Holy sweet goddamn! That was some gooood roller derby. I just got home from the afterparty celebrating some fine skating. A great start for the 2006 season.
The first bout, pitting The Vaudeville Vixens against the 2005 league champion Reservoir Dolls, was hard fought; but unfortunately for us Vixen fans, an ass-kicking. To their credit, the Vixens did some good skating. But the Reservoir Dolls are tough to beat – fully half of the all-scar travelling team, the Dairyland Dolls, come from this one team. I don’t remember the final score off the top of my head, but it was a wide margin in favor of the Reservoir Dolls.
The Vaudeville Vixens are a new team this year, formed from the ashes of last year’s Psycho Kitties. Rumors abound about why the Kitties disbanded, but needless to say, they felt the need to re-tool the squad with a new name, new look, and several new skaters. It seems to be working so far. The Vixens are spry, small, and fast. Despite the final score, rookie Chop Suzzy, wearing #311, and Hell Kat (#0) turned in some excellent jams. I don’t keep stats at the bouts because I prefer to have fun rather than “work”, but when they come out I know we’ll see some good numbers from those two. In the pack, the Vixens are scrappy as hell, but they seemed to have trouble keeping their focus, probably too busy fighting off the aggressive Dolls blockers. I saw several plays where a Doll jammer came up and passed a blocker who never saw her coming. It’s only the first bout of the season, though, and I expect more great skating from this new team.
It’s hard to say enough about the Reservoir Dolls performance this evening. They played some serious thinking-girl’s derby. Again, it may be a bit unbalanced because many Dolls got to play hard rockin’ bouts in the off-season under the Dairyland Dolls banner. Experience counts for a lot on the oval. While team captain Mouse (#4), Crackerjack (#100), and Carrie A. Hacksaw (#24) each pounded out some superb jamming, I thought it was all about the defense. In one jam, Mouse was relegated to the penalty box before the whistle even blew, leaving the Vixens jammer unopposed. The Dolls blockers shut her out completely, and when Zsa Zsa let Mouse out of her cage, she STILL managed to take lead jammer. In many other jams, the Reservoir Dolls defense opened holes for their jammers and closed them just as quickly to frustrate the Vixens. And I would be remiss to leave out a stunning 15 point jam by Crackerjack in a furious no-lead jam.
The second bout of the night had the green sparkle Quad Squad facing off against the blood-red Unholy Rollers. Unlike the first bout, this one was a nail biter in which every point was a battle. The Quad squad held the lead for most of the bout, but never by more than a few points. Former speed skater Britnee Smears (#81) and Jenny Knoxville (#16) did most of the Jamming for the Squad, both of them scoring frequently in text-book 4 point jams. At one point, I believe Knoxville skated 3 jams in a row – a heroic effort. Granted, there were time-outs between them, but still.
The question of this bout was “How tall is Ilsa Von Blusterne (#9) on quads”? Conventional wisdom has it that girth, not height, is an advantage for a blocker. But when this lanky, towering Unholy Roller gets herself in front of a jammer, there’s just no getting by. #27 Wild Berry Punch threw in some excellent jams, as did the league-leading Jewels of Denile (#99). Jewels met her match (usually Smears) more than usual tonight, but don’t be fooled. She’s fast has hell and she’s an experienced, smart jammer. The highlight of the entire bout was when Jewels, leading a jam, took a hard block from the left on the back turn. She lost it, but she was on the ball enough to hit her hips twice, calling the jam while sailing into the crowd.
The blood lust moment of the night? With 2 seconds left on the clock, the Quad Squad and the Unholy Rollers lined up for a pointless jam. But somehow during those 2 seconds fists flew and the period ended with #IV Pandora S Blocks and #5 Princess Die pounding it out on the floor. Zsa Zsa LaGore immediately whisked them off for punishment. Tempers seemed to cool, and the girls took their whacks. But suddenly the fight continued, right there in Spank Alley, like a double feature for the fight fans. Now that’s dedication.