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by Jim Almy
The opening round of Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Championship playoffs, which begin the weekend of September 5-7 in Sacramento, pits the Rat City Rollergirls’ All-Star Team (AST) against a Canadian team that is full of excitement for their chance to take them on.
A look at their comparative records suggests they might want to dial back that enthusiasm.
Not that this team representing the Terminal City Rollergirls League from Vancouver, BC, doesn’t bear the all-too-dangerous underdog label that often leads to upsets. TCRG has hovered around the 37th ranking among roller derby teams worldwide since June of last year. In May their play pushed them up to 25 as rated by WFTDA. When the June standings were announced TCRG were at a shiny 18th. AST rested two spots above them at 16th.
But Rat City’s AST has been warming up for playoffs by taking on some of the best in the country. They skated 8th ranked Minnesota in a KeyArena bout early in August, losing a close 145-127. Last weekend AST bopped down I-5 to Portland, daring to enter the den of the 4th ranked Rose City Rollers’ Wheels of Justice. They survived a 318-103 drubbing against that powerhouse.
But they left the rose city with a great attitude. Head AST Coach Ho Chi Danh pointed out that his team would be working on getting more primary success, getting their jammers out first. “We learned a lot skating against a great team,” he added.
AST jammer Sintripetal Force called that bout a hard game and said it gave AST great experience in taking the track against a deep line up.
“We can come back from this,” she said.
That comeback will begin against a team that is fired up for the bout.
Terminal City skater and writer Jenna (H-Bomb) Hauck quoted Head TCRG Coach Mack the Mouth on the Terminal City web site. “We are all very excited about playing Rat City as it brings this team’s transformation full circle,” says Mack. “We played them on June 9, 2012 and exceeded the outcome as well as put a scare into Rat City with our star passes and different schemes we ran on starts. It was less than 10 points at halftime and although they ran away with it in the last 15 minutes, the score was not indicative of the game we played. So now we get to play them again.”
After their Saturday night, August 9, bout against AST, Minnesota stuck around for a Sunday match up in the Rat’s Nest against TCRG, a 262-103 romp over their somewhat undermanned opponents.
Coach Mack the Mouth explained that he brought only 11 skaters down for the bout and, by the final eight minutes, had lost two to penalties. (Players can be whistled for up to seven penalties during a bout. After the seventh they must leave the game.) “But no excuses,” he added. “That was all self-inflicted.”
“The good news for us is we get a chance to regroup and use this as a reminder as we prepare for Sacramento in what will surely be an epic game against Rat City!”
That comparative record I mentioned earlier shows AST with two wins and two losses against common opponents while TCRG was one and three. It looks like this:
AST v. Minnesota 145-127 (L)
TCRG v. Minnesota 262-103 (L)
AST v. Sacred City 444-58 (W)
TCRG v. Sacred City 342-75 (W)
AST v. Montreal 202-124 (W)
TCRG v. Montreal 199-177 (L)
AST v. Angel City 250-79 (L)
TCRG v. Angel City 271-97 (L)
by Jim Almy
The ratio may have been 318-103, but it was only a partial measurement of the space between the Rose City Rollers all-star team, the Wheels of Justice (WOJ) and the Rat City Rollergirls All-Star Team (AST) after last Friday’s, August 22, bout in Portland.
Fourth ranked WOJ outscored Rat City’s best by a factor of three to one. WOJ jammer Scald Eagle had 123 of those points for the home team, out-scoring AST just by her own time on the track. But it wasn’t only WOJ’s potent offense nor the din created in the Hanger by a sold-out crowd of their supporters that beat AST. On that night in that venue WOJ was just tougher in all facets of the bout than their Seattle visitors.
AST jammer Luna Negra (#911) fought solid defense and steady recycling to pick up four points in the opening jam. Loren Mutch collected 14 for WOJ, breaking through AST defensive blockers quickly and making her first five-point pass less than 30 seconds into the jam.
WOJ blockers dominated the track. AST jammers juked and dived, aimed for the edges or just plain tried to bull their way through but generally found themselves directed down the line of purple defenders until they were on the wrong side of the boundary. AST scorers Sintripetal Force (#1618), Rawkhell SqWelch (#761) and Rumble Fist (#9) were shut out in the next three jams. AST was looking at the low side of a 48-4 score. In the last jam of that sequence WOJ jammer Tess Yinger and one of AST’s best blockers, Missile America (#321) engaged in a booty pounding battle that ended when Yinger planted her larger foe on the track, picking up the first of the 16 points she tallied in that frame.
Luna Negra and Sintripetal Force returned with jams of 14 and 12, Luna using her quickness to become lead jammer five steps into jam five and Sintripetal finding fleeting openings in the WOJ defense to halve the deficit, 60-30. But that was going to be the last of the AST offense the fans would see for a while. AST was shut out in 13 of the 21 first half jams. They scored one point each in two others.
LeBrawn Maimes (#23) had a scoring explosion of 19 for AST later in the half. Though she was pin-balled all over the track by the bigger, brawnier WOJ line, she stayed on her skates to make four point collecting passes. Missile America and Kendle Bjelland (#808) got into it a jam later with WOJ jammer Loren Mutch in an exchange of moves that well illustrated AST’s frustrations for the night. Missile and Bjelland hit Mutch every legal way possible as the lanky jammer worked to pass. The last rocket Missile fired was a well-aimed shoulder that sent everything in Mutch’s body above her ankles sprawling out of bounds in a stretched version of plastic man. But she kept her feet in, hopped along the line on her toes like a graceless ballerina, and passed Missile for another five points.
WOJ went on a steady run of point accumulation over the final jams, picking up nines, tens and elevens as they steadily increased their lead. It was 159-69 at the half.
“They’re a great team with a deep bench,” was how AST Coach Ho Chi Danh summed up the Portland team. “We needed more primary success, more of getting our jammer out first. But we learned a lot and nobody has their head down.”
It wasn’t like AST didn’t dish out punishment on their own. WOJ continued to score steadily in the second half, but not always that easily. In the opening jam AST put out four bruisers in Belle Tolls (#4), Carmen Getsome (#12), Raven Seaward (#53) and Missile America. WOJ all-world jammer Scald Eagle broke out quickly but, as she approached her first scoring pass, Carmen Getsome separated her from the track hard enough that the Portland jammer took out a row of barriers ten feet outside the track. No points for the Rose City crew in that jam
The WOJ deep bench began to take its toll in the second half also. AST scored 34 points over 22 jams and were shut out in 14 of them.
“They’re a fun team. We really enjoy playing against them,” said Coach Danh.
Sintripetal Force added that she and her teammates all felt like it was a hard game but that they learned a lot playing against such a deep line up. “We can come back from this,” she said.
AST selected WOJ jammer Tess Yinger as a Most Valuable Player. “She’s a reserve jammer who normally blocks but her jams were clean and strong,” said Sintripetal Force. “Their other jammers, Scald (Eagle) and (Loren) Mutch are just super, strong and squirrely,” she added.
Full Nelson was chosen as the Most Valuable Player by WOJ.
Coach Danh and the team generally agreed that the bout, though tough, was a good warm up for their opening match in the championship playoffs in two weeks in Sacramento. Playoffs begin the weekend of September 5-7. AST, seeded fourth, will open in the fifth game on Friday against the Terminal City Rollergirls from Richmond, B.C. Terminal City is currently ranked 18th worldwide. AST is 16th.
Gotham (NY), Denver, Minnesota and Santa Cruz are also in the Sacramento pairings, as well as teams from Tampa, New Hampshire, Kansas City and the Blue Ridge. The complete bracket can be viewed here: Sept. 5-7: Sacramento, California, USA – Women’s Flat Track Derby Association wftda.com
Luna Negra led AST scorers with 44 points, 31 coming in the first half. LeBrawn Maimes had 25, Sintripetal Force, 19, Rawkhell SqWelch, 9 and Carmen Getsome, 12. After Scald Eagle’s leading 123 points other scorers for WOJ were Loren Mutch, 76, Tess Yinger, 74, and Jessica Rodriguez, 41. AST was called for 33 penalties in the bout, WOJ for 37.
by Jim Almy
With championship playoffs beginning in Sacramento in a couple weeks you might think that the Rat City Rollergirls All-Star Team (AST) would rest their bones or find some token opponents to help them refine their game, test new strategies.
But no. This Friday, August 22, AST will take the track in Portland against the internationally fourth ranked Rose City Rollers’ Wheels of Justice. As their ranking suggests, WOJ is not a token team. Then again, neither is AST, who played tough against another top ten team, the Minnesota RollerGirls, in an August 9 bout at KeyArena. Minnesota, ranked 7th, held on in that bout for a hard fought 150-127 win.
Head AST Coach Ho Chi Danh commented after that match on how great it was to watch how sixteenth ranked AST performed against a top ten team. “We know we can hang with Minnesota,” he said. “We learned a lot about each other.”
Learning about the Wheels of Justice could be the equivalent of picking up another master’s degree in sixty physical minutes. WOJ are 8-1 this year. Their only loss, with an accepting nod to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rankings formula, came to third ranked Texas. WOJ dropped that May 3 bout to the Texecutioners 274-194.
AST and WOJ have three common opponents. WOJ beat Minnesota in Los Angeles, July 19, 163-105. AST lost to that same team earlier in August 150-127.
Also on July 19, WOJ beat Angel City Derby Girls’ Hollywood Scarlets 179-166. AST played the Scarlets in LA at the end of June in the Pac Destruction mega bout, an encounter that went against the Rat City team 250-79. Also, both teams have skated against Montreal. AST won a May 16 home bout against the New Skids on the Block 202-124. The next day New Skids went to Portland where WOJ thumped them 306-109.
Rat City’s B All-Star team, the Rain of Terror (ROT), will skate in Portland the next night, Saturday, August 23, against Rose City’s Axles of Annihilation.
Both bouts are in Oak Park and will begin at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7p.m.
by Jim Almy
The spokeswoman for the Denver Roller Girls roller derby league, Cassie Beck (Raven Evergore), knows of what she speaks when she compared Denver’s B All-Star team, Bruising Altitude, with the Rat City Rollergirls (RCRG) B All-Stars, Rain of Terror (ROT). She’s skated in both leagues.
Before transferring to Denver last year she had skated with Derby Liberation Front, the home team that won the RCRG Championship this year. She was also part of the RCRG All-Star program.
ROT and Bruising Altitude were the opening bout last Saturday at KeyArena.
“Bruising Altitude is our B team, just as Rain of Terror is Rat’s B team. Our A team, Mile High Club, is ranked within the top 10 in the world. This year, Bruising has defeated the B teams of other big leagues such as Gotham, Angel City, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls; and their only recent loss was to the Texas Rollergirls’ B team. As is the case with Rain of Terror, Bruising is on the level of many A teams,” she offered. “Having skated with both all-star programs, I can tell you that they are very closely matched and this is going to be a great bout!”
However closely matched and whatever level they occupied last Saturday, it was one ROT couldn’t reach. The local team came up short against their Denver sisters, 248-173.
Trailing after the first six jams 50-10, ROT put on a rally that brought them within four of the visitors, 54-50. Ella Whirled (#2010) turned on the crowd with a 14 point effort in jam eight. Short Fuse (#11) added 15 more three jams later while ROT blockers Wreck n Shrew (#24), Endora Finn Rush (#42), Mad ScrapHer (#5150) and MayJa Look (#02) put the clamps on the Bruising Altitude attack.
But those four points were as close as it would get for the rest of the bout. Bruising erected a wall for the rest of the first half behind AnaSassin, WhizBang Weasley and Brutallica while jammers Midge Mayhem and Ova Achieva added to their first half totals. Midge had 26 and Ova had 50 at the half as Bruising led 118-67.
The second half was a more even match. ROT nearly covered Bruising’s 130 second half points with 106 of their own, but the halftime margin was too much to overcome.
Bruising Altixtude Coach Saul Good said that he was happy with the win against, “A very accomplished team (ROT) that played hard and hit hard.”
“I think we’re arguably the best B team in the world. There are a lot of great teams out there and we’re definitely beatable, but when we play together and play our game I would put us up there with any other B team. Several A teams as well. Our strategy is just that, play together and play our game. Good things happen when we do that,” he added.
Cassie Beck may have returned to Denver after a stint in Rat City, but it works both ways. Two former Denver skaters, Jukestapose and Sintripetal Force, are now skating on the Rat City All-Star Team.
by Jim Almy
Minnesota may have left the track with a 150-127 win over the Rat City Rollergirls All-Star Team (AST) last Saturday night at KeyArena, but it was hard to think of the locals as being the losers.
Points came hard. Blockers and pivots on each team made the ten foot wide track seem closer to six, recycling jammers with such regularity that it appeared there was always a jammer skating the wrong way to get back on the track.
AST shut out Minnesota for the first three jams with Carmen Getsome (#12), Belle Tolls (#4), Enurgizer Bunny (#0) and Raven Seaward (#53) alternating on lines that kept the track too narrow for opponent’s jammers.
Six minutes and six jams in it was AST ahead 15-7. Missile America (#321) had just recycled (again) Minnesota jammer Harmony Killerbruise (#75). Though she would finish the bout as the leading scorer on both sides with 52 points, Killerbruise at that point had just two to show for her first three jams.
Three AST skaters shared the penalty box for parts of jam seven. Fouls began to cut into scoring time for AST over the next six jams as they slowly fell behind, trailing 63-33 halfway through the first thirty minutes of play.
AST Head Coach Ho Chi Danh said that there were a couple of visiting officials joining the regular crew to call the bout and that different officials will sometimes call a game in a way that teams aren’t used to. “We have to learn to adapt to how things are being called,” he said. “The calls were legitimate.”
Most of the crowd might have differed with the coach when, in jam nine, AST jammer Luna Negra (#911) broke open at a quarter lap and appeared to be headed for some needed catch-up points. Instead she was whistled immediately to the penalty box for a forearm violation. The crowd loudly suggested to the officials that they didn’t see any forearm being thrown, but to no avail.
Missile America and Enurgizer Bunny went to jail near the end of jam ten and started the next jam in the same place. LeBrawn Maimes (#23) wove so quickly through the entire Minnesota defense that the sound of the starters whistle to start jam twelve was still in the air while they were watching her backside disappear around the bend. She earned four points before her scoring was cut short by a trip to the sin bin. Killerbruise, meanwhile, had the single highest scoring jam of the bout, adding 28 and producing that gaudy 30 point lead.
The scoring balance tipped in AST’s favor for the rest of the half, initiated by Luna Negra’s seven quick points and followed, in jam 14, by an explosive scoring display from Carmen Getsome (#12), whose 19 points moved the locals to within four, 63-59. The entire arena heard Missile America yelling “HERE!” as Getsome shot in the direction of the lane America had just muscled open for her. Next time around Raven Seaward grabbed her hands and slung her through again for five more points. That brought the arena crowd to their feet screaming crazily as the jam ended with Getsome skating off the track while waving both arms in the air. Sintripetal Force (#1618) found an opening on the outside, her four points creating a 63-all tie with 8:17 remaining in the opening stanza.
“This was a heavyweight match,” said AST Coach Danh. “It was two solid teams throwing punches all night long. They were evenly matched and both played just excellent for the entire sixty minutes. I’m really proud of the girls. There were no bad jams.”
Minnesota’s Head Coach, Betsy Wrecksie called the bout, “A fun bout. Really intense. It was a great game for us at this point in the season.”
The second half continued the singularity of the first. Minnesota maintained their lead, AST kept pushing back. Playing at their peak for sixty minutes began to show for both teams as the low scoring half progressed. “We did smart things at the end,” said Wrecksie. “We used the clock to our advantage and started playing some jammer defense just to limit AST’s opportunity to score points.”
She also said that the floor was her team’s other opponent, explaining that they play on a concrete track and the sports court at KeyArena was a surface they had to quickly learn.
Coach Danh said that it was great to watch how AST performed against a top ten team. “We know we can hang with Minnesota,” he said. “We learned a lot about each other.”
That same Minnesota team will be in the group with AST when they start playoffs in Sacramento September 5-7. AST opens against Terminal City of Vancouver, BC. Terminal City came down Sunday morning for a hangover bout against Minnesota. The Midwestern powerhouse handled their Canadian cousins 262-103.
Luna Negra led AST scorers with 45. Sintripetal Force had 37, Rawkhell SqWelch, 14, LeBrawn Maimes, 2 and Carmen Getsome, 21. Harmony Killerbruise led all scorers with 52. Other Minnesota points were collected by Slamda Phage (#22) with 49, Meg Gronau (#2), 31, and Crowella de Vil (#101), 13.
Tacoma’s roller derby lent Annie Sullivan (Harm a Knee) from the Dockyard Derby Dames to sing the National Anthem.
by Jim Almy
It’s not enough that the Minnesota RollerGirls All-Stars will show up this Saturday, Aug. 9, at KeyArena to take on the Rat City All-Star Team (AST) with a string of sanctioned bout victories hanging gaudily around their necks.
Nor is it enough that those skaters from Minneapolis/St Paul are, according to Head Coach Betsy Wrecksie, “…on the rise and working hard to make sure that we get back to the Championships.”
They’re also coming with an attitude. You’ll see them take the track with the proverbial chip on their shoulder, reading from the “We’ve got something to prove” book of derby strategy. “Not making that trip (to Championships) last year was hard to swallow, and has increased our drive towards improvement and it shows in the games we’ve played so far this year. This is a team that has earned their current ranking (8th worldwide) and is only going to improve it as we close into Playoffs,” said Coach Wrecksie.
Of course AST Head Coach Ho Chi Danh has a few players-with-attitude on his team also. AST, boasting an international ranking of 16, will be looking for a win over Minnesota as they prepare for the first round of post-season playoffs in Sacramento, CA beginning the weekend of September 5-7. Coach Danh and his assistants, given a couple weeks to watch video and refine strategy, will put a formidable obstacle in Minnesota’s way.
Minnesota, who play their regular home season in the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, are the charter team of a six team league. There is a B All-Star team also, the Minnesota Nice.
Head Coach Wrecksie said that the league just finished its tenth season. “We will be embarking on our 11th in the fall (seasons run from Sept./Oct. through April/May). There are 4 other full WFTDA member leagues in Minnesota, and we also share the cities with an MRDA team, the Twin City Terrors as well as the Minneapolis WFTDA team, the North Star Roller Girls. The four home teams that play in our league are the Atomic Bombshells, the Dagger Dolls, the Garda Belts, and the Rockits.
This is not the first meeting between the two teams. Minnesota skater Shiver Me Kimbers remembers that Rat City AST was, “…a good team, hard and jumpy. I’m excited to play them again, especially with all the work we’ve been doing on working together, walls, and containment.”
In their seven sanctioned bout victories Minnesota has outscored their opponents by an average of 251-93. Their only loss was by 163-105 to the Rose City Rollers from Portland, OR. They outscored the Angel City Hollywood Scarlets by four for a 131-127 victory. In the recent Pac Destruction mega-bout in Los Angeles hosted by the Angel City Derby Girls, AST absorbed a 250-79 loss to the Scarlets.
“The thing about Minnesota, is that we play as a team,” said Coach Wrecksie. “We have a lot of great individual skaters; but you don’t get very far in this sport if you don’t play together as a cohesive unit. That being said, there are a lot of familiar faces on this team. We have Second Hand Smoke, who is on Team USA this year; and is an amazing all-around derby player. We have Trudy; whose quiet nature makes you forget how deadly she can be on the track. There’s Diamond Rough who is a dominant smart player, you just go ahead and try to get around her. And that’s not even mentioning our amazing line-up of jammers, including the powerful Slambda Phage and the killer moves of Harmony Killerbruise. Let’s just say, as a long time Minnesota fan, and now happily part of the team as the program’s head coach; I’m incredibly happy with our entire line-up this year.”
Rat City’s B All-Stars, the Rain of Terror (ROT) won’t have it any easier in their Saturday bout, skating against Denver’s B All-Stars, Bruising Altitude.
There will also be a hangover bout Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Rat’s Nest where Minnesota will skate against the Terminal City Roller Girls All-Star team. Terminal City, from Richmond, BC, is ranked 18th. That match takes on added significance as AST, seeded fourth when playoffs begin in Sacramento, will open in the fifth game on Friday against Terminal City. Minnesota and Denver are also seeded teams in the Sacramento Playoffs.
