by Erin Freeman
Tilted Thunder Rail Birds, an all-female roller derby league, held an open orientation for recruitment at the Lynnwood Library on Sunday, March 8. The team is one of eight bank track leagues in the United States, and the only one in the Pacific Northwest.
Amelia Bearheart (Bear), one of the skaters present at Sunday’s event, said that their team is made up of a community of women who encourage each other’s physical and emotional growth.
“I’ve found an encouraging and empowering group of girls. Competitive, but not in a way where we tear each other down,” explained Bear. “It’s empowering because you’re challenged in so many ways. You’re challenged physically, you’re challenged mentally, and you’re challenged emotionally.”
Roller derby is a full-contact sport, where each team competes to score more points than the other. Points are given when the offensive player, known as the jammer, laps a member of the opposing team on the track. Defensive players, known as blockers, use force to prevent the opposing team from passing them while helping to clear the way for their jammer.
Tilted Thunder has four home teams, a beginner team, a junior team, and a travel team. Membership is open to anyone interested in roller derby, regardless of age or experience. Bear and fellow skater Legs Get’ Em (Legs) were both new to the sport when they joined.
“I started five years ago, and I’d never played a sport before. I got into it because my friend’s sister moved here and was looking for a new league,” remarked Legs. “I’d never even heard of roller derby before, so she showed me some videos; I was like I want to do that. I tried out and I just became hooked. It’s addicting.”
“I tried out and I guess I never left,” jokingly added Bear.
The Tilted Thunder Rail Birds practice every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Everett Skate Deck. Their next open orientation will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 12 at the Lynnwood Library.
To learn more about Tilted Thunder, visit https://www.tiltedthunder.com/.