6/13/2009: GRR v. TBDD BW

Bout recap courtesy of ShananiTims, Tampa Bay Derby Darlins

June 13, 2009:
“Mean Legs and Jams”

FINAL: Tampa Bay Derby Darlins’ Black Widows 220, Gainesville Roller Rebels 41

Click here to check out photos from the bout by Dana John Hill.

This sense of bewilderment coming into “Mean Legs and Jams” surely had to have been shared by the visiting Gainesville Roller Rebels. ‘Cuz it wasn’t long after the first whistle that it became apparent to everyone watching that the Black Widows had Gainesville seriously, horrendously outgunned.

Now anyone attending 2009’s Sunshine Skate would have (should have) guessed this right off the bat. The Roller Rebels are still a young league. It’s bouts like these that’ll teach them the bloody and bruising skills needed to thrive in the Florida roller derby climate. Like that dwarf I met using needle-nose pliers to pull fishing hooks out of a young manatee, the Widows beat you for your own good, ladies.

Tonight it was Mossy Choak who, appropriately enough, fired the first shot. Choak showcased the speed she’s been known for, as her team exhibited some pack control they probably will be known for. The Black Widows created holes inside the pack, allowing Choak to actually skate through the players, rather than around them as usual.

The second jam hinted at a factor that would only become worse for the Roller Rebels as the night rolled on, with Suzie Bonebreaker catching a huge shot courtesy of Bettie Kruger as she slid around the third curve.

Tampa, a league known for its hyper-physicality, was putting it on full display for their visitors and the panting crowd — who lapped it all up, as the skating here was fast, hard and decidedly loose, with both teams delivering blows and collecting penalties, showing that this tangent I won’t let rest is still relevant.

After catching a whooping from Kruger during her last jam, Suzie Bonebreaker had been sent to the sin bin. Not to be left out, Black Widow Rojo Grande was caught cutting the track in the next jam, thoughtfully providing the returning Bonebreaker a power jam.

It turns out the Widows really had nothing to worry about though, as blocker Eliza Lot stepped up her already brutal game — with Lot hitting Bonebreaker with a shot that sent them both into the suicide seats! –soon being joined by the viciously battling Widow Ann Slanders and Rebel Grizzly Madams. The Rebels were left trailing the Widows (0-14).

This melee continued with Black Widow Lunch Lady giving Laura Ingalls Piledriver a pop right off the starting line. Undeterred by the bedlam going on around her, Roller Rebel Demonomia put Gainesville on the board by beating Mossy Choak for lead jammer, pulling in 4 points.

The next few jams were a Bettie Kruger highlight reel, who started off by taking Lunch Lady’s lead, commencing the jam by brutally knocking Patsy Clothesline right off the line. What makes this jam special, though, is that Kruger then went down the track slamming into every Gainesville-ian in sight — causing one to wonder if the WFTDA has a special term for this maneuver.

The Perv posited that she should attach a photo of each downed skater onto her helmet as a memorial to her brutality. One wonders how many helmets she’d go through in a season this way.

Relief came briefly for the Roller Rebels when the refs eventually pinned something on Kruger ending her reign — or so they thought, since Bettie came right out of the box with a new group of skaters to terrorize, sending Spritzi Beers into the stands.

It’s not often that a blocker can steal the spotlight from her jammer. It’s even rarer for that to happen twice in a row, let alone three times!

Bettie would continue to destroy any chance Gainesville had of posing a threat to Tampa’s chosen defenders, sending Laura Ingalls Piledriver into the stands. The score now an amazing 14-73, Gainesville needed some positively huge jams to turn this around.

The Bay’s brutality knowing no bounds, next Black Widow Gunn Hoe ran into Rebel PocaHotAss, with their collision taking out visiting ref Marcus Akillius also! First the suicide seats, now the refs — absolutely no one was safe!

It’s important to note that these beat-downs arose due to the Widows’ superb pack control. By keeping the Roller Rebels’ jammers trapped inside the pack, Tampa’s blockers had a much easier job landing blows.

Feeling left out, Eliza Lot answered Bettie Kruger’s unspoken challenge, also hitting everyone within striking distance, such aggression serving both as a release and also opening up holes for her teammates.

The Black Widows reaped huge rewards with this, scoring a staggering 31 points in a single jam. Almost too many points to count!

