LEAGUE LEADERS POST 76 SECOND HALF POINTS VS. M-80s
by the Grand Poobah
(ST. LOUIS, MO) After one of the most physical and emotional bouts in Arch Rival Roller Girl history, The Stunt Devils are a skate stride closer in their quest to once again raise the league’s top hardware.
In bout number four of the 2010 ARRG season, the defending champions upended the M-80s 110-85 Saturday night in front of 900 derby-faithfuls.
With the win, the Stunts (3-0) clinched a berth into the 2010 ARRG Championship bout, to be held July 10 at All-American Sports Mall.
“This feels so awesome,” said jammer Starry Starry Fight. “The Stunts deserve it, completely.”
However, the win did not come as easily as the final score reflected, as the firecrackers on quads had the ladies in purple on the ropes at numerous times during the bout.
In fact, a 60-34 M-80s’ lead at the halftime break made those in audience wonder if the skaters clad in red had successfully returned to its league championship form, which had dominated a two-year stretch in 2007 and 2008.
There were plenty of hard hits and short tempers to be found in Saturday’s match-up, which made for high drama throughout the bout.
This made ARRG Nation take notice, especially considering the fully-loaded line-up that the M-80s brought to the table.
Four new full-time roster members made their debuts Saturday night – a product of a mid-season draft held last month – which included former M-80s veteran The Siege and unretired Smashinistas captain Chokehold Chanel No. 5, who had been long associated with the league by wearing a different colored jersey.
“It was a little surreal,” said Choke. “I had three years in cammo…but I look a lot better in red, I think.”
But even with this re-loaded line-up, the M-80s found themselves in a deficit early in the bout.
A streak of eight lead jams by the Stunt Devils in the bout’s opening 10 minutes gave them a 22-1 lead – and it looked like it could have been another frustrating night for the M-80s.
But something unexpected happened – as things often happen in ARRG – for the remainder of the first half.
The M-80s turned it around – boy, did they turn it around!
After Joanie Rollmoan’s 3-point jam, Enya Nightmare followed with a 14-point tally, which cut the Stunts’ lead to 22-18.
Then it was time for the “newbie” to shine.
Chokehold sprinted to the front of the pack and posted an 8-pointer, which gave the M-80s a 26-23 lead with 14:00 left.
Then it was time for a red rally. Rookie M-80 jammer Black Market Baby followed with a triple grand-slam. The 15-point tally with 10:40 left in the first half extended the red jerseys’ lead to 41-23.
This started a stretch of scoring dominance for BMB. Two more high-scoring jams – including a 10-pointer to finish the half – stretched the M-80s’ lead to 60-34 at intermission.
This left the Stunts with a soul-searching situation in the locker room. How would the defending champs respond in the second half…submit or succeed?
“We decided that we had to get our heads back into the game and play calmly,” said Starry Starry Fight of the halftime deficit. “The Stunts do better when we work together.”
But the work would not be easy as the momentum continued for the M-80s to start the second half. Four successive jams – two by Nightmare and solos by Chanel and Rollmoan – extended the M-80s’ lead to 70-34 five minutes into the half.
But once again, something unexpected happened – this time to the relief of the purple contingent.
The Stunts began to turn it around – a proverbial water-dousing to the lit wick of the firecrackers.
Stunt jammer South City Shiner began the momentum shift with a 9-pointer to cut the gap to 73-43 with 24:45 left.
Then the ladies in purple began a powerful rotation at jammer. Shiner and Starry, along with Artemischief and rookie Morgan LaFaetal, chopped away at the M-80s’ lead.
Starry’s four-point jam was followed by Shiner’s triple grand slam – a 15-pointer that cut the gap to 73-62 with 19:00 left.
The defending champs continued the amazing comeback with strong jams by Starry and LaFaetal to whittle the lead down as the half progressed, which played with upon the M-80s’ psyche.
“We were sitting on them, holding them, getting into their heads,” said LaFaetal. “Making them lose their game.”
And what was once a 36-point second-half lead for the M-80s had now evaporated to only three points – an 85-82 advantage with eight minutes remaining.
The two teams figuratively traded punches like a couple of heavyweight prize fighters for the next couple of minutes, but then the league’s scoring leader struck the knock-out blow that upended the M-80s.
Starry Starry Fight’s 14-point jam with 5:40 remaining put the exclamation point on the turnaround. The Stunts now possessed a 96-85 lead.
And it looked like the M-80s would issue the receipt on the next jam, but M-80s jammer Nikki Vixxen was sent to the penalty box – after being whisker-close to being lead jammer – for cutting the track.
The Stunts would go on to score an unanswered 14 points to finish the bout and clinch a championship title berth – and prove that the defending champions chose the correct solution at halftime.
“You can be behind by 30 points like we were, but you can just chip away at it,” said Starry Starry Fight, who scored a bout-high 47 points for the victors. “Two points (here and there) might not seem like much to the crowd, but if you can do that over and over, it adds up.”
South City Shiner added 43 while Morgan LeFaetal posted a personal best of 12 points.
However, the breakout star of the bout was M-80s jammer Black Market Baby, whose eye-opening 44-point performance puts her well on pace to picking up the ARRG 2010 Rookie of the Year Award.
Eye-opening also describes the much improved play of the M-80s (1-2) as the 2010 season has progressed. If not for some inconsistencies in the second half, the women in red would have claimed the duke.
“We gave the Stunts a run for their money and we’re only gonna get better from here,” said Chokehold Chanel No. 5 after the bout. “Don’t count us out because we’ve got more tricks up our sleeves.”
This makes for an interesting scenario next month as the jammer’s current team battles her former team, The Smashinistas (0-2), on Saturday, May 8 at the All-American Sports Mall.
Could Chokehold’s statement be considered a threat…or a promise?
“We’re 100% focused,” said the new red jammer. “We know what we have to do and we’re gonna keep busting our butts to do it.”
STUNT DEVILS: Starry Starry Fight 47, South CIty Shiner 43, Morgan LaFaetal 12, Artemischief 9
M-80s: Black Market Baby 44, Enya Nightmare 24, Chokehold Chanel No.5 16, The Siege 3, Joanie Rollmoan 3
SATURDAY NOTES FROM THE POOBAH
- Saturday’s weather couldn’t have been better – which made the decision for some who contemplated skipping Saturday night’s ARRG bout difficult. We’re glad that 900 of you made the right choice. We thank you for your continued patronage and support this season.
- Thanks again to all those who participated in our charity raffle, which supports the work of Youth In Need. Your donation is pushing us even closer to our $3,500 goal for the 2010 season.
- And a big thank you to the following adjacent businesses near the All-American Sports Mall for their continued cooperation with overflow parking: Cleanco, Video Services Group, Ferguson Financial and Precision Healthcare.
- Also Hells LaBelle and I would like to once again acknowledge the help of Smashinistas co-captain Eli Wallop, who provided plenty of information to the boutcast. Wallop, to her credit, took the high road when it came to addressing the acquisition of former teammate Chokehold Chanel No. 5 by the M-80s. This proves that this leader is one class act and a great representative of the league.
- Scratches for Saturday’s bout were Cherry Chernobyl and Jack U Up for the M-80s and Cookies N. Cream for the Stunt Devils.
IN POOBAH’S CORNER: IS IT REAL?
That’s a question I get asked a lot when people find out I “call” roller derby action.
They are perhaps familiar with the telecasts of the sport from the 1970s on ESPN, or even worse, the campy “Rollergames” syndicated program from 1989 (A figure-8 track…the high-banked 20-foot “Wall of Death”…an overtime jam that implemented a live alligator pit….are you kidding me?)
Those “historical” theatrical examples usually give today’s modern derby a negative connotation.
When asked, I don’t get worked up as much as perhaps a skater would. Ask the same question to Grave Danger – and you’ll get a quad in your mouth.
Then Miss Lippy will come by, point at your face and laugh at your remaining broken Chicklets.
My participation with the league is minimal in comparison to the literal “sweat-equity” that these athletes put into it. They’ll be happy to show you the bruises and scars associated with their sport. Some consider it a badge of honor.
Yet as much as I try to convince the skeptical that there’s no pre-mediated movesets or pre-determined outcomes, it’s still a question that’s asked of me – coincidentally as recent as this past week by man with a PhD, who tried to find a correlation between modern derby and professional wrestling.
I truly wished this conversation would have taken place this week rather than last week…for I think I have a pretty good defense of point – a direct result of this past weekend’s bout.