Here is Minnsota’s record for sanctioned bouts this season:
No Coast Derby Girls 301-84 W
Atlanta Rollergirls 175-150 W
Nashville Rollergirls 277-56 W
Arch Rival Roller Girls 228-115 W
Naptown Roller Girls 330-42 W
Dairyland Dolls 318-78 W
Rose City Rollers 163-105 L
Angel City Derby Girls 127-131 W
Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof.
10 years of roller derby announcing. We came into this madness together in a small, humid, packed rink that smelled like beer and sweat. I was a sideline announcer at the time searching for my derby identity and he was already Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof. Soon I was calling right beside him and we would spend the next 10 years making this stuff up as we went along somehow convincing people we were the right people for the job. Maybe by virtue of that alone we were.
The first few years were bumpy for us. Ups and downs as we tried to figure out in a vacuum what was expected of us and what we needed from each other. There were good calls and not so good ones. There were fun bouts and not so fun ones (really mostly fun though). But we kept at it though, each of us trying to be the best announcer we could be.
Then, I dunno, one day, quite awhile ago actually, something clicked. We hit a stride and from that moment on we were able to work as one mind. All the bases were covered and every call we’ve had since then has been an absolute joy for me. It’s rare that two people are able to sync up like that. All of the sudden we just worked. Luckily for us and the Rat City fans, that happened a long time ago and we’ve had a long run of success.
Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof.
I admire him in so many ways and for so many reasons. Let’s start with announcing: It seems like any goofball with just enough vanity can dress up in a cheesy leisure suit and do what we do, and that’s a fair thought. But try, I dare you, try to walk into a room of thousands of people and hold them in the palm of your hand the way Professor Jake Stratton does. Seriously, I dare you. Try to do that and make it look like it takes no effort at all. Go on, do it. 99% of you would immediately be exposed for the fraud you are. No shame in that, we’re just not the Professor. Night after night, bout after bout the Prof would pull together thousands of people and whip them into a frenzy that is worthy of the sport we announce for. And when the action began his energy would keep the fans dialed in to the excitement on the track. He was the voice and excitement that would be a conduit from the brutal intensity of flat track roller derby that would allow the audience to experience it on a whole other visceral level. Roller derby announcers come in all shapes and sizes with all different types of skill sets… but no one, No One, [CENSORED] NO ONE in this sport is the emcee that Professor is.
And if he were just that… just that, that’d be quite an accomplishment! But noooOOOOooooOOOooo, that’s just the beginning of the legacy for this man. He is the Seattle King of alternative entertainment, and I defy you to find someone who has built as many unique and cool things as the Professor Jake Stratton. From announcing and being a manager for Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling, to singing/screaming for the literary metal band Blőődhag, who played in libraries and threw out Sci-Fi books at shows (should anyone want to dismiss them as a gimmick band, give them a listen and you’ll hear how true their metal is as well as how ferocious and varied the Professor’s vocals are) he was already a landmark in Seattle entertainment by the time he joined the Rat City Roller Girls. He didn’t (heck couldn’t) stop there. In the time I’ve known him he’s created Grudge Rock, a Family Feud style game show where bands play each other for the door money and World Extreme Pencil Fighting, which brings the spectacle of professional wrestling to the sport of the playground. Professor Jake Stratton is a fountain of new and innovative entertainment in ways no one has thought of and everyone is trying to catch up with.
Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof.
He’s leaving the Rat City Roller Girls. This is his last season with us. Rat City is worse off for it and so am I. He will leave us with incredibly big mutton chops to fill. I have been nothing less but blessed and honored to work with him all this time. Rat City has been nothing less but blessed and honored to have him be their voice, their energy, their excitement, their announcer, their emcee and of course their wonderful suit. He will no doubt go on to continue to entertain and innovate all over Seattle in ways no one will ever see coming. I look forward to them.
Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof.
It’s been a hell of a decade with you sir. I’ve grown so much with you. There isn’t a bout we’ve called together where you haven’t made me laugh my ass off. It’s been magic through and through.
Ave Atque Vale
aka Randy Pan the Goat Boy
The Rat City Rollergirls send our heartfelt thanks to The Professor for his talents of announcing, his knowledge of derby, and his support of our league for the past 10 years. Join us August 9th at Key Arena to laud the leisure suit, marvel at the mutton chops, and be there as The Professor takes the mic one final time.
by Jim Almy
The Rat City Rollergirls All-Star Team (AST) sort of got their wish to move two places in the latest Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) international rankings based on play through June 30.
They hoped to move up two spots from the number 14 ranking to number 12, thus guaranteeing themselves a top three seed in the playoff tournament.
Two loses over the weekend of June 28-29 at the Pac Destruction mega-bout in Los Angeles resulted in a two place move, not up, but down in the rankings, leaving the AST at 16th with a 350.36 rating worldwide entering tournament play.
Now ranked fifth, Victorian Roller Derby League from Melbourne, Australia, moved up five spots after laying waste to roller derby teams from the east coast to the west coast. They handled AST 240-105 at Pac Destruction.
The other top ranked team AST played in Los Angeles, the Angel City Derby Girls’ charter team Hollywood Scarlets (it was 250-79, the 79 belonging to AST) dropped one spot from sixth to seventh after that weekend’s play.
Gotham Girls, the perennial number one team in the world from the Big Apple, held that spot with a ranking total of 561.91. They were followed by B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls with 499.09 ranking points, then the London Rollergirls and the Rose City Rollers.
One other team ranked ahead of AST will visit Seattle next month for the final bout of the year at KeyArena, August 9. Rain of Terror (ROT) Rat City’s B all-star team, will open the night, skating against the Denver Roller Dolls’ B team, Bruising Altitude. Eighth ranked Minnesota RollerGirls will take the track against AST.
Other west coast ranked teams are the Oly Rollers at 17, the Santa Cruz Derby Girls at 25, Jet City Roller Girls at 30, SoCal Derby at 38, Tri-City Roller Derby at 40, Sacred City Derby Girls at 45 and the Emerald City Roller Girls at 84.
Playoffs begin the weekend of September 5-7 in Sacramento. AST, seeded fourth, will open in the fifth game on Friday against the Terminal City Rollergirls from Richmond, B.C. Terminal City is currently ranked 18th.
Winning their opener could be one of those disguised blessings as their next likely opponent in game nine will be Gotham. You never know.
Denver, Minnesota and Santa Cruz are also in the Sacramento pairings, as well as teams from Tampa, New Hampshire, Kansas City and Blue Ridge. The complete bracket can be viewed here: Sept. 5-7: Sacramento, California, USA – Women’s Flat Track Derby Association wftda.com
by Jim Almy
When your style of play is similar to your opposition’s you can skate a tight bout of familiar strategies or you can smash a team because you know what their next move will be and you know how to defend it or take advantage of it.
Lesson taught last Saturday in Los Angeles by the Rat City Rollergirls B All-Star team, the Rain of Terror (ROT) to the Angel City Derby Girls B team, the Rocket Queens, 325-110. The Angel City Derby Girls hosted seven team event.
“The Queens play a game similar to ours, they are very aggressive both offensively and defensively. They like to attack the edges and can be very dangerous if you are not successful driving them out of bounds. Fortunately for us, we were able to execute our strategies to a T,” said ROT Coach Inspector Parts. “This game was very much like the next step from the last game we played against Silicon Valley. We built on what we accomplished in that game and just kinda turned it up a notch. The result was that we were dominant. After the first jam (where the Queens took the lead), we pretty much ran away from them and didn’t look back.”
Rat City was also represented at the two day Pac Destruction mega-bout by its A All-Star Team (AST), which skated three bouts against other ranked Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) teams. AST’s hopes to improve its number 12 worldwide ranking did not survive the weekend as they were bounced by the Angel City charter team, the Hollywood Scarlets, 250-79 Saturday morning and did not fare much better in their first Sunday match, losing to the Victorian Roller Derby Girls from Melbourne, Australia, 240-105. The Scarlets entered the tournament ranked at six and VRDL at ten.
AST’s weekend ended with a win over number 23 Santa Cruz Boardwalk Bombers, 192-154.
Skater Belle Tolls (#4) found herself moved up as an alternate for AST, did not skate in the ROT bouts, and thus was able to watch her teammates compete against the Rocket Queens.
“I know our players–and can thus deduce from my own knowledge that the biggest difference between ROT and the Queens was probably in jammer experience. At Rat City we are blessed with an incredibly deep bench–and lots of jammer experience. Our home team structure might help prepare our jammers for interleague play with game time experience, as does the fact that our local juniors league is developing really strong athletes who are ‘aging up’ into adult leagues. My impression of Angel’s B team jammers, on the other hand, was that many of them were fairly new, and just may not have had the time to develop their own strategy and skills base.”
Coach Parts said his entire team deserved praise. “At some point against the Queens, everyone stepped up and made a key play which led to our success. Then against the guys (ROT skated against a men’s team on Sunday), everyone stayed positive and focused and hung together.”
Belle Tolls commented the, “…outstanding performances from Patience Grasshopper (#46) who was dropping opposing jammers with absolutely killer ‘hockey stop sternum blocks,’ jammers Shock Therapy (#1400) and Ella Whirled (#2010) for taking on packs of men much larger than themselves and fighting tooth and nail for every point, and Sun Shiner (#36) for her coolheaded pack management coupled with lightning fast defensive strikes.”
ROT was scheduled to play another women’s team for their Sunday bout, but that team had to back out and was replaced by Los Angeles’ men’s team, the Drive-By City Rollers.
“In a sense, we were lucky to get a second game. Typically teams don’t like to travel to play just a single game,” said Coach Parts.
“Lucky” might be questioned as Drive-By handled ROT with ease, winning 304-57.
“It just looked like the men weren’t holding back anything. They were consistently larger–much larger–and their hits were brutal and their walls were tight,” said Belle Tolls. Coach Parts added that, “Drive-By play a much more power based game. They just drive right through your defense and they lean on you defensively. They were, right from the beginning, too much for us and there really wasn’t a whole lot we could do about it.”
His primary goal being to manage the bout without any injuries Coach Parts said that, from that perspective, the game was a success. While he had some hesitation about skating against a men’s team he said that, “The skaters all want to do it. They enjoy the challenge (which is admirable). We didn’t go easy on them at all. We went in trying to give them our best shot.”
Belle Tolls added that skating against a men’s team is a really wonderful experience for her team to get such intense competition. “It shows what our weaknesses are and what we can improve on. And that’s really the whole point of competition, right?” she said.
Coach Parts said that his team came home with some bumps and bruises, but nothing out of the ordinary. “The team got to bond and spend some time together. Which is a plus no matter how you look at it. The weekend was totally worth it,” he added.
After laying waste to the Brandywine Roller Girls all-star team, the Belligerents, 380-47, in Chester County, PA, a week ago, the Victorian Roller Derby League team from Melbourne, Australia, took its number one home country status to Philadelphia where it continued to sack and pillage.
Their next campaign will be this weekend in Los Angeles at the Pac Destruction mega-bout featuring seven teams from cities along the Pacific Rim, including two from the Seattle-based Rat City Rollergirls.
Rat City is sending its A and B all-star teams, the AST and Rain of Terror (ROT), to the LA event. AST will meet the tenth ranked Victorians Sunday morning, June 29, at 11:45.
At the East Coast Derby Extravaganza in Philly over the June 20-22 weekend the Melbourne team throttled the Boston All-Stars 290-99, then brushed off Montreal’s New Skids on the Block 240-66. AST has also skated against the New Skids, winning a home bout 202-124 a few weeks back.
The Victorians wins came over teams ranked #49 (Brandywine), #17 (Boston) and #16 (Montreal). Fifty bouts were played on three rinks over the long weekend of the East Coast Derby Extravangaza. Pac Destruction is a nine bout affair loaded with highly ranked teams. In addition to the Victorians at #10 there are the Angel City Derby Girls Scarlets at #6, Rat City’s AST at #14 and the Santa Cruz Derby Girls Boardwalk Bombshells at #23
Media spokeswoman for the Victorian Derby League, Tiger, said that the Melbourne team is the number one team in Australia. It has won the National Tournament, The Great Southern Slam, in 2010, 2012 and again this year. The Victorians are the first full Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) member league in Australia and still the only Australian league with a WFTDA ranking. They are coached by Flamin’ Galah and Matthew Clanahan.
It’s called Pac Destruction and since the seven teams taking part this weekend in that Los Angeles mega-bout all hail from coastal Pacific Ocean cities the “Pac” part makes sense.
Throw in Rat City Rollergirls two all-star teams, AST and the Rain of Terror (ROT) and all those other squads will soon learn where the “destruction” part of the title originated.
Five bouts are on the card for Saturday, beginning with a bout between ROT and the Angel City Derby Girls “B” all-stars, the Rocket Queens. That match starts at 9 a.m. At 10:45 the Angel City “A” team, the Holleywood Scarlets, and Rat City’s AST will take the track. AST carries an international Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) ranking of 14. The Scarlets are ranked at 6.
Neither Rat City team plays again on Saturday. AST will have two bouts Sunday, challenging the tenth ranked Victorian Roller Derby League from Melbourne, Australia, at 11:45 and coming back at 3:15 to play the 23rd ranked Santa Cruz Derby Girls Boardwalk Bombshells.
The Drive-By City Rollers, an LA men’s team, will be on the track at 1:30 Sunday against ROT. These bouts are always fun, though Drive-By probably shouldn’t push the ROT competitive button to hard.
The Bombshells bring a 6-1 record to the weekend fracas. Media Relations Director for the Santa Cruz teams, Rachel Scott, said that the Bombshells one loss was to Baltimore’s Charm City Roller Girls, 193-120. Santa Cruz and AST have had a common opponent this season. Sacramento’s Sacred City Sacrificers fell to Santa Cruz 213-107. That’s the same Sacrificers team AST humbled April 12 by a 444-58 score.
Angel City Public Relations Director Rachel Johnston clarified why the Angel City team is not an all-star collection of players from the teams in their league, but the charter representative for WFTDA bouts and rankings.
“The confusing thing about roller derby is that leagues can organize themselves differently depending on the business model that works best for their membership,” Johnston said. “The teams that compete for the WFTDA rankings worldwide are the CHARTER teams that represent the league. For some leagues, the charter is an ‘all-star’ team made up of members of each of the league’s home teams (like Rat!). Angel City Derby Girls are not a home-team structured league. Our teams compete solely against outside leagues and teams, not internally. With the extreme saturation of roller derby in Southern California (there are over 30 leagues within 2 hours of LA), this was a better structure for our membership (ACDG vs the world!).”
“Our charter team is the Hollywood Scarlets, they represent ACDG internationally in the WFTDA rankings. Our regionally competitive teams are the Rocket Queens and Shore Shots (some might call them ‘B Teams’) and our locally competitive team is the Road Ragers.”
The seventh team in the Pac Destruction event is the Mission City Brawlin’ Betties from Santa Barbara.
Monday following this weekend of bouts is the 30th, the day that closes out the next WFTDA rankings period. AST hopes to move up two spots at least to the number 12 ranking. That would assure them a top 3 seeding at the playoff tournament. A good showing over the weekend against teams ranked 6, 10 and 23 will be part of that.
SATURDAY, June 28 – DAY 1
Game 1- 9am: Rocket Queens (Angel City) vs Rain of Terror (Rat City Rollergirls, Seattle, WA)
Game 2- 10:45am: Hollywood Scarlets (Angel City) vs Rat City All-Stars (Seattle, WA)
Game 3- 12:30pm: Victorian Roller Derby League (Melbourne, AUS) vs Boardwalk Bombshells (Santa Cruz Derby Girls, Santa Cruz, CA)
Game 4- 2:15pm: Rocket Queens vs Mission City Brawlin’ Betties (Santa Barbara, CA)
Game 5- 4pm: Hollywood Scarlets vs Victorian Roller Derby League (Melbourne, AUS)
SUNDAY, June 29 – DAY 2
Game 1- 10am: Hollywood Scarlets vs Boardwalk Bombshells
Game 2- 11:45am: Rat City All-Stars vs Victorian Roller Derby League
Game 3- 1:30pm: Drive-By City Rollers (LA Men’s team) vs Rain of Terror (Rat City)
Game 4- 3:15pm: Rat City All-Stars vs Boardwalk Bombshells
The camaraderie, sportsmanship and friendliness between any two roller derby teams about to start a competitive bout is always on display.
At the Saturday, June 7, bout plenty of hugs, conversations and smiles passed between the Rat City Rollergirls “B” all-star team, the Rain of Terror (ROT) and their visiting foes, the Dot.Kamikazes (D.Kams) before and during warm-ups for their KeyArena bout. The serious game faces aren’t usually put on until the opening whistle is about to shrill. What was different about this bout is that the D.Kams, representing the Silicon Valley Roller Girls from San Jose, left the floor after watching ROT warm up and they were already wearing those skating faces, faces that reflected concern, grimness, some worry and maybe a flash of resignation.
Then the bout started. ROT led after three jams 25-0. Everything bad the D.Kams thought could happen to them was, in fact, being delivered. ROT had the lead jammer in all three of those jams. D.Kam players crowded the penalty box.
But some of that pre-bout grimness was also a reflection of the visitors determination to put up a fight, to take it to ROT. They did.
Beginning with 21 minutes left in the half the locals were shut out in seven of the next eight jams. D.Kams jammer Mad 4 Gravy (#4) made four passes in jam five while ROT jammer Megan Havok (#15) made two visits to the penalty box for clearing her path using high elbows and forearms. It was 25-24 and the start of a D.Kam run that saw them take and hold a slim lead for the next five jams. Part of the central California team’s strategy was to pick up quick points and call the jams. Most of those calls were made while sitting on their butts, planted by various ROT defenders. Bionic Baby Doll (#OX42) called her 9 point jam after K. Beezy (#187) slammed her firmly to the track. Same with Pia Mess (#247) in the following jam (after she stopped rolling) courtesy a Mayja Look (#2) hip check. Next jam Gin Fluenza (#222) scored three quick points, calling the jam while looking up from the track surface at a hulking K. Beezy. Better to take the three then risk having that happen to her again.
ROT turned on the juice beginning in jam twelve. They led at the half 106-48 and won the bout 206-97.
In that twelfth jam Rattleskate (#16) took the lead but ate track as she approached her first scoring pass. D.Kams blocker Belle Wringer (#203) rung her bell but Rattleskate got up, shook it off and picked up 19 points. Not so successful, Mad 4 Gravy spent most of the jam being dragged and recycled by Parker Eyeout (#070), Endora Finn Rush (#42) and Megan Havok.
The D.Kams were shut out in 14 of the 22 first half jams. They seldom had the lead jammer and often spent the entire jam just trying to get their scorer through the ROT blockers. ROT pivot play was a big part in their win. Between Dee Cap Attack (#-1), who held pivot in ten jams for the bout, K. Beezy for 12 and Belle Tolls (#4) for ten, there was just too much solid defense for the Kamikazes to overcome.
At one point Dee Cap Attack was organizing her blockers with a look in her eyes so intense, so determined that it must have given her own teammates a bit of a tremble. It scared the approaching D.Kam jammer enough to just call the thing off while she was still in one piece.
The second half was a repeat of the first 30 minutes. ROT continued to widen their lead, D.Kam spent more time in the penalty box. They had 38 for the bout while ROT had 24.
ROT Coach Julie Ann Bruise said that she was very pleased with her team’s play. “We’ve been working all along on controlling the pace of the game,” she said. Head ROT Coach Inspector Parts explained that, by not letting the other team set the pace his team was better able to play together and control the D.Kam attack. “We did a lot of film study,” he said.
Pink Ranger, head coach for the D.Kams, said that he thought both teams played excellent derby at the highest effort level. “Our biggest issue was penalties,” he said. “We had a lot of them, but I thought we played even when we had our full team on the track. I’m really happy with the play of our girls.” He added that Pia Mess, who played some years ago with Rat City, had a great game. “As she goes, the team goes,” he said.
The Silicon Valley derby teams recently had their home rink destroyed and they have been scrambling all over the valley for practice and bout rinks. The Dot.Kamikazes played Sunday at the Rat’s Nest against the other team on the card from Saturday night, the Jet City Bombers. The Bombers and the Rat City “A” All-Star Team (AST) played the second bout on Saturday, a match won by the AST 258-119. On Sunday the Bombers and the D.Kams put on a show, a bout that was won by the Bombers 244-97.
