Anything can happen in Derby and anywhen too. Believe it or not-last night was the first time ever we have witnessed a Rollergettes win on the track. Neither team carried full rosters but those who were there represented their colours as best as they could. It was a closed bout, and it wasn’t all about points but learning on the fly too. There were zebras from as far away as Hammer City and Royal City to make the calls and help guide the fledgling refs of the Rollergettes. Timeouts and learning sessions at the centre of the track entailed referee discussions and talking points with the player. Taking a knee down on the startline, when is it a major? Why doesn’t your team just take off if the opponent doesn’t move?
The Rollergettes answered a few questions of their own. Could the Rollergettes without Goldie on the track fend off the Belles of the Brawl. Goldie and others served as NSO while the Rollergettes called their own plays off the bench. Rollergettes old and newer Punkii BrüzHer and Crystal Mess along with Knuckle Slamwitch and Danger! Danger! alike in black took on the green and black of the Belles featuring familiar names such as Justine Sane, Lass Compactor, S. S. Sativa who were all part of 2 Fresh 2 Furious just last month. A fun bout turned in some hard hits and falls and a narrow 55-49 victory for the Rollergettes by the cutoff hour of 10.
The evening would be a warmup for things to come with Capital City looking forward to hosting the Rollergettes on August 6, while the BCRG crew will be in Dundas on the 13th taking on the Hammer City Harlots. Also on the 13th, the Rollergettes will be holding their last homecloser of the season the Violet Uprising, one of the three teams of Royal City. Belles will keep busy on the 27th hosting their inaugural home bout against Ottawa Roller Derby.
Good luck to all! August promises hot weather and hot action.
Preamble: After the wrap-up of the ToRD season at The Hangar with the festive Clam Slam leading into the Canada Day weekend, July turned into the jampacked Derby month as we ventured into the realm of the 2 Fresh 2 Furious tournament, then the longest weekend afterwards which started by heading out to Tri City and ending up in the Hammer, then the next week back to Royal City and finishing the week amongst the Rollergettes. The following takes place between July 23rd and July 24th.
this piece is written with notes contributed from Andi Slamberg and Lightning Slim
Another journey up to Tri-City on another hot July day, this time to see the Fatales and the Tramps – not in New Hamburg – but in the downtown Waterloo Rec Centre. A quick visit to the Mike’s Fries across from the bus station and a very strange poutine. Then smilin’ Suzy Slam showed across the street and we were off after a quick Tim Hortons visit, and did we ever need it.
Thames Fatales and Venus Fly Tramps clashed in an old rivalry from days before Derby was on the boutcast map. The Fatales had never lost to the Tri-City league team, but it had been too close for comfort at this year’s Beast of the East. Surprises were in store for the evening. Events had started earlier in the doubleheader with the ascending Luscious Lunch Ladies squaring off again against the new Total Knockouts, the third team in Tri-City Rollergirls’s league.
Who knew what manner of mayhem would happen on the track? With captain for the night #69 Mirambo around would anyone wonder otherwise? Although the programme promised a dozen Thames Fatales on the roster, they could have truly used the missing #234 Anya Face, #25 PiepShow and #187 Killson. were carrying a team of 9 black and forest green [nine!] against a very tall looking team of Venus Fly Tramps in their green and pink.
#234 Anya-Face was cheering her team on from the sidelines after her injury at CWRDA. #25 Piepshow was out with other endeavours in life. That #187 Killson was also a no-show was probably a fatal blow to the Forest City Derbygirls. This is not to detract from the Tramps who sported the likes of new transplant #314 Perky Set which was a strange sight, given the last time we saw her in action was against the Fatales while sporting the red and black of the Hamilton Harlots.
Venus Fly Tramps took the lead from the start and never let it go. However, Thames tirelessly tried to fight back sending in a mainly three jammer rotation with #5446 Slacker Smacker, #317 Sufferjet and #69 Mirambo. After having seen Perky Set in action representing the Harlots in Forest City against Thames Fatales, it took some getting used to wrapping your head around the concept of π Perky Set playing in Tri-City. But she was a dominant player that night for the Venus Fly Tramps. Although her height made her a conspicuous target for the Fatales to zero in on the track, at the same time it gave her a blocking and jammer advantage and allowed her to mess around amongst the Thames. One might think it may be more advantageous for the jammer to be smaller, but having the lay of the land, Perky Set became part of the jammer rotation in the second half for the Tramps and created another problem for Thames with which to contend. Perky Set found the holes that she was helping to create in the first half. This is the first time we had actually seen the Venus Fly Tramps crew of #3 Kitty Krasher, #37 Lilith No-Fair, #22 Freudian Whip, #40 Leigh-zzie Borden, #80 Gunmoll Mindy play outside of the Thunder. Everybody was just hitting everybody in sight and giving it their all. No guts, no glory? My highlight shot of the night was seeing Mirambo jump the track to get herself some jamming space.
