Hip Sports of Portland

By Elyssa Kiva ’14

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The Portland Dragon Boat Festival allows Portlanders of any background to try out the sport. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Portland is home to several professional sports teams including the Timbers, Thorns, and Trail Blazers. However, a few not-so-traditional sports leagues also make Portland their home. If conventionality isn’t your style or you long for those childhood days on the blacktop, check out some of Portland’s alternative sports.

Portland’s Willamette River is home to over 30 different Dragon Sport groups and teams, making it possible for any Portlander of any age or skill level to enjoy this intensive rowing sport. Last September 68 teams participated in the Portland Dragon Boat Festival, filling the river with beautiful painted canoes. The yearly festival is hosted at Tom McCall Waterfront Park and features food, vendors, performances, and, of course, racing.

Portland also houses four different roller derby teams. Rose City Rollers, Portland Men’s Roller Derby, and the Rosebuds make their home at the Oaks Park Hanger. Rose City is Portland’s adult women’s league that began ten years ago and was one of the founding

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Tyger Bomb of the Guns and Rollers skating with her team at Rose City’s Season 10 opener. (Photo: RegularMan)

members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). Portland Men’s Roller Derby, commonly known as PMRD and founded in 2009, has brought the world of men’s derby to Portland. The Rosebuds are a subsidiary of Rose City for girls 13 to 18 years. All three leagues follow the rules set by the Flat Track Derby Association. New to the Portland derby scene is Renegade Roller Derby. Housed in Gresham Skate World, these wild woman play by their own rules to put “the dirty back in derby.”

 Portland’s Recess Time Sports League takes the “Keep Portland Weird” motto seriously. The league has seasonal offerings of dodge ball, kickball, bowling, ping-pong, and mush ball (a soft ball variant). Though reliving your grade school years may not be for everyone, it is reassuring to know the opportunity exists.

So, if you’re looking for a different approach to sports, whether it’s as a player or spectator, Portland has more than a few options on the table.