In the ROT/D.Kam bout Shock Therapy (#1400) led all scorers with 65 points. Rattleskate had 62 and they came in bunches as she averaged 12.4 points per jam. Megan Havok had 45, Ella Whirled (#2010) had 27, Dee Cap Attack, 3, and Belle Tolls, 4. Four jammers scored all the points for the D.Kams. They were led by Mad 4 Gravy with 46, Gin Fluenza, 20, Pia Mess, 18 and Bionic Baby Doll, 13.
by Jim Almy
The Rat City Rollergirls All Star Team (AST) has been jamming and slamming for a couple months now against sanctioned Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) teams from around the country and world. When the May 31 rankings came out a couple days ago WFTDA had Rat City at number 14, up four spots from the April 30 list.
That ranking reflects wins over previously twelfth ranked Montreal 202-124 and a 386 point humbling of the Sacred City Sacrificers from Sacramento (444-58). Sacred City moved down four spots to space 39.
Ophelia Melons, scheduling administrator for RCRG, said that the goal for the AST was to be in the top 12 before the playoffs begin. “That would guarantee us a top 3 seeding at the playoff tournament,” she said.
Three games AST has scheduled at the end of June in Los Angeles will decide that rankings goal. They will also define a team that’s waiting to be tested and surely will be when they take on teams ranked 6, 10 and 23, the Angel City Derby Girls on June 28, the Victorian Roller Derby League from Australia on June 29 and the Santa Cruz Derby Girls later that same day. The next rankings calculation will include bouts through the end of June, giving the three Los Angeles bouts additional force in determining how successful the 2014 season will be for Rat City.
Rat City, at spot 14 with a rankings total of 337.00, is just behind the Atlanta Rollergirls, with a 337.93 rankings score. At number 12 is the Philly Roller Girls at 340.56.
The formula WFTDA uses to separate the best from the rest involves assigning relative credit for each team based on their bout score, multiplying that by each team’s relative strength and multiplying that by something called the “game weight”. Get you pencils out because we’re going to have a little more detailed run through of that algorithm in a bit.
What the rankings also reflect is that you better bring your best game when you visit the Pacific Northwest, or the west coast. Portland’s Rose City Roller Girls are ranked fourth (it’s fair to go ‘huh?’ if you remember that the Sockit Wenches, who lost all four of their inter-league RCRG bouts, thumped Portland’s Rose City Rollers Guns ‘N’ Rollers, 205 – 137 on Saturday, March 28, at the Rat’s Nest); The Oly Rollers from Olympia are at 19; Everett’s Jet City is 35 and the Tri City Roller Derby is ranked at 42. Montreal found out how tough it is to play in this area when, after losing to the AST, they were handled by Rose City’s Wheels of Justice in Portland the next day, 306-109, and dropped a bout in Olympia to the Oly Rollers Cosa Nostra Donnas 230-174 the day after that.
Other west coast teams on the list of 202 ranked teams include the Emerald City Roller Girls, who jumped 14 spots to rank 87 and the Bellingham Roller Betties at 138.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby, the NYC monsters, held spot number one with a ranking total of 526.74. San Francisco’s B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls were second at 460.74. The July 12 KeyArena opponent for AST is 33rd ranked Houston Roller Derby. Their ranking score is 247.15.
Three elements make up the formula that WFTDA uses to assign first, last and in between for its teams world wide. After each of the three elements is calculated they are multiplied out and then multiplied by 100.
The first is called the won/lost factor. A sanctioned game is worth three points with each team getting a percentage of that three points based on the bout score. If team A scores 100 and team B scores 50 then team A gets two-thirds of the three points and team B one-third. The won/lost factor for team A is 2.
Next the strength of each team is evaluated against their bout opponent. That number comes from dividing the team’s average ranking over the past twelve months by the most current ranking of the team in the middle of the rankings list. Let’s say team A has an average ranking of 150 and the middle team this month is team Z with a ranking number of 75. Seventy five goes into one hundred fifty 2times.
Finally, the game itself is given a game weight number with regular season games weighted at 1.0 and post season bouts weighted between 1.25 and 1.5.
So team A’s ranking is its won/lost factor 2 times its opponent’s strength factor 2 times game weight 1 or 2x2x1, all times 100. Team A = 400 ranking score.
In the June 7 bout between AST and the Jet City Bombers, won by AST 258-119, the numbers work out this way: AST gets 68.44% of the won/lost factor or 2.0532 points. The opponents strength factor, based on current rankings scores, for Jet City is 1.8337. The game weight is 1.
So AST’s ranking for that bout is 2.0532 x 1.8337 x 1 x 100 = 376.495.
If you’re still reading congratulations and math degrees will be given out at the next bout which is 7/12 at KeyArena.
For tickets and info, click HERE
Yankees vs Mets. White Sox vs Cubs. Some of the greatest rivalries in sports come from when you’re battling against your next door neighbor. This weekend, Rat City Rollergirls’ All-Star Team (AST) will be going up against their sisters to the north, the Jet City Bombers of Everett, WA, in a battle to see who rules over Seattle.
AST’s defense has been steadily improving as strong walls and teamwork make scoring for opposing jammers seem practically impossible. Throw in some tough and agile jammers, and it sounds like AST has everything they need for victory. But, the Bombers’ blockers know how to pack a punch using hard hits to tire their opponents out. With both teams finding success against Sacred City Derby Girls just last month, each are confident they can take the other down. One thing is guaranteed, this is going to be an intense and physical game.
But the night doesn’t begin there.
Saturday’s KeyArena games will open with Rat City’s B-Team, Rain of Terror (RoT) competing against the Dot.Kamikazes from Silicon Valley Roller Girls. RoT is coming off their first win of the season, beating Antagonist Roller Derby on May 10th. But this time, they will be going up against an A-Team, so they will have to be sure to bring their A game to keep their winning streak alive.
So, Rat City fans, be sure to represent your team by bringing out the GREEN!! We know that you’ve been looking for a reason to wear your Seahawks gear, so get crazy because we’ll be representing the most spirited fans on the jumbotron.
To see who wins in the battle over Seattle, get your tickets HERE.
by Jim Almy
Nearing the halfway point in the first 30 minutes of their bout last Friday, May 16, at the Rat’s Nest, the Rat City Rollergirls All-Star Team and the visiting New Skids on the Block from Montreal were still testing each other. Up to that point strong defense and quick jam calls had kept the score close. It was 20-10 in favor of the locals. They would win this one 202-124.
The New Skids were playing a slow-them-down pace, their large line of blockers keeping AST jammers pounding but bottled up, scoring in the twos, threes and fours.
AST had the aggression needed against the New Skids plugging tactics, just taking a few jams to solve the New Skids style. In jam 11 jammer Full Nelson (#123) exploded for 14 points, opening the lead to 34-10. AST blockers also began dragging New Skids jammers, effectively neutralizing their scoring opportunities. Raven Seaward (#53), bumped New Skids jammer Miracle Whips (#123) twice in the previous jam, then recycled her so far back that she was still dragging when the jam was called off. AST blockers Missile America (#321) and Shorty Ounce (#14) employed the same technique in jam 11, hitting New Skids jammer The Honey Badger (#F18) hard enough to send her out of bounds, then twice recycling her well behind the pack. High fives were given all around.
New Skids Coach Ewan Wotarmy called her first time out at that point, hoping to regroup her team, keep the lead from getting any bigger. Things didn’t go her way in the next jam. AST jammer Luna Negra (#911) escaped the pack in three strides while blockers Raven Seaward and Carmen Getsome (#12) held New Skids jammer Greta Bobo (#8080) in check. Approaching the pack after two passes and ten points Luna Negra looked for the usual six inch lane that she can turn into a passing highway. New Skids blockers George W. Tush (#40) and Chasing Amy (#454) headed for that small opening when AST blocker Teddy Rupp (#505) stopped them dead, then pushed them back while Luna Negra zipped by for four more points. It was now 48-10. Carmen made sure more high fives were shared.
The Montreal all-star team, ranked twelfth by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) as of April 30, was watching their eighteenth ranked opponent widen the margin with every jam.
Near the end of the first half Rawkhell SqWelch (#761), who led all scorers for the night with 72, picked up 14 points in a jam in which she completed her first pass by separating New Skids blocker Smack Daddy (#3X) from the track and her last pass courtesy of an opening made for her by Missile America.
It was 109-69 after 30 minutes.
AST had been cited for 19 penalties, New Skids for 14. At the end of the bout penalties tilted against the AST, 35-23. Coach Ho Chi Danh attributed his team’s aggressive play for their extra time in the penalty box.
“I knew we had that game in us,” he said after the bout. “We were a little worried because we didn’t have Trippy (all star jammer Sintripetal Force, #1618, out with a leg injury suffered in the AST win over the Sacred City Sacrificers on May 10), but we have so many players who can jam and block. We just had to get used to how physical their blocking was.”
AST’s 40 point margin grew bigger in the second half. By the fifth jam they had more than doubled the New Skids at 149-73. The visitors were having trouble scoring more than a few points in each jam and were shut out in 15 of the 25 jams in the final 30 minutes. AST was just more efficient, averaging 4.2 points per jam for the bout. The New Skids had a little under 2.6 ppj.
With about eight minutes left in the bout and the home team leading 197-114 the fourth AST blocker went to the penalty box. That stopped everything as Sami Automatic (#22), Teddy Rupp, Shorty Ounce and Raven Seaward all sat in the sin bin while jammer Carmen Getsome found herself all alone on the track against a full New Skids team. Rules were sorted out, needing a team to have at least one blocker on the track at all times. Shorty Ounce, the last offender, was allowed back. New Skids jammer Miracle Whips, with three AST blockers in the sin bin most of the jam, still could only pick up three points. Carmen Getsome and Shorty Ounce can play defense as well as any four blockers. More high fives.
“This is not what we wanted,” said New Skids Coach Ewan Wotarmy. “We haven’t seen much of Rat City this year but we knew they were strong and we expected a hard game.” The New Skids not only had a hard game, they had a hard weekend, losing to the Rose City’s Wheels of Justice in Portland the next day, 306-109, and dropping a bout in Olympia to the Oly Rollers Cosa Nostra Donnas 230-174 on Sunday. Rose City held the number five ranking among WFTDA teams worldwide as of April 30. The Oly Rollers were ranked at 14.
In addition to Rawkhell SqWelch’s 72 points other AST jammers who scored included Luna Negra, 56, Carmen Getsome, 35, Full Nelson, 34, Wreck N Shrew (#24), 2, and P. Wilhelm (#9), 3. Coach Ho Chi Danh said that he enjoyed the play of Nelson and Carmen. “They don’t normally jam,” he said. The two combined for 69 points, 55 in the second half. Danh also said that he thought Raven Seaward had a great game and he was happy to see Domino (#62) in her first all star game in five years. He was impressed by the number of high fives. “I like high fives,” he said.
Mel E Juana (#420) led the New Skids jammers with 57 points. Miracle Whips had 15, The Honey Badger, 40, and Greta Bobo, 12.
Next up for the AST on June 7 at KeyArena is the Jet City Roller Girls Bombers. The Rain of Terror (ROT) will open that night’s action against the Silicon Valley Roller Girls Dot.Kamikazes. For tickets and info go HERE
by Jim Almy
Roller derby bouts last 60 minutes, a factor that assured the Rat City Rollergirls “B” all-star team, the Rain of Terror (ROT) would leave the track as winners last Saturday in their opening match against the Antagonist in KeyArena. Final score, 171-152.
A couple more jams and it could just as easily been a win for the Antagonist, a team formed in Seattle last spring when the USA Roller Sports (USARS) announced that they would lower their age to 14 for adult competition. The Antagonist brought a team with seven players between the ages of 14 and 17 to the track. Played as a non-sanctioned bout the Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rule that all players must be 18 or older was waived.
Youth brings a certain kind of energy. After three jams the Antagonist had made their statement, they were not going to be intimidated by ROT, an all-star team recognized as on a par with many of the WFTDA top 40 teams worldwide. The bout was close throughout. There were lead changes; flashes of scoring; runs of zero jams; collisions that rattled the front rows of spectators; and a heart warming show of sportsmanship at the bout’s end.
Megan Havok (#357) collected 26 points in the second jam, many of them while passing through lanes opened by Wreck N Shrew (#24). Antagonist jammer Taylor Williams (#12) couldn’t find a way to score, ROT blocker Rattleskate (#16) making it particularly hard for the young jammer to get out of the pack. Two jams, 26-0.
Not intimidated, the Antagonist put a line on the track for jam three that played textbook defense and ROT jammer Shock Therapy (#123) didn’t get out of the pack until only eight seconds remained in the jam. Meanwhile that same Antagonist line of Grainne Hunter (#35), Erin Hulderson (#45), Misty Greer (#20) and Laura Madson (#36) helped jammer Alyssa Pray (#91) pick up 23 points.
After three jams it was ROT ahead by three, 26-23. No one was going to run away with this bout.
Later in the first half ROT went through a run of five jams without scoring, allowing the Antagonist to add 33 points and go ahead, 67-43. A big part of that run was the 20 points Laura Madson collected in a power jam with as many as three ROT players sitting in the penalty box. There was no let up in this battle. Near the end of the half Wreck N Shrew blasted Antagonist blocker Khanisha Rodney (#99), arms and legs flailing as she bounced out of bounds, opening a passing lane for ROT jammer Megan Havok. Rodney got back on the track just as Havok was approaching for her second scoring pass and quickly returned the favor, planting Havok on the surface where she called off the jam. It was ROT trailing at the half, 68-87.
Rattleskate scored 13 in the second jam of the second half. A couple jams later Wreck N Shrew added seven and ROT took a brief lead, 91-89. The Antagonist chipped back, re-took the lead and held it through jam 14. Then Wreck N Shrew took advantage of a five-three power jam to show what muscle and speed, properly applied, can do. She powered her way to 37 points and a 143-126 lead with 10:25 remaining in the half, a lead that ROT would not give up. Wreck N Shrew’s final five points came, fittingly enough, after another encounter with Antagonist blocker Khanisha Rodney, whom Wreck N Shrew bounced to clear her own way for her last pass.
“We took a look at the stats at halftime,” said ROT Coach Inspector Parts. “We saw that our strongest jammers were being more successful against their lines (Megan Havok had 45 of her 57 points in the first half. Wreck N Shrew, who didn’t make any jamming starts in the first half, had all of her 50 points after the break) and we knew that that was important because they had a lot of strength. They were skilled skaters who presented challenges to our scorers.”
Antagonist began a come back. Leading scorer Alyssa Pray — she had 59 points for the night to lead all scorers — added four and was headed for another pass when she bounced off ROT blocker Belle Tolls (#4), staggered backwards a few feet, wobbled on her skates and called the jam off. Misty Greer tallied another seven points but counted herself lucky that she was behind and not between them when K. Beezy (#187) and S. Botts (#524) closed in front of her like over-powered sliding doors.
There is a level of sportsmanship in every team and every player in roller derby. It was on full display in the final jam when Antagonist jammer Kate Mossman (#52) went to the penalty box for cutting the track. ROT jammer Wreck N Shrew stopped on the track. The pack halted and everyone waited for the 30 second penalty to expire and for Kate Mossman to return, the jam and the bout ending with all ten players on the track.
To see Rain of Terror take on the Silicon Valley Roller Derby go HERE
by Jim Almy
These are not easy stories to write. I mean, 444-58? What do you say?
The Rat City Rollergirls All-Stars opened their season at KeyArena last Saturday by putting on a clinic for the visiting Sacred City Sacrificers from Sacramento. What the all-star team from California learned after losing by 386 points is that you have to bring your best game when traveling to Seattle and, more to the point, Rat City may be one of the best teams in roller derby anywhere at the present time.
The opening two jams previewed the rest of the bout. Sacrificers jammer Pink Freud (#42) called the first jam quickly after scoring 2 points, giving her team it’s only lead for the night at 2-0. In the next jam Rat City jammer Luna Negra (#911) was through the pack in three strides. Escorted by blocker Raven Seaward (#53) Negra had 20 points in less than a minute and called the jam after notching her 29th.
Two points was all The 4closer (#44), a high caliber Sacrificers jammer other teams always worry about, could put up in the opening 30 minutes. If it wasn’t Carmen Getsome (#12) and Missile America (#321) in her way then it was Bill F. Murray (#906) and Kendle Bjelland (#808) who wouldn’t let her pass. In the 11th jam Rawkhell SqWelch (#761) used The 4closer as a blocker, hipping her aside when she was ready to take the lead and leaving the opposing jammer struggling in the pack, not to break out until only 13 seconds remained in the jam. SqWelch scored 29 points in that run. She led all scorers for the bout with 159.
It was four jams into the second half before the Sacrificers added any points. With Rat City skaters Bill F. Murray, Teddy Rupp (#505) and Carmen Getsome all in the penalty box jammer Colt 45 (#45) picked up 10. Still, Rat City shut out Sacrificers jammers in 13 of the 19 second half jams. It began to be painful to watch. Rat City jammers were just too fast for Sacrificers blockers who, as the bout progressed, were too beaten up and overwhelmed by Rat City line play to put up much resistance.
“The number of points scored is not so much the factor in calculating team standings world wide,” said Loco Chanel, who keeps track of those rankings for RCRG. She explained that it’s the “point ratio” that becomes part of the formula for those rankings. In this bout the ASP’s scored 88.45 percent of the total of 502 points both teams combined. That will have a positive effect on their next rankings calculation.
In addition to the 159 points Rawkhell SqWelch scored for Rat City Sintripetal Force (#1618) had 136, Luna Negra, 77, P. Wilhelm (#9), 26, Bill F. Murray, 18, and Carmen Getsome, 28. Shock-N-Auburn (#451) and Colt 45 had 16 each for the Sacrificers. They were joined by Pink Freud, 2, The 4closer, 15, and Cash Money (#13), 9. Cash Money was also selected Most Valuable Player from her team by Rat City. Missile America received that recognition by the Sacrificers.
Montreal Roller Derby’s New Skids on the Block will be in town this Friday, May 16, for a 7:30 PM bout at the Rat’s Nest. Learn more & tickets
by Jim Almy
It opens with a battle against some familiar faces and closes with a bout against invaders from the south on Saturday, May 10, when the Rat City Rollergirls debut the second half of their season at KeyArena.
The RCRG All-Star Program will put two teams on the track. In bout one, Rain of Terror (ROT) faces Antagonists, a USARS team from Seattle. For the second bout, the RCRG All-Stars battle the Sacred City Derby Girls’ Sacrificers from Sacramento, CA in a sanctioned bout that counts for rankings towards the WFTDA Championships in November.
With the All-Star lineup announced in March, and a new Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rule set for the 2014 season, Seattle’s Division I WFTDA league (Rat City) is ranked 17th in the world, and positioned to have a strong year. Rankings are very fluid this early in the season as teams are only beginning to test themselves against each other. The Rat City All-Stars were ranked #13 a month ago and, according to Ophelia Melons, the league’s Interleague Coordinator who knows as much as anyone about teams from around the country and world, “We we will crack the top ten this season.”
A win against the Sacrificers, presently ranked #32, will aid that cause.
“Thirty four players make up the Rat City All-Star Program. That group is split into two teams. The top 20 skaters become the chartered representatives that skate for RCRG in international competition for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA),” Melons said. “The remaining skaters comprise our ‘B’ Team, called the Rain of Terror (ROT). Our B team is extremely competitive and could easily beat many Division I (top 40) WFTDA teams.”
The RCRG All-Star Team is coached by League Champion Derby Liberation Front’s Ho Chi Danh. That team includes:
Bill F Murray
Wreck n Shrew
Coach Danh said that Jukestapose has suffered a season-ending knee injury and won’t be skating with the All-Star team.
The Sacred City Derby Girls was founded in the fall of 2006 in Sacramento, CA. Their first season was in 2007 with two teams, the Sacrificers and the Disciples. They added three more teams in 2011, The Roseville Trainwreckers, The Donna Party, and The Midtown Maulies.
Sacrificers’ skater Evil Shenaningans said that their area is rich with opponents and that teams they have played this season in either scrimmages or bouts include Bay Area Derby Girls, Sac City Rollers, Santa Cruz Derby Girls and the Undead Betties.
Melons suggested that the Sacrificers will bring one skater, The 4 Closer, who is always tough to handle against any competition. Shenaningans would only say that every skater on their team was outstanding in their own way.