So the outmanned crew from Thames in the end couldn’t fill in the gap and fell 176 to 89. But as it is kept being said the score hardly mattered in the long haul as it is always exhilarating to watch Derby being played at its highest peak of the spectrum, seeing spectacular attempts at passes and take-outs, jammers skating at the edges of the track looking for tiny slivers of space and trying to avoid the track cuts and blockers achieving air as takeouts land, strategies being implemented on the fly.
Two hours earlier, the evening’s excitement had started off with the highly anticipated rematch between the Total Knock-Outs and the Luscious Lunch Ladies. It was indeed a black and blue battle against the yellow and blue. Captain Andi Slamberg of the Luscious Lunch Ladies provides the analysis:
“We LOVE playing the TKO’s, those girls are nothing but fun, and fire! They bring such a great attitude and hard work to the track! We played them last year, and won, but they had a pretty good run in the second half so we knew we had to play our best.
“Both teams are a little different from last year: the TKO’s seem to have a lot of new faces and, the Lunch Ladies have some players off on injuries. We lost some girls to the real world (outside derby) along the way, but we also took on a lot of new girls ready to give their all! I have to say Anne Tastic looked amazing for only being in her second game she had some good jammer take outs and big hits on the TKO blockers, as well as some crazy good blocking from Bloodlust Barbie who’s just returned the to track from a few months off, she really was a key blocker for positional blocking in this game, and the Lunch Ladies vets were stellar all game! Grisly Blaire was a huge part of this game, blocking and jamming for us when needed, she has this magical way of taking up the whole track with her legs, so lucky for us she was able to keep the jammer behind her most of time, and when she wasn’t blocking she was racking up some much needed points for us!
“Boxkick Betty And Mighty Thor really took their game up a notch this game, they had a few power jams to work off of in the first half and really put us up jam after jam. I also have to give a mention to Elle Boes, she’s been a great influence and hard worker on our team this year jamming and blocking for us! That’s not to say we were too far ahead though in the points, history seemed to want to repeat it’s self, and the TKO’s really made a move in the second half, they put Pandemic Pearl out to jam a bit more, and with some great blocking by TKO pivot Fox Smoulder and Annaslaysia Killsemov we weren’t able to contain her, this allowed them to claw back and gain some much needed points. Final score was 180 to 114 for us, and I’m sure we’ll be meeting these ladies on the track again!”
The Derby gods must have been smiling down on us after the night was over at the arena because the night never ended at the arena. It kept going and going and going and we were fabulously hosted and entertained by fabled stories of Derby adventures and woke up somehow the next day on the hottest Sunday of the year and then we were in the Hammer for a league practice at their rink. If it was hot outdoors, the heat that was trapped was even worse. But they prevailed and if the Derby players on the floor could take it, then so should we. Practice was still continuing while we hit the road by 3. One more GO Bus back to Toronto and finally saw the driveway of home Sunday evening. The first words we heard were: “Was it worth it?” Hell yeah.
And there was one more little scrimmage to come with the Rollergettes and the Belles of the Brawl from Brantford.
Don’t Stop Believing was an appropriate song for the fest that was 2 Fresh 2 Furious. Just think Beast of the East all held in one day running in two arenas down at Ted Reeve Arena way down in the east end of Toronto where Main meets Gerrard Street East.
True to the feeling, the Gold Miners’ Daughters, a league of their own from Timmins, won it all in a memorable hard-hitting final over the D-VAS from Toronto Roller Derby.
GTA Rollergirls hosted the 2 Fresh 2 Furious tournament as an even more ambitious sequel to the Fresh and Furious equivalent from last year, expanding from 4 to 16 teams this time around. GTAR seemed to be doing what it does best in promoting and developing Derby amongst the rookies and freshies of the world. So players who had only a year ago donned their skates for the first time found themselves coming in with little or no previous matchplay. The tournament limited the experience of skaters on the teams to approximately five games or less with exhibitions and tournaments not counting. So Royal City from Guelph who had entered the tournament with virtually no games to their credit had been the busiest of beavers locking games into their home and away schedule with abandon.
