Picture above: Pearl Jammer signs an autograph for an adoring fan.
On Saturday night the crowds came in huge numbers to this year’s 2008/2009 CT Roller Girl Demolition Exhibition at the CT Sports Center in Woodbridge. The venue was new for the roller girls. The sport center’s proximity to New Haven and the I-91 corridor certainly didn’t hurt, nor did the fact that the sport center served beer. Despite the cold rain that poured outside, the crowd inside the sports center was completely enthusiastic; excited to see their favorite players after the lengthy off season.
Shortly after 7pm, Hitman Hank addressed the crowd, his black suit perfectly juxtaposed by a bright pink tie. “Are you ready for some Roller Derby!?” he shouted and the crowd cheered back. The night’s exhibition would be made up from players of all three regular season teams squished into two extreme teams: The Honor Rollers and The Jock Stars.
Our group had come with 5 roller derby virgins. They paid close attention as the players were introduced and the rules were reviewed. And then? The action got under way.
Victoria Deck’em waves her field hockey stick during the introduction of the Jock Stars
The bout began with Luciana Pulverotti of the Honor Rollers jamming against Jock Stars player Pam Terror. When the whistles blew the girls took off sprinting towards the pack. Right from the beginning we knew that this bout would not be one of jammers, so much as pivots and blockers. The formidable defensive wall of Derby girls was made even more imposing by the different floor texture of the CT sports Center which slowed the furious drives of the jammers. The Jock Stars started off strong with 4 consecutive unanswered jams. Honor Roller Revengela was the first on her team to break the streak. Normally positioned as a blocker, Revengela came out strong and took advantage of a key opportunity as the Jock Stars’ jammer was sent to the penalty box. In just a few short jams the Honor Rollers had narrowed the gap from a 12 to a 4 point difference.
While the jamming is always exciting, the first half saw some fantastic action in the depths of the pack. Victoria Deck’em, Miz Con SepJen, and Violet Riot each had pretty strategic hits on the opposing jammer. In fact, there were plenty of great blocks from many of the newer roller girls as well.
Let’s break from the action to take a look at some of the newer names that were skating Saturday night
Lemmy Atter (#695)
Eve Coli (#0157)*
Flora Goodthyme (#1-900)
Paula G. Imnaughty (#NC-17)
C. Mya Rage (#86’d)
Ramona Rotten (#77)
Lemmy and Flora will skate with the Widowmakers in the regular season, Eve, C. Mya, and Ramona will skate with the Elm City Bone Crushers, and Paula G. Imnaughty will skate with the Iron Angels.
*fun fact! The 0157 strain of ecoli is extremely dangerous as it is resistant to antibiotics. I love it when roller girls have subtle academic and scientific references within their names and numbers.
The new recruits were doing great! Eve had some fantastic blocks in the later half of the first period, Flora was consistently scoring points as jammer, and Ramona’s skating looked effortless. The new girls had enthusiasm on their side but the experience of some of the roller derby powerhouses proved nearly overwhelming.
Milla Lowlife (pivot) tries to stay out front as the pack fumbles around a turn
In the thirteenth jam of the evening Doomcake came up to the jamming line. She had jammed once earlier in the night and had barely sneaked past Ramona Rotten to steal lead jammer status and a single point for the Honor Rollers. This time, when the whistle sounded Doom kicked it into gear and pulled some extremely skillful maneuvers to weave through the wall of opponents. She circled once while the powerful Honor Rollers’ pack held opposing jammer Ramona captive. Doom knew she had an opportunity: her team was down 10 points but their defense was holding strong. She gained speed and circled once more effortlessly winding through her opponents. When her hands finally touched her hips, Doom had brought the Honor Rollers ten more points. The score was tied!!
The tide had turned for the Honor Rollers and Revengela added her own punctuation to their statement when, just three jams later, she plowed through an swath of opposing players taking down three jock straps in the action. The first half ended with the Honor Rollers having just edged past the Jock Stars: 36 to 34.
The band Kiss Kiss came out to entertain at half time. This isn’t the first time they’ve played at a CT Roller Derby intermission, though I think that this time around they did an especially good job. I’m not sure how to best classify their music, but it was pretty rocking.
A young fan roots for her mom
After the intermission, the girls took to the floor. The first five jams of the second half were brutally tight. Jam after jam came up with few points scored, though the strategy was impressive. First Eleanor Bruisevelt skated hard against Violet Riot, but only pulled a single point. Jam 2 saw Honor Roller Paula G. Imnaughty steal lead jammer status from IV Drop, a visiting roller girl from Suburbia Roller Derbyâ€“Westchester County NY (Thanks Ro – see comments). Despite the steal, IV pulled ahead and Paula smartly ended the jam. Jam 3 saw the roles reverse. This time Violet Riot with the Jock Stars stole the lead from Honor Roller Pearl Jammer and was forced to end the jam in the same manner.
And then, it happened AGAIN.
C. Mya Rage, skated hard and got lead jammer status only to see her lead erode. Like the previous two jams, C. Mya smartly ended the jam just before her opponent scored. The fifth jam of the second half put Luciana against Pam Terror. Luciana got a great start through the pack. Pam Terror was dropped early on and was virtually out of the picture. Miz Con SepJen and Victoria Deck’em loomed in front of Luciana. Luciana swerved and tried to dart in front of her imposing opponents, but Miz and Victoria were skating strongly. Luciana couldn’t get through. She struggled behind her opponents for a full lap and then – out of nowhere! – Pam Terror screamed through the pack and grabbed lead jammer status. It was a remarkable showing of defense by the Jock Star team.
As the jams added up and the time ticked down the Milla Lowlife, Doom, and Pearl continued to chip away at the Jock Stars. Flora Goodthyme had a phenomenal 10 point jam recovering some lost ground for her team, but it was answered by a second double digit jam by Doomcake.
The bout ended with some beautiful blocks by Doom and Miz. When the final horn sounded the score stood at Honor Rollers 72 and Jock Stars 51. Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” boomed over the speakers as the Honor Rollers took their victory lap. The crowd was ecstatic.
Doomcake secured M.V.P. for the Honor Rollers, Flora Goodthyme took M.V.P. for the Jock Stars.
Let’s look at some stats!
Doomcake 29 points in 6 jams.
Milla Lowlife 14 points
Revengela 12 points
Eleanor Bruisevelt 10 points
Flora Goodthyme 17 points in 6 jams
Pam Terror 16 points
Violet Riot and IV Drop 8 points
Great job Roller Girls! CT is glad to have you skating again. The next bout will be on December 13th as CT’s Stepford Sabotage take on the Maine Port Authorities. Last time these two teams met Stepford fell to the fury of Maine. But the two teams are closely ranked and I know our Connecticut girls will fight hard. Come check them out at the CT Sports Center on December 13th.
As for our group? Our Roller Derby virgins were pretty captivated by the action. One unique thing about Roller Derby is that it really doesn’t take much before you find yourself cheering wildly with the rest of the crowd and wincing at the brutal hits that send skaters off spinning. I have high hopes for the new venue and hope that it helps bring more crowds to Derby. Connecticut is a more exciting state in Roller Derby season and the more people who can appreciate it, the better.
Get all the info on upcoming bouts and your favorite teams by going to the newly redesigned CT Roller Derby website.