Moving Day Draws Near

by Sheer Tara

I’ve been rolling with The Queen City Roller Girls since that first summer. Always an athlete-owned sports league, I can attest that we have had two long term goals since our start in 2006: to be an integral part of Buffalo’s culture and to have a derby-dedicated bouting and practice facility. Finally we’re pleased to announce we will call a new facility home. The first ever facility designed with roller derby as its primary use, Buffalo RiverWorks will be the home to WNY’s first flat track roller derby league, the Queen CIty Roller Girls. After eight seasons skating at Rainbow Rink in North Tonawanda, QCRG will continue our regular 2014 season in North Tonawanda and transition our practice sessions to the RiverWorks site at 333 Ganson St. as it is completed later this year.

Earl and Doug must very may well have been watching Field of Dreams when RiverWorks was conceived. As the legend goes, if you build it, they will come. I imagine it may have gone something like this…

“How can we get the roller derby in Buffalo?”
“Let’s build a facility too nice for them to turn down!”
”Will they want beer? Should we put in taps?”
“Gotta. Let’s make it a brewery!”
“OK, well what kind of flooring do derby girls like?”
“I dunno, let’s ask them!”

What an exciting time to be a rollergirl in WNY! We will have to make some adjustments. Many of these are changes we can anticipate, mostly because QCRG partnered with RiverWorks to conceptualize the ideal derby dome. Skaters are already discussing how skating on the new coated concrete surface will feel different than skating on lacquered hardwood. More rink time will be beneficial to our four home teams, all star squad as well as our official and rec league skaters. Bouting on Fridays now means that our carb loading dinners will have to be Thursdays. The northtowns were good to us, and we’ll take many memories along. We’re going to miss our favorite servers who have brought us post-practice breakfasts at Lou’s on Webster so many Sundays.

Photo by Chris Kalisiak
Photo by Chris Kalisiak
There will be so many changes we can’t anticipate. Surely we expect our success to follow us downtown and hopefully for our fanbase to grow, but how much? I’m performing my own “personal impact study” as I imagine our future at RiverWorks. We know there will be a brewery on site, but will sports fans be able to guzzle robust craft beer as eagerly as the mainstream brands? More importantly, will the brewery help strike an item off of my bucket list by using my likeness for Beer Tara? Maybe new carpool friendships will be forged as result of the new practice location. My excitement for roller derby is renewed when I think of all the new friends and new fans to be found downtown.

We wave a wistful goodbye to the arcade machines in our locker rooms at Rainbow Rink and shout a big Hello! to the Riverworks patrons watching us practice from the food court. The transition won’t be overnight so watch our website for more updates. And we still have big plans for Roller Derby in North Tonawanda including boot camps and a recreational league. We look forward to making new traditions to go along with the old.