It was only recently that a small band of nine Chrome Mollys supplemented by some Debs had travelled up to the home turf of South Simcoe and found tough resistance. And this was only a day after the Debs had gone up to Royal City to face the All-Stars. So the expectation for a toughly fought game from South Simcoe against the Brawlers was in the cards.
Thus, 2 Fresh 2 Furious was on. This was the equivalent of Montreal’s Beast of the East weekend tournament condensed into one long Derby day and night. Every forty minutes more or less, the games proceeded apace. The wars on the track in these short 20 minutes of gameplay [supplemented by the proverbial time outs from teams and officials] produced some spectacular falls, races, injuries, collisions and penalties that could be expected from freshie types. Sixteen leagues were represented, some sending two or even three teams [Royal City blended two of their teams Killer Queen and Our Ladies of Pain into the Queens of Pain while the Violet Uprising remained intact]. Belles of the Brawl from Brantford were not allowed to include GTA’s former big hitter Justine Sane on their roster which saddened her.
However, the Northern Exposure to Derby was well-represented with the two different leagues from Timmins: Gold Miners’ Daughters and Dark Angels, the Soonami from Sault Ste. Marie sent those who could travel. There had been some foreshadowing from the inner circle of Sudbury that Timmins were a rookie team in the making. Kingston and Peterborough came in with two teams, Durham was back in action, seen for the first time back in the summer of 2010 at The Hangar against the D-VAS from Toronto Roller Derby. For the first time, Toronto Roller Derby came down to GTA to actually bout and sent in the D-VAS. Last year, Queen City Rollergirls from Buffalo, New York had come to Fresh and Furious with a small group wearing the crown on their pink shirts. Two of the leagues from Ottawa in the form of Capital City and Ottawa Roller Derby sent in teams. This time around, Queen City sent in a full team of Baby Brawlers coached by 90° Johnson, who himself is a full fledged WFTDA referee. At least two of the QCRG may have been seen in Hammer City as part of their Lake Effect Furies all-star travel team who took on the Eh! Team and actually took the MVP.
If their stomachs were churning with first game tournament nerves it did not show up in the players on the track. The stress was more likely to happen with the 22 zebras who came in to oversee the matches, rolling in shifts and trying not to get dizzy from it all. There were many recognized zebras by yours truly from the likes of ToRD, Peterborough, Royal City Rollergettes and GTAR.
All the action started at the stroke of 11 in the morning with the first two games going simultaneously in The Bubble and the main rink of Ted Reeve Arena. While Durham were going head to head with half of the Kingston congregation that had split into Shirts [with the other half called Skins] the contingent from Border City Brawlers of Windsor were going against South Simcoe Rebel Rollers.
Even spectators in the suicide seats have only an inkling of appreciation of what the game is like as seen on the inside.
The view from the inside of the track was not only terrifyingly fast at the start, but quite the rush while trying to stay inside the lines of the box created for the occasion and trying to focus hard on the action through a flurry of zebra legs and arms which were racing in pace with the jammers and pack [or non-pack] of players. The calls came loud and often between whistles as the referees shouted at white boards of the NSOs [non skating officials] or the NSOs types who struggled to keep up as they wrote down the penalties on their clipboards before marking the minors and majors on the large board. Many heated discussions during timeouts ensued with coaches and refs over missed calls and points with even referees talking at each other to make sure they had made the right call. One thing that can be said is a referee’s whistle at the end of a jam is piercingly loud and painful. But the major surprise was how loud was the rumble of skates as players engaged in fast and furious action around and around. And the intensity on the faces seen up close. It was indeed blood and thunder on the track.
There was a large contingent of D-VAS fans, ToRD signs and coaches who made their presence loud and known as they cheered their teams on. Indeed a few of the leagues present were due to the players turned founder, coach or mentor from Toronto Roller Derby.
The temperature outside was a temperate 28 Canadian degrees, or the high 80s or almost 90s outside, but it felt cooler than the swelter that was going inside. The scheduling of winners and losers and double eliminations and then to sudden-death by the quarter finals had teams often playing back to back, just finishing winning one bout over an opponent only to immediately face their next competitors within the next twenty minutes. Cooldown led to more warm-up. There were lots of rebel yells for beer beer beer from teams after they found themselves out of the tourney. Merchandise tables from visiting teams began to disappear as thoughts of returning home or looking forward to the after-party began to arise. The Chrome Mollys shouted “Pizza!” The volunteers and staff and players from GTA Rollergirls lived to setup and lived to serve and barely lived by the end of day. Announcers in the form of Getcha Kicks said cute things about the trophies and remembrances of the first tourney at GTAR which was Virgin Suicides Brawl which was comprised of competing teams: Derby Debutantes, Vicious Dishes and Venus Fly Tramps from Tri-City, Bytown Blackhearts from Ottawa, Death Row Dames from Hammer, and the two Forest City teams: London Thrashers and Thames Fatales. It was there that 76 Getcha Kicks got her first Derby kicks.
