The Lane County Concussion, a men’s roller derby team located in Lane County, will be holding a fundraising car wash for their team on Saturday, September 8th from 10 am to 4 pm at Springfield Transmission Services. Roller derby was originally an endurance sport where skaters would ride for many hours in hopes of beating another team in a distance competition. But the sport took on an entirely different life from its English roots in the late 1930s.
The new additions, which allowed shouldering, hitting, and blocking, took the physicality of the sport of roller derby to a level that could only be matched by football and hockey. This increase in physical force popularized this sport throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. But it could not hold throughout our modern day era due to the proliferation of mass media sports such as baseball, football, and basketball.
Despite the relative lack of attention to the sport, roller derby has maintained its physical nature while being a popular sport among people with teams located in their area. To give a brief overview of the rules, the types of players involved in a roller derby contest are known as blockers, jammers, and pivoters. There are five players from each team allowed on the ring at one time, with four being assigned the designation of blockers and one player being considered a jammer. The pivoter is a blocker who can become a jammer should they choose to designate themselves as such during the course of the bout.
Points are scored by the jammers who score a point for their team for each blocker they lap during a two-minute period known as a jam. You can view a more detailed and explanatory set of roller derby rules here.
The Lane County Concussion, founded in 2009, is Eugene’s very own men’s roller derby team. The team is just one of two located within the state of Oregon, the other being a team based out of Portland.
James Brains, who states that he and his wife legally changed their last name to Brains after they got married, joined the Concussion in February of 2011. Brains says,
“I took up roller derby because my wife, Bullet Brains, was a star jammer on the Emerald City Roller Girls. I would go to see her bouts and see her play and wish there was men’s roller derby.”
In 2009, James Brains got his wish. Though he did not have any experience skating competitively, James quickly picked up the sport after joining the team. He says,
“I spent a few months at Skate World learning how to skate before coming to Concussion practices in February of 2011. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
James joined a Concussion team that was recently awarded for being the 20th member of the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA). The league has since expanded to being a 25-team league, giving teams more opportunity to travel all over the country to play the sport they love.
Unfortunately for James, travel expenses have become too high for him to travel anywhere outside of the west coast region. He explains,
“There can be a lot of travel in roller derby. I have had to limit myself for financial reasons, but we have mainly traveled to Washington and California. We played in a tournament in Everett, WA and next month, we are heading down to Ukiah, CA.”
James also made sure to point out that Eugene is quite the destination for roller derby fans.
“We are lucky because we host a huge roller derby tournament, The Big O, which attracts teams from across the country to Eugene. We even have a team from London expressing interest in coming next year.”
With more and more people becoming aware of this exciting sport, James and his concussion teammates are more than excited to be the go-to roller derby attraction and team in Eugene.
In order to help fund their travels and league, Lane County Concussion has put together a car wash where you can meet the players, socialize, and get your car cleaned by the one and only men’s roller derby team in Eugene. The event will take place on Saturday, September 8th, from 10 am to 4 pm. It will be held at Springfield Transmission Services, located at 2355 Main Street, Springfield, Oregon.
If you can’t make it out tomorrow, team practices are always open. James made sure to point out that anybody is welcome to strap on their skates and have some fun with the Lane County Concussion. Lane County Concussion hold their practices on Tuesdays from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm and Saturdays from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm. Practices are held at the Willamette Center.
To find more information on the Lane County Concussion and roller derby in Eugene, you can visit their website at http://www.lanecountyconcussion.com/practice.html.