Montreal comes to town with their B team the Montreal Sexpos and the Smash Squad to face off against Toronto Roller Derby’s – the best B beam in Canada – the Bay Street Bruisers, and the D-VAS. The Smash Squad eked out a two point victory for the win for Montreal, while the Sexpos fell against the Bruisers.It is always exciting to see any team from Montreal on the road.
The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad aka D-VAS from Toronto Roller Derby aka ToRD took on the Totak KnockOuts of Tri-City aka TKOs in a very spirited and very hard fought bout. The cheering squad for the TKOs were matched by the chants of D-VAS. With all the energy in the air, would the teams be tight or would they bring it? So, did they bring it on? Oh, they brought it.
Preamble: This piece is not any final summary of the game but serves as another chapter as a prelude to a story growing in the telling of our sojourns into Derby. This takes us back in time into New Hamburg and the world of Tri-City on the weekend of September 24. It’s a promise the final story will be told.
Being back in New Hamburg was a return down the path to where we started our road trips, back to the New Hamburg arena, the site of where the Tri-City Thunder and the Lake Effect Furies were seen for the first time. Back then the Thunder and the Furies were both vying for WFTDA status. Some names seen then and heard for the first time included the likes of BareLeigh Legal, sin-e-star, Lilith NoFair, Skate Pastor and Lippy Wrongstockings. It was the most defensive bout we had seen so far, and rough as well for the Furies Lamb Chop who had her dress ripped at the seam.
The last time we had been at New Hamburg was the memorable encounter between the Thunder and CN Power. One bit of photographic evidence from that bout would be my first published shot in a Derby publication: the five on five Photo Annual 2010. The familiar Huskies logo on the blue background and the rink lighting made New Hamburg a total pleasure to be in again. The smooth floor made sliding around into shooting position easier but the surface was a slipperier factor for the real focus on the track: the skaters. Being back in Tri-City meant getting to be able to talk a bit of Derby sometimes to the personalities such as Lightning Slim of GenX Mike plus the referees such as Matt S. Factor or Ro$ Vega$ along the way. And all the players and volunteer crew who work the doors and really know how to set up merch and the rink generate a friendly, receptive atmosphere to welcome fans and children alike.
The D-VAS had been having a busy season, after what seemed like a long hiatus. They quickly popped back up on the map seemingly gathering bout experience whenever they could, even up in Sudbury’s Nickel City to play Sister Slag. After the D-VAS’s second place finish at the 2 Fresh 2 Furious tournament, D-VAS had been popping up here and there making their presences known, a handful showing up in uniform or t-shirt on a Saturday morning in Peterborough for the Wakestock experience, or down back in east end Toronto for a Derby scrimmage held by the Toronto Junior Roller Derby aka TJRD. The little black and white affair was a small exhibition of what the next step Derby was all about for the juniors and those in the crowd baking or basking in the sunshine.
The D-VAS re-engaged their engines at the debut of The Bunker, Toronto Roller Derby’s new hangout. Two weeks later, the D-VAS were back on the road to New Hamburg to meet the Total Knock-Outs of the Tri-City Rollergirls.
So the D-VAS next match after their debut at The Bunker was a test against a relatively new commodity in the form of the Total Knock-Outs who have been well-drilled and well-coached by the veteran elite of Tri-City. The TKO’s inaugural bout could have been in November 2010 against the Luscious Lunch Ladies from Forest City. The TKO’s had also hooked up against Royal City to great success. Then re-engaged LLL in July 2011 for the Rival Revival doubleheader [also featuring the Venus Fly Tramps against the Thames Fatales]. Would the D-VAS with their levelling up and their inherited experience be able to match up?
The two teams’ first head-to-head match-up was a testament to the fortitude and the personalities of the teams as they engaged in a strategic war of attrition and a very toughly played battle. There was no questioning of heart as blockers took one for the team as they tried to launch their jammers through the other teams, wall or no wall they were going over and through the other side. Black and blue was again the definitive appropriate colour for this newest team in Tri-City. Asking a TKO dressed player at trackside who to watch out for in terms of good play or good players, she quickly noted captain Tiny Dancer who had smoking wheels on the jammer line followed by compadres Booty Two Shoes and Low Block Lois, and the pivots Fox Smoulder and Rain Blows Brite and Evil Liza. Annaslaysia Killsemov was someone be overcome if possible as she stood in front of the D-VAS jammer. The D-VAS team of now were not the same team of last year, growing in the process and blending in the new blood from Fresh Meat amongst the more experienced [considering the D-VAS first bout was only August last year.] Getting to play on the track for real was in its way the payoff to all the training and passing the minimum skills grade. For some, the D-VAS were the stepping stone to the draft at ToRD while others might choose to stay and gain more real experience and track time. So Mean Streak wore the whipping belt, Skinned Knee Crosby wore the C pivoted and blocked along with Bridget Bones, Cory Maim and Laya Beaton laying on the beating. D-VAS jammer rotation was shortened in the second half with Renny Rumble, Keri Daway and Roadside Bombshell. Laya Beaton carried on as blocker. And who could forget #TKO Upher Cut on the D-VAS?
Both teams proved they have the most ardent of fans, egged on by their teams to engage in chants of “TKO TKO!”or “D-VAS D-VAS!” This is Derby when it is at its most fun and entertaining – although the falls and the injuries accumulated from the track are still reminders that Derby is pain and the bruises and the subsequent healing process is a badge of courage and honour. So Tiny Dancer and Roadside Bombshell were in a battle for who was more slippery and elusive, although there was no mistaking the Bombshell fall. In her second full bout with the D-VAS Roadside Bomshell was a formidable jammer with even more speed than she had during her Rollergettes days. But as wild and pellmell as the rest of the D-VAS, she too was found in the penalty bin and the TKOs took the points in power jam situations and building up a lead. They were never to look back.
