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Home Commentary Rage City Skates to an Epic, Season-Ending Victory!
Rage City Skates to an Epic, Season-Ending Victory! Print


In 1975, I sat in the sixth row behind the home dugouts at Fenway Park for Game Six of the World Series. During the 1936, Olympic games in Berlin I was a scant four seats away from Der Fuhrer as Jesse Owens dominated the games taking home four gold medals for the USA. And as far back as 776 BC I can remember losing a bet to my fellow sports writer Isolade, when Herodotus defeated Paramonos in the seventy seven day Spartathalon. And I can say without hyperbole, that last night’s SMASH bout between the Rage City Rollergirls and the Oil City Derby Girls was one million times more exciting.

Pardon me, but I may curse a bit.

“Holy !@#$ing $#!@ did you see the roller derby bout Saturday night? It was a !@#$ing battle! Absolutely amazing. I mean both teams left everything on the track.”

Actually those words aren’t mine. I heard a woman say them Sunday morning as I strolled to my pick-up truck through the parking lot at the church I attend. They are however a strikingly accurate summary of what took place Saturday night, April 17, 2010 at the AT&T Sports Pavilion. It truly was an incredible sporting event. It is very rare to watch two teams, in any sport, compete with the same intensity on the last whistle as they did on the first.

It was a sold out bout. Rage City was coming off an impressive victory over in-state rival Fairbanks Rollergirls. Oil City, which had spent most of its first three years in existence without much success, was now riding a winning streak that stretched as far back as last April. That’s a year, by my count. In fact, Rage City was among those to fall to Oil City during their current winning streak -- losing by fifteen points in Edmonton two months before in February.

The first half started slow but soon swayed towards Oil City. At one point they led by twenty-seven and had it not been for a fourteen point jam by JENetically Evil with some great blocking by Shocker Khan and VaLISA Raptor the game could have turned into a rout right there. Oil City had done a good job of getting lead jammer and playing at the pace they wanted to. J-Mean earned lead eight out of her nine jams, and both Bratty Girl and Tie Dye scored nearly every time they put the star on. Rage City finished the first half going scoreless on ten of the twenty jams.

At halftime Oil City led 68 to 49. Although Rage City was down by points, by the time the second half began, they had picked themselves up off the floor.

Pardon me again, but there may be more cursing.

In the first five jams of the second half Evil became a star. After picking up ten points on the second jam, Jenn scored three grand slams in the fifth jam, gaining nineteen points and bringing Oil City’s lead down to 84-82. The entire place went crazy, chanting “Evil! Evil! Evil!” Twenty-nine points in two jams. Certainly, the blockers are just as important as the jammer, and nothing gets done without the girls in the trenches, but … this was JENetically Evil. And I mean this in all sincerity: it couldn’t have happened to more modest person. But no one gets to pick when a drunken crowd is gonna start chanting your name.

So all of sudden it’s a close game again and everyone at the place is really, really into it. Understanding strategy and discerning subtleties that the incoherent announcer is missing -- but most important, getting roller derby and why it kicks butt. The energy was like nothing Rage City had experienced before.

But this is about winners and losers.

So Rage City’s down by two, and they had the momentum, and it looked like the crowd alone could end this thing, but once again they sputtered. Once again they were going scoreless in jams. On the other side of things Oil City was Steady Betty out there. Sometimes it was five points sometimes it was two but it was almost always something. What we had here was a classic battle of small ball vs the homerun.

Then this happened: Pain Maker Sally scored a fourteen point jam. Then, with Rage City down 122 to 112, Killa Magilla skated out as jammer. Oil City’s jammer was in the box. Both teams were fielding rotations of three jammers. The laps turns were adding up on their legs. Killa had fought for each and every of the 37 points she scored on this night, but on this jam it was her ability to pass the star that brought her glory. During this jam, she was hit hard, over and over. Killa was unable to score, but with Oil City’s jammer in the box, the points were out there. As Killa took a hit to the ribs she passed the cap to Lethal, who skated like a bat out of hell for three more points. It was the first time I had seen them successfully make such a move.

The next jam, Evil scored ten points, and Rage City had their first lead of the night 125-122. The next two jams were scoreless. Then Oil City scored three, tieing the bout.

Then, as the clock ticked down to under one minute, Oil City scored another point, edging a lead over Rage City, 125 to 126. There was time left for one more jam. One last chance for either team to put this bout in the victory column. Both teams deserved it, having given everything they had, playing through pain and injury. Now was when it would be decided.

Jamming for Rage City was Pain Maker Sally. Jamming for Oil City, Bratty Girl. Sally had started the bout slow, scoring the majority of her 28 points in the second half. Bratty Girl led Oil City’s jammers with 51 total points scored, and was second in scoring for the game behