All Stars Travel to Nebraska April 1-3, 2011
The Brewcity Bruiser All-Stars—our league’s badass travel team consisting of skaters from all four BCB home teams—flew to Nebraska last weekend for a three-bout road trip against some of mid-America’s finest. When a travel team hits the road, it’s often customary for one of their announcers to tag along in order to give the home crowd some insight into this visiting crew they have likely never seen before—sell them on our team’s skaters and their skills, personalities, etc. And heck, it’s always nice to have a familiar voice on the mic in a strange new town. Last year, for example, I was honored to share the play-by-play at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex in Franklin with the spunky Double Destroyer, announcer for the Steel City Derby Demons. Now it was my turn to hit the road and try to introduce our girls to the fans in Lincoln and Omaha, and enjoy some high-quality WFTDA-sanctioned roller derby while I was at it.
If you’re one of the many Milwaukee derby fans who come out for the home season bouts to cheer on the 8s, Shevils, Maidens or Rollettes, but haven’t bothered to check out a travel team bout yet, do your best to rectify that as soon as you can. The home season is full of action-packed hits, moves, and drama, but travel team derby cranks the quality of gameplay up several notches. It’s the cream of our 80-some-odd girl crop against the very best from all over the country. If you love roller derby action, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
So, how’d our girls do? Fortunately for you, HighD Voltage kept bugging me all weekend to recap the bouts for the blog, and I was all too willing to oblige. You’re welcome, derby fans.
Bout #1: BCB All-Stars 90, No Coast Mad Maxines 115
The BCB All-Stars’ first bout of the weekend was against Lincoln, Nebraska’s <a href=” http://nocoastderbygirls.com”>No Coast Derby Girls</a>, the #5 team in the South Central Region and a team on the verge of breaking into the Derby News Network’s top 25 national power rankings. The primary narratives for the Bruisers over the weekend became evident in this grueling nail-biter: power jam control and second-half meltdowns. The first half of the No Coast bout was a roller derby clinic by the All-Stars—they got out to an early, commanding lead thanks to outstanding blocking and pack control, and nimble jamming by Zo-Tay, Rejected Seoul, Skittle, and more. But it was the control of the pack during power jams (jams where there is only one jammer on the track due to a penalty) that really enabled Brewcity to build their early lead. If the Brewcity jammer was on the track, the All-Stars were able to slow the pack down in order to allow maximum lappage and point scoring. If the No Coast jammer was on the track by herself, the BCB blockers sped up the pace of the pack, making it more difficult for the opposing jammer to catch up and pass anyone. By the end of the first half, the scoreboard showed a commanding 62-39 All-Star lead. But as No Coast announcer Justin Sane and I reminded the crowd, in roller derby, no lead is safe (last month’s Shevil comeback against the Crazy 8s should be evidence enough of that).
The second half saw the Bruisers rapidly lose control of the bout and allow a No Coast comeback. The Mad Maxines’ star jammer, Flash Gloria, seemingly never left the track, donning the star literally every other jam en route to skating as the jammer in 22 out of 33 total jams in the game (unofficial number—that’s what I heard from someone after the bout, but trust me, it sounded accurate). According to the blurb in the <a href=” http://journalstar.com/sports/0862beb6-d3d4-5d17-8d70-e82d32dfd99e.html”>Lincoln Journal Star</a>’s sports section the next day (memo to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: other papers are covering derby in the sports section; why aren’t you?), Flash rolled up 74 total points while rookie jammer Dropkick Muffy added 26. The points came fast and easy for the Mad Maxines as a result of loads of penalties on the BCB side. The Bruisers were seemingly mentally knocked out of the game after a few penalties allowed No Coast to erase the deficit, and as I silently dropped f-bombs with the microphone away from my face, the No Coast Mad Maxines eventually capped off their comeback with a 115-90 victory. Blah. Memo to any leagues looking to take down No Coast: stop Flash Gloria! She’s more merciless than Ming.
Bout #2: BCB All-Stars 114, Sioux Falls Roller Dollz 104
While the Bruisers rebounded in their second bout—a private, closed clash at No Coast’s Pershing Center against South Dakota’s <a href=”http://www.rollerdollz.com”>Sioux Falls Roller Dollz</a> on Saturday morning, the contest was very nearly a repeat of the previous night’s antics. Once again, the Bruisers dominated in the first half but collapsed in the second, nearly allowing a comeback from an 85-13 halftime score. The story again was penalties—the Bruisers played a relatively clean first half but started to get sloppy in the second. A particularly ugly jam allowed 29 Sioux Falls points as they clawed from 102-34 to 102-63. Woof.
The cool part of seeing a closed bout was being able to hear the bench chatter that is normally drowned out by the DJ and by crowd noise. After the 29-point collapse, the BCB coach, Swingwreck, called a timeout and gathered his team in a huddle. “OK, that last jam was ugly. Erase it right now. Never happened. We’re still up by 40.” (The lack of crowd also enabled everyone to hear Sioux Falls jammer Julia Wild belch loudly at the jammer line. SOUNDS OF THE GAME!) However, Swing’s pep talk wasn’t able to stop the bleeding as the lead eventually dwindled to 114-104 as Sioux Falls desperately called time out with six seconds remaining to give themselves a chance to complete their comeback. However, the Roller Dollz made a critical error when they put a jammer with three minor penalties on the line in their last jam. As soon as she logged her fourth penalty, she was sent packing to the penalty box, allowing Carrie A Hacksaw to get lead and simply call it off to preserve the skin-of-their-teeth 10-point victory. Whew!
Bout #3: BCB All-Stars 105, Omaha Rollergirls All-Stars 65
When we arrived at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, IA Saturday afternoon, psyched for the final bout of the weekend against a familiar opponent—the <a href=” http://www.omaharollergirls.com/”>Omaha Rollergirls</a> All-Stars. Having seen them at last year’s Midwest Brewhaha and having called the bout between Omaha and Brewcity at last September’s North Central regional tournament in Green Bay (a 154-88 BCB victory), I was jazzed to see how the team had improved over the last few months. I was similarly excited to call a bout with Omaha’s excitable announcer Senor Peligro. The dude is a trip and a half—climbing his chair, running out to the track while calling the action…the dude gets the Omaha crowd fired up, all right. But would the BCB All-Stars fold in the second half once again?
A crowd that had to easily top 2000 were on their feet and noisy for their home team, but it was a rough night for them as the Bruisers cruised to a 62-21 halftime lead. Once again, our All-Stars owned the power jam and controlled the pack. Whenever a BCB jammer was sent to the box, the Bruisers kicked on the afterburners, racing around the track and forcing the Omaha girls to keep up while they ate up penalty time and held Omaha jammers like Anna Maniac and Ima Firestarter to five points max per power jam. Meanwhile, Carrie A Hacksaw and Zo-Tay stepped up their games for the Bruisers after Rejected Seoul went down with a knee injury in the first half. Zo-Tay in particular sent Senor Peligro and me to our feet as she landed a risky leap over turn two and around the Omaha blockers to take lead status. If Zo-Tay lands out of bounds and skates back in, she’s heading to the box for cutting the track, but she stuck the landing like an Olympic gymnast, impressing even the partisan Omaha crowd.
Finally, the Bruisers were able to put together two solid halves of derby, and while Omaha showed the occasional spark in the second half, the BCB All-Stars kept control and powered ahead for a 105-65 victory. The Bruisers ended the road trip 2-1; it’ll be interesting to see how these results affect the team’s standing in WFTDA’s North Central region.
The Brewcity Bruisers’ skaters, refs, and announcer (hi!), incidentally, send a HUGE thanks to the Omaha Rollergirls for hosting us all weekend. They supplied amazing hotel accommodations, an excellent facility for hosting the bout, and a flat-out ridiculous party bus to send us to the afterparty. The Brewcity Bruisers are huge Omaha fans, and we can’t wait to see them again in May at the second annual Midwest Brewhaha, which is, incidentally, your next chance to see your Brewcity Bruiser All-Stars in action against the best of the Midwest. They’ll be taking on Madison’s Mad Rollin’ Dolls and the Minnesota Rollergirls at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex in Franklin on May 21-22. I had better see you there! Otherwise, I shall shake my head at you disapprovingly!
**Pictures courtesy of Moosie