HARD TO PICK FAVORITES IN EVENLY COMPETITIVE BOUTS
by the Grand Poobah, ARRG Bout Co-Announcer – Photos by Bob Dunnell.
A special moment occurs tomorrow night.
I take that back. THE special moment occurs tomorrow night.
Saturday at 7 pm, the Arch Rival Roller Girls – St. Louis’ first female flat-track roller derby league – presents it 2012 Local Championships at Chaifetz Arena.
In the main event, the Stunt Devils (4-0) face the M-80s (3-1) for the league title. Prior to that match-up, a third-place bout between the Smashinistas (1-3) and Rebel Skate Alliance (0-4) will be featured.
Advance tickets for the event are available at the Chaifetz Arena box office today until 5 pm. Advance tickets are $20 for floor seating/sitting (adults only), $15 for bowl seating and $6 for bowl seating for children 10 and under.
Tickets will be on sale Saturday at the box office from 10 am – 2 pm and when doors open at 6 pm. (Note: tickets will increase to $25 floor/$20 bowl seating adult at 6 pm Saturday.)
Whether you already have ticket in hand or plan to purchase Saturday, the Arch Rival Roller Girls would like to thank you – whether you’re a long-time follower of the league or a first-time watcher Saturday night – for being a part of what will no doubt be a special evening.
When founded in 2005, ARRG’s goal was to bring the athleticism, drama and beauty of roller derby to audiences that wished to enjoy an alternative. In its seven-year history, the league has presented its sport to thousands of derby fans.
And when presented in front of those who were not familiarized with the modern-day version of the sport, it did not take long for those with piqued curiosities to see what all the “buzz” was about in a positive light.
Why will Saturday night be special? Although the league has historically displayed its sport in various spaces within the county – from roller rinks to sport hockey courts, from convention halls to warehouses and from city streets to blacktopped parking lots – this specific event marks the first time that ARRG has held full-length regulation bouts in the city of St. Louis. To hold this event at St. Louis’ premiere athletic facility is the proverbial cherry on top.
If you are a long time fan of this hard-working league, we’ll have a few surprises in store tomorrow night in comparison to what we have done in the past. In this “once-in-a-leaguetime” opportunity, ARRG thought it would do its very best to entertain its largest home audience ever.
But let’s keep things in perspective for a moment. Tomorrow night’s event just doesn’t happen overnight. In ARRG’s case, this event is the culmination of work with seeds that were planted in 2005.
The athletes that you will see here tomorrow night have made the physical, financial and personal sacrifices to make this event a reality. The literal sweat equity involved to participate in this sport can never be quantified. Once you become a member of the Arch Rival Roller Girls, the involvement is truly a 24/7/365 commitment.
Simply put, the members of Arch Rival Roller Girls compete because they hold this sport true to their pink and black hearts.
And for you – the spectator on Saturday – your relationship with ARRG and its athletes fits different classifications. The skater on the flat-track might be your spouse, partner or significant other. Perhaps she’s your daughter. Maybe, it’s your sister. There’s a chance that it could be your co-worker. She might be a close friend.
And there is the chance that it may be someone that you do not even know at all until you bought a ticket.
All the athletes, officials and staff that you will see on the flat track are residents of the bi-state area. It will literally be your community out there. And regardless of where your particular personal relationship falls, tomorrow night you will be a member of our family…the ARRG flat-track derby family.
In the end, we’re happy that you’ve come along for the ride.
A breakdown of tomorrow night’s double header at Chaifetz Arena:
ARRG 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT
THE STUNT DEVILS (4-0) VS. THE M-80s (3-1)
A constant of the rich history of ARRG has been the long-time rivalry between the two squads featured in the main event. Their head-to-head match-up in the regular season was decided on the bout’s last jam after the period clock had expired.
Both squads exceeded early projections and steamrolled their way to the top two spots in the season standings.
The top-seeded Stunt Devils, league champions in 2009 and 2010, compete for the big brass ring following a runner-up finish in the 2011 finale. The primary roster from the season prior was held intact and youngsters gained valuable track time as this season progressed.
What is impressive about the Stunts is that there is plenty of depth to be found at multiple positions. The jamming rotation featured an impressive four-skater rotation that occupied four of the top ten spots in league scoring this season. Leading the way in Stunt scoring was ARRG All-Star jammer Mighty Mighty Boston, whose 187 points in four bouts placed her in the top three.
Complimented by Artemischief (164 points scored), South City Shiner (156) and Morgan LeFaetal (101), the Stunt jammers possess the knack to capitalize on the other team’s miscues. Bout-shifting power jams were a constant for this quartet. Expect any one of them to strike at any minute.
