Last night the RollerMagic Roller Rink in Waterbury hosted the first bout in this second season of Connecticut Roller Derby. The night had the Elm City Bone Crushers (ECBC) up against the Widowmakers. When these teams met last season the Widowmakers came home with the victory, but last night there were new players wearing skates and both teams were anxious to start the season off with a win.
I brought a bunch of first-timers with me to this particular bout. The sport was introduced to the new comers with a demonstration, narrated by the MC’s. As Hitman Hank and David Coppafeel explained the means by which the jammers score points, my friend Celina shuddered in awe: “Oh my God. They have to go THROUGH THE PACK?!?”
Yes, the Pack was formidable last night. The only thing more intimidating than the pack of six blockers and two pivots was the EMT’s stretcher which ominously stood at the ready just outside the roller rink. Adding to the excitement was a new rule; instead of the three 20 minute periods that we witnessed last year, this year’s bout would be made up of two 30 minute periods. I can only imagine what those last 10 minutes must feel like when you’re wearing skates and dodging the menacing shoulder of an opponent.
The Bout Begins
The bout started with ECBC’s captain Doomcake (#13) up against Eleanor Bruisevelt (#1933). Right from the onset the ECBC showed great defense. They kept the Widowmakers at arms length with an early lead and great consistency. As the evening progressed it was clear that a few new players were playing major roles in the action. Syd Rock (#2 Bells) jammed seven times for the Bone Crushers and she was Fast. Apparently Syd recently moved to CT from Arizona where she skated with The Copper Queens, a derby team out of Tucson AZ.*
Also new were Milla Low Life (#40oz), and Luciana PULVERotti (#110R) for the Widowmakers and Murderface Maully (#M82) and Smith & Wendy (#357) for the Bone Crushers. The first half saw some killer hits from these girls. In fact, in those first 30 minutes there were 38 personal fouls. Thirty Eight! There were Elbows being thrown everywhere.
What was especially fun to watch in this bout was the strategy. There was some extremely good skating by the defense. In one of the final jams of the first half Bone Crusher Chelsea Grin (#T-4) was skating opposite Eleanor Bruisevelt. Eleanor broke through the pack early on, but didn’t take lead jammer status. The widowmaker’s defense was keeping Chelsea back. As Eleanor gained on her rivals Chelsea furiously darted forward… getting to the front of the line just in time. The ref declared her Lead Jammer and she manically tapped her hips ending the jam. Both teams were left scoreless for the jam and the Bone Crushers maintained their lead.
As the girls caught their breath, the crowd was entertained with some SICK dancing by the CT based group ‘Poetry in Motion.’ There were 5 guys who came out and Flared, popped, and freestyled to the cheers of the CTRG crowd. The Roller Derby intermissions are typically pretty good, but this one stood out as one of the best. The fifteen minutes flew by and before we knew it the girls were back on the track and the refs were blowing the starting whistle.
The Second Half
That first Jam put Syd Rock against Revengela (#1-2-3-4). Syd got a killer start but was NAILED by Widowmaker Peekaboom (#718). The bout was close. Really close. At the start of the eighth Jam the score stood 64 points for the Bone Crushers, 63 points for the Widowmakers. We were getting anxious. Half our crowd was rooting for the ECBC the other half for the Widowmakers. The Widowmaker fans got a jolt of energy in the ninth jam when Bone Crusher Syd Rock was slammed so hard she skidded 10 feet across the floor into the penalty bench. The hits were getting harder.
Time was ticking down. And the defense was getting tough. in those last few minutes few seconds would pass without an aggressive exchange of shoulders in the ring. ECBC Susan B. Anarchy took down Milla Low Life in one particularly memorable slam.
It was ECBC 75 to WM 71.
And there was time for one Jam left. The Bone Crusher fans amongst us started chanting “DEFENSE!” the Widowmaker fans were screaming for Widowmaker jammer Black Cherry (#C-4).
The Jam started. And the crowd was electrified… and the bone crushers had a lot of team members in the penalty box. Black Cherry broke ahead in the sprint from the starting line. She skated hard and forced her way to the front of the pack!! Lead Jammer status was called. She whipped around again and broke through the pack AGAIN. Upon doing so, she immediately ended the jam.
She’d pulled in 4 points! The time expired! It was 75 to 75!!
I’ve never seen an overtime before, so I was quite thankful when the MC’s explained what happens in OT.
Overtime in Derby is accomplished by a two minute jam. What makes it different from regular play is that the jammers immediately start getting points and it’s impossible to get lead jammer status. If the results of that jam were another tie… they do another jam. It will keep going like that until one team pulls ahead of the other.
And now, after a full game of being behind the Elm City Bone Crusher’s the Widowmakers had a chance to take it all. Black Cherry was up against Chelsea Grin… The whistles blew.
In just seconds Chelsea Grin was sent to the penalty box. Was it over for the Bone Crushers?!?! Black Cherry was flying around the rink like it was child’s play. Just when we’d thought the game was over, Chelsea stormed back into the ring. We were on our feet with excitement.
Chelsea skated around once… twice… and the bell sounded. Would it be enough?
There was a lull that seemed to last a lifetime. The refs wanted to make certain they got the points right.
the first score announced was the Bone Crushers. 8 points! Chelsea did great!
another lull as the scores were calculated… and the results!
Black Cherry got 11 points! THE WIDOWMAKERS WON IN OVERTIME!
What a bout! It was a joy to watch. The end statistics show how closely these two teams were matched:
***UPDATE! Chelsea Grin informed me that in fact the scorekeepers made a mistake with the numbers and, in fact, Chelsea scored 35 points!!! (35 is a lot.) Rock on Chelsea!***
There were a grand total of 59 personal foul penalties given out in the bout. FIFTY NINE! That’s practically one a minute!
What a show. Great job to all the players and people behind the scenes. From the fans, thanks.
If you’d like to come to the next bout, check out the next bout on February 24th. For more information go here! There are also a handful of inter-league bouts this year. Check back on the roller girl website or here for updates!
* Tucson is actually one of the oldest leagues in the US. The Texas Rollergirls (in Austin) were first.