As with derby skaters everywhere, the members of the Sacrificers represent the usual variety of careers and occupations. Shenaningans listed a few. Colt 45 works for Vegan Outreach, Xerox dedicates all her free time to the league to help make the league function, Cash Money works 2 jobs and goes to school, Annie Ankle Biter is an accomplished business owner, Rose Villain was spending every weekend driving to LA and back (6 hours+ each way) so that her daughter could play softball, Neill N Weep works with children and has the patience of a saint with them, Mazel Tough Cocktail is our resident knitter and a great party starter, Lora Stabs came from banked track and gives some of the most inspirational speeches you have ever heard, R. Tillery is a mother, runner, bigwig in her softball association, and photographer, and Billie Jean Beretta has a degree in Criticism and Public Communication and loves soccer.
The Sacrificers will follow their bout against the Rat City All-Stars with a Sunday morning hangover bout against Jet City Bombers at the Rat’s Nest. It’s a bring your own chair and mimosas kind of event, which is $10 at the door.
by Jim Almy
Antagonist Roller Derby or “ARD” formed last spring when USA Roller Sports (USARS) announced that they would lower their age to 14 for adult competition. Explaining the genesis of ARD , co-owner Chris Hunter said, “I have been involved in Junior Roller Derby for almost 9 years at various levels and have been privileged to witness the growth of many junior skaters who were, in my judgment, ready to compete at a higher level.” That feeling was shared by a number of other derby skaters in the area and led to the creation of the Antagonist, a team with skaters whose age spans 14 to 51.
When the Rat City All-Star team was selected a few weeks ago Coach Ho Chi Danh and his assistant coaches Sirius Mischief and Kitty Kamikaze divided the original group into an “A” and “B” team. The “A” team, the Rat City Rollergirls All-Stars, will play a second bout that night against The Sacrificers from Sacramento. That bout pits teams ranked #17 and #32 internationally. Rat City All-Stars has the #17 ranking. These two teams are not unfamiliar with each other.
There is a history of current ROT players previously being on Antagonist, such as Rattleskate, Enurgizer Bunny and Short Fuse. Conversely, current Rat City skaters have joined the USARS team in their off-season, including Devilynne Syde, unshine, and Deva Stateher. ARD also have former Rat City members Wile Peyote, Death by Dollface, and Pia Mess skating this weekend while being coached Chuck Hendrick.
Most recently, one of the Rat City Rollergirls home teams, Sockit Wenches, faced Antagonist at the Spokarnage tournament a couple weeks ago. ROT and Sockit Wench skater Kitty Kabooty said, “It was a tough battle. They are fast, extremely agile, and we will need focused and strong defense to shut them down.”
Both the USARS and the Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) are controlling bodies over roller derby leagues. WFTDA membership is the largest and Rat City plays under their rules, which includes a minimum age limit of 18.
This Saturday’s bout will be played under WFTDA rules other than the age limit. In their first season, which only lasted three months, the Antagonist took second in the Regional USARS series and third at Nationals. Hunter explained that “many in the community, including myself, thought of this endeavor as an experiment and we were not sure if we could sustain such a model. To my excitement the team overwhelmingly voted to shake the label of being a pick up team and continue developing our model. With fresh motivation and growing interest in our platform we agreed to continue competing against USARS teams and work on becoming a WFTDA apprentice team. We appreciate all flavors of derby and embrace anyone that will play us; our goal is to stay competitive at the highest level.”
Pursuing that level of competition will be put to the test against ROT, a team considered better than many of the all-star teams ranked in the top 40 internationally. Hunter explained that Antagonist has an, “…interesting cross section of skaters; the range is 14 to 51 years of age. Khanisha Rodney, one of our captains, is in the military. Samantha Adams, 16, who travels from Portland to practice on a regular basis, is currently on track to graduate from college early, she and her family have been great. Taylor Williams just turned 18 and is going to Arizona State University in August on a sports scholarship. We have a pair of sisters, Sierra Sagos, 16, and Maya Sagos, one of our youngest players at 14. Maya is someone to watch along with Roismaire Rickel, another very promising junior. Gráinne Hunter just turned 18.”
For tickets to the bout THIS Saturday at KeyArena, go HERE
By Jim Almy
The offense that the Sockit Wenches poured on in their March 28 win over Portland’s Guns N Rollers, 205-137, just never quite showed up last Saturday when they played Grave Danger in the Rat City Rollergirls Grudge Match at KeyArena.
Grave Danger, winner of three straight League Championships, would not be skating for a fourth this year and took out their frustration on the Wenches, winning the Grudge Match 250-143.
Both teams were liberal with jamming assignments, each using eight of their 14 players at one time or another as jammers.
The bout began as a low scoring affair. Grave Danger’s Aalto Ego (#43) and Trouble Dutch (#2468) traded effective blocking with the Sockit Wenches’ Belle Tolls (#4) and Kitty Kabooty (#524). Jammers weren’t making many passes. In the eighth jam Grave Danger blocker Tempura Tantrum (#99) and Sockit Wenches jammer Izzie Does It (#3) engaged in a lengthy two-step in which Tantrum kept Izzie fully in check until the pack had to be re-formed. Izzie Does It picked up eight points in that jam.
Things opened up in the tenth jam. That’s when Nehi Nightmare (#48) took advantage of a power jam, her size and speed to pile up 19 points and put Grave Danger ahead 53-25. You can’t block what you can’t see and Nehi Nightmare made sure she was invisible to the Wenches. She led all scorers in the bout with 56.
For the next two jams, with Wenches jammer Devilynne Syde (#666) spending most of her time in the penalty box, Grave Danger switched from the mini to the mighty. Following Mayja Look (#02), Trouble Dutch and D’evil’D Meggs (#88), who opened huge passing lanes for her, jammer K. Beezy (#187) scored 15 and 13 in those two jams. If the openings weren’t there for her she just muscled her way through the Wenches line.
By then, about halfway through the first half, it was Grave Danger ahead 81-38. Maybe the most interesting story for the rest of the half was Carmen Getsome (#12) self-penalizing herself. That led to a halt in the action while the refs sorted out her status. When Carmen Getsome realized that she hadn’t been called for a foul and didn’t need to be in the sin bin she just returned to the action. That brought the flurry of whistles that stopped play. Turns out that, once you’re in the penalty box, you’re under the control of that official and can’t leave the box without their okay. Immaterial if you didn’t have to be there. When play finally resumed Carmen still had to sit out her full 30 seconds.
Grave Danger Coach Vito Ramon praised blockers Aalto Ego, Patience Grasshopper (#46) and Jerrica Kallio (#33) for stepping up and holding their positions after key blocker K. Beezy (#187) had been hit so hard in the chest that she temporarily lost her voice. Grasshopper was also a scoring force for Grave Danger, picking up 27 points in just two jams in the second half. Kallio was selected Most Valuable Player after the bout by the Sockit Wenches.
Coach Ramon said that his jammers were getting free so often because, “We noted that the Sockit Wenches lined up with an open slot to the outside and we were able to beat them on the outside. Often on the second pass we could still take advantage of the outside.”
In addition to Nehi Nightmare’s 56 points Grave Danger scoring was evenly passed around. Mayja Look had 18, Carmen Getsome, 52, K. Beezy, 40, Jerrica Kallio, 26, Patience Grasshopper, 31, unshine (#52), 19 and D’evil’D Meggs, 8.
Izzie Does It led the Sockit Wenches with 38. Short Fuse (#11) had 19, Penny Racer (#2), 20, Annyong (#21), 25, Belle Tolls, 3, Sister Slaughter (#480), 1, Devilynne Syde, 13, and Rawkhell SqWelch, (#761), 24.
For tickets to the next bout at KeyArena on 5/10 go to ticketmaster.com
by Jim Almy
When you start skating at six and play all the popular sports like basketball, softball, soccer, roller hockey, golf, tennis, and distance running all your life you can expect to be a qualified roller derby ace before you even step on the track.
With that background Yoko Onoudi’nt took to roller derby naturally and immediately, being selected the Most Valuable Player in her first derby bout in 2010 against Grave Danger. Last Saturday she was honored as MVP again, this time by the Throttle Rockets, after Derby Liberation Front (DLF) won the League Championship over the Rockets, 204-131.
The MVP honors are like bookends to her great derby career as the championship bout was her last — an MVP at the start and the finish. Even better, she says, because her retirement almost came at the end of the 2013 season.
“I was actually retiring last season after All-Stars finished but then I pulled a Brett Favre and decided to do one more home team season (and it did not disappoint). No particular reason other than it is time for new life adventures and I want to get out while my body is still intact,” said Ono.
Originally from the midwest, a friend in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who knew a referee for the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls League there, “told me I should try derby since I love sports and skating.” Since she began skating with the Rat City Rollergirls she has always been a member of DLF. “Smash the State for life!” she says.
Ono started her derby career as a jammer, but an injury led her to develop the blocking abilities that the rest of the league knows and respects. “I used to jam when I first started and didn’t know the rules or how to block. They would send me out and say ‘just get through the pack and we’ll tell you when to call it off.’ I think the most points I’ve ever scored in one jam was like 20 or 25. Then I tore my PCL, was away from skating for recovery, and when I came back I blocked a lot and was able to develop those skills.”
She credits her build for her success in both positions. “I’m taller and larger built. I can usually push my way through walls if I’m jamming. If I’m blocking I like to set screens for my jammers since I’m pretty sturdy. All of my opponents on Rat City are tough opponents. There is not a bout or a scrimmage where I don’t think ahead of time, this is going to be hard. Everyone on Rat City is so talented and competitive. It’s never easy.” The line play she brings to the game has become her forte. “Blocking has become one of my strengths. I’m a really level-headed skater so I definitely bring leadership and communication to the track when I’m skating. I’m not really that good at jamming anymore so that has become a weakness. Whenever I thought Dan (DLF Coach Ho Chi Danh) might look at me to jam I would try and avoid making eye contact!”
Ono, whose name is Kim Uildriks, works in healthcare administration. She says that she gets tons of support from friends and co-workers who come to her bouts. Her family in Michigan watch footage online. They were able to watch her skate last year in Milwaukee at the Nationals and that was “awesome!” she says.
Reflecting on her time with Rat City she recalled some of her high (or low) points in the league:
· I didn’t know what clothes to wear for derby so showed up to tryouts practice wearing blue jeans and had no toe stops.
· I am marrying one of the other MVPs from the last bout, Jerrica Kallio, in August.
· My favorite memory w/my DLF teammates: seeing the Rihanna concert from a private suite.
· My favorite RCRG skater/idol since day 1: Carmen Getsome.
She said she thought the Throttle Rockets only selected her as MVP just to be nice but if you saw the bout you’d understand there was solid ground for that selection. “I swore they only did it as an act of kindness since I’m retiring, but Luna and Trippy told me it was because I played an amazing game.” That’s the Throttle Rocket’s high powered scoring duo of Sintripetal Force and Luna Negra, two jammers who spent most of the championship trying with little success to get past Ono.
For tickets to the next bout at KeyArena 5/10, go HERE
by Jim Almy
For someone who started out in Pathfinder Junior Derby “to scared to jam” Izzie Does It has come far enough that she scored 38 points for the Sockit Wenches last Saturday night in a bout against Grave Danger and was selected Most Valuable Player.
“I’ve been playing roller derby since I was ten years old. I was the first girl on Pathfinder Junior Derby (now Seattle Derby Brats) and joined Rat City in November, 2013,” she said. “I hardly ever jammed on the brats, I was better at blocking and too scared to jam.”
She explained that she grew up playing in halftime bouts for Rat City; attending adult bouts at the airplane hanger; and always wanting to play for and with the many players who coached her before she aged out.
Her other sport is skateboarding, an activity she said she has always loved.
Izzie said her biggest challenge is her predictability as a jammer and that she has been working on her jukes a lot more lately. Working on her game has made her a jammer to watch out for, a constant scoring threat. She has been polishing other parts of her game also, but offered no elaboration. “I can’t give up all my secrets,” she said.
Her name is Izzabella White. She grew up in West Seattle, where she currently lives. She is studying graphic design. Her nickname, Izzie, comes after an aunt who is also an “Izzie”.
Her list of career injuries sounds like the sort of damage anyone who makes a living jumping off cliffs might report. Except hers are from derby and generally fall in line with what other players’ claim. She’s broken a shoulder, a wrist, re-broken a hand, pulled hamstrings, busted up elbows, had her jaw knocked out of place, and ends the list with an “etc.” which probably includes a litany other players would be familiar with.
The selection as MVP last Saturday was her first as an adult skater.
In addition to what she called her predictability, Izzie faults herself for occasionally racking up penalties. She compensates with her strengths. “I’m agile, fast, and have strong legs,” she says.
Her family and friends come to most of her bouts. They are often joined by co-workers, customers, strangers and everyone else she tells about Rat City bouts. No doubt her crowd of followers will get to applaud more MVPs in the future.
For tickets to the next bout at KeyArena, go to the box office or online with TICKETMASTER
By Jim Almy
There’s no other way to say it. They just beat you down. They just take the best you can throw at them, shake it off and continue to beat you down.
Derby Liberation Front (DLF), the team that won the Rat City Rollergirls’ league Championship Saturday night at KeyArena, sorta remind you of a football team from these parts that won a championship a couple months back. Attitude, toughness, extraordinary athleticism and, well, just plain guts.
The final score, 204-131 over the Throttle Rockets, doesn’t give the Rockets enough credit for the gritty game they brought to the track and the closeness of the bout until the final quarter. The Rockets, after all, are not without their own brand of in-your-face play. It showed early.
Luna Negra (#911), the muscular silhouette of a scoring machine that you don’t see until she’s passed you or, worse, see just in time to be shoved rudely aside as she forces herself by, started the first jam for the Rockets. Next to her was rookie phenomenon Bam!!B (#444), DLF’s equally potent jammer. Luna treated the defense ahead of her as a nuisance, busting through the line of all-star DLF blockers Rumble Fist (#9), Full Nelson (#123), The KZA (#6) and Domino (#62) before the first quarter lap and picking up 14 points in the jam. Bam!!B spent part of that jam and the next in the penalty box, but picked up five points making it 14-5 after two jams.
And so it went for the first eight jams. DLF put their best on the track. The Rockets knocked them around. Blocker Raven Seaward (#53), put a shoulder into DLF jammer Bill F. Murray (#906) that launched her off the track. Murray led her team with 35 points in the first half, but scored none in the final 30 minutes. Luna Negra and Sintripetal Force (#1618) added scores here and there, calling off jams quickly and preventing DLF from making any impact.
Penalties bothered the Throttle Rockets more than their opponents for most of the bout. DLF took the lead in jam nine with three Rockets, Ethel Vermin (#77), Shock Therapy (#1400) and Missile America (#321) all sitting in the penalty box. Bam!!B had her biggest single run in the first half adding 14 to the DLF total and putting her team ahead for the first time 39-31. The Rockets ended the half with 26 penalties. DLF had 15.
DLF Coach Ho Chi Danh said that his team had, “The best total game we’ve played all year. We knew we had to play at our best to beat the Throttle Rockets and we did.” He also found unexpected support when injuries forced him to move key blocker Rumble Fist to a jammer’s role. In the 11th jam of the first half DLF jammer Muscle Sprouts (#5280), a leading scorer all season for her team, ran into a Rockets wall that left her on the track for five minutes, ultimately to be carried off. “I heard a pop in my knee,” she said while standing on crutches after the bout.
Rumble Fist’s approach to scoring, she finished the first half with 10 and the night with 34, was no-nonsense, no subtlety and no problem. She just looked for the strongest points in the Rockets defense and forced her way through.
“No other team could have adapted to the injuries we had tonight (blocker Avihater, #47, also left the bout in the first half with a knee injury),” said Coach Danh. “These girls do everything I ask of them. I didn’t want to pull Rumble off the line, but we needed scoring.”
The Rockets probably wish Rumble hadn’t started wearing the star either.
Sintripetal Force played a role in tying the bout twice as the first half closed. Her eight points in jam 15 brought the match to 62-62 with 11 minutes left to play. She added nine more in jam 18 to force another tie, 75-75. In both jams she also felt the full force of DLF blockers Ophelia Melons (#88) and Yoko Onoudi’nt (#20), who made her earn every pass.
Five jams passed in the second half before DLF scored any points. During that time the Rockets went ahead 101-99, serving notice that they weren’t going away easily. Bam!!B then took advantage of a power jam and great offensive blocking by Ophelia Melons, Yoko Onoudi’nt and Full Nelson to collect the biggest jam of the night and add 25 points to her bout leading total of 66. At 124-101 it was beginning to slip away for the Rockets.
Jammer Luna Negra was a particular target for the DLF blocking crew. For all her skill and strength she just couldn’t get out of the pack or found herself treated so badly that jams were called off out of futility. She had 40 points in the first half, 20 in the second, leading her team with 60 for the bout.
In the meantime DLF pounded away at the Rockets quickly tiring defense with brute force. Steady scorer The KZA and Rumble Fist continued muscling points in a bout that became one-sided with about 15 minutes remaining. The KZA had 65 points for the match, 30 and 35 each half.
With five minutes to go the penalties began to even out. The Throttle Rockets had 36, DLF had 28. But by then it was too many power jams too early in the bout for the Rockets to recover.
A crowd of 3,800 cheered the new champions as they hoisted their trophy, but it was cheering for both teams for a gutsy, hard fought and entertaining bout.
In the first bout of the night, the grudge match, Grave Danger bested the Sockit Wenches 250-143.
Tempura Tantrum opened the nights festivities, delivering a rousing version of the National Anthem before joining her Grave Danger teammates on the track. Everyone also enjoyed the Northside Drill Team, a community organization for 5 to 18 year-olds, who put on a rhythmic and close order performance at the half.
For tickets to the All-Star season which starts May 10th at KeyArena, go HERE
by Jim Almy
In the world of roller derby 24 points is hardly noticeable. Teams can easily combine for 300 to 400 in a bout and a single two minute jam is all some need to pick up that 24.
For the Throttle Rockets, entering this Saturday’s April 12 Championship Bout of the Rat City Rollergirls at KeyArena, those 24 points represent three key losses in their history.
Ten of those 24 came in the Throttle Rockets only loss of the season to the same team they will face for the championship trophy, undefeated 3-0 Derby Liberation Front (DLF). That losing bout entered the final jam tied at 173 all. The other 14 points came in two championship bout losses, both against Grave Danger, in season seven by 8 points and season eight by 6 points.
The Throttle Rockets recognize that important games can be very close games. They are ready.
“The TR’s have passion and have been on a positive upwards roll. I feel like we haven’t reached our full potential thus far and I think that that scares other teams. We are really ready to bring it,” said Throttle Rockets’ Missile America (#321).
Coach Lexi Luthor added that, “We plan to play our game. We have been very strong all year, only losing to DLF by 10 points, so we are confident in our game play. We are feeling great. We work really well as a team and we are ready! ”
This is a team that began the season with a squad half full of strangers.
Before the season started TR Coach Slutnik said that, “This year the Throttle Rockets have the highest turnover I have seen in 10 years. The team lost 8 players last year and has taken on 7 new players with different skating backgrounds. Enurgizer Bunny (#42) is our youngest, having graduated from the Seattle Derby Brat’s All-Star Team last year at the age of 18. Raven Seaward (#53) came to us from the banked track of the LA Derby Dolls. The 2014 incarnation of the Throttle Rockets has been a remarkable mixture of intensity, focus, and strength.”
They are only down one player for the championship bout, blocker and jammer Panda Beer (#330) who is not skating due to a concussion she sustained in the Throttle Rockets vs. Grave Danger bout last month.
Missile America knows what her team will be facing. “DLF is a heavy hitting team. It’s easy to tell that they love to hit whenever possible. The TR’s are combative by being two steps ahead of the opposing blockers. We know they like to hit and we will do our best to avoid being targeted. DLF is pretty strong on their offensive moves.”
But she also says her team will show up ready to play. “We feel strong and confident about what we are going to bring for this final game. The TR’s have passion and have been on a positive upwards roll. I feel like we haven’t reached our full potential thus far and I think that that scares other teams. We are really ready to bring it. It feels really good, I am not trying to come off as over confident but I know how much passion my team has for this game and how much we want it more. It will just be the game of the season for sure.”
Scoring power is a deep asset for the Throttle Rockets. In addition to Enurgizer Bunny, the co-captains, Sintripetal Force (#1618) and Luna Negra (#911) are capable of putting up a hundred points each on a given night.