The hometeam Chrome Mollys playing with only their freshiest crew got off to a winning start over the Ottawa Dollinquents in the second bout of round one in the arena. Then they had the scare of their lives against South Simcoe, the Mollys behind by 20 with time for last jam on the clock. Riley Rage huffed and puffed her way for the Mollys giving it her best shot. As the last whistle blew, the Mollys piled atop their trooper jammer. Although it looked like 34-33 on the scoreboard an officials meeting was called with GTA coach looking for that one more point that would tie the game. Referees called upon the players to keep their equipment on while they consulted. The Chrome Mollys received the needed point and the overtime was on with Beaver Mansbridge on the line. Although Coach kept shouting to Beaver to call off the jam after getting her points the rule dictated the full two minutes must run out, and on both team raced with the Chrome Mollys the victor by two. However, their win would put them into the sudden-death quarter-finals against Queen City’s Baby Brawlers who came through after a surprising first round loss to the D-VAS, then winning two in a row to reach game 21.
By the semi-finals four teams were left [naturally]: D-VAS again against Queen City’s Baby Brawlers in game 25. In the other half of the draw, the Violet Uprising had been knocked out leaving the Queens of Pain with Hot Cross Guns to represent the royal colours of RCRG facing Gold Miners’ Daughters. The latter two teams had spent the day over in The Bubble with its slippery surface and had to come over into the main rink for the first time, which meant they had eluded our view for the day. We had been warned to look out for 666 Lisa Kill’er Princess and a certain 14 Nasty Nads on GMD.
The Gold Miner’s Daughters had just played Sister Slag on Canada Day and had fallen which may or may not have helped to build up expectations against Queens of Pain, but watching them in action, they certainly did not look like this was any rookie team. Jammers getting a running start at the jam line and huge hits. The D-VAS kept up the momentum and knocked out the Queen City Rollergirls who may have been finally running on empty as Hellbat kept up lead. This saddened the merch table lady of Queen City who had been shouting out to her team all day in support.
The two teams summoned what was left of their reserves and took to the track for the Battle for third place in Game 27. The Queens of Pain [Royal City version] took out the Queen City Baby Brawlers.
By 10 p.m. the twenty-eighth and Championship game was preceded by the G27 battle for third place and Queens of Pain – the Queens of Pain proudly prevailing over the black and blue of Queen City Rollergirls Brawlers.
At last, the finals were ready to roll. No mention of rough and tumble here lest we get roughed and tumbled out of here. With only few seconds left on the clock of the finals, the D-VAS called time out. Although the score looked unsurmountable, anything is possible in Derby. Witness the twenty point come from behind jam by the Chrome Mollys to tie up the score with South Simcoe. [Or the Champional with Rocky Mountain Rollergirls]. What ensued was total mayhem with were the D-VAS just asking for it?
In the moments before the Championship game. the ladies from GMD looked at each other and Rachel NightTrain Matthews said: “‘We got this!’ and then, when we won it, there were just lots of tears and ‘OMG!!'” The Northern underdogs took it! A lot of people in the crowd were like ‘What?'” And she laughs.
Coach Nick L Bagg (aka Jeff Latham) rightfully proud of his team says in summation: “We’ve come along way in one short year. At this time last year we had ten girls doing dry land in a school yard. For us to win the 2 Fresh 2 Furious is nothing short of incredible!”
Well done all!
addendum: 2 Fresh 2 Furious from Queen City Baby Brawlers point of view on the way! Followed by on the road again to Tri-City and Royal City. Stay tuned!
