Two of the roller derby teams I follow – the NJRD and the Major Pains – had bouts last night within driving distance. Being somewhat larger than a quantum particle, I can’t be in two places at once, so I had to choose. My pick was purely a matter of geography:
was closer. There, the Major Pains in
their home rink hosted the Susquehanna
Valley Derby Vixens.
The Major Pains are the junior team of the Jerzey Derby Brigade league, skating their first professional bout in April of last year. They lost that match and most of the following ones, as is to be expected of a new team, but last night experience, practice, and effort all came together to produce a big win for the Pains against a formidable opponent. It was a win marred, however, by the injury of a Vixen skater in the final minutes of play.
The first few jams set the tone for the bout. #9 Baked Beanz as jammer for the Pains faced off as jammer against #1222 Toxic Avenge-Her for the Vixens. Toxic jumped into the lead but was held up on the next pass by Pains blockers Bruta Lee and River Slam, allowing Beanz to put points on the board. The Pains blocking – which was loose in the early days of the team – was tight and effective last night. Repeatedly the blockers obstructed the Vixen jammers long enough to keep the Vixen point totals down, with Pains blocker (and captain) Easthell Getty playing an especially aggressive game. Nonetheless, Vixen jammers Toxic Avenge-Her, #2 La Zorra, #6 ParaNorma, and #5:14 Dotty Deathwish showed speed and competence breaking through the Pains wall to score, and were able to keep the bout competitive through the first half. They also were able to restrain Pains point totals by getting on the heels of Pains lead jammers, inducing them to call off jams. (If any reader is lost, see video at end of Wheel Appeal for derby rules and terms: http://richardbellush.blogspot.com/2011/04/wheel-appeal.html )
Vixen blockers also formed solid walls and hit hard, but the Pains now have a depth of jammers adept at exploiting any hole in an opposing defense. Baked Beanz and #57 Heinz Catchup both are good at this and are fast in the open besides. #187 Maggie Kyllanfall sometimes slips through the pack Houdini-style. All racked up points for the Pains. The one Pains jammer who has improved the most is Voldeloxx. She did well last night generally and in one power jam (when the opposing jammer is in the penalty box and so unable to score) I frankly got distracted briefly by other attractions on and off the track, and so lost count of the number of times she passed the pack; let’s just call it several. At half-time the score was 134-51 in favor of the Pains, a commanding but not an insurmountable lead.
In the second half, the Vixens turned up the aggression while trying to make up for lost ground. The frequency of knock-downs and pile-ups increased. The Vixens were able to close some of the point gap, at least in percentage terms, but ill-timed penalties impeded their efforts. With only a few minutes left of play, Toxic Avenger-Her made an especially determined push to score for the Vixens. The effort was an inspired one but it cost her; when she reached the pack she went down hard and stayed down. The clock was stopped with 2 minutes and 41 seconds remaining. EMTs rushed in. After several minutes they removed Toxic in a gurney. Officials called the bout at that point, with a final score of 258-114 in favor of the Major Pains.
This morning on the Facebook site for the event, I see that Toxic (Brandi Heller) posted that she has a sprained neck but is otherwise OK. Glad to hear she’s alright. I and other
fans want her and the rest of the Vixens back for the rematch.