The other asset the Rockets have quietly built from their group of strangers this season is a solid, well coordinated group of blockers including Khaos Theory (#13), Ella Whirled (#2010), Missile America, Raven Seaward, Parker EyeOut (#070), and Rattleskate (#16).
“I think the TR’s are so strong and I’d like to say ‘kill them with sugar, not spice’ as the TR’s are classy, strong and passionate for the love of the game,” said Missile America.
DLF will track a team equally passionate and strong. Said DLF power jammer The KZA (#6), “Both teams want this win badly, we’ll see who wants it more on Saturday.”
For tickets to Saturday’s bout at KeyArena, click HERE
Save the Date! The Rat City Rollergirls are creating something MAGICAL you won’t want to miss!!
Hitditch Cup will include skaters from Rat City being sorted into four different teams! The skaters have no idea what team they will be sorted to!!
Gryffindor – coached by GRYFFINDORABLE
Ravenclaw – coached by Lexi Lovegood
Hufflepuff – coached by Sunny Badger
Slytherin – coached by Sheeza Death Eater
Then there will be 2 30 minute bouts and the winners of those bouts will move on to a full 60 minute bout.
But this final bout will not be any ordinary bout – the audience can cast spells on the skaters and officials! Some will help the team, some will hinder them, but all will be entertaining!!
5:30 p.m. – Sorting Hat Ceremony
6:00 p.m. – First Whistle!
More exciting details to come very soon! Check out our Facebook Event
by Jim Almy
Derby Liberation Front (DLF) will say their rebuilding effort is complete when they win the league championship in a bout this Saturday, April 12, in KeyArena against the Throttle Rockets.
The Throttle Rockets (2-1) may have a different view on the outcome. Their only loss this season came to DLF, 183-173, in a bout not decided until the final jam.
It’s taken awhile for DLF to work its way back to being an elite team in the Rat City Rollergirls Roller Derby League.
Their undefeated record (3-0) in league play this year signals that return. It shows that all those humiliating loses in the recent past were just parts of that rejuvination.
DLF blocker Yoko Onoudi’nt (#20) was quick to recognize how close the two teams are. “Our last bout WAS close. I consider us pretty evenly matched teams defensively and offensively but the last game was penalty heavy on both sides. I don’t expect that to be the case this time around. Both teams know the first game could’ve ended very differently if penalties hadn’t happened when they did. Both teams have emphasized the need to play cleanly.”
Tied at 173 as the two teams began the final jam TR jammer Luna Negra (#911) got caught up in a pile of DLF blockers and earned a trip to the penalty box for tripping. DLF jammer Muscle Sprouts (#5280) scored the final ten points.
Yoko Onoudi’nt said that this is not the first time DLF has played for a championship but it is the first time since she’s been on the team that they made it to the title game. ”I joined the season after DLF’s power reign came to an end and we have been rebuilding ever since. My first year we were losing by 200-point spreads. Last year we lost the game by a narrow margin that would’ve put us in the championship. We’ve worked very hard for the past 4 years to get here again.”
So have the Throttle Rockets. DLF power jammer The KZA (#6) said, “The TRs have really come together as a team in a short amount of time. They’ve always had a strong set of jammers and their defense has shown a great amount of cohesion in the past few months.”
The KZA echoed her teammate when she said that DLF has been building as a team for the past couple of seasons. “We’re now able to execute strategies automatically as a team. Sometimes I sit on the bench with my mouth hanging open watching DLF walls brake jammers by spitting them out of bounds, running back and reforming in front of them: repeat.”
She also commented on her team’s dry spell, saying, “DLF hasn’t won the championships in years… the last time was long before I started playing roller derby.”
“My team is feeling good,” said DLF Coach Ho Chi Danh. ” We are working hard to solidify and reinforce all the things that have got us into this game. We have solid defense, both as a team and as individuals. We have a few bumps and bruises but Violent Beauregard is the only injured skater right now. She’s recovering from a brutal pile up in the Sockit Wenches game.”
Both players said that defense would play a big part in their team’s strategy.
“The most critical part of the game will be our defense. We have to stop their jammer. But we also know we have to create offensive opportunities if we expect to win, especially under the new rules set. We can’t burn 25 seconds of a power jam pushing through a wall to score. Now that penalty is over in 30 seconds, period,” said Yoko Onoudi’nt.
The KZA added that, “DLF’s defense and walls define our playing style. What gives us an edge is our respect for each other as teammates and the work we’ve done to have a calm mental game.”
For tickets to the Championship bout at KeyArena this Saturday, go HERE
by Jim Almy
The final score, 160-154 in favor of the Throttle Girls, may have been the best evidence of how deep and talented the pool of players for the Rat City Rollergirls has become.
It also reflected what happens when members of junior league teams are invited to try out and play with RCRG league teams. The newcomers skate eager to show their big sisters how good they are, the seniors skate eager to show the rookies how far they have yet to come.
As a result both teams skated a physical bout, when the Galaxy Rockets took on the Throttle Girls in a pre-bout last Saturday, March 29, at the Rat’s Nest before an intercity match between the Sockit Wenches and Portland’s Guns ‘N’ Rollers (SW won 205-137). Youth and exuberance (and maybe the sort of physical condition a seventeen year old boasts) just about balanced age and experience (and maybe some of the cunning and intimidation that comes with a few more years), as the final score mirrored.
Throttle Girls member Vex Factor’s opening rendition of the National Anthem filled the rafters and ears of a full house.
By jam three It was standing room only when rookie (we’ll call all the junior league players rookies for this story) Lilly Lightning (#12), launched her body across the inner arc of a turn, keeping it in the air long enough to pass both lines on her way to scoring eight points for the Throttle Girls.
Just to establish the pecking order, a couple jams later Galaxy Rockets blocker Hard Cora (#247) delivered a “Hard” hit on the first turn to TG rookie jammer Miss Behavin (#253). It stopped play for 30 seconds before the rookie got up and left the track under her own power.
Midway through the first half Flyin’ Hawaiian (#808), a rookie jammer for the Galaxy Rockets, called off the jam while laying on the part of her backside that didn’t hurt, dumped their courtesy fellow rookies for the Throttle Girls, Spring Violence (#31) and JuVnile (#43). She had managed one scoring pass before meeting the hips of doom. TG jammer Raven Seaward (#53) came on in the ninth jam. No subtle tactics or nifty skating for the 15 points she quickly collected. She just used the Galaxy Rockets line for target practice. GR came back with a bigger line featuring rookie Rosie D. Kream-Her (#1212) and vets Missile America (#321) and Hard Cora. That put a crimp on TG scoring for a jam or two.
And so it went for the rest of the bout. Neither team ever ahead by many, both teams giving up points grudgingly. At the half it was the Throttle Girls ahead, 99-62.
The mayhem continued in the second half, though both teams, and particularly the rookies, displayed a keen sense of the flow of the bout. Players on both sides of the 18-years-old line of separation between junior and adult league showed strategy, tactics and good skaters instincts.
Still, for all their exhibition of bout skills, sometimes brute force carried the jam. Shock Therapy (#1400) jamming for the Throttle Girls, was blasted by Khaos Theory (#13) and Missile America, shook off both hits, held her skates and added 13 points for her team. Next jam GR jammer Ethel Vermin (#77) was blown up enough to require time with the medics.
Late in the second half the Galaxy Rockets, trailing 145-109, made a run. Lil’ Fist Fight (#411), the rookie jammer who led the Galaxy Girls with 41 points for the bout, got four before leaving the track holding her mouth. Absolutely Daft (#909) another rookie jammer for GR, added 12 points, her team now trailing by 14, 146-132. Lil’ Fist Fight returned to quickly pick another four but the Throttle Girls jammers, including rookie Pooky Poundya (#34) were adding scores of their own leading to their final six point win.
Luna Negra, captain and jammer with the Throttle Rockets, assisted Coach Betty Ford Galaxy in coaching the Galaxy Rockets. She called the bout a, “…crazy game, fast and hard hitting. As the skaters get better the game can go faster. There was some outstanding line work by the new girls.”
Lil’ Fist Fight is Luna Negra’s daughter. In addition to leading the Galaxy Rockets point total she was selected Most Valuable Player by the Throttle Girls. Others scoring for the Rockets were Parker Eyeout (#070) who had 12, Ella Whirled (#2010), 37, Missile America, 15, Ethel Vermin, 24 and two more rookies, Flyin’ Hawaiian and Absolutely Daft, who had 16 and 8.
The Most Valuable Player selected by the GR from their opposition was the Throttle Girls’ Calder Bluff (#3). Rookie Lilly Lightning led her team with 46 points, closely followed by another rookie with a penchant for piling up points, Pooky Poundya, with 42. Other scorers for the Throttle Girls were Shock Therapy, 17, Rattleskate (#16), 20, Miss Behavin, 7, Maximum Glitter (#26), 7, and Raven Seaward, 21.
by Jim Almy
Victory is sweet and the honey taste of this one will stay with the Sockit Wenches a few savory days, if not longer.
They treated Portland Oregon’s Rose City Rollers, Guns ‘N’ Rollers, to an hour of crisp blocking, aggressive jamming, too much speed and too much power for a 205 – 137 win on Saturday, March 28, at their home track, The Rat’s Nest.
It was the Wenches’ first win of the season and, coming against a strong team like GNR, validated what Sockit Wenches Coaches X-Khan and Sami Automatic have been saying since January, that their team was improving with each bout, fixing mistakes, coming together.
Facing a team that laid a sound beating on them last December; enduring three straight loses with this year’s Rat City Rollergirls home team season; and struggling with injuries, they managed to put the coming together part on convincing display against Guns ‘N’ Rollers.
Convincing because the Portland based Rose City Rollers League features a tough bunch of skaters. Their all-star team is rated fourth in the world. A couple weeks back one of Guns ‘N’ Rollers sister teams, the Wheels of Justice, ran a clinic on an LA Derby Dolls team, the LA Ri-ettes, sending them home feeling the sting of a 349-40 loss.
Nobody would have been blamed if they came to this bout hoping their locals would just put in a good showing.
It began in the third jam when Sockit Wenches blocker Moe YaDown (#14) hip-checked Guns ‘N’ Rollers jammer Keto Kabaam! (#828) soundly out of bounds. Returning to the track Kabaam was again escorted rudely out of bounds by YaDown, leading to the illegal use of elbows, forearms and hands by the frustrated jammer. Off to the penalty box for a good part of jams three and four. Meanwhile Rawkhell SqWelch (#761) fluidly moved through the GNR defense five times, adding 25 points to the Wenches total and ending the jam with her team taking the lead, 34-14.
For the next nine jams Sockit Wenches blockers held the visitors to a total of five points. Mad ScrapHer (#5150), Sher Nobyl (#5) and Raspberry Slam (#1337) plugged every opening that Guns ‘N’ Rollers jammers aimed for. Sun Shiner (#36), Sister Slaughter (#480) and Devilynne Syde (#666) made the inside and outside passing lanes forbidden territory for all the GNR jammers. Points kept being added by the Sockit Wenches, who were ahead by 89-19 after 11 jams.
Penalties were all that Guns ‘N’ Rollers could accumulate. In one early jam Sockit Wenches jammer Izzie Does It (#3) hit the GNR line so fast that it just blew up, putting her in the lead before the first turn at the start of the jam. Opposing jammer Untamed Shrew (#21) used a tactic that GNR resorted to too often during the bout, elbowing Izzie Does It out of bounds as she approached to make her first scoring pass. Shrew went to the penalty box, Izzie collected 12 points. By the end of the half Guns ‘N’ Rollers had 29 penalties called against them, the Sockit Wenches, 10.
The new Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rules were in force for this bout. Most of those new rules — better definitions of out-of-bounds status, illegal blocking, cutting the track — haven’t affected how skaters play their game. The change in penalty time from one minute to 30 seconds was noticeable. Players returned to the bout more quickly. There were fewer power jams and more of the bout was skated with full teams on both sides. Guns ‘N’ Rollers Coach Bexter Morgan said that the new rules affect everyone the same and that all are just “working out the kinks.”
Though team play was what lead to the Sockit Wenches dominating GNR for the bout, individuals stood out in both halves. At one point Rawkhell SqWelch, skating as a blocker (as a jammer she had 50 points in the match) put herself in front of GNR jammer Ivana Thrasher (#522) for a lap and a half. The message that “you’re not going to pass me” was loudly delivered. Near the end of the half Raspberry Slam had to relay the same information to GNR jammer Juvie Hall (#419) for a couple laps and, sure enough, that jammer wasn’t passing Slam either.
The second half began with Guns ‘N’ Rollers adding 18 points to their column in the first five jams while holding the Sockit Wenches to two, 121-81. In jam five Captain Penny Racer (#2) picked up eighteen points, demonstrating that the locals were not giving up any lead and the visitor’s points were going to come hard and dear. It took them 13 more jams to finally reach 100. During those same 13 jams Sockit Wenches added 55 points, leading with less than a quarter of the bout remaining by 176-100.
“We’ve had a lot to fix and work on this season,” said Coach X-Khan, clearly happy with the results of her team’s efforts. “We asked Izzie (Izzie Does It), who had been a blocker, to jam this year and things are clicking for her” (Izzie had 38 points for her jamming efforts).
Coach X-Khan also said that she thought Moe YaDown and Raspberry Slam had good games.
“It was an exciting game,” said Guns ‘N’ Rollers Coach Bexter Morgan. “Both teams played hard. It was good to see the Sockit Wenches come together.”
The home team used nine jammers. In addition to Izzie’s 38 points, Rawkhell SqWelch had 50, Penny Racer had 52, Belle Tolls (#4) had 22, Short Fuse (#11), 5, Mad ScrapHer,16, Sister Slaughter, 8, Devilynne Syde, 5 and Sun Shiner, 10. If you ever want to make it clear to an opposing team that their time is over, just put Sister Slaughter in as a jammer. As the full house of fans could see, she’s an unstoppable force who combines agility and strength to make an eight-wheeled scoring machine you just don’t want to see coming up behind you.
Rawkhell SqWelch was voted Most Valuable Player from the opposition by Guns ‘N’ Rollers. Untamed Shrew, who led all scorers for the night with 63 points, was given the same honor by the Sockit Wenches.
For tickets to the next bout, which is the Season 10 Home Team Championship bout on 4/12 at KeyArena, go to Ticketmaster.com
Guns ‘N’ Rollers, the Rose City Rollers home team that came to Seattle Saturday night to play a bout against Rat City Rollergirls, Sockit Wenches, came without one of their coaches.
Everyone in roller derby loves everyone else (except on the track, of course) so it was just natural that RCRG Derby Liberation Front Coach Ho Chi Danh would volunteer to assist Guns ‘N’ Rollers Coach Bexter Morgan in place of regular coach Shreddy Mercury, who couldn’t get free to attend the bout.
In the ancient tradition of Guns ‘N’ Rollers all coaches wear flashy pink pedal pushers, including coach Mercury. These pink, zebra striped spandex fit snuggly, but Ho Chi Danh didn’t hesitate to help Guns ‘N’ Rollers in any way he could, donning, with good humor.
In fact, uh, coach, you look pretty good in pedal pushers.
For tickets to the 4/12 bout at KeyArena go to Ticketmaster.com
By Jim Almy
The latest chapter in the sibling rivalry between the Rat City Rollergirls in Seattle and the Rose City Rollers League in Portland takes place this Saturday, March 29, when the RCRG Sockit Wenches hosts RCR representative Guns ‘N’ Rollers at the Rat’s Nest.
It will be a rematch of a bout played last December in Portland where, Sockit Wenches Coach Rani Khan said, “They stuck it to us.”
Things could be just as dicey this time around. The Sockit Wenches are devastated with injuries and really struggling according to their coach. “Some regulars won’t be able to play and others are on the fence,” she said.
Guns ‘N’ Rollers will bring their usual compliment of mean nasties, though outstanding jammer Scald Eagle is not making the trip.
Just to get a sense of the brutality these Rollers represent (so non-Portland, I mean, really) RCR’s All-Star team, Wheels of Justice, toyed with an LA Derby Dolls team last week, holding them to 12 points for most of the bout. Photographer Paparazzi covered the match and reported that a quartet of Wheels of Justice jammers simply worked the L.A. Ri-ettes over, not allowing opposing jammers out while effectively disrupting the L.A. walls. “WOJ broke 200, then 300 before L.A. broke 20,” Paparazzi said. Two jammers, Scald Eagle and Mutch Mayhem, each scored more than 100 points, he said.
Like the RCRG, Rose City is celebrating their tenth anniversary this year. GNR team member Yoga Nabi Sari said that their group was one of the founding leagues for modern roller derby. Their all-star travel team is presently ranked fourth in the world.
The four home teams that comprise the heart of their league play and practice at Oaks Park in Portland. In addition to those four teams and the all-star team there is a B travel team, a draft pool, a large and active recreational team, a junior derby league for ages 12-17 with their own home and travel teams and two junior junior (7-12) teams.
“Portland loves derby!” Yoga Nabi Sari said. “Attendance is growing every year.” Derby has become popular enough that the hit television series based on the city’s odd quirks and inhabitants, Portlandia, recently filmed some of their scrimmages. Just a matter of time before Carrie or Fred put on skates and, YNS adds, she wants to be their best friend, teach them to skate, and be in an episode.
Coach Rani Khan said that she expects a good, fun battle and is excitedly looking forward to it.
“They are a great team,” she said. “They must be, they train by watching our videos.”
The bout will be a double header that begins with a match between the Seattle Derby Brats’ Galaxy Girls and the Throttle Rockets, a team warming up for the April 12 League Championship bout against Derby Liberation Front at KeyArena. The Galaxy Girls are coached by Betty Ford Galaxy, a former Throttle Rocket, and Devilynne Syde, who currently plays for the Sockit Wenches. The GG also get some coaching from Throttle Rockets jammers Luna Negra and Missle America. Should be interesting to see their coaching brought home against them.
The first bout begins at 6:30 in the Rat’s Nest, 19022 Aurora Ave. N in Shoreline. TICKETS
By Jim Almy
It took some time for Rumble Fist (#9) to get the courage to tryout for the Rat City Rollergirls. But when she entered tryouts in 2010 and was selected to spend time in the Rat Lab she says, “It was the best thing I’ve done for myself.”
The Sockit Wenches also think it worked out alright for Rumble Fist as they voted her the Most Valuable Player for their opponent, Derby Liberation Front (DLF), after their Saturday, March 15, bout in KeyArena.
She spent a month in Rat Lab four years ago before DLF drafted her and they have been her team since.
Her interest in roller derby began when she was an undergrad. “I just knew right away it would be a sport that would fit me.” After college she moved to Seattle in 2007 and began working on that courage thing. “I’d skated my whole life, but for fun in roller rinks and on streets and trails. I didn’t have any formal training before derby.”
High school was the last time she participated in organized sports, playing varsity soccer, cross country and swimming.
Rumble Fist says she is predominately a blocker for DLF, the only undefeated team in the league this season and one preparing to enter the championships on April 12 in a bout against the Throttle Rockets. She says that sometimes her coach, Ho Chi Danh, will throw her in as a relief jammer. She jammed enough to score 22 points in DLF’s 326-134 win over the Sockit Wenches.
She says her game strategy is all mental. She just tells herself not to give up. “There’s so many great skaters in the league. Some of them on my team. And a lot of time it’s not an individual skater that’s difficult to get by, but a certain combination of skaters. There’s a different and unique challenge that each team on RCRG presents that I have to figure out how to maneuver and play against.”
Rumble Fist finished graduate school last December at the University of Washington where she earned a Master of Architecture degree. She said that she grew up all over the place as her dad was in the army. She points to her husband, Austin, as her strongest local support. Her off the track name is Patricia Wilhelm.
by Jim Almy
After the final whistle in their 190-155 win over Grave Danger a week ago Saturday, March 15 at KeyArena, both captains of the victorious Throttle Rockets spent some time to find Grave Danger jammer unshine (#52) and tell her they thought she had a great game.
High praise coming from a couple of jammers, Sintripetal Force (#1618) and Luna Negra (#911) who know how to pile up points in their own right.
And high praise reinforced when the Throttle Rockets team voted unshine the Most Valuable Player from the opposing team.
It is her first MVP selection since she began in roller derby in 2007. That year she skated for Jet City Rollergirls in Everett, WA and did so for five seasons. That league’s proximity with Rat City Rollergirls’ and its teams led to a fair amount of exposure to each other and led to unshine moving to RCRG in 2012.
