Saturday’s roller derby bout between Connecticut’s Stepford Sabotage and England’s London Brawling would best be hastily placed in the ‘Oh Please Never Again’ archive somewhere between the Ford Pinto and Crystal Pepsi.
In the immortal words of an anonymous source “This is roller derby, not couples-skate!” This was a tough one for Connecticut. In all honesty, the bout didn’t start off that bad and still provided heaps of entertainment for the hundreds of spectators who came out to the Connecticut Sports Center to cheer on their American team… though at times it was admittedly painful. Before we get into the depths of detail, let’s take a quick gander at the lineups.
The Stepford Sabotage!!
Luciana Pulverotti 110R (Captain)
Eleanor Bruisevelt 33 (Assistant Captain)
Black Cherry C-4
Chelsea Grin 777
C. Mya Rage 86’d
Ether Bunny 2KO
Girl Fawkes 5NOV
Milla Lowlife 40oz.
Miz ConsepJen 7
Murphy’s OUTLAW 15
Parker Poison 3
Pearl Jammer GO
Pepper Grind-Her 10
Violet Riot 911
Connecticut’s competitor took no notice to Eyjafjallajokull’s ash and managed to navigate the pond with plenty of time to spare for this encounter.
Kamikaze Kitten 9 (Captain)
Poison Arrow 85 (Assistant Captain)
Stef Mainey 13
Raw Heidi .357
Axis of Evon 52
Nuke Leah U98
The Bexorcist 931
Fox Sake 04
Grievous Bodily Charm 1984
Sky Rocket 17
Helen Nash 11
Lola Vulkano 19
Slice Andice G8
Ena Flash ICU2
Both teams stormed the track with great gusto. The starting jam had Eleanor Bruisevelt up against Londoner Sky Rockit. The whistles blew and the girls were off! For a moment (actually for three jams), the bout looked like it could be a dramatic give-and-take destined to be an intercontinental legend for ages to come. First, Elle snagged two quick points for CT. In the second, Pearl took advantage of a beautiful block by Miz ConsepJen to pass lead jammer Kamikaze Kitten ending the jam scoreless. In the third, things heated up further as Ninjette gave jammer Vagablonde a chance to pull in 7 points by crushing Doomcake’s drive for lead jammer status. The hits were hard! The crowd was in it! This was Roller Derby!
And then… well, then things went south. Far south. We’re talking Cape Horn south.
At the start of the fourth jam, jammer Milla LowLife was sent out on an inopportune penalty. Typically, when one team’s point-scoring jammer is out of the picture the opposing team will slow the pack down to allow their jammer the best opportunity to bump up the score. As a response to Milla’s exit, London adopted a most peculiar strategy. They didn’t just slow the pack, they STOPPED the pack. Dead stop.
What? I’m sorry, I believe I came for the roller derby, not the stopped derby.
In actuality, this isn’t the first time the stopping strategy has been used. In last year’s Roller Derby nationals, a few teams made it surprisingly far using this method. While not strictly against the rules, it completely changes the pace and feel for the game. To block a speeding jammer from a stopped position requires an entirely different skill set than than trying to out-maneuver a skater at break-neck speeds.
I’m told that the strategy was so controversial that it was brought up in a formal rule review. A vote will soon be going down that could end this strategy once and for all. Keep your fingers crossed*
In this particular case, Connecticut was left completely baffled. The English jammer looped around once, twice, thrice, and… then I stopped counting. Meanwhile the pack fell to shambles. Without the stability that momentum provides, the girls were falling into each other earning unexpected new penalties and bruises. Desperate stagnant dives at jammer Sky Rockit did little to slow her devastating point accrual.
In less than two minutes London Brawling took home 24 points (cue collective groan), Miz and Pearl joined Milla in the penalty box, and my jam notes amounted to a single word written in capitals across the page: GROSS.
Connecticut did not recover. London retrieved the next TEN lead jammer statuses and another 76 points ending the first half: London with a dominating 105, Connecticut with a paltry 7.
Thankfully, Uncle Leon a huge roller derby supporter and the singer songwriter responsible for the Connecticut derby anthem ‘Roller Derby Saved my Soul’ graced the Connecticut crowd with his song during intermission. Whether it was Uncle Leon’s musings, or a strategy revival during the break, the second half proceeded much better than the first.
After Pearl’s speed kept the second jam scoreless, Chelsea Grin helped the girls in Green in the third, taking in 10 points. Things were looking up.
The London girls must be given some credit for a few of their strategies. Perhaps most noteworthy was Kamikaze Kitten’s crafty technique in the 8th jam of the second half. She and Pearl Jammer were fighting hard to secure lead jammer status for their team. Kamikaze got ahead at the last moment, but instead of taking off and securing a few points she slowed dramatically in front of Pearl Jammer, forcing Pearl to do the same. While Pearl struggled to sneak around Kamikaze, another Londoner came up and traded positions with Kamikaze!! Kamikaze took off having pushed Pearl back into a struggle within the pack!! She got four points for her team instead of the 1 or 2 (at best) that she may have scored with Pearl on her tail. Bravo Kamikaze!
Thankfully things ended on an upnote for Connecticut. C. Mya Rage came out in the 9th and ended the drought of lead jammers that challenged Connecticut. Milla, Pearl, and Black Cherry followed with lead jamming status of their own. While the final score said little for the Connecticut revival, those of us there appreciated the difference in quality between the first and second half.
Final score? London 179, Connecticut 50.
Let’s look at the stats!
Ninjette 42 points in 5 jams (4 lead)
Sky Rocket 35 points in 8 jams (3 lead)
Pearl Jammer 16 points in 10 jams (2 lead)
Milla LowLife 13 points in 8 jams (2 lead)
In the recap, I didn’t spend much time talking penalties. This game was a rowdy one. Both teams were letting their tempers flare a bit, so trips to the box were frequent. All too often CT was in a tough spot with two or three of their pack in the penalty box.
Stepford: 72 minors, 21 majors
Brawling: 42 minors, 18 majors
Stepford: Elle, Black Cherry, Chelsea Grin
Brawling: Enaflash, Sky Rockit, Helen Nash
London Brawling: Kamikaze Kitten
Stepford Sabotage: Parker Poison
Even with the frustrations, the bout was a lot of fun to watch. The Connecticut team will be playing again on May 8th. We imagine that the next bout against Garden State’s Brick City Bruisers will be even more fun to watch. If you’d like more information, check out the Connecticut Roller Girl website!
*the viewpoints of this blogger are not necessarily indicative of those held by the Connecticut roller girls.