For first timers of roller derby action, you might be unfamiliar with a league tradition – one that begins with worry and concern, but inevitably ends with compassion and relief.
If a player becomes injured during play, ARRG officials will immediately call off a jam and all skaters and officials will drop to one knee while EMTs assist the fallen skater.
It is a sign of respect shown by all members of the league. It embodies the true feeling of solidarity that flows non-stop through their veins.
Most times, the skater will be back on their quads in just a few seconds. These athletes are used to playing with pain…real pain – it’s what they do (and if you asked most of them – they don’t like the attention).
But on a rare occasion, those seconds become minutes – and the reality of the physical nature of the sport – and its inherit dangers – becomes crystal clear.
One of those moments unfortunately occurred as M-80s blocker Suri O’ Killer went down with a knee injury late in the first half Saturday night.
Time seemed to have frozen as the crowd sat in stunned silence. The lone sound heard in the quiet venue was the self-removal of protective gear by Suri.
It was a chilling sound – a sound that puts a queasy feeling in your stomach.
A few moments later it was followed by a sound of exasperation of someone who was in excruciating pain.
Then it was concluded by the sound of dejection from a skater who could no longer participate that evening in a sport she loves so much.
All this occurred a few feet in front of me – and it rattled me – a lot.
Was it real? You damn right it was.
Perhaps it was at this moment that I – and the audience – realized that there was a good chance she was not going to continue this bout.
And whether one “gets” roller derby or not, we can all find a parallel with Suri’s situation in our daily lives.
Think about it. We all enjoy our favorite activities – physical and non-physical – with a passion that defines who we are…that makes us real. And when we are denied that opportunity – whether by default or accident – it’s frustrating. And the skater who I saw being attended to was being denied.
As much as I tried to block the activity of the EMTs with Suri from my view, the mere fact that the techs had no other choice but to move her directly in front of me in order for play to continue made it all the more difficult – both as a bout announcer and as a human being.
Now within hand’s reach, I became a witness to the true, mutual love and respect these athletes have for each other. Some approached her with words of encouragement – even some of the opposition approached with watery eyes. Even if they are opposites in uniform color, they all share a common thread – a thread that’s strong…really strong.
I figured the less I see, the better. I still had a responsibility to carry out.
But most of what I saw were the bodies of technicians and a giant stretcher being wheeled into position. Dagnabbit, I couldn’t see the action!
Amongst all the visual blockage, I then felt a slight tug on my left pinky finger. At least it felt real….
I looked down and it was Suri – who had locked pinkies in order to give me a reassuring smile and wink as if to say “I’m gonna be just fine.”
Which made me feel better…not only because I believed her but also because the pinky tug had not come from one of the EMTs.
At presstime, the M-80 blocker stated that – after exhaustive emergency work Saturday night – her knee is not broken. We are all thankful for that. A future MRI would give more of a concrete answer to her future – at least on the track.
But you can bet that she’ll be out there somewhere in ARRG Nation regardless of her bout activity – for you can deny Suri a pair of quads in the short term, but you can’t deny Suri ARRG in the long-term.
Perhaps this image provides the best summation.
As she was wheeled out of the All-American on a stretcher, Suri reacted to the audience’s adulation like the Queen of the Mystic Krewe at Mardi Gras – smiling, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd.
Because in her mind, it wasn’t “goodbye” – it was “until she sees them again.”
And you can bet – my friends – that THAT will be real.
ARRG ALL-STARS/ST. LUNACHIX TRAVEL TO OHIO
SATURDAY’S BATTLE FINDS LOCALS AGAINST TOP 20 TEAM
by the Grand Poobah
I’ve got a rhyme that comes with a riddle…what’s round on the end and high in the middle?
But for ARRG, their experience with their WFTDA North Central rival has been no laughing matter, punctuated by the locals’ most heartbreaking loss in franchise history.
In a back-and-forth contest that went down to the final jam (and a dramatic see-saw scoreboard conclusion), Cincinnati Roller Derby’s All-Star team – the Black Sheep – defeated the ARRG All-Stars 64-63 last Labor Day weekend.
And although the bout was non-sanctioned by the WFTDA and had no playoff implications, it did provide both cities a tremendous preview of a first round match-up at the then-upcoming 2009 WFTDA North Central Regionals.