She considers this her first legitimate MVP award. “In a for-realsies game,” she said. “Last summer I was awarded MVP in an ad hoc/pickup game — the Hungry Hungry Hippocrites vs. Overbeaters Anonymous.”
At Jet City she was considered more of a utility player, though her focus has always been on jamming. It goes to her strengths.
“I am a fast skater and I’ve more recently become better able to plow my way through walls. I am always working on overall agility and on seeing the help my blockers are giving me,” unshine explained. “The strategy that works best for me is having strong blockers on my team who can contain the other jammer right away. This usually allows me to create the spaces I need to get out of the pack. In roller derby, great defense is the foundation for great offense!”
When asked to rate her toughest opponents unshine related the sort of coaching perspective that revealed her as a true student of the game.
“In terms of Rat City teams, each one has their own exceptionally strong skaters. Nobody likes going up against a Nelson/Rumble combo (Full Nelson, #123, and Rumble Fist, #9, from Derby Liberation Front), or a Missile/Rattle combo (Missle America, #321, and Rattleskate, #16, from the Throttle Rockets), a K.Beezy/Carmen combo (#187 and Carmen Getsome, #12, from Grave Danger), or a Moe/Sunny combo (Moe YaDown, #14, and Sun Shiner, #36, from the Sockit Wenches) — but it’s great teamwork on the part of each of their respective teams that allows them to be their most effective. Each team plays the game just slightly differently– so yes, I would say it’s not so much that any one team gives me fits; I try to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of them all.”
unshine generally goes by the name Kate and is a librarian. In the past she was a competitive swimmer and skier, but devotes all her athletic endeavors to roller derby these days. With that has come more than a fair share of injuries, including a torn PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), herniated discs, a few concussions, and a severe arm break that required surgery, a plate and eight pins. That injury led to another and six weeks after the arm surgery she was back on the table having a thumb extensor tendon repaired. All were followed by weeks or months of physical therapy. She advises not to believe anyone who says that a person doesn’t need their PCL.
All is repaired this season. She skates with a knee brace. She knows how to use her blockers. She brings years of experience to the track. More MVP awards are sure to come.
For tickets to the next bout at KeyArena, go HERE
by Jim Almy
Sintripetal Force first put on skates three and a half years ago a few weeks before trying out for the Minnesota RollerGirls.
“I’m still surprised that I made it,” she said.
She made it so well that, three years later, she was selected the Most Valuable Player for the Throttle Rockets in their win last Saturday night at KeyArena over Grave Danger. Sintripetal (#1618) jammed for 81 points in that 190-155 victory.
She skated with Minnesota for a year before moving to the Denver area and joining the Denver Roller Dolls for another year. Her move to Seattle came when she was accepted into the graduate program in Computer Science at the University of Washington.
“I knew that the Rat City Rollergirls were the biggest league in Seattle and when I moved I simply emailed them about transferring. Since joining I’ve always been with the Throttle Rockets, and I love my team,” she said.
Like so many of the women who are roller derby skaters she has played sports most of her life. A three sport varsity athlete in high school in cross country, swimming and track, she went on to run cross country and track in college. “I currently do a few triathlons each summer. Last summer I completed an Ironman-distance triathlon (and promptly decided to never do that again). I also love snowboarding and occasionally go skijoring with my dogs,” she added.
Sintripetal has always been a jammer, though she said that she spends a lot of time working on her blocking this year. She summed up her game strategy this way, “For me, it’s all about focusing on where I want to go. Instead of looking at the blockers who are in front of me, I look at the track I want to get to.”
She said that her approach changes a lot from bout to bout, but that, “I try never to be intimidated by the skaters I go up against. I am always excited by the chance to test my abilities against really skilled skaters. Having said that, I think the DLF blockers are great, and I can’t wait to skate against them in April!”
There are probably weaknesses in her game, but you’ll have to find them yourself. Sintripetal isn’t telling. “My mental toughness is probably my greatest strength. I tend to have a positive attitude on the bench and when skating, which helps as a jammer. I will never reveal my weaknesses!”
The opposing team’s players make the MVP selection. Sintripetal said that she wasn’t sure why Grave Danger picked her but that she was really excited that unshine (#52) was voted by her team as the MVP for Grave Danger.
“We were lifting buddies last year. All that pumping iron must have paid off!”
On the track she’s Sintripetal Force, the scoring machine, but on campus and around home she goes by Lauren Milne. She hails from New Mexico. She points to her boyfriend as her most loyal local fan. “He comes to every game and he’s definitely my most loyal fan.”
Her family streams most of her bouts, after which a bunch of text messages congratulating or commiserating will arrive. They’ll all be tuned in next month when Sintripetal Force and her fellow Throttle Rockets take on Derby Liberation Front for the league championship.
By Jim Almy
Okay, so it takes Derby Liberation Front (DLF) a couple jams to get warmed up.
In their bout last Saturday night (March 15) at KeyArena against fellow Rat City Rollergirls foe Sockit Wenches, it was four jams. Then, seven minutes into the bout, they pulled ahead 26-24. DLF was feeling their game. The Sockit Wenches were feeling the heat.
The final score was 326-134 in favor of DLF. It left the winners undefeated at 3-0 entering next month’s championship bout against the 2-1 Throttle Rockets. It left the Sockit Wenches, 0-3, still seeking their first win of the year.
Most of the bout was the saga of an unfolding struggle between a team still rebuilding, maybe missing a piston here or a valve there, and a team that was firing on all cylinders and in perfect tune. That explains much of the final score. After four jams the Wenches had 24 points. After eight they still had 24 points. (Not necessary to ask how many points DLF had by then). In the ninth jam jammer Rawkhell SqWelch (#761) picked up four more points for the Wenches, bringing their total to 28, where it stayed for the next seven jams. (Still not necessary).
At the half it was 174-37.
Before the season began DLF Coach Ho Chi Danh had said that he thought his team had the best line that any team could put on the track at any time. They were all there Saturday.
“We, the whole team, couldn’t be happier with tonight’s play,” Danh said. “The teamwork was the best it’s been all year. You can see what it’s like when we have four blockers out there.”
The Sockit Wenches brought some fight to the track. They weren’t going to cede anything to DLF. Though they didn’t have the staying power the night required, they dished out measured and meaningful punishment when possible. Early in the night, sometime during the second jam, Wenches jammer Short Fuse (#11) — you could safely say that she is of somewhat diminutive stature — dropped The KZA (#6), a power jammer and physical skater for DLF, twice in the same jam. Not gently, either.
In the second half Sockit Wenches blockers extended valiant efforts to sidetrack the DLF scoring machine. Moe YaDown (#14), Kitty Kabooty (#524) and Belle Tolls (#4) held the points against to three in one jam, a victory of sorts all by itself.
DLF began winding down their attack as the bout neared its end, taking quick points and calling jams off after scoring three or four. The KZA did go out in the 19th jam to put on a show of her own, using only one blocker but really doing it mostly alone she piled up 28 points. She had 78 for the night. The aptly named Muscle Sprouts (#5280) led all scorers with 132 (two fewer then the Wenches team score), including individual jams of 20, 24 and 33. Her style defied defense as she would pirouette down the side line for one scoring pass, then strong arm her way through a wall of blockers on the next. Rookie Bam!!B (#444) added another 71 points to the DLF total. Endora Finn Rush (#42), Avihater (#47) and Domino Scarvy (#62) also took unaccustomed stints at jammer and, while they didn’t add many points, they showed the speed and agility that mark the entire DLF jamming crew.
Rawkhell SqWelch had 55 for the Sockit Wenches. Captain Penny Racer (#2) tallied 37 and Izzie Does It (#3) had 18.
DLF Coach Ho Chi Danh cited his captains, Rumble Fist (#9) and Full Nelson (#123) for their play. “They showed they were leaders out there,” he said, adding that, “the entire team was fantastic.”
For tickets to the Home Team Championship bout on 4/12 at KeyArena go to Ticketmaster.com
We’re bringing Sibling Rivalry to Shoreline, WA when we host the Rose City Rollers from Portland, OR at the Rat’s Nest on March 29th.
The Sockit Wenches face off against the Guns N Rollers in a rematch from last December’s 4×4 in Portland. Come out and cheer on the Wenches’ Sister Slaughter, and rookie skater Short Fuse as they tear up the track for the Wenches! It should be a fun and exciting match up!
This double header bout kicks off with a battle of the generations, as skaters from the Seattle Derby Brats‘ SDB Galaxy Girls, fresh from some intense bouts at Wild West Showdown, will mix it up with skaters from the Throttle Rockets – Rat City Rollergirls. The Galaxy Girls are coached by Betty Ford Galaxy (former TR) and Devilynne Syde (current SW), with help from Luna Negra and Missile America (current TRs), so it’ll be really exciting to see what the girls have learned already this season.
First Whistle: 6:30pm\\ TICKETS
Rat’s Nest 19022 Aurora Ave N, Shoreline
by Jim Almy
It was the play-in bout for next month’s Rat City Rollergirls Championships.
It was a chance for the reigning champions for three straight years, Grave Danger, to have a shot at making it four straight titles.
But it was the Throttle Rockets who had the final say about who will play to win the next league title, if they win it would be the first for the Rockets in 10-years of Rat City history. The championship bout takes place next month, April 12, at KeyArena.
They fell behind Grave Danger by 40 points early in Saturday night’s bout, trailing 65-25 after 10 jams. They put the defensive clamps on last year’s champs for the next 14 jams, holding them to less than two points per jam for the rest of the first half. They played a take ‘em quick and call it off strategy that saw points add up by threes and fours and then they put Sintripetal Force (#1618) on the track for the final jam, taking advantage of three Grave Danger players in the penalty box, and icing the power jam with 12 points to lead at the half, 102-90.
“We played our game and we played clean,” said Throttle Rockets Assistant Coach Lexi Luthor. “We nickel and dimed them, took the points quickly and stopped the jams before the Grave Danger jammers could do any damage.”
The win put the Throttle Rockets into the title bout against Derby Liberation Front (DLF), who kept their record perfect at 3-0 with a convincing win over the Sockit Wenches 326-134 in the second bout of the evening.
The final score was Throttle Rockets 190-155, but long into the second half the 12-point lead the Rockets took in the first half didn’t seem like enough against a determined and aggressive Grave Danger. Blockers Cat-a-ma-Ram (#10) and Trouble Dutch (#2468) frustrated Throttle Rockets jammers. Those two and teammate Ponyo Knees (#81) built walls against jammers Panda Beer (#330) and Luna Negra (#911). While the Throttle Rockets weren’t scoring K. Beezy (#187) had an eight-point jam for Grave Danger early into the last 30 minutes of play, closing the lead, which had grown to 20, and then back down to 12. Three more by K. Beezy and it was Grave Danger trailing by nine, 110-101.
But in the next six jams Throttle Rockets defenders Raven Seaward (#53), Jemini Holograms (#50) and Enurgizer Bunny (#42) always seemed to be in front of Grave Danger jammers regardless of which directions their attack came from, limiting them to 11 points total. At one point Deva StateHer (#509) single handedly held Carmen Getsome, Grave Danger’s leading scorer for the bout with 80 points, in check for two complete laps.
Some of the air went out of the Grave Danger offense when, in the eighth jam of the second half, jammer K. Beezy took a hit to the face that knocked her down hard, leaving her on the track motionless. She eventually left the track under her own power, but did not return to action for the rest of the bout.
“Once we got down it was just hard to come back,” said Grave Danger Coach Vito Ramon. “When one of your primary jammers goes out with an injury it has an effect.”
Later in the half Grave Danger suffered another player injury when Throttle Rocket Enurgizer Bunny unloaded on jammer Shorty Ounce (#14), bouncing her hard out of bounds and twisting her left knee.
Neither player is expected to be out for long.
Coach Lexi Luthor said that the Throttle Rockets did not suffer any serious injuries. She said that her team knew it would be a tough bout but that everyone played great and played as a team. She pointed to Parker Eyeout (#070) and Jemini Holograms as having particularly good blocking nights.
Sintripetal Force led the Throttle Rocket scorers, and all scorers, with 85 points, including 48 in the first half. Luna Negra had 53 and Panda Beer added 41. For Grave Danger Carmen Getsome carried much of the scoring load with 80 of her team’s 155 points.
For tickets to the Champs Bout on 4/12 click HERE
By Jim Almy
It says March 15 on the schedule, but the four roller derby teams taking the track this Saturday at KeyArena for the Rat City Rollergirls will mostly be looking forward to April 12, the championship event.
One team is in the prize ring for sure, one is not and the two others will bring to mind an old Bob Dylan album, Blood on the Tracks. In this case it’s ‘track’, singular, but when Grave Danger and Throttle Rockets open the night’s action skating for a spot in next month’s championship bout the rest of the title will be accurate.
Derby Liberation Front (DLF) will take their undefeated record and guaranteed championship appearance into the second bout of the night against a rebuilding Sockit Wenches team that has yet to score a win. It will be 2-0 against 0-2.
But don’t let their records fool you. DLF has won two very tight bouts. The Sockit Wenches have been in both their matches well into the second half. “We’re not taking the Sockit Wenches lightly at all,” said DLF Coach Ho Chi Danh. “They’ve shown a lot of intensity and we’re aware that they will be coming out swinging.” He added that his team’s strategy will be to work on what they’ve been working on the entire season which includes penalty reduction and concentration on their defensive packs.
Grave Danger, last year’s champions and holders of that trophy for the past three years, and the Throttle Rockets have both lost to DLF. Danger lost by 33 points in an opening night bout that saw changes in the lead switch back and forth and stay within a few points as the match neared its end. Penalties caught up with Grave Danger and DLF pulled away as the final seconds ticked off.
An even closer bout followed in February between DLF and the Throttle Rockets. The two teams were tied at 173 going into the final jam when DLF jammer Muscle Sprouts added ten points while her opposite, Rockets jammer Luna Negra, sat in the penalty box, for DLF’s second victory of the season.
This Saturday has all the elements of another dramatic and exciting two hours of action. The Sockit Wenches improved significantly from bout one to bout two. Both Grave Danger and the Throttle Rockets view their losses against DLF as turning on one or two small points, a penalty here, a missed block there, that could have resulted in a win for either. Both are resolved that those imperfections won’t occur when they meet DLF again.
But first, of course, there is the business at hand, earning a win when they play each other this Saturday to get into that championship game.
Doors: 4:30, Opening Ceremonies 5:30
For tickets to Saturday’s click HERE
by Jim Almy
Flat track derby teams all over the world are going to find one aspect of their game changing drastically when the new Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rules changes take affect April 1.
The amount of playing time a player has to sit out during a jam when called for a penalty will be half as long, thirty seconds instead of the full minute presently in use. Coaches and officials with the Rat City Rollergirls were in agreement over the effects of that change to penalty time — it will increase emphasis on defense; scores will be lower.
“There won’t be as many power jams,” said Derby Liberation Front Coach Dan Barnett. “More teams will be at full strength for more of the bout. It will cut down on the scoring.”
The rules changes will not be in effect for this Saturday’s (March 15) bouts at KeyArena. RCRG Chief Marketing Officer Jessica Ivey, aka Scarlet Leather said that, “We are currently reviewing how we want to implement the new rules, and officials are preparing for the change by studying and practicing the new rules set at weekly scrimmages. They will not be in effect for this Saturday.”
The local league has some wiggle room when it come to the new rules as they apply to WFTDA sanctioned bouts and not the home team bouts which the RCRG have played in the first half of their season.
“There is currently discussion among the league about whether we should play under the new rule set for the Championship Bout in April – we are not obligated to play under this rule set since our home teams are not playing WFTDA sanctioned bouts (only our All Star team does),” said Slamburger Patty, Director of Media Relations.
The rules re-writes, which happen annually or as the association deems necessary, are all adjustments of the guidelines which already control play. These include a change in the review process; needed clarification of the passing-the-star procedure; a fine tuning of the definition of line ups as they deal with false starts and yielding; who gets penalized when a multi-player block link is called (the initiator of the link or the linker closest to the referee); some easing of what constitutes being out-of-bounds to cut the track; a volume of tweaks as to what can be called out-of-bounds during regular play; added clarification of jammer penalties; and a new, some think overdue, rule about flopping or diving.
Teams are going to be allowed two official reviews per period if the head official determines that an officiating error was made when the first review is requested. Previously, the rule was only one review, no second chance, no matter the outcome of the challenge.
A common mindset of everyone interviewed — once it is decided to use the new rules set there will be no break-in period.
“The rules are what they are and we need to enforce them to the best of our ability. The fastest way to learn is to get called for doing it wrong and learning from that. To be quite honest, the changes are not that huge and, in most cases, are more forgiving to the skaters,” said Reed d’Rulz, Head of RCRG’s Non Skating Officials.
Officials will hold a question and answer session for all skaters to help with the information flow. Head Referee Sir Osis said that, “At Rat City, we will hold an off skates training/rules session for the players once they decide exactly when the switch will happen. Most of what ‘changed’ in the rules set are clarifications of wording and aligning of terminology.”
The new rule set is available online at the WFTDA website (http://wftda.com/rules) and no matter when RCRG has the new rules take effect, skaters, coaches and referees alike have begun studying the changes.
by Jim Almy
K. Beezy saw an ad in 2009 for the Bellingham Roller Betties, walked into their open practice and hasn’t stopped skating since.
A couple years later she was drafted by Grave Danger of the Rat City Rollergirls, playing well enough to become an all-star and well enough to be selected Most Valuable Player in the Feb. 15 bout by her team’s opponent, the Sockit Wenches.
More room may be needed in Beezy’s trophy case as the Wenches also voted her MVP after last season’s championship game. Add to that the Rose City Rollers Wheels of Justice selecting her as the MVP after they played the RCRG All-Stars last fall.
Against the Wenches, Beezy did a little bit of everything. She was the jammer a dozen times, scoring 92 points. She also worked as pivot six times and was blocker in another jam.
“I’ve always jammed and I’ve always blocked,” she said, “though I wouldn’t say my blocking was actually ‘blocking’ until about last year. Training to be a good blocker takes a lot of patience, timing, control and teamwork.”
She says that she loves the thrill of jamming, but her favorite action is to block. “Blocking is like chess on wheels. I’m constantly scanning the pack movement, pack definition, where the jammers are, where my fellow blockers are, what opportunities are available, what seams I can open for my jammer or close for the opposing team. Basically, my brain is on overdrive when blocking. When jamming there is only elevator music and looking to Vito.”
Vito Ramon is the coach of Danger. The elevator music playing in Beezy’s head when jamming is because all she says she has to do is move forward while Coach Ramon tells her when to call/pass/point protect. “No thinking necessary,” adds Beezy.
Kate, as she likes to be called, has played sports her entire life. Growing up in Flint, Michigan, she played basketball, volleyball, softball and ran cross country and track. She was on the track team at Michigan Technological University until she realized that track wasn’t what she wanted most out of the higher education experience and left the team to just ‘enjoy college’. “My varsity jacket is somewhat of a novelty when I show people, it’s covered in medals.”
Her family is still in Michigan but when the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Championships were held in Milwaukee this past year her parents and other family made the trip over to finally see her skate in a national competition. ”It was awesome,” she said, “after working so hard to skate nationally, they got to witness high-level derby and championships in person. It was cute because they all wore shirts made by the lovely Bashionista of Rose City Rollers & Left Turn Clothing that had my face on it with the saying, “it ain’t eazy being beezy”. The design was made by the lovely Keary Ortiz (Agent Meow).”
Moms are always big fans and Beezy said that, when her former skate name was Kutta Betch her mother took to calling herself “Momma Betch” and she still does as she supports her daughter from afar.
Kate works for Fisheries Harvest Management for the State of Washington. She said that her co-workers are making a group trip next month to see her skate for the first time. “They’ve always been supportive of my career and have been intrigued by my dedication to this crazy sport,” she added.
Kate coached the men’s team Puget Sound Outcast Derby last year and she presently coaches a junior team, the I-5 Rollergirls.
She said that she has loved every single minute of being a member of Grave Danger. “Grave Danger has always felt like home and we refer to each other as ‘ohana’, which is Hawaiian for family — blood, extended and adopted,” she added.
After the MVP performances that have marked her career that ‘family’ is, no doubt, happy to have her as a member.
For tickets to see K. Beezy at the March 15th bout at KeyArena, go HERE
By Jim Almy
Ophelia Melons (#88) began her roller derby career in 2008 not as a player, but as a referee – for banked track – in Los Angeles. Later, she played for the Emerald City Roller Girls in Eugene, OR before moving to Seattle a couple of years ago.
