Sunday, April 22, 2012

Round One

Last night’s roller derby event in Morristown was a double-header: New Jersey Roller Derby (NJRD) vs. Jersey Shore Roller Girls (JSRG) Beat Down, and Skyland Roller Girls vs. State College Area Roller (SCAR) Derby Happy Valley Dolls. The teams alternated on the track for each half. It was the first ever formal bout for the NJRD, the brand new Morristown league hosting the event on its home track.

New teams usually have serious flaws that don’t always show up in practice; it takes them a while to become serious competitors. I frankly expected something close to a massacre of the NJRD by Beat Down, a very impressive team whom I’ve seen skate on previous occasions. That’s not what happened. Pixie Bust, the NJRD founder (along with coach Starsky and Miss USAHole) and co-captain, had told me previously that they planned to be very aggressive on the track, and they were. The hits were hard and frequent, and the largely neophyte NJRD blockers were effective at impeding Beat Down jammers while opening holes for their own. The NJRD held its own in the first half, for a time getting hold of the lead. The veteran JSRG regained the edge, however, and slowly built on it; #131 Maureen Langer stood out as an exceptional jammer. At halftime the score was 90/75 in favor of the JSRG; this was still in anybody-can-win territory. The Achilles Skate of the NJRD was revealed toward the end of the second half, though it’s one that no doubt will be corrected in time. For jammers, the NJRD relied entirely on its two most experienced and powerful skaters, Pixie Bust and Miss USAHole. They were very effective, but Pixie’s aggressive strategy proved a bit too aggressive for the refs, and she was removed from the bout. (This took her by surprise. “I’ve never been ejected,” she gasped afterward.) This left Miss USAHole to skate jam after jam in a marathon performance; she did well at it, despite taking solid hits and spills, but it must have been grueling. The JSRG expanded its lead, winning with a final score of 187/138. It was a loss for the NJRD, but a very respectable one for a first bout against tough opposition.

Slyland’s home track is Hackettstown, NJ, which is less than hour from Morristown, though it’s not a team I regularly follow. (Hey, I think I’m obsessive enough with just the Morristown ones.) For the purposes of this bout, however, they were the home team against SCAR, who made a long trip from the Penn State area to participate. The two were pretty closely matched in a bout that got increasingly rough as it progressed. Special mention to #1793 Queen Guillotine (evidently a history buff) for Skyland and Hell’s Mels for SCAR. The scoring remained close throughout, ending with a 120/104 win for SCAR.

It may not surprise the reader that I plan to be back for future bouts. A special shout-out to the NJRD for its opening performance; to all the team-members whose names I don’t mention on all of the teams, you’re all noticed regardless.

Team Links 

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