Up front is a solid core of veteran blockers and pivots, lead by ARRG veterans Mayor Francis Slayer, Grave Danger and Deathica Steele. The trio reached personal bests in minutes played while keeping the penalties down. Earlier this season, Slayer skated in every jam during a bout (that’s roughly 40:00 on the track hitting people, folks.)
Sophomores Schagyver, Hydrogen Bombshell and Biohazard Betty also contributed to the blocking schematic as well as newcomers Toe Stop Belevin’, Dollyrot N and Vod KaKnockers. Expect this half-dozen to play significant roles tonight.
After winning two titles in a row, a runner-up finish last year did not suffice for the ladies in purple. This squad is ready – and more than capable – to hoist its third championship trophy in four years tomorrow night.
However, there is a major red roadblock impeding their path. It’s a squad that very well could have finished the regular season undefeated and they look on getting their “red”-demption tomorrow night.
The M-80s showed signs of progress in their third place finish last season. One knew that the mix of veteran flat-trackers and spirited newcomers would give the league fits in 2011-12. Little did anyone realize just how powerful they would become.
The firecrackers on squads collectively outscored their opponents 626-490 in four bouts. This 154-point per bout average hit an ARRG historical benchmark which may never be surpassed. In short, sprinting point-for-point with the M-80s was a questionable methodology to have.
Leading the charge in the jamming rotation was league scoring champion Black Market Baby. ARRG’s 2010 Rookie of the Year recharged her batteries and exploded with 231 points in four bouts. The co-captain was not shy while wearing the star and one can expect her to go full-throttle tomorrow night.
EnYa Nightmare (169 points scored) and ARRG 2011 Rookie of the Year May Require Stitches (105) compliment the jamming rotation. And just like their opponents tonight, there are more who can don the star to add to the scoring punch. Co-captain Science Friction and Munchausen by Foxy have both posted 20-point jams in the season and could provide an unsuspected surprise.
If that wasn’t enough at the jammer stripe, there’s also youngster Rhino Might and M-80s’ vet The Siege to provide additional depth. All seven jammers mentioned will also take turns blocking. The blocking is supplemented by veteran Bareknuckle Smack and sophomores The Sound of Violence and Sue Render. Newcomers Blue Ridge Riot, The Ginger Assassin and Kimical Burn will also see minutes at Chaifetz.
When these two teams played last December, the Stunts on the final jam stole a 136-132 victory from the M-80s in a topsy-turvy battle that ARRG nation is still talking about five months later. Tomorrow night’s main event more than likely will feature the same dramatics.
It’s a good thing that this bout is played in the city. We’re a mere five minutes away from the Tums factory.
2012 ARRG THIRD PLACE BOUT
THE SMASHINISTAS (1-3) VS. REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE (0-4)
A friendly word of advice: do not let the records of these two squads formulate any preconceived notions. Both have shown steady improvement throughout the local season and are more than capable of making a very bold statement in the third place bout.
League parity netted the Smashinistas a mark below .500 this season, but there was plenty of upswing to the portfolio. This squad does possess the veteran experience to propel them to victory.
At the forefront in scoring are veterans All-Stars Downtown Dallis and The Educator. Dallis finished second in league scoring (210 points in four bouts) and The Educator (156 points) returned to form. The duo will be complimented by newcomer Brickyard, who scored 40 in her ARRG debut in February’s post-season round.
Also look for jams from Smashie vets Boom Boom Pow and The Forecloser when they are not in the blocking rotation.
And speaking of blocking, there’s plenty to be found in that department as well. ARRG All-Stars Eli Wallop and Shimmy Hoffa lead the charge with additional help from veterans Punches Pileup, Polka Dot YrEyeout and Megalodominator as well as hard-chargers Shell Shoxx, Sly Davinita, Harsha Punishment and Mali Bruz Barbie.
On paper in last year’s third place bout, the Smashies seemed like a favorite to win. Alas, it never happened and they weren’t happy at all. Tomorrow night, they look for a quick strike early to show others how dominant they can be.
But in their path are defending league champion Rebel Skate Alliance, whose regular season was not too kind due in part to the amount of roster injuries amassed. Case in point, RSA co-captain and 2011 scoring champion Smarty McFly only skated a handful of times this season. To further drive home the point, the squad had to utilize unrostered skaters in order to field a team in the playoff round to avoid forfeiture.
If fielding a complete team in 2011-12, RSA would have been in fine shape. But while facing adversity perpetually this season, the squad found plenty of positives by skaters finding newfound responsibilities. As a result, eight different skaters took turns at jamming this season.