“I came for love,” she said, “and to play with the best there is.”
Six years after putting on skates and grabbing a ref’s whistle, she is one the best, being selected as the Most Valuable Player in last Saturday’s bout for her current team, Derby Liberation Front (DLF) of the Rat City Rollergirls.
Throttle Rockets, DLF’s opponent that night, voted her as the MVP. “It was my birthday,” said Melons, “so maybe they were just being nice.” Rockets players who woke up Sunday morning hurting in many places from the beating Melons and her teammates put on them would probably disagree, offering more painful reasons for their vote.
Melons has always been a blocker. She started 22 of the 44 jams in last Saturday’s match. She thinks the best blockers are also great jammers and vice versa, but her strength is pushing other bodies out of the way on offense, holding them back on defense. “I’ve always been a scrappy kid,” she added.
Growing up in LA and watching roller derby in its earlier versions she became an avid fan. Her parents soon began calling her their “Roller Derby Diva” and her mom is still her biggest fan. But soccer was her first sport. She played competitively for 15 years and was selected as the number one goalkeeper at the California community college level, but she eventually stopped playing because of knee injuries.
A knee injury also caught up with her last season when she had a complete ACL tear in the second half of the March bout against Grave Danger. A year spent in recovery was also a year in which she says she was able to improve her game.
“As a blocker, especially with all the time off from my injury, I really focused on my muscle memory, on being the floor leader. I’m good enough at skating backwards that it allows me to have a fuller vision of things happening around me. I’m constantly communicating with my teammates.”
She calls her first game back, the season opening match against Grave Danger in January, an emotionally intense time for her. “There’s no better feeling than coming back and winning,” she said. Going into that bout, DLF were slight underdogs, but upset Danger, the three-year reigning league champions.
“I like to say that I’m no longer injured, it just kind of hurts,” she said. “I’m really more injured in the sense of getting my mental game back under control. I maybe play a little more reserved now, a little more aware of my body. I think I get less penalties now as a result of that.”
Her given name is Elizabeth Baumwirt. She lives in the Ballard area, does customer service work and is also employed at a popular bar, Conor Byrne Pub, where she keeps things in order at the door. She wears a Rat City t-shirt or sweatshirt most of the time she is on duty, convincing customers to attend bouts and educating them about the sport.
For the March 15 match against Sockit Wenches at KeyArena she said that DLF has a pretty good feeling about playing the Wenches. “We’re kindred spirits. It will be a lighthearted game, but a game with heavy contact. They like to hit as much as we do.”
Melons said that she has never been on a championship team but hoped that DLF, winners of both their bouts this season and the only undefeated team remaining in the league, could keep their penalties under control. “We will be unstoppable if we can do that,” she said.
And those banked track LA Derby Dolls that gave her her first experience with derby? The Rat City Rollergirls sent an all-star team down there in 2012 and beat the Dolls on their own track. Melons is correct, you have to come to Seattle if you want to play with the best.
For tickets to see Ophelia Melons at the March 15th bout at KeyArena, go HERE
by Jim Almy
If Parker Eyeout (#070) were to evaluate her skills on the track she would say that one of her talents is staying with her fellow blockers, both in working with a partner or working with the pack.
“One of my strengths is being able to skate backwards well,” she said. “I can brace another blocker and that reinforces the wall. I’m not a big hitter. I’m more of a container and better at keeping people behind me than actually hitting them out of bounds.”
Her skills as a blocker were displayed well enough last Saturday in the Rat City Rollergirls’ bout between her team, Throttle Rockets, and Derby Liberation Front (DLF) to have DLF award her Most Valuable Player.
That accolade culminated a three year derby history that began with a tryout after watching a bout.
“I hadn’t been on skates in twenty years,” she said. She was selected to start learning with a group called Potential Fresh Meat, an entry-level training team for many skaters who now are part of roller derby teams.
“As long as you’re not a hazard to anyone around you they’ll take you and do work from the ground up,” Parker said. “I skated with that group for about three months, then went to a Rat City tryout where I was selected to join Rat Lab, a sort of minor league to the four teams in the RCRG league.” From there her quickly developing skills and athletic skating ability helped her get drafted to the Rockets.
People outside roller derby recognize Parker as Jennifer Parker Hamilton, the young woman from Wisconsin who took her Bachelors degree in zoology at the University of Wisconsin, paired that with a Masters from the University of Montana in geography, and followed that with a position in Seattle as a technical engineer.
While most of her family is still in the Midwest she said that she has aunts and uncles living on Whidbey Island who love to come to her bouts. She’s also convincing fellow workers to become roller derby fans, she said.
Parker started out primarily as a jammer, which she did most of last season but, she said, “I always liked blocking a lot more.” Her latest efforts have been to improve her screening for her jammer, to make her offense good enough that she and her fellow blockers can get their jammer out of the pack in just a couple seconds.
Last week her team lost by ten points in the final jam. “Re-watching the footage it’s hard not to see all the things you could have done to change the outcome,” she said.
The problem for the other teams in the league is that Parker, and the Rockets, will make those changes.
For tickets to the next bout at KeyArena, go HERE
By Jim Almy
When Grave Danger’s jammer Carmen Getsome (#12) skated up behind Sockit Wenches’ jammer Short Fuse (#11) during last Saturday night’s bout between their two Rat City Rollergirls teams, there was already a history between those opposing players.
They had become friends a few years back and Getsome had invited Fuse to try out for roller derby.
Friendship isn’t part of the action during a bout though, and Getsome hip-checked Fuse hard, sending her sprawling out of bounds far enough to push the barrier cushions ten feet out of place.
Players call such hits “love taps” but people in the stands thought they’d just witnessed a collision between a semi and a mini. Breath was held until Fuse bounced up and was back on the track within seconds.
“I’m cool with that,” she said. “That’s good. It’s part of the game, but you know when you’re flying through the air that it’s going to hurt.”
After the bout, Danger players voted Fuse the “Most Valuable Player” from the opposing team, the Sockit Wenches.
“They said I gave 100 percent and was really fighting for the whole bout,” Fuse said. “They were talking to me during the bout, saying they weren’t going to give me anything. They made me earn every point.” She tallied 37 of her team’s 133 total.
When not in uniform, Fuse is more commonly known as Rachel Schmauder. She is a college student working towards a degree in physical therapy with a couple years left in her program. While attending school she also works part-time in a physical therapy office.
Her sport for years while growing up was soccer, but a torn ACL took her off the pitch and she still wears a knee brace most of the time. She began roller derby three years ago, spending two years in junior league on the I-5 Roller Girls. This is her first year in the bigs and with the Wenches.
She has mostly been a jammer, noting that working hard on her speed and agility has paid off in that position.
Her family is from Everett, where she was raised. “My mom bought season tickets in the front row next to the floor,” Fuse said. “It’s great to look over and see my mom cheering me on.”
Commenting on last week’s loss to Danger, Fuse said that it was a fast-paced game. She noted that her team really pushed themselves in the low scoring first half. “We maybe lost a little bit in the second half, got into penalty trouble, let them have too many power jams.”
“We’re still learning, still improving,” she added.
As far as Grave Danger is concerned, Short Fuse is learning well.
For tickets to the next bout at KeyArena, go HERE
Final Score: Grave Danger (1-1): 244 vs. Sockit Wenches (0-2): 133
By Jim Almy
It was a lot of give and take in a low scoring first half between Grave Danger and the Sockit Wenches when they skated the second bout of the night last Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Rat City Rollergirls Roller Derby event at KeyArena. That changed dramatically as Danger poured it on and the Wenches, a still young team struggling to find its way, were outscored 165-62 in the second half, losing the bout by a final of 244-133.
In the opening bout the Derby Liberation Front (DLF) put themselves in first place, remaining undefeated with their 183-173 last jam victory over the Throttle Rockets.
Sparse scoring marked the opening half of the Danger-Wenches meeting. Each came into the night still bruised from opening loses suffered in their first bouts of the year. Each was bent on evening their records.
The strategy for both sides concentrated heavily on building a wall around the other team’s jammers with the result that points accumulated with agonizing slowness. Two, three, maybe five in a jam and that was not per side but the total contribution from both jammers.
For three straight jams the Wenches were held fixed at nine points despite the efforts of two of their best scorers, Rawkhell SqWelch (#761) and Annyong (#21). Danger took advantage of those sparse points to add five of their own via the skating of jammer unshine (#52) and soon it was 9-9 well into the first half.
Muscle and strategy were working for the Wenches, who shifted blockers Raspberry Slam (#1337), Moe YaDown (#14), Mad ScrapHer (#5150), BelleTolls (#4), SqWelch, Sister Slaughter (#480) and Devilynne Syde (#666) in and out of jams to hold back any Danger scoring threat.
But, strategy and muscle were working just as well for Danger, who relied on the line play of K. Beezy (#187), D’evil’D Meggs (#88), Carmen Getsome (#12), Jerrica Kallio (#33), Tempura Tantrum (#99) and Dee Cap Attack (#1) to shut out the Wenches’ jammers.
Danger Coach Vito Ramon said that his team, “Did a great job of minimizing their (Wenches) points in the first half, especially when we had no jammers on the floor due to penalties.”
And that was the way Danger held it together, except for the jam when Danger’s Meggs was in the penalty box and Annyong broke through behind Kendle Bjelland’s (#808) road grader work as she plowed a giant opening in Danger’s line. The Wenches scorer picked up 19 points in that jam, the most by any one jammer in any jam in the first half.
Thirty minutes into the bout Danger led 79-71. People asked themselves if it was possible to score less than a hundred points and still win.
Wenches Coach Rani Khan hoped that her young team was starting to put it together. “This team has a lot of good chemistry,” she said. “Compared to our last match we have overcome a lot of problems.”
“We need to develop the mental strength to stay in the bout for the full sixty minutes,” she added.
But, with 18:27 remaining in the bout, that team asset began to fade for the Wenches and Danger, league champions for three years running, pounced. Nehi Nightmare (#48) found openings in the tiring Wenches blocking. K. Beezy added fourteen points in one jam while the Wenches point production was held to four points total in four straight jams. At that break in the match it was 130-104 for Danger, who spent the remaining minutes of the bout effortlessly piling up points and ending night with a 1-1 record and a 244-133 victory.
“In the second half we were able to put points on the board because we were able to keep our jammers on the floor,” said Coach Ramon. He was right in that his jammers spent much less time in the penalty box in the second half. They were also the beneficiaries of Danger blockers who were playing just as hard at game’s end as they were at the start.
Next match for the Rat City Rollergirls will be March 15 at KeyArena. For more info on tickets go HERE
Final Score: Derby Liberation Front (2-0): 183 vs. Throttle Rockets (1-1): 173
by Jim Almy
With two minutes remaining in the bout, one jammer sat in the penalty box, the other calculated a course that would score points, break a 173 to 173 tie, and keep her team’s record unblemished. The opening match of Saturday’s second round of action for the tenth season of Rat City Rollergirls at KeyArena was a defensive tour de force between the Derby Liberation Front (DLF) and the Throttle Rockets. Both started the night undefeated. Both were going to leave everything on the track to remain that way. DLF’s Muscle Sprouts (#5280) scored the final 10 points when they were most needed, coming away with a 183-173 win over the Rockets and a 2-0 record for the early season. Edge of your seat tension eased a bit in the second bout of the night when Grave Danger and Sockit Wenches spent a low scoring half sparing against each other before Danger laid a wallop on the fading Wenches, 244-133. Not nearly as close as the tight DLF-Rocket’s game. “We got it done when we had to,” was the way DLF Coach Dan Barnett summed up his team’s performance. “This is a team that never gives up.” The Rockets must have sensed that the entire game as they built leads of 20 to 30 points but could never shake DLF, which ground away until the first half ended with them trailing by four, 103-99. Every one of those 99 points were hard earned. The Rockets built wall after wall in front of DLF jammers with blockers Parker Eyeout (#070), Khaos Theory (#13), and Panda Beer (#330) forcing Sprouts (#5280), Bam!!B (#444) and Bill F. Murray (#906) off the track or, just as often, planting them on the track. But they wouldn’t go away.
Sprouts (#5280) and her blockers kept their team in the game for the first half. She scored 50 of the 99 points DLF put up. The Rockets usually reliable weapon of choice, jammer Luna Negra, who put up a 100 point effort last month, was held to 20 in the first half and 43 for the entire bout. DLF fought penalties as much as the Rockets for most of the opening period. In-your-face defense by Missile America (#321), Panda Beer (#330) and Deva StateHer (#509) led to frustrated DLF jammers drawing multiple track cutting, elbow throwing, and tripping penalties. All that led to lots of minutes in the penalty box, where jammers can only sit and watch the other team score. With 4:15 remaining the Rockets had five penalties, DLF, 17. As he typically does at halftime, Coach Barnett talked his penalty prone team back into a game they had never really given up on. “We had opportunities, we just had to go out in the second half and take advantage of them,” he said.
Rockets jammer RattleSkate (#16) had 14 points in the second half. They all came in the opening jam while DLF jammer Bam!!B (#444) sat watching from the penalty box. Down immediately 117-99 things looked like a first half repeat for the DLF. But they still wouldn’t go away. Jammers used their counterparts as blockers. Opposing jammers skated the track alone together, seeking an edge, faking a move, looking for a block. Raven Seaward (#53) opened a jam on the shoulder of DLF jammer Kimball Machine (#25). When Machine and the line moved right Seward blasted left around everybody. It was three more points, increasing the Rockets lead to 13. But, with three minutes left in the bout, DLF made the move everyone in section 127 was looking for. The place erupted.
Muscle Sprouts (#5280), who had 84 points for the night to lead all jammers, came into the pack at full speed, cut the arc with a slicing jump, and brought the house down. DLF 172, Rockets 170. Luna Negra (#911) and Bam!!B (#444) continued their battle in the next jam, which ended with a giant pile up and the score tied 173 all. Endora Finn Rush (#42), Melons (#88), Lucinda Pack (#505) and Full Nelson (#123) blocked in the deciding jam for the DLF. Muscle Sprouts (#5280) and Luna Negra (#911) looked to break the tie in their team’s favor but Negra got caught up in the middle of the DLF blocking machine, fell and tripped another player. That sent her to the penalty box. Now the strategy of solid defense and opportunistic jamming that had dominated the entire match suddenly changed. DLF blockers joined in a casual stance, as if waiting for a bus, while Sprouts (#5280) circled the track. Each time she caught up with her blockers they busted her through. She scored the final 10 points of the bout. This second consecutive win by DLF solidifies their spot in Rat City Rollergirls home team championships on April 12 at KeyArena.
More info on tickets for the next bout 3/15 at KeyArena go HERE
By AnnYong, aka Evelyn Kong
Growing up in Korea, my mom always dreamed of being a figure skater. While it wasn’t in the cards for her, she decided to experience it through the eyes of her two young daughters. At the young age of 5, my mother signed me and my sister up for figure skating lessons, and before I knew it, I was spinning and leaping my way to the podium as a serious contender. I continued skating competitively through high school, earning gold medals in New England Regional and Eastern Sectional competitions. I was even able to compete at the National level and earn a gold medal while representing the USA at the North American Challenge (US vs. Mexico and Canada).
Training was tough. I remember waking up at 4:00 AM every morning to go to the rink. As soon as practice was done, I’d have to change out of my gear in the car to go to school. After school, I’d head to rink again after school to train for three more hours. I was skating four hours a day, 7 days a week, with 5 different coaches, each with a different focus area – spins, jumps, power, artistry, and flexibility. In addition to on-ice training, I was weight training three times a week and taking ballet lessons once a week.
My favorite part about skating? The competition, of course! I loved the adrenaline and pressure I felt when competing. I loved that that the hours, days, and months of practice came down to performances that only lasted minutes. I loved putting on a show for the audience and proving that while I was smaller and younger than most of my competitors, I was still a force to be reckoned with. Simply put, I was there to win.
After competing for almost 13 years, I decided to hang up my skates in order to focus more on college. Despite this, I was still a competitive person, and I was still able to satisfy this need through track & field as well as golf.
After graduation, I became close friends with a coworker in Chicago who told me she played roller derby. I remember her trying to explain the sport to me using donuts and ultimately invited me to go see a bout. Like many who experience roller derby for the first time, I was blown away! I realized that my drive for competition was waking back up; after watching the first jam all I was thinking was, “I want to do that!” A year later, I moved to Seattle and the very same friend introduced me to someone who played banked track roller derby. I was timid, but eventually this person took me to Fast Girl Skates and I bought my first pair of quad skates.
I remember roller skating once or twice in my youth for friends’ birthday parties. Despite my ice skating experience, I remember struggling on roller skates and hitting the railings or falling in order to stop myself. Understandably, I was nervous for my first day at PFM (a program that stands for “Potential Fresh Meat” that tests foundational skills). To my surprise, once I figured out where I needed to hold my weight, roller skating wasn’t too difficult. As it turns out, skating on roller skates and ice skating are very similar. I was able to skate on the straightaways and with a few minor weight adjustments, and I was able to do most of the same stops as I did on ice skates.
Not everything has been an easy transition from ice skating to roller derby, as I’m sure most people would assume. Skating upright and having good posture – extremely good traits to have as an ice skater – are not ideal in roller derby as your front torso is a legal hitting zone, and I soon learned that lesson the hard way. The “full contact” aspect of hitting and taking hits has been a very difficult thing to adjust to in roller derby. I was so accustomed to killing my competitors with kindness, smiles, and a good performance; not by hitting them. I have had to catch myself so many times from saying, “I’m so sorry,” after hitting an opponent or turning around to help someone back up. Roller derby is a sport with rules, and I just have to keep remembering that hitting is the nature of the sport. If I’m not hitting my opponents first, they’re going to hit me.
There are many people that still believe that roller derby isn’t a real sport. I think many people have the impression that bouts still have predetermined winners and mainly exist for spectator amusement. That may be how it once was, but modern roller derby has truly transitioned from spectacle to sport. Just as I trained in ice skating, derby skaters are training several hours a day and supplementing with off-skates workouts and weight training programs. Skaters are even reviewing footage to learn strategy and implement new strategies. Not only are they training to be the best athletes they can be, but they’re also owning and running their leagues – taking on roles in Human Resources, Finance, Operations, Merchandise, etc. – to be able to participate in a sport that they love. While ice skating is a place where grace, artistry, and physical appearance are valued, roller derby celebrates bruises, big hits, and brute force. This is a sport that doesn’t discriminate based on your job or your school, how much money you make, or even your age and size. In fact, the only thing that matters is your skill as an athlete and your knowledge of the game.
2/15 Bout Preview: Grave Danger won’t be easy pickings, though the Sockit Wenches have a tool box ready to do just that
by Jim Almy
You’d hope that what happens in January stays in January. Particularly if those memories include a loss on the opening night of competition, Jan. 18, when the Rat City Rollergirls League kicked off it’s 2014 Home Team season at KeyArena.
Grave Danger, league champions for three years running, are out to reverse their opening bout loss to the Derby Liberation Front (DLF) and will direct their attack against the Sockit Wenches, a team that dropped their first bout of the year to the Throttle Rockets.
The Danger-Wenches match follows the opening bout at 5:30 between the Derby Liberation Front, winners last month over the Danger by a 229-193 score, and the Throttle Rockets, who throttled the Wenches 219-128.
Both coaches have turned the page, looking at Saturday’s bout as a chance to get their seasons back on track.
“We had a tough loss last month,” said Wenches Coach Rani Khan. “We’re getting back to the basics.”
She was echoed by Coach Vito Ramone of the Danger who said his team has moved on from their last bout. “We didn’t dwell on it,” he said, “using it instead as motivation and to look at making some successful changes.”
Danger didn’t win their three straight league titles by being easy pickings. They’ll bring a tough bunch of blockers, anchored by Shorty Ounce, Muffstache, Trouble Dutch and Jerrica Kallio.
Blockers in roller derby do double duty, playing offense to get their scorer (the jammer) past the other team’s blockers while keeping the opponents jammer bottled up.
Keeping the cork on the bottle for the Wenches is a strong and athletic group including Belle Tolls, Sun Shiner and Kendle Bjelland.
But Danger has a crew of jammers not interested in being bottled up and who can put points on the board in a hurry. That group is led by Carmen Getsome, who piled up 71 points last time out, and K. Beezy, who tallied 63. Nehi Nightmare and Unshine added 59.
