Saturday night we played a pretty packed Pepsi Coliseum, up against the Memphis Roller Girls Hustlin Rollers. I won’t speak for my whole league, but I was pretty dang nervous. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy victory, like we had against Derby City. This was a hard hitting team of veteran skaters, ranked 9th in their region. (We’re ranked 11th in our region). We’ve only gone against one of their skaters before, Black n’ Blue from our infamous Hard Knox Roller Girls bout in season 1. We all remembered her as a good skater, but since that time, we’ve all become good skaters too!
Derby New Network was speculating a hard bout, and that Memphis just might come on top. This only added to my nerves. I stitched up the cutest, tiniest octokitty ever made. (who also, I might add, turned out to be the naughtiest, raunchiest octokitty ever made. Those pictures will never surface!)
*A quick aside for the curious. Yes I mail Neil Gaiman octokitties for luck. His thoughts, and I quote, are that he “feels sort of joyful to have adopted a roller derby team” and that he will “find homes for all the octokitties, or perhaps make a wall of them somewhere”. (and he also wants more calenders) So there. I’m crazy yes, but my mania is looked upon with amusement rather than restraining orders.
Back to the bout, I have never, ever, ever, felt that close to puking before a bout. When we hit the track, I wasn’t in the first group out, so I got to watch as we put points on the board…. and memphis didn’t.
When I did get out there, it felt good. Memphis was hitting the crap out of us, but they couldn’t break up our defense, and one or two of our girls were almost always on their jammer. They got so focused on splitting us up, that they were letting our jammers sail by untouched.
By the end of the first half, our team, and their team, were spending way too much time in the penalty box. It was starting to hurt us, and allowing them to put points on the board when there were only two blockers in the pack, or no jammer, etc. We came back in the second half and cleaned up our act. Memphis was still spending a lot of time in the box, not always for hitting fouls, but once, their jammer lost her helmet panty, and skated the wrong direction to retrieve it. Almost at the same time, she called the jam off, when she had lost lead jammer status (by losing the helmet panty) and got another penalty for calling off the jam when she wasn’t lead. It’s one of those tricky situations that almost never happens and when it does, it’s really hard to remember how to react. It makes me think that we should all practice losing the helmet panty once in a while so we know what to do!
Memphis just could not come back in the second half. We were playing like a solid team. Their individual blockers were amazing, and individually, they were doing amazing things. But individuals don’t win derby. Teams win derby. It also felt like they got frustrated with one of our stronger hitters, and all went in after her. Which, sucked for her, but she took it like a champ, let them come at her, and watched our jammer sail by all of them, while the other three of us in the pack kept their jammer contained. Derby isn’t just a physical game, it’s really mental. I know I’ve made the mistake of getting pissed at someone and going after them, only to kick myself later knowing that by doing that, I allowed the opposing jammer to score on me. It’s hard to keep a cool head when you’re getting hit, and frustrated, but it has to happen. I’m just now learning that in my 4th freaking season!
By the end, the score was 151 to 35 in our favor. It felt great to win, and I’m excited for us, but I know that the next two games in our home season are only going to be harder. I’m excited for the upcoming training for these next bouts. I still don’t know if this is going to be my last season, but just in case, I want to go out with a bang! (and a trip to regionals)
Carefully edited after party pics to follow!