Alas for ARRG, the heartbreak continued at the re-match, a 94-86 Cincy win that dropkicked Gateway City’s finest into the consolation bracket.
In 2010, the girls in pink and black look to issue the receipt on foreign land.
ARRG travels to the Buckeye State to battle the Cincinnati Rollergirls this Saturday, April 17 at the historic Cincinnati Gardens (2250 Seymour Avenue). In the St. Louis vs. Cincinnati double-header, the St. Lunachix (0-1) face the Silent Lambs (0-1) in the 7 pm developmental undercard while the ARRG All-Stars (1-2) battle the Black Sheep (3-1) in WFTDA-sanctioned action immediately following.
Cincinnati Rollergirls' Black Sheep
The Black Sheep continued the 2009 WFTDA North Central Regional with a fourth-place finish, which no doubt gave them inspiration into the new decade.
And it has paid off recently. The Black Sheep were a perfect 3-0 at this past weekend’s Franky Panky Tournament in Tampa Bay, FL.
Following Saturday’s opening win against the Tallahassee Rollergirls 164-55, the Black Sheep bested the WFTDA #20-ranked Dallas Derbygirls 68-66. The trifecta concluded with a 141-74 win over the host Tampa Bay Devil Darlings.
Cincy currently has the attention of the national WFTDA scene, as they sit at #16 in the most recent Power Rankings from the Derby News Network.
However, the Black Sheep’s season opener on March 27 showed that even the powerful are sometimes vulnerable.
Cincinnati was topped by #15 San Diego 129-108 in a bout that – if you asked the Black Sheep – they let slip away.
CRG's K. Lethal
Although Cincinnati held the lead at numerous stages of the bout, San Diego outscored the Black Sheep in a pivotal second-half 37-17 stretch to pick up the victory – one that was tough to take for the girls from Ohio.
The Black Sheep are multi-faceted – a true atrtribute of any Top-20 team.Jammer K. Lethal notched 37 points against San Diego while the fantastically-named Hannah Ouchocinco added 35. Also look out for perennial team leader Sadistic Sadie- a five-year CRG All-Star – who when approached by ARRG’s announce team last year prior to battle stated…”Call me whatever you want…I’m the team’s self-appointed b**ch.” (Poobah’s note: we were immediately smitten!!!)
Meanwhile, the ARRG All-Stars look to even their record after two tough losses in a row. Following a season opening victory in Memphis, back-to-back losses to Milwaukee and Atlanta have put the locals behind the proverbial 8-ball in WFTDA-sanctioned action.
The trip to Hotlanta was especially difficult – only three ARRG skaters scored double-digits while league scoring leader Starry Starry Fight was completely shut-out.
The St. Lunachix meanwhile look to avenge the franchise’s first loss ever in Evansville a few weeks back. They battle a Silent Lambs team that is anything but ripe for a shearing. The developmental squad of CRG quad-stomped the Circle City Socialites of Indianapolis 112-32 at their March season opener.
The Cincinnati Gardens will be a rockin’ for this doubleheader. For their season opener, the Gardens was packed with a reported 3,200 in attendance. This, no doubt, will potentially be the largest crowd ARRG has ever skated in front of.
But a set of visiting teams can silence a massive Cincy crowd early with a quick start. So far in 2010, one of the troubles of ARRG for both squads has been a sluggish start. This cannot happen here…not against these teams.
The troops need to be motivated for this one. One small misstep early could potentially lead to a very long night. Conversely, dominance out of the gates leads to confidence and control down the stretch.
An infamous Buckeye – noted philosopher/musician Gerald V. Casale – once stated to the Poobah while sharing drinks in a Cleveland bar: “there’s no time for later…for later is now.”
And now – rather than later – is the time to turn it around.
A travel tip from Archie: Click on the picture of WLWT Meteorologist (and avid rollerblader!) Valerie Abati for the latest Cincinnati weather information…as propelled by – and I cannot make this up – “The Power of 5 Radar Network.”
When not pondering why Valerie Abati prefers “inlines” to “quads”…The Grand Poobah and Hells LaBelle are bout announcers for the 2010 season of the Arch Rival Rollergirls. Check back in this section on Mondays for the latest in ARRG news and information.