For the Wenches Megan Havok, a league transfer to that team, and Short Fuse, who moved up from the junior league, will offer both great blocking depth and scoring power. “They will jam and block,” said Khan, “but enter more often as jammers than the last bout.” In that bout Fuse scored 26 and Havok had 20. Penny Racer, with 39, and Rawkhell SqWelch, with 40, will add to the Wenches scoring challenge.
Coach Ramone said that his team is healthy, though some are getting over some winter sniffles.
“We’re ready to go. We’re not changing our strategy but we will change our approach and our line-ups,” Ramone said. “We’ll play in a way that will be more catered to our strengths.”
Get your tickets to Saturday’s bout TODAY at the KeyArena box office or at ticketmaster.com!
By Jim Almy
Update your insurance, hug you loved ones, strap on your helmets, and get ready to settle some scores.
When the Rat City Rollergirls Roller Derby teams square off this Saturday, Feb. 15, at the KeyArena there will be a little spill over from last month’s bouts.
Grave Danger, league champions for three years running, are out to reverse their opening bout loss to the Derby Liberation Front (DLF) and will direct their attack against the Socket Wenches, a team that also dropped their first bout of the year to the Throttle Rockets.
Expect another earthquake in the opening bout when the two teams in the league with perfect 1-0 records, DLF and the Throttle Rockets, begin the night on the same track at 5:30.
That bout will feature three jammers who combined for 262 points in their team’s victories. Rookie Beatin’ Bam!!B, the freshly recruited eighteen-year-old jamming for DLF, scored 79 or her team’s points in their 229-193 win over the Grave Danger. Bill F. Murray, another unstoppable weapon in the the DLF arsenal, had 83. Next to both of them in early jams come Saturday will be the wily veteran Luna Negra. She scored the most points of anyone, adding 100 to the Throttle Rockets 219 as they crushed the Socket Wenches, 219-128.
Look for the best lineups to be on defensive blocking for both teams.
“The Throttle Rockets are really starting to gel,” said DLF Coach Dan Barnett. “We expect a tough match.”
Tough, as in trying to score around tough hitting Rockets blockers like Deva StateHer, Parker Eyeout and RattleSkate.
DLF puts up a pretty good defensive line of their own and the Rockets jamming quartet of Negra, Enurgizer Bunny, Sintripetal Force and Shock Therapy face a tough task in trying to score past the wall that Full Nelson, Lucinda Pack, Ophelia Melons and Rumble Fist will build in front of them.
The difference between the 219 points the Rockets tallied and the 229 put up by DLF is only ten. Coaches for both teams think their groups are better than the ones taking the track last month. This match has all the ingredients of a high scoring, close contest.
“Our strategy and style is continually evolving as we develop new players and fortify our veterans,” said Rockets Coach Slutnik. “This is not the same team from last month and will surely only get better throughout the season.”
Barnett said, and this is critical considering the scoring power the Rockets bring, that, “I expect our defense to be our bread and butter.”
Missing from the DLF lineup will be Kamikaze Kim, sitting out as the result of a concussion she sustained in practice. Barnett said that that is important to his team as he views Kim as a floor leader amongst the blockers and a real student of the game. “When she’s on the bench she keeps an eye on the game and knows what’s working and what’s not,” he said.
Other than Kim both teams are at full strength.
Coach Slutnik pointed out two Rockets players to watch this Saturday, Missile America and RattleSkate. “They both have a fire within them that cannot be contained. Missile America has mainly jammed through her derby career. We have been pushing her heavily toward blocking this season and she has dominated the track. RattleSkate was our first junior derby transfer last year. Her hits are so hard they can be felt from the nosebleeds…she is very strong and very smart, a deadly combination.”
Get your tickets to Saturday’s bout TODAY at the KeyArena box office or at ticketmaster.com!
Do you love to coach? Do you love roller derby? Do you love the Rat City Rollergirls? The Rat City Rollergirls are looking for a dedicated coach for our All-Star Program! We are looking for someone who can lead the team to another successful season and push each athlete to the next level.
To apply, submit a resume and cover letter detailing your interest, skills, and experience by February 17, 2014. Please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org
|The All-Star Program Head Coach is responsible for coaching roller derby athletes in game strategies and techniques to prepare them for athletic competition in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and Rat City Rollergirls (RCRG).|
|The All-Star Program Head Coach is responsible for providing adequate coaching staff for the Rat City Rollergirls Rain of Terror team and ensuring compliance with Program training methods and strategies.|
By Jim Almy
It was a battle between the upstart team that believed it could win and the old guard who has a hold on three straight league championships when the Rat City Rollergirls Roller Derby opened its 10th season at KeyArena last Saturday night.
While maybe not an upset (coaches in the league will tell you that the four teams are not all that different in talent) the win by the Derby Liberation Front, 223-190, over Grave Danger served notice that no bout will be a gimmie this season.
DLF made their statement in the opening jam, jumping out to a quick 28-0 lead. Jammer Bam!!B, newly recruited this season after turning 18 and becoming eligible for the women’s league, followed solid blocking and crushing line play and scoring big in this game.
DLF didn’t show weaknesses over the next few jams either, building their lead to 72-28 with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.
Rumble Fist was a wrecking ball against the best efforts of Danger’s best jammers, a crew known for their scoring efficiency. Fist made sure they were inefficient, constantly throwing her body in DLF of the Danger jamming machine, plugging the holes and preventing jammers from passing.
But Danger didn’t win three straight championships without a bit of inner steel and slowly blockers began to establish themselves, jammers began to fight through for scores.
Picking up points a few per jam Danger pulled ahead at jam 20 with 1:33 left in the first half and led 96-93.
Turns out that DLF had some steel of their own, this time in the form of jammer Muscle Sprouts, who rammed through a quick 10 points to give the lead back to the DLF, 103-96.
The return of Bam!!B to jam the last round, which started with three seconds left in the half, could have led to a quick call off for two very tired teams. Instead Bam!!B added nine more points and her team left the track ahead 112-96, 48 of those DLF points belonging to Bam!!B, another 28 to Bill F. Murray.
Murray was picked by her opponents as the Most Valuable Player for the bout for the Derby Liberation DLF. She returns this year after being out the entire last season following a hip injury.
K. Breezy had 41 points as lead scoring jammer to lead Danger.
The final 30 minutes of rough stuff between the Danger and DLF began as a game of strategy.
Quick points were accumulated by DLF in lieu of scoring onslaughts.
Danger played catch up.
Leads changed regularly and nobody was leaving the arena.
At 20 minutes left to play Danger was on top 137-126.
Bam!!B helped DLF close the lead they had relinquished, and, by the three minute mark, Danger’s margin was a nail biting two,184-182.
Then The KZA, another bullet in DLF’s arsenal of jammers, muscled her way around frantic Danger blockers to put the DLF back ahead in jam 22. At 1:40 the score was 192-184.
K. Beezy broke through DLF’s blockers on the next jam but was stopped by Full Nelson before she could pick up any points. Danger Coach Vito Ramon called a time out.
Fifty three seconds remained in the bout and 8 points separated the two exhausted teams.
Carmen Getsome, another of Danger’s efficient jammer crew, set out to reverse that lead when the whistle blew starting the final jam of the night. She came up on the DLFs blocking line with a fake to the right outside shoulder of the outside blocker. When that blocker moved to stop her Getsome crashed through to the left, breaking free and racing around to begin scoring points.
Those points never came.
In the confusion of blockers and movement of the pack Getsome was bounced off the track. Coming back in too soon she was penalized for an illegal track cut setting up a power jam for DLF. Her trip to the penalty box assured that the DLF, who said they entered the bout fully believing they could win, did exactly that.
DLF Coach Ho Chi Dahn praised his team for overcoming a heavy penalty burden in the first half. “I challenged them at halftime to clean it up. I’m really proud of this team.”
Dahn said that he believes, when he has the full complement of four blockers on the track, nobody can touch his team.
“Our jammers were a little more patient the second half, though against this team we knew it would be very much back and forth.”
Grave Danger Coach Ramon said that penalties hurt his team in the second half. “We played a relatively penalty free first half,” he said, “but penalties cost us in the second.”
“We have a lot of respect for the Derby Liberation Front,” he added.
The first bout of opening night was a night for Missile America, Luna Negra and Enurgizer Bunny to shine.
After Miss Washington, Allyson Rowe, sang the national anthem and last season’s champions, Grave Danger, boasted their trophy, the Throttle Rockets set about dismantling the Sockit Wenches in the opening bout.
America and Negra, experienced pros, and Bunny, a new junior recruit to the Rockets, blew the doors open early in their bout against the Wenches.
The 18-year-old Bunny’s recent birthday made her eligible to play in the league and she established herself immediately, breaking out of the first jam half way around the first lap. She blew by Wenches blockers to begin scoring, picking up the fifth point when Sun Shiner hipped her to the outside, squeezing her along the track edge in a battle of wills over who passes and who gets dumped. Bunny held the edge, passed and soon had the Rockets ahead 18-0.
Negra and America epitomized the Rockets game for the night early in the second half when America was the only blocker between the Wrenches’ jammer Penny Racer and an open lap to points. Racer went outside with a burst of speed. America went outside with a piston slam of her right hip and Racer met the track with a profound thud. Without missing a second, America grabbed Negra’s hands and flung her ahead of the pack on her way to picking up 5 more of the 97 points she scored for the bout.
The final score of 219 to 128 may be the most accurate reflection of the sort of night each team had.
Rockets Coach Slutnik and assistant Lexi Luther both were effusive in explaining that their team just played much better than either coach had anticipated.
“Everyone worked hard. They all brought something,” said Slutnik.
They brought too much for the Sockit Wenches.
Wenches Coach X-Khan was succinct when she explained that her team,”…didn’t play up to our abilities.”
“We have to put in some more work,” she said.
All four teams in the Rat City Roller Girls Derby League may be undefeated today, but that will change when they open their 10th season this Saturday, Jan 18 at Key Arena. The opening bout guarantees the first loss of the year, and the first win, as the Sockit Wenches skate off against the Throttle Rockets after opening ceremonies at 5:30 PM.
Following that 60-minute bout the reigning champions for the past three years, Grave Danger, will be challenged by the Derby Liberation Front. The skate to the lead in the four-team league is not a gimme this year for the Danger. Sockit Wenches coach Rani Khan pointed out that last year’s determining points came in the last four minutes of their bout against Grave Danger.
“I’m excited for our prospects in winning the championship this year,” said Khan. “If we can clean it up and play smart I’m happy for our chances this year.”
But first for the Wenches come the Throttle Rockets, a team that has reloaded heavily entering the season. The team lost eight players over the break and has taken on seven new skaters with different skating backgrounds said Rockets Coach Slutnik.
“Enurgizer Bunny graduated from the Seattle Derby Brats All Star Team last year when she turned 18 and became eligible to compete in the adult league,” said Slutnik. The Throttle Rockets drafted her immediately. They also added a banked track veteran from the LA Derby Dolls, Raven Seaward. Roller derby is skated on a flat track, a change that Seaward is learning to master. Slutnik says that both of these ladies bear watching. Two other players who joined the team late last year are Khaos Theory and Ethel Vermin. Slutnik explained that Theory had no prior roller derby experience, but that both players have made huge leaps in their skills and abilities since joining the Rockets.
Annyong, a new member of the Sockit Wenches, brings another set of skills to derby skating. Her background is as a figure skating. Wenches coach Rani Khan pointed out that it gives her a certain agility around the track. “She’s going to do some cool stuff this year,” said Khan. The Wenches will feature another exciting skater that opposing teams are going to have to account for this season in Megan Havok, a taller player described as a great blocker.
Blocking is a critical part of roller derby as both teams are playing offense and defense at the same time. Blockers want to get their scorer, the jammer, past the other team’s blockers while preventing the other team’s jammer from getting past them. Points are scored once a jammer has passed everyone on the other team, made a complete lap, and begins to pass opposing team skaters a second time. Each player from the other team that is passed after the first lap scores a point for the jammer’s team.
Khan said that the Wenches rely on great jammers and outstanding blocking in their game plan. One of those blockers is Short Fuse, small by blockers standards, but, said Khan, “A hard hitter for her size.” Also new to the Wenches is Izzie Does It, described by her coach as a fire cracker who really knows the game. ”We have a deep bench,” said Khan.
A deep bench is necessary in roller derby. Each scoring jam lasts two minutes, usually less as the lead jammer can call a stop at any point in that 120 seconds. New skaters for both teams are on and off the track in seconds so stamina and endurance count as much as skill and athleticism.
Khan said that every team in the Rat City league comes loaded with skilled, highly competitive skaters. Teams carry a roster of about twenty, though only fourteen can be on the official team list at game time.
The Rat City Roller Girls Derby League has grown tremendously in popularity since its inception nine years ago in Seattle. When the league graduated to playing their bouts in Key Arena they also graduated to a larger and more devoted fan base, usually putting four to six thousand fans in the lower bowl at the arena for every bout.
This year, in celebration of their 10th year of play, all kids age 10 can attend bouts for free! Tickets otherwise are $15 for adults, $8 for those fifteen and younger. Tickets & Info: http://ratcityrollergirls.com/get-tickets/
Season 10 Preview: Rat City Rollergirls leave it on the track
by Jim Almy
They like each other during practice bouts and off the rink. But when the whistle blows and skaters start the new season next Saturday for the teams in the Rat City Rollergirls, well, “It’s not very friendly out there for the sixty minutes of the bout,” Coach Dan Barnett explained.
In fact, the competition gets strongly physical as players push to open and close scoring lanes, all on skates and all at full speed on a narrow, flat track. The Socket Wenches and Throttle Rockets will kick off the league’s tenth season in the opening bout.
Last year’s league leader, Grave Danger, and Barnett’s Derby Liberation Front will square off in the second bout of the night. Grave Danger is defending a three year run but the Front’s coach says his team is ready and able to take them on.
“I’m looking for a really good game,” Barnett said. “Last week’s scrimmage between these two teams was like a heavy weight bout, two really good teams throwing their all at each other.”
Grave Danger coach Vito Ramon’s view of his defending champions is that they’ve just gotten better over the season break. “I always think positive of my team,” he said. “We won’t go undefeated this year, but I think we can take the championship.”
The addition of some new and exciting players reinforces Ramon’s view. Cat-a-Ma-Ram is a transfer to Danger from the Rodeo City League in Wenatchee and Aalto Ego was drafted after showing great promise in tryouts the coach said.
Both show the athleticism so critical to the game. Roller derby is one of those sports where each team is playing offense and defense at the same time. The four blockers strive to help their scorer, the jammer, get past the four blockers from the other team. Simultaneously those same four blockers are trying to keep the other teams jammer behind them. Blocking and defending involves liberal use of hip checks and shoulder blocks. When you’re doing it all on skates the law of gravity usually prevails.
Strategy plays a big part in each two minute jam. What looks like a pack of skaters treating each other rudely on the oval track is really a multi-layered game plan being carried out to end the jam with more points than the other team.
For the Derby Liberation Front that strategy is action over inaction, Barnett said. “We’d rather have people attacking, being really aggressive,” he added. Barnett has been coaching with the Front for eight years, joining the team as a strategy coach.
Grave Danger’s success comes from a game approach that begins with not underestimating any opponent. “We try not to focus on the target that’s on our backs,” Ramon said. “We don’t underestimate anyone and play every team with the same consistency.”
Ramon explained that Grave Danger will enter play trying to force other teams to play their game. If that doesn’t work the Danger can adopt quickly to the moment, he added. This year’s team features a strong defensive core and the coach said that they have also strengthened their offensive play.
Returning veterans feature last years Defensive Player of the Year, Shorty Ounce and three other stalwarts of the championship run, Carmen Getsome, who has been selected to be a member of the USA Roller Derby Team and will compete in the Roller Derby World Series, Jerica Kallio, and Tempura Tantrum.
Beatin’ Bam!!b may be the part of Derby Liberation Front’s team that helps turn the tide this year on the Danger. Bam!!B was picked up by the Front after she turned eighteen this year, making her eligible to join the adult league. As a jammer she has shown throughout training practices the quickness and agility so much a part of that position. Barnett said he also welcomes the return of two veterans, Ophelia Melons and Bill F. Murray, who are coming back after injuries that required surgery and lengthy rehabs. “They are both doing great,” he said.
Other veteran anchors for the Front include Kamikaze Kim (one of the smartest players I’ve coached is Barnett’s observation), Rumble Fist and Full Nelson.
Doors open at 4:30 at Key Arena with opening ceremonies beginning at 5:30. The Throttle Rockets and Socket Wenches will then tussle mightily to see who scores the first points of the new season and who plant the first bouncing body.
As part of the tenth year celebration girls ten years old this year won’t have to pay for a ticket. Otherwise adults are $15, those 15 and under are $8. Chief Marketing Officer Scarlet Leather said to expect over 4,000 in attendance for the opening day bout. “We always expect an additional large walk-up crowd,” she said. Tickets are available at the KeyArena box office or online at Ticketmaster.com
The Seattle league set three national attendance records in 2010, drawing 4,800 fans, then 5,900, then 6,800 in order.
Calling all 10 year olds! We’re going double digits, and we know what a big deal that is, so if you are 10 or turning 10 this year, we want to give you a FREE ticket to come out to one of our bouts this season. Roller Derby is the fastest growing sport among girls and women, and it’s a fun night out for the whole family!
Here’s what Bad Juju (age 10) has to say about playing roller derby with the Seattle Derby Brats Tootsie Rollers, “The best thing I learned in derby is that you can do ANYTHING! Roller Derby makes me feel healthy and strong.”
Did you know that Seattle has some of the most competitive skater athletes in the world? In addition, we have drafted 3 skaters from the Seattle Derby Brats who have been skating and learning roller derby skills for years!
Our roller derby skater-athletes span all walks of life, professions, and are active in the communities where they live around the Seattle Area. We are committed to being role models for young women, and support many community organizations like Girl Scouts and YMCA to spread the message of Title IX empowerment through sport. Our members are exceptional women who operate the organization in addition to hours of practice training and community outreach.
If you have a special birthday party or youth group and want to make special arrangements, email email@example.com.
Vouchers are redeemed at the KeyArena box office, and children must be present when redeemed for tickets. Through our valued partnership with YMCA, vouchers are available at the following locations:Dale Turner Family YMCA 19290 Aurora Avenue North Shoreline, WA 98133
The Rat City Roller Girls Season 10 Opener is coming up fast on January 18th at KeyArena! We’re lacing up our skates for a season of fast paced roller derby action and the season opener levels the playing field for each of the four home teams. We have drafted many talented skaters onto the league since last May, and they have all been training hard at our new practice facility in Shoreline for this moment to compete with the some of the best skaters in the nation!
First bout of the night will be hard hit and fast paced, as the blue bruisers of the Sockit Wenches are taking on the jet fueled speed of the Throttle Rockets. The second bout of the night will leave you on the edge of your seat as the devastating explosiveness of the Derby Liberation Front battles their worst nightmare; the 3 year undefeated League Champions, Grave Danger. Bring your posters and scream your head off for your favorite skaters and teams, as each team is known to visit their own fan sections in the corners of the arena.
Our fan favorite halftime show featuring Waxie Moon and Dance Belt USA is sure to dazzle you, and fans can get their blood pumping during intermission with our YMCA Fitness Challenge.
Don’t forget your non-perishable food items for Ballard Food Bank for limited edition Rat City Swag. You can find donation bins at each entrance at KeyArena.
Doors open at 4:30, First whistle at 6pm. Miss Washington 2013, Allyson Rowe will stop by to sing the National Anthem after the opening ceremonies at 5:30, so come early to get your seats close to the action!
Season Tickets and Flexible 4-packs are still on sale & get you 10% off, early entrance to the arena, and access to the VIP bar behind Section 128! Reserve your seat closest to the track by upgrading to the VIP option. Get your tickets online at Ticketmaster or in person at Fast Girl Skates & any of the 8 Rudy’s Barbershops around the city.
For more information on schedule, & tickets prices visit to our ticket page! See you on the 18th!
In honor of our 10th Anniversary Season Opener Jan 18th, the Seattle City Council is going to proclaim “Rat City Rollergirls Day January 18th” at their meeting 1/13 Monday at 2pm, Seattle City Hall. Rat City skaters and fans are planning on packing the house, so we’ll see you there!