The captain’s statement reflecting back on the night says: “The game was great – pooching my ankle, less so, but it gave me the opportunity to see how far the TKOs have come, and watch the talent of the D-VAS. You don’t really get to see how your team gels along the way while you’re playing. Being sidelined does – it’s very cool to see the strategies that we practice come together so well during game time!”
The final score showed the TKOs ahead by just a shade over a hundred over the D-VAS, but the margin was not indicative of the mettle and heart of the players as they move into their next stages of Derby, whether it be with D-VAS or crossing fingers for the draft ahead. The TKOs are a very dedicated third team in Tri-City with a hardcore band of followers. The level of support for teams breaking out into Derby bigtime such as the Total Knock-outs or those lovely Luscious Lunch Ladies from Forest City and the new leagues blossoming everywhere [including Orangeville and Alliston] is the next wave of Derby. The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.
/… more to come of our summer adventures in Derby and the fall ahead
The Classy Trashy Roller Girls of Durham Region are a self-described “kick ass team in the making”! And they lived up to their motto as they took to the track for their first game down in Toronto at The Hangar. As part of the 241 Double Header with the Queen City travel team from across the water, Buffalo’s Lake Effect Furies against CN Power, the opening game marked the debut of Durham Region and the Classy Trashy facing the resurrected Deadly Viper Assassination Squad [short form D-VAS] in the incarnation as ToRD’s rookie team. Rebecca Pym / Bones Brigade or “Bonesy”, a seasoned veteran of ToRD Death Track Dolls and CN Power has founded DRRD in Oshawa. She brought down the “you have to be fearless” [quote courtesy of Durham Region News] Durham DRRD squad of eleven players – which in numbers could be a challenge to roll a team on the track. However, not everyone on the team was a rookie, #4 Jewel Kicker [seen last year on the Betties] was DRRD’s triple threat, and with further ammo from #60 Mini Gun from another ToRD blast from the past Bay City Bruisers. It seemed to be more with joy than any trepidation that the first whistle of the jam blew to mark the start of the bout. In the two shortened to 20 minute periods reminiscent of the Montreal tournament Beast of the East the D-VAS were able to build an early lead, seemingly more comfortable on the ToRD track. However, that was no problem for DRRD Jewel Kicker who blazed around the track as jammer. AND BLOCKER. Bones Brigade went skate to skate with her pivot counterpart and captain Misery Mae from D-VAS. Skinned-Knee Crosby the assistant captain of the D-VAS had bouted for the first time ever as a member of the Frenemies against the Rollergettes on May 15 at George Bell Arena. Now in her D-VAS debut she was on pivot and blocker on the outside wall. She as well as the rest of the D-VAS who might be was vying for a position for the draft into ToRD, she has shown a real improvement.
Part of the D-VAS team was Emma Disaster #716 who also hailed from Buffalo. One other name who was familiar from the Canada Day scrimmage was Wolverina with the fierce looking three clawmarks designating her number 111, taking her three point stance on the jamming line to boot as well, AND taking on all three Derby positions. Strategizing, strengths of play could be scrambly at times with plenty of hits and falls, variations of Derby stance and trips leading to the penalty box and the proverbial struggles to stay upright on the track during long no lead jammer jams.
The referee contingent including Parking Lot, Penny Whistler and Classic Joker called it “100% rules from start to finish”, making sure the rookies kept it clean and would learn from their mistakes. There were even a couple of misconduct penalties.
Primary jammers for the Classy Trashy Roller Girls in the first half were #126 Cutsie Bootsie, #18 Roxy Rollah and #6 K-Rip in the first period squaring off against #13 Hellbat [originally from ORD], #1129 Santilly in Yo’Face, #111 Wolverina and #5 Titney. While Hellbat started off the game with a 4 point jam for D-VAS, Roxy Rollah responded with an 8 points on the second jam. The D-VAS were actually holding an 18-15 lead until Hellbat broke for a 14 point run to take the game up to 29-22. With 4:52 left in the period Wolverina with her warpainted face went against Roxy Rollah and scored four more points. As the real world ticked past 6:30 p.m. and the first period with less than two minutes in the first half #911 Krash Klown made her entrance on jammer with an 11-2 jam. Jewel Kicker closed off the first half for the Classy Trashy Roller Girls with a 4 points and the D-VAS ahead 44-32.
With the advent of the second half, Jewel Kicker broke back for DRRD with a near double slam of 9 points against 3 for Santilly in Yo’ Face. For the rest of the period, D-VAS sent jammers Santilly in Yo’ Face #1129, #13 Hellbat, Titney #5, and #111 Wolverina against the likes of #126 Cutsie Pie, #6 K Rip and Jewel Kicker #4 who was probably being held back due to her Smoke City Betties experience took the line only twice. With a triple grand slam from Titney followed by 9 from Hellbat the D-VAS took the score up to 75-44 and dominated at the line for the rest of the game until the last jam. There were plenty of spills and hits sending blockers and jammers to the floor – and double collisions amongst same teams. D-VAS with more awareness seemed to have more control of the pack. With the score at 93-53 with two minutes left, it seemed inevitable that D-VAS were going to get their century, yet both sides were playing full out and giving ‘er the best they got until the game ended with DRRD’s K-Rip closed it off with a double grand slam of her own and a 110-63 final.
Durham Region with all its travails fielding its first team and both leagues garnering first game experience for their rookie teams must be a proud and valuable accomplishment for all. ToRD has new talent waiting for next year’s draft on their farm team.
Under the guidance and coaching of all concerned including Blammo, Goodietwoscrews and Bones Brigade, Derby in Oshawa/Durham Region should not be a secret any longer.