Truth be told though, the hits only tells half of the story, as the Widows’ judicial use of a slow pack was just as damning for the Roller Rebels. Widows’ jammer Little A faced few problems after Gainesville lost Spritzi Beers and Laura Ingall Piledriver to the sin bin. Combined with her pack’s glacial crawl around the track, things certainly looked bright for Little A.

A bit too bright, as Rebel Aurora Nox sent Little A into the seats with a vicious shot. Fearless to a fault, Nox’s follow through left her also taking a early exit from the jam.

Restless, Aurora continued with blockbuster hits throughout the period, ending the next Mossy Choak jam early on account of Nox also introducing Choak to the stands.

As the first match’s first half closed, Gainesville wowed everyone (read: me) by letting their freak flag fly. This happened when blocker Matriarch was seen skating interference well after leaving the pack behind. Making sure not to touch the jamming Mossy Choak, and incur the penalty that would surely occur, Matriarch showed that one can still pull daredevil-ish stunts as one’s team is losing (22-137). Frankly, there’s no better time for them!

At the intermission the Black Widows had made Tampa Bay Roller Derby history with the highest score ever at a bout’s half.

Which begs the question: Does roller derby have a mercy rule? And, if not, should it have one? ‘Cuz barring a team-wide pretzel-induced heart burn epidemic, there was no way Gainesville would be bridging this point divide.

Picking up where she had (been) left off, Mossy Choak opened the second half with 6 points, while the Roller Rebels couldn’t make the Widows’ defense to budge an inch. With new Widow Black Credit executing the rarely seen “back wall” technique, thereby blocking Gainesville’s jammer Suzie Bonebreaker access to the pack! — a rather unprecedented move, since usually blocking dictates confining a jammer within the pack, which creates beautifully mayhemic opportunities such as the great hit Spank Sinatra laid into Laura Ingall Piledriver, taking her out.

Followed by Lunch Lady then taking out an amazingly named Hershall Stalker with another early hit! Lunch Lady’s quickly staking her claim as the Black Widows’ preeminent pivot. Indicative of Tampa’s new(est) breed of roller girl: tiny, but still able to lay down harrowing hits.

Even with a ginormous deficit (now sitting at 25-180), Gainesville continued to soldier on, fighting the good fight, with Grizzly Madams boxing Anita Bopabitch out for Laura Ingall Piledriver’s run, and Rebel Captain Black-Out Brady using her own teammates to impede Bashem Up Barbie.

Brady sending the always willing to lend a shoulder Aurora Nox, straight into Barbie, plowing her over! A knock that landed perhaps a bit too hard, as Bashem Up replied by forcing jammer Demonomia out of bounds.

While the hits were coming hard and heavy, it was awe-inspiring to watch how civil (within the confines of the roller derby discourse)the combatants managed to stay. Even with Gainesville facing a utterly hopeless, uphill battle, one never got the idea that any of their players were trying to injure any Widows.

And hopeless it certainly was. Kudos to announcer Space Monkey, for always offering the hope, on the mic, that Gainesville might turn it around. Their being down (41-206) did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm for preaching the magic of derby: anything can happen!

(Space Monkey also deserves praise for singing Demonomia’s name every time she earned recognition. Singing it better then Danzig ever did!)

In fact, once the Black Widows broke 200, they broke everything else too! First the numbers reset, but that seemed likely given the scoreboard. Second the jam clock just plain disappeared. Total ghost action. When it did re-materialize, it was no longer synchronized with the period clock. (This is all according to my crack ghost scoreboard staff, the Perv.) Thus the very forces of roller derby had come unglued!

The match ended with Black Widow Mae Lest going to town on the ever-suffering Spritzi Beers and Demononia. By forcing nearly half of the Roller Rebels off the track by herself, everyone realized this route had run its course. There were no more numbers to add!

The Black Widows made Tampa Bay Derby Darlins history with their record breaking 220 points over the Gainesville Roller Rebels’ 41.

My note taking finally being close to correct, the Roller Rebels I mentioned most turned out to be the MVPs, with Suzie Bonebreaker taking top jammer and Grizzly Madams top blocker. The Black Widows gave the hallowed Franks to Little A for jamming and Bettie Kruger for blocking.