By Nick BeJeaux
During the last bout of the season for Red Stick Roller Derby’s A-team, featuring the All Stars (8-2) against the Dixie Derby Girls’ Raging Rockets (2-7), the hometown heroes apparently shaped up to be the focused, adaptable and aggressive team they’ve always wanted – and needed – to be.
In the match against the Huntsville, Ala. team at their home base, Leo’s Roller Rink, the All Stars captured an early lead and held it for a final score of 375-101. RSRD was no slouch on the rink against opponents before Dixie; the team’s main approach to the game was a very defensive one and managed to keep well-coordinated offenses from teams like the Houston Knockouts and the Greensboro Gate City Rollers at bay. But after a brutal loss to Alamo’s City’s Las Tejanas – a very aggressive team with reputation for being fast and hard to knock over – and a month between bouts, the team worked long and hard to rethink their approach.
“We have a brand new strategy – new drills and a new philosophy all based on trusting the team around you,” said Little Miss Maggot, All Stars Co-Captain. “Over the last month, work is an understatement for what we’ve been doing. We busted our butts. We completely took the mindset that we’ve had all season and flipped it. We’re using a strategy that a lot of teams are not using and it’s paid off.”
Granted, Dixie is no Tejanas, who have won every single bout in their 2014 season and are ranked 83rd in the WFTDA, but watching the All Stars’ skaters communicate on the rink and seeing that communication bear delicious, juicy fruit hints at great success to come. That is, if they can keep it up.
“Our new foundation is communication and trust,” said Maggot.
Another part of the All Star’s Success was a more aggressive offense. Cycling between Val Killmore; team co-captain; Sparkles Fantastic, the top scorer of the bout; and new jammer Hibitchi Grrl proved to be very effective, particularly with Hibitchi. She previously played as a blocker for the All Stars and shows in her jamming. Hibitchi is fast and tough, but also small and squirrely – easily able to find holes in the enemy defense.
“I was actually trained as a jammer when I transferred to Red Stick, but they already had amazing jammers on the line here, so I just started as a blocker,” she said. “The way that I jam is very aggressive. Because I’m short and have a lower center of gravity it’s harder for the taller, bigger girls to knock me down. Also, I’ve gotten better at anticipating what they’re going to do and move around them.”
While the League’s B-team, the Capitol Defenders (2-5), posted a 150-165 loss to the DDG’s Beach Brawl Sk8er Dolls after an agonizingly close second half, Co-Captain Sour Patch Kid wasn’t lost on the fact that almost half of her team started skating just weeks ago and still gave the Sk8er Dolls a run for their money.
“We have five skaters that just graduated fresh meat two weeks ago and they played amazingly,” said Sour Patch Kid. “I am so excited! We have a very competitive roster, so there might be a different lineup for each bout and that’s great because everyone here wants to play and get better.”
While the all Stars have exited the rink, the Defenders have three away bouts left in their season and the All Stars are all too happy to lend a hand at practice.
“We will certainly travel to all of their bouts and support them and help out with training,” said Maggot. “Off-season is when we up our training. We’re looking at adding another practice and upping our requirements to make it even more hardcore for 2015. I can’t wait fro the next season, I’m really excited!”
For schedules, skater bios, and information on the Defender’s upcoming bouts, visit www.redstickrollerderby.com.