Putting on our Derby baseball cap and looking at the updated schedule with the revised teams here we go: [the pdf file on the GTA Rollergirls site is currently out of data according to coach My-Call Bublè]
The Soonami are on their way down to GTA at the moment and from the Soonami DevilZone herself comes the word:
“We are very excited to be here and take part in this tournament. Our team will be skating with members from Ottawa and Timmins Dark Angels. We are very thankful to our hosts GTA for organizing and managing the tournament! Thanks to everyone who is making this happen – organizers, skaters, volunteers, and officials – much derby ♥! ”
SCHEDULE: FIRST ROUND
TED REEVE ARENA
GAME ONE 11:00 A.M. BORDER CITY BRAWLERS VS. SOUTH SIMCOE REBEL ROLLERS
GAME TWO 11:40 A.M. CHROME MOLLYS VS. OTTAWA DOLLINQUENTS
GAME THREE 12:20 P.M. D-VAS VS. QUEEN CITY RD
GAME FOUR 1:00 P.M. KINGSTON – SKINS VS. DAMAGED DOLLZ [PETERBOROUGH]
THE BUBBLE [BESIDE TED REEVE ARENA]
GAME FIVE 11 A.M. DURHAM REGION VS. KINGSTON – SHIRTS
GAME SIX 11:40 A.M. VIOLET UPRISING [RCRG] VS. GOLD MINERS DAUGHTERS [TIMMINS]
GAME SEVEN 12:20 P.M> ELECTRIC CITY ROLLERS [PETERBOROUGH] VS. BELLES OF THE BRAWL
GAME EIGHT 1:00 P.M. ORD/TIMMINS RD/SOONAMI VS. QUEENS OF PAIN [RCRG] [this is an amalgamation of Killer Queens and Our Ladies of Pain]
The rest of the boxes can be filled in using the rest of the schedule onand the pdf is here at:
With the expanded format going all the way up to 16 teams now with Beast of the East type scheduling and 20 minute game, double knockout until the fourth round.
Following the maze of boxes and flipping coins because you never bet against any team in Derby and always go with your heart and friends admitting a few biases here and there and picking up a few words here and there from games and players: don’t count out South Simcoe, Durham looks scary, always pick the wildcard team north of Toronto so that’s the Sault and Timmins and Border City, Queen City has the killer fresh meat programme, Doug Gilmore is from Kingston, Peterborough rocks it with Lucid, Belle City delivers the hits, and Royal City is always ready to rumble. But at the top of the bill by the semi-finals and [always being wrong as usual] who knows if the Mollys can knock off the QCRG to face one of the two teams from Royal City who could end up facing each other by game 26 of the semi-finals.
But as another coach from a league that begins with N might say: it’s all about bringing up the knowledge and skill level and experience from competition is what everyone needs.
It’s all going to be very interesting. And who knows how we’re going to cover all this.
But she’s still dancing in the night
Unafraid of what a dude’ll do
In a town full of heroes and villains
It’s Heroes vs. Villains – and how fitting is it that Mirambo is one of the evil Villains?
Hammer City Harlots take on Roc City [from Rochester, New York] at Dave Andreychuk Arena with doors opening at 6, have you seen the bout poster?
Meanwhile, closer to Toronto itself comes the revival of last year’s Fresh & Furious with this year’s Freshie tournament 2 Fresh 2 Furious. The sequel is even longer this year expanded to 16 teams from last year’s four which featured the debut of the GTA Rollergirls’s own Chrome Mollys. This season’s Chrome Mollys sees even fresher Mollys as they keep their eye on the prize against an invasion of leagues, some of whom have brought in their own teams of players who meet the maximum requirement of five bouts
or less experience or there has been a blending of leagues to form the sixteen teams who engage in a Beast of the East tournament format. All the games will be held concurrently at the two rinks of Ted Reeve Arena – with the semi-finals being played in the main arena. Twenty minutes playing time, double elimination knockout, 28 games in all. Starts at 11 a.m. Last game scheduled for 9 p.m. How much more fun can you have? This photographer will be one tired puppy at the end of it all.
[On another note, many apologies to all the players and teams who have provided background for some stories that are still in the creation stage. Life is getting in the way but we’re doing our best, but keep your eyes tuned here! Cheers for now!]
Once a year the Vagine Regime collide with the Clam Diggers in a Pride event at The Hangar under the auspices of Toronto Roller Derby and company. Full out flat track action played with a lot of pride and heart in Derby. And huge hits. Nameless Whorror and BruiseBerry Pie were having a field day in the checking department.
GTA Rollergirls made an entrance into The Hangar again—after Blood and Thunder back came Getcha Kicks to jam and Newfie Bullet to do what she does so well—block like a brick wall (although GTAR already has a Brickhouse]. And we would be remiss without mentioning the return of The Krow back into the referee’s circle on inside pack.