By Nick BeJeaux
Red Stick Roller Derby (6-1) is back for another season, having hosted their first home bout against the Tragic City Rollers (5-2) and the Cenla Derby Dames (2-4) last weekend.
It was a bitter-sweet return to Leo’s Rollerland for the league. Its A-Team, the All Stars, lost to TCR, 224-233 – an agonizingly close margin of only nine points that is seldom seen in Derby. However, B-Team Capital Defenders overcame the rough-and-tumble CDD for a much wider score margin of 266-172.
Red Stick All Stars struggle in bout of attrition
Tragic City of Birmingham, Alabama proved to be too tough a nut to crack for the All Stars. Their combination of hard hits, tough defense and emphasis on controlling the length of bouts hampered the All Stars, but not to the point of domination. Jammers Hitbitchi Grrl, Sparkles Fantastic, and team captain Little Miss Maggot managed to find openings and bring in points grand slam after grand slam.
Maggot was a ninja on skates for this bout – often jumping the apex, skating through walls of blockers on one foot, and keeping hits at bay with very fancy footwork. In typical Hibitchi fashion, the freshest addition to the AS jam line targeted weaknesses in the defense and bulldozed her way through for handfuls of points. Sparkles fantastic used her speed and agility to capture massive jams throughout; in fact, she grabbed not one, but two 20-point jams towards the end of the second half.
However, TC shifted strategies in the second half of the bout. Rather than lock down the rink, they opted for a more aggressive strategy. AS adapted, but not quickly enough in time to outpace TC’s jammers.
“They posted footage of a bout of theirs in January, and since January they are a very different team,” said Maggot. “I know that they went to some training camps and worked really really hard and it showed. They played a little tougher than we expected and it was a tough adjustment.”
“We changed our strategies when they did, but we had some tough breaks in the second half. My skate broke completely in half, so I was out. But in addition to that we weren’t as calm as we needed to be and that makes all the difference between being successful and not being successful.”
RSRD’s next bout is against the TCR on their home turf, and Maggot feels that now RS has an updated feel for this team they can walk away with a win.
“We play them next!” said Maggot. “We get them back to back and I’m really excited because we have somewhere to go from here; we have something to go on.”
Capital Defenders keep calm and derby on
To say the Capital Defenders’ bout against the CDDs of Alexandria was rough is an understatement. With at least 4 minor injuries in the second half alone and plenty of big hits, the team’s victory was hard fought to say the least. And with this being Blitzkrieg Bombshell’s first home bout as captain, the pressure was on indeed.
“It was a little crazy, I know we’re all tired after that,” she said. “That particular team is made up of some really hard hitters, and that got us tired really quickly. But it was a really good bout. What got us through was just keeping calm and keeping our penalties lower. When you get used to being hit that hard, that’s when you start to get sloppy.”
The Defenders began the bout by taking a very early lead and managed to not only keep it, but expand it throughout the match. While there were more than a few bumps and bruises by the end of the bout, the CDD’s rough and tumble strategy appeared to work against them as more and more of their defenders and jammers were sent to the penalty box. Jammers Diva De Los Muertos and Little Bowtoxic more than once found themselves in a power jam with only two defenders on the rink to stop them. Bowtoxic actually ran the last jam of the bout as a power jam, racking up four gratuitous points before calling the jam and the bout.
Blitzkrieg said that staying calm under pressure and taking hits was a big part of off-season training, which apparently paid off.
“We practice three days a week from 7-10; it’s a lot of fitness but also getting ready for season and making sure we don’t let things like injuries and hard hits make us sloppy,” she said.
Red Stick Roller Derby’s next home bout will be against the Yellow Rose All Stars and Northside Fury Roller Derby on May 16 at Leo’s Rollerland off of Airway at 6 p.m.