.” I’d posit that she’s more of a Steph Curry, but you get the idea—she’s dominant and scores a lot of points. And they have V-Diva, who scored 18 points in the very next jam to pull them into the lead. The win puts Gotham in the final for the seventh time, and the sixth year in a row.

Victorian Roller Derby League 152, Rose City Rollers 155
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH. Do you even see this score. Portland was down 136-142 with two minutes to go, friends, and the next jam went 6-4 in favor of Rose City, before Scald Eagle called off the jam with three seconds on the game clock. (Point of clarification: Jams are up to two minutes each, and that clock ends the game, not the game clock.) So we got another chance, down by six, and Loren Mutch went on to score 13 to Lady Trample’s four, thanks to some gnarly defense and a trip to the penalty box. A COME FROM BEHIND VICTORY FOR THE HOME TEAM, and despite a 12-hour day of derby, the building is losing its collective crap. Victoria’s Serelson and Rose’s Rivas, besties 4 eva and former Denver teammates, share a hug. Scald Eagle and Lady Trample share a smooch. I realize the last bus is coming in seven minutes and run to catch it. It’s all very exciting.

AAAAAAHHHHH
AAAAAAHHHHH Kelley Gardiner

So! We’re all set for Sunday’s final! It’s exactly the same as last year, which you might say is boring if you hadn’t had those games leading up to them. Victoria will play London for third place at 4 pm, and Gotham and Rose City rematch in the first place game at 6 pm. After that is the medal ceremony and, we can expect, a lot more hugging and smooching. Isn’t roller derby the best?

Tickets are available at the door at the Coliseum. Come down, and wear purple. These teams are closely matched, they want it bad, and Rose City is playing to keep the championship trophy for one more year. Or, you can watch on ESPN3 if you have a cable login. Nice.