Despite the absence of McFly again tomorrow night, the Rollin’ Rebs have plenty of reasons to feel confident in the third place bout.
Jammer Stabby McCutcha paced RSA team scoring this season. The 20-point per bout average was a breakthrough for the 2011 Rookie of the Year runner-up. Co-captain Party Foul has always shown that she is a “cerebral skater.” Nothing flashy and nothing boisterous, Foul is capable of scoring 40 points when unexpected.
RSA has benefitted with newcomers to the league that have prior flat-track experience. Beaster Bunny (Windy City), Pink Diamond (CoMo Derby Dames/St. Chux Derby Chix) and Eveready (Southern Illinois) compliment the jamming rotation while simultaneously assist in blocking.
And blocking leads us to Chewblocka, the 2011 ARRG League MVP. If anyone doubted her victory last season, she has more than made a valid point for a repeat victory this season. The “Wookie” delivers consistently and will lead the charge upfront tomorrow night. She’ll be assisted by ARRG veterans Ginny Beastley and Bertha Venus as well as RSA newcomers The Oregon Betrayal, Eaux Baby, Duece Bomber and Warpath O. Jen.
Tomorrow night’s RSA starting line-up only features four returning starters from last year’s championship squad. The hard journey travelled this season has made this franchise internally stronger. And that passion and desire might be enough to potentially propel this team to victory.
When it comes to derby, always expect the unexpected. Both squads have shown plenty of effort this season. This one will more than likely come down to capitalization of the opponent’s mistakes.
Tomorrow night will see the league take its presentation up to a whole new level. Full sound and scoreboard video utilizing the full extent of Chaifetz’s audio/visual resources. A performance from SLU’s Bare Naked Statues will get the crowd pumped up with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem. The ARRG Jeerleaders will have a special routine ready to go. Representatives from the City of St. Louis will be on hand with a special presentation to the league prior to the first whistle.
While you’re at Chaifetz Arena tomorrow night, make sure you stop by the official ARRG merchandise table and get that souvenir that will give you that reminder of what will be a monumental evening for this league. Plus, athletes will be appearing there to sign autographs as the evening progresses.
And you can put the capper on the evening of celebration at ARRG’s official post-bout after-party at the Firebird (2706 Olive St.) Fans will get in free to the after-party by presenting their ticket stub at the door. Fans who cannot make the Chaifetz Event can still attend the after-party with a $3 cover. Music, food and revelry will be a part of the festivities.
For Saturday updates throughout the day, check with ARRG’s official Facebook page.
In conclusion, tomorrow night is the most important event in the league’s seven-year history. And we’re grateful that you will be a part of it. We couldn’t wait for it to get here and when all is said and done, we know that it will always be remained etched in our collective memory. We have no doubt that you’ll remember it as well.
After all…history never repeats.
We’ll see you tomorrow night at 7 pm at Chaifetz Arena!
COMING UP TOMORROW AT 8 AM FOR ARRG’s “30n30″: Championship Day! A simple question was posed to ARRG personnel: What will April 28 at Chaifetz Arena mean to you? We’ll get the direct statements that come from the heart. On Saturday, we look at “what Chaifetz means…in their own words.”
ARRG’s “30n30″ is a daily feature that examines different aspects of the Arch Rival Roller Girls – St. Louis’ first female flat-track roller derby franchise. In this section every morning at 8 AM for the entire month of April, a new feature will be presented.
Other installments of ARRG’s “30n30″: PRE-SERIES SET-UP (1) EVOLUTION (2) THE DREAM TO PLAY AT CHAIFETZ (3) LOCAL SEASON RECAP (4) ARRG ALL-STARS (5) SAINT LUNACHIX (6) ROOKIE RIVALS (7) REFEREES & NSOs (8) PRE-BOUT RITUALS (9) POST-BOUT RITUALS (10) GUERILLA UNCAGED – NO MINORS (11) ARRG VS. MEMPHIS PREVIEW (12) CHARITY (13) CHAIFETZ PUBLICITY (14) McWHEELY PHOTOGRAPHY (15) GUERILLA UNCAGED – DERBY NAMES (16) ARRG ALL-STARS VS. MEMPHIS RECAP (17) JEERLEADERS (18) SKATING MOMS (19) LUNACHIX VS. SIRG PREVIEW (20) GUERILLA UNCAGED – DERBY INJURIES (21) CHAIFETZ ANTICIPATION (22) LUNACHIX VS. SIRG RECAP (23) REBEL SKATE ALLIANCE (24) THE SMASHINISTAS (25) THE-M-80s (26) THE STUNT DEVILS