NC #8 ALL-STARS BATTLE SC #3, CHIX FACE BRAWLERS
by Muckety Muck, Derby News Network Contributing Writer – Photos by Bob Dunnell
For a moment, let’s channel Mr. Peabody – the bowtie-wearing, bespectacled four-pawed explorer of animated time travel – and set the “Wayback Machine” to May 1, 2010.
We descend upon Nashville, Tennessee, classified culturally as “The Music City” due to its historical roots and contemporary influence in country music.
But for this journey, we’re deposited onto the flat track habitat of the Nashville Rollergirls and its primary travel squad, the Music City All-Stars.
We witness a chaotic bout between the hostesses and the Arch Rival Roller Girls, who were scrapping jam-for-jam. Deep into the second period, neither squad can gain a double-digit advantage.
But then a “bout-shifter” decides the eventual outcome. Boosted by a late power jam, Nashville pounds out a 115-82 win over the Gateway City. Home team exuberant, visiting squad deflated.
POOF AND SCHWANG!!!
We return to the present. And now, in this specific case for St. Louis, we look at the future.
For the two primary travel squads of the Arch Rival Roller Girls, a trek to Music City this Saturday night hopes to net a different outcome than experienced over two years ago.
In WFTDA-sanctioned interleague action, the Arch Rival All-Stars – currently ranked #8 in the North Central region – tangle with South Central #3 Nashville. A “b-team” battle between ARRG’s Saint Lunachix and NRG’s Music City Brawl Stars is featured on the undercard.
The bouts take place at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Nashville beginning at 5:30 pm. (Muckety Memo: As of press time, there is no online coverage of this event scheduled.)
The ARRG All-Stars (7-2) set two personal benchmarks in June, posting victories over two fourth-ranked teams in highly-competitive WFTDA regions.
ARRG grounded North Central #4 Detroit 186-130 at Midwest Brewhaha on June 2 and bested South Central #4 Houston 159-138 in a Lone Star State trip one week later.
If the first victory didn’t cause enough commotion, then the second one most certainly did.
It has resulted in St. Louis to presumably make a pre-playoff push within the WFTDA North Central region rankings. And in a top ten that has seen a lot of activity and parity in 2012 (as examined in last week’s commentary), a jump of multiple positions to a possible new yardstick would undoubtedly be impressive.
An interregional win Saturday night over a third-ranked squad would continue ARRG’s upward trend…and advance overall expectations.
“We have our sights set on being in the top three at Regionals this year,” says Arch Rival jammer Downtown Dallis, referring to September’s North Central playoff target. “If there was ever an ARRG squad historically to do it, it’s this one.”
“Our game versus Nashville is preparing us for this goal,” she continues. “We are hungry for the challenge that we know Nashville will provide. They are a very strong and cohesive team, but so are we.”
What has been the catalyst for an Arch Rival contingent that is now labeled as “ones to watch” on the national derby scene? In short, quite a lot.
At the forefront would be the solid pack play and walls provided the ARRG blocking battalion, paced by Eli Wallop, Chewblocka, Mayor Francis Slayer, Grave Danger, Science Friction, Party Foul, The Educator, Shimmy Hoffa, May Require Stitches and the Oregon Betrayal.
Individually, all ten are arguably having their most productive interleague derby seasons ever. But more importantly, their collective play as working units has been some of the best in franchise history. The style has been powerful and aggressive, yet controlled and clean.
“Our coaching has deeply impacted our play as they equipped us with innovative skills and tactics,” says Dallis of her team’s methodology. “The strategy we execute is tailored to the personnel we have.”
This has made scoring easier for ARRG’s primary jamming rotation of Dallis, Mighty Mighty Boston, Black Market Baby and South City Shiner.
The aforementioned four are having their most prolific travel seasons as well. And to ARRG’s benefit, the jamming workload has been balanced. To have a solid quartet that can effectively post lead points and conversely hassle the opposing team’s jammer while on non-lead is quite a luxury.
