Necessity may be the mother of invention, but the Rat City Roller Girls can trace their roots to a different source: minute rice and lamb stir-fry. In April of 2004, a few friends gathered for a dinner party. Over plates of lamb and rice, the conversation turned towards a roller derby resurgence that was taking place in Texas. The conversation stayed on their minds, and within weeks, these friends had founded the first flat-track derby league to the Northwest. Nearly a decade later, the Rat City Roller Girls—named after the neighborhood where the league first gathered, not the underground metropolis where cheese is more valuable than gold—has grown to encompass four teams who rock KeyArena with hard-hitting bouts throughout the year. For special events and tournaments, the top players from the league join forces to form the Rat City All-Stars and represent their home against elite squads from across the country.
Away from the rink, the players who make up Dockyard Derby Dames could be seen as teachers, accountants, nurses, journalists, and moms. But once they strap on a pair of skates, these women become warriors of the track—impassioned athletes with a thirst for victory who wear bruises like badges of honor. The league was founded in 2005 by a small group of skaters, and has since grown to include four teams. Today, it even boasts a travel team that treks across the country to face other squads and make sure the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans both have enough water in them. Dedicated as they are to the sport, though, the ladies of Dockyard Derby Dames are equally committed to giving back to the community by sponsoring charities and participating in community outreach events.
The Cascade Bicycle Club bolsters the Puget Sound biking community through educational programs, community action, and organized events and rides. A 14,000-rider-strong nonprofit organization, the club advocates cycling as a worthy alternative for fitness routines, daily commutes, and backup power generators. Every year, volunteers lead more than 1,000 free club rides, ranging from short joyrides to multiple-day tours, in addition to their yearly schedule of special events, including the Seattle Bicycle Expo in March, the Bike Month Commute Challenge in May, and the High Pass Challenge in September.
An NHL regulation-size ice rink, four indoor and six outdoor tennis courts, and five racquetball courts. Eight softball diamonds, a colossal outdoor skateboarding park, and outdoor basketball courts. A playground and picnic area, walking trails, and Spire Rock (for mountain climbers). Sprinker Recreation Center has it all. And those spaces are really just the tip of the iceberg. The community center accommodates families of all sizes and interests with its spate of kid- and parent-friendly activities. You and your crew can also play ping-pong or pickleball, face off on the soccer field, or go ice-skating in opposite directions if it's been a long day of family fun.
A group of rowers founded Sammamish Rowing Association (SRA) in 1996, meeting at Idylwood Beach Park in Redmond before each of their journeys across the water. Eager to grow SRA, it wasn’t long before the crew took notice of an abandoned boathouse in Marymoor Park, languishing on the banks of Lake Sammamish. Its ceiling was rotting away, and its oar racks were emptier than a child's pockets after a candy-shop spending spree—but that didn’t deter the passionate rowers or their vision. They put in a bid for the building, formed a strong subsequent partnership with King County Parks and Recreation, and set to work renovating the vintage structure to make it fit for public use.
Ever since, SRA has introduced adults and youth to the benefits of rowing. The sport's fluid, low-impact motions tone muscles all over the body, and the collaborative nature of the sport nurtures sportsmanship and camaraderie. The association's future is bright: members are building a new boathouse scheduled to open in the summer of 2013.
Members of the Pacific-12 Conference, the University of Washington Huskies athletic department boasts a rich history of triumphs. In 2001, their football team added a Rose Bowl victory to a trophy case that already contained the laurels of four national titles, the most recent of which occurred in 1991. In 2011, the men's basketball team claimed its third Pac-12 tournament title, and in 2005, the women's volleyball team steamrolled competition en route to its first-ever national title. Much of the Husky-related glory unfolds on the floors and fields of UW's lineup of pristine facilities, which includes the historic 72,500-seat Husky Stadium and raucous Alaska Airlines Arena.