Sunday, April 13, 2014

All Stars Shine on Scranton

Roller derby returned to Morristown last night in a bruising bout between the NJRD (New Jersey Roller Derby) All Stars and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals. Though the first home game for the All Stars, it was their second bout of the season, having lost in a one-point squeaker last week to Lehigh Valley in an away game. WB-Scranton is a strong team that defeated the Corporal Punishers (flagship team of Morristown’s other league, the JDB [Jerzey Derby Brigade]) on its home rink 223-190 last November. The All Stars aimed for an upset.

From the opening jams, it looked as though one was possible. #81 VeroniKa Gettsburger, #357 Babcocked & Loaded, #1219 Gorev Maim,and #2 Elysium showed their usual power while jamming for Scranton, but time and again were held up by solid Morristown blocking which has been getting consistently better coordinated since the league was founded. Pixie-Bust, Rosa Ruckus, and Bitty Boom also blocked markedly well individually. Meantime, Morristown jammers, notably #10 Miss USA-Hole, #44 Maulin Rouge, and #12 Shannani-Gunz, repeatedly were able to exploit openings in Scranton’s defenses or power through them. Not that this was easy, with Jackie Kenne-Die and Liberty Violence in co-ordination with other Scranton blockers often making the way impassable. Nonetheless, the All Stars took an early lead and built on it. At half-time the score favored the All Stars 116-62, a strong but not insurmountable lead.

A rule change has affected scores noticeably. Prior to this year, time in the penalty box lasted a minute. A full minute is a long time on the track on which an individual jam is a maximum of two minutes. If an opposing jammer was in the penalty box there was an opportunity for one’s own jammer (in a so-called power jam) to rack up points unopposed. This could cause the score to shift 25 points or more in a single jam. The new rule is 30 seconds in the penalty box. This reduces total point scores and also reduces the opportunity to overtake an opponent thanks to a single fortuitous penalty.

Regardless, the Roller Radicals returned to the track in the second half determined to close the gap. With aggressive skating on both sides, and more than a few pile-ups, the Radicals edged closer. The best chance still lay with power jams, but they favored Morristown as often as WB-Scranton. At one point jammers Miss USA-Hole and VeroniKa Gettsburger traded places back and forth in the penalty box in a single jam. Morristown held onto its lead and Shannani-Gunz expanded it in the final jams.

Final score was NJRD All Stars 170, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals 134. MVPs for the All Stars were Rosa Ruckus as block and Shannani-Gunz as jammer. MVPs for the Radicals were Liberty Violence as blocker and VeroniKa Gettsburger as jammer.

Arctic Monkeys: “Bite the lightning and tell me how it tastes/Kung fu fighting on your roller skates”


  1. I'd never have guessed you were a roller derby fan, but I have to admit, it might be a fun sport to see live.

    1. I enjoy live derby because the skaters are ordinary gals doing what they absolutely love to do – not as a job, but literally for the sport of it. (For the same reason, I’d rather see a dirt track car race than a professional one.) I follow only the women’s teams because you can watch men beat each other up anywhere.