Furthermore, the play of ARRG has been its most disciplined yet. In the few bouts this season that have been tight in the second period, gone are the late miscues that used to historically plague this franchise, such as the aforementioned May 2010 Nashville bout. They’ve capitalized on the opposition’s lapses and have maintained control down the stretch.
Altogether, it’s a cumulative roster of fourteen playing as one cohesive unit.
“Although no one carries this team individually, we each know our personal roles,” states Dallis. “This alone has created a versatile, confident and dynamic squad. We trust each other. I am so proud of this team.”
And anyone who is honest will agree, this has indeed been a successful team effort thus far in 2012.
“Our team’s attitude has been the most resilient I’ve experienced since I joined ARRG,” says Dallis. “Our team has developed a mental fortitude that has granted us wins with this newfound quiet and fierce confidence we possess.”
But St. Louis knows that they can’t afford to be cocky against a Nashville squad that employs a similar work ethic. Call it a Tennessean technique that has generated positive results.
Qualifiers for the WFTDA National Championships the past two years after back-to-back third place finishes in South Central post-season play, the Music City All- Stars (3-3) have been a consistent number three in its respective region’s rankings.
Being one of the dozen eligible for the Hydra Cup twice straight has resulted in a more-challenging schedule in 2012, thus the .500 record. There were setbacks to East #2 Philly and #3 Charm City, both 100-plus point losses. And that’s completely understandable considering the portfolios that both Eastern squads bring to the table.
Yet their play so far within the South Central region this year has yielded mixed results. Nashville posted a 166-136 win over #5 Atlanta in March but fell to sixth-ranked Tampa Bay by 63 points in April.
The Music City All-Stars also have a region win against current #11 Duke City, a 191-68 home victory on June 2.
Much like the North Central’s perpetual activity within its top ten this season, the South Central is potentially going to contain some rearrangements when the next set of rankings are released later this month.
If the Tennesseans wish to maintain its current position within the South Central hierarchy, a win over Arch Rival this Saturday is imperative.
“This is a key game for Nashville to do well in,” says King James, who expertly covers region action at his thorough SOUTH CENTRAL DERBY NEWS website. “They need a meaningful win to maintain their number three status in the South Central and are at risk of slipping to a lower seed.”
Don’t think that Nashville didn’t notice St. Louis’ winning “blackjack” differential in Texas four weekends ago.
“Arch Rival has already beaten #4 Houston, so that is the bar Nashville should be aiming for in this game,” says James.
That bar will be a challenge, for the complexion of Nashville has changed internally as the calendar year has progressed. After a five-season career with the Music City All-Stars, marquee jammer Ramb0 Samb0 locally retired following the June Duke City win in order to personally relocate to the Northeast.
“She was a huge force and a game changer,” says Dallis of the team MVP at last year’s National Championships. “She possessed great vision, leadership and a phenomenal attitude. This squad has the talent to compensate for her absence.”
The talent is indeed there, but the number of veterans in the line-up has decreased due to medical misfortunes. King James says injuries to 2011 South Central playoff MVP Rock Nasty and multi-positional starter Lady Fury, both important cogs of last year’s national-qualifying squad, are major setbacks.
This has culminated in a shuffling of the NRG roster. James predicts a heavy jamming rotation of veterans Slayla, Slammy Lou Harris and Four Leaf Roller, who have seven, six and three years of derby service, respectively.
“Each is a skilled jammer,” says the South Central soothsayer. “But expect to see Slayla getting the most play time with the star due to her penchant for getting that all-important lead status almost half the time she jams. Four Leaf Roller’s key is her clean jamming, sometimes getting as little as a single minor penalty against Duke City and an amazing two minors in their loss to Philly.”
But the main area of focus in this bout, as expected, will be the pack play up front. And for the Music City All-Stars, the counter-clockwise contingent contains numerous veterans with national playoff experience.
“On the blocking front, one need look no further than Britches n’ Hose, Union Jack-U-Up and Maulin Monroe to find the leaders of the pack,” says King James. “Each can play over 20 jams per game and are key pillars in their blocking rotation.”
Returning vets Obscene Jessture, Jennifer Smith and Susan will also see significant track time on Saturday night.
“This is a well-seasoned blocking corps that has qualified for the Championships the last two years,” King James proclaims. “They must bring that experience to bear against Arch Rival if they hope to win.”
There are two additional focal points in this bout. Number one would be Music City’s home track advantage. Nashville is 3-0 in home bouts at Municipal Auditorium this season. They traditionally have a really solid following and a raucous crowd at 417 Fourth Avenue North might supply an air of intimidation against the “pink and black attack.”
Can ARRG – a team that silenced a crowd of 3,500 at Cincinnati with a 46-0 bout-opening sprint in March – shut out the distractions that travel bouts sometime provide and post a similar quad-stomp early in Nashville, given their aggressive nature?
Number two would be non-lead scoring. Both teams pride themselves on solid pack play, both offensively and defensively. Singular points periodically obtained by non-leads might potentially be the determining factor in a close bout such as this. Communication between jammers, blockers and bench is going to have to be constant and consistent throughout.
As much as it seems like a cliché, there really is a lot on the line in Saturday night’s main event in downtown Nashvegas.
For Arch Rival, a win would mean a triumph recorded over its highest-ranked opponent historically. St. Louis has never beaten a third-ranked team before and a solid output would send a message prior to home bouts against North Central #5 Chicago Outfit the following weekend and third-ranked Naptown in August.
For Nashville, a victory would re-establish themselves as a squad that could potentially make a return appearance to the national tournament since ARRG defeated the South Central #4. If anything, a dominant win would boost the confidence of the Music City rollers prior to its respective region playoff.
Golly, Mr. Peabody sure had it easy. It was a lot easier for the pun-prattling pooch to patrol the past than to predict the prospect.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s b-team opener provides plenty of intrigue as well. ARRG’s Saint Lunachix (5-2) snapped a two-game losing skid after a solid 183-113 win over the Brewcity Battlestars on June 9.
Chix jammer EnYa Nightmare posted triple-digits in the victory and will once again be called upon to anchor the jamming rotation. Morgan LeFaetal , Sly Davinita and Eveready will also see plenty of rotations with the “star panty.”
Captain Boom Boom Pow, Deathica Steele, Ginny Beastly, Polkadot ‘Yr Eyeout, Shell Shoxx, The Oregon Betrayal, Shacgyver and Megalodominator will pace the blocking. Chix additions The Ginger Assassin and Arcane Sugar are also rostered for the bout.
They’re facing a squad that is also looking for its second straight “W” Saturday night.
The Music City Brawl Stars (2-3) posted a 199-56 win over Clarksville, TN’s Red River Sirens at Municipal Auditorium on June 2. They also recorded a 60-point victory over the Roller Girls of Southern Indiana earlier in the season.
Stella Live, Ann T. Histamine and E. Lemonator pace the rotation at the jammer stripe, while Electra Cal, Suzy Ho’maker, Hippy-Ki-Yay, Rocco Sock ‘em and the fantastically-named Cindy Lou Ferrigno provide the walls upfront.
Once again, a fast start and clean play will dictate the tone in this match-up. The squad that grabs the early advantage more than likely notches a very important victory.
Nashville rapper Young Buck re-christened the Music City as “Ca$hville” in a platinum-selling 2004 recording.
With a pair of wins Saturday night, the Arch Rival Roller Girls will go to the proverbial pay window.
COMING UP NEXT MONDAY IN THE ARRG NEWSCENTER: The “Muckster’s Truckster” follows the ARRG travelling squads to the Music City and provides full bout recaps of the Arch Rival/Nashville double header. Plus, one of derby’s best rivalries of 2011 returns to Midwest Sport Hockey. The All-Stars look for another North Central upset in a tussle with the region’s fifth-ranked team. Meanwhile, the Lunachix look to go 2-0 historically against a Northern Illinoisan b-squad and the Rookie Rivals prepare for a Sunday “c-team hangover bout.” Next week, a preview of ARRG’s triple-header weekend against the teams of the Chicago Outfit.
Check in this section on Mondays for the latest in ARRG news and information.