by Jim Almy
One team was in white and one in black. Though it wasn’t a chess match last Saturday, Nov. 15, when the Danger Rockets took the track at the Rats Nest against the Sockit Liberation Front in a pick up bout, it was a great demonstration of moves, strategy, skill and physical prowess. And a showcase of the talent that will open the season in a couple months.
Daisy Dukem (909) thinks she is passing for a point for the Danger Rockets, but Sockit Liberation Front pivot Wicked Slam and blocker Vishus Trollope (106) are about to plant that idea firmly on the track. Photo by Danny Ngan.
Teams were assembled from skaters who had made one or fewer appearances last season at KeyArena; skaters who are new to Rat City Rollerderby after moving up from different leagues around the Seattle area and state; and skaters moving up from the junior divisions. Most had never skated together before. Most will move on to make up the four Rat City home teams — Derby Liberation Front, Grave Danger, Sockit Wenches and Throttle Rockets — when the season begins Jan. 10 at KeyArena.
Fans leaving Saturday’s bout were treated to a preview of just how good all four teams will be this season. The final score had the Front ahead 198-178.
Danger Rockets jammer Maud’Dibs (1618) found out quickly in the first jam how tough it was going to be to score points. After bouncing and slamming once through the Sockit Liberation Front line of Wicked Slam (94), Thumper Skull (83), Sher Nobyl (5) and Winter Scoming (1221) she called the jam less than a minute into the bout, happy with four points.
Through the first twelve jams Front jammers like Cynthia Bartok (39), LeBrawn Maimes (23) and Winter Scorming were picking up points in runs of 13 and 15 while Danger jammers struggled at less than 2.5 points per jam. It was 76-29 with nearly 20 minutes gone in the half when Rockets Coach Lexi Luthor called a time out for her team. You never know for sure what’s said during those pauses, but whatever it was, Coach Luthor should bottle it for future inspiration. Over the next six jams all the wheels came off the Front’s scoring machine. They picked up one point during that run. Danger jammers, meanwhile, pecked away until they had reduced the 47 points margin they trailed by to just nine at the half, leaving the oval trailing 91-82.
In the first jam after the timeout Danger jammer Daisy Dukem (909) passed the star to teammate Stone Cold StunHer (316), who aimed herself directly at two of the Front’s toughest blockers, Thumper Skull and Sher Nobyl, whacked them both and picked up eight points. A couple jams later Liberty Bell Ringer (76), with Stone Cold StunHer in the pivot directing some delicate but deadly blocking, breezed through four passes, adding 17 points.
Winter Scoming (1221) was jamming for Sockit Liberation Front. Stone Cold StunHer (316) had other ideas for the Danger Rockets. Photo by Danny Ngan.
The Front’s strongest response to the Danger scoring runs came when LeBrawn Maimes turned on the jets, blasting past all the Rockets for five points 1:30 into the jam; five more points 1:15 into the jam and a final four points 1:03 into the jam. The Rockets Aalto Ego finished the scoring just before the half, following a lung collapsing chest block by Wicked on her way to 12 points.
Line play by both teams was solid and coordinated enough that it appeared they’d been team practicing for months rather than taking the track while still getting to know each other. It was heavy lifting for the jammers. For the entire bout the Rockets used 12 different jammers, the Front, 11.
Gazelle from Hell (89) might have gotten around Sockit Liberation Front pivot Wicked Slam, but Vishus Trollope (106) rushed over to make sure that didn’t happen.
Sockit Liberation Front added steadily to its lead throughout the second half. Cynthia Bartok picked up 19 for the Front in the first jam of the half. LeBrawn Maimes added 25 in the sixth jam. It took the Rockets five jams to score any points after the second 30 minutes of play began, but when they did, the did big. In jam five the Front failed to field a jammer when the jam started. Short a player and rushing to organize the Front struggled to stop Danger jammer Stone Cold StunHer. Wicked Slam held her off for a few seconds but in the other seconds she scored 29 points, the single highest jam total of the bout.
Wicked Slam and Thumper Skull are not people you want to see in front of you if your goal is to score points for the other team. In jam nine of the second half the Front found themselves on the short end of a power jam, down 2-5. Those two were the Slam and the Skull, enough brute force to shut out the Danger for the entire jam.
The next event on the Rat City schedule will be Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Rats Nest when their Home Teams come Home for the Holidays. This will be the pre-season mini-tournament to showcase the teams in their holiday themes, specifically DLF as E.L.F., Danger as Your Worst Nightmare…Before Christmas, Rockets as the Jingle Bell Rockets, and lastly the Wenches as the Nutcrackers. Wear your favorite holiday sweater and see your favorite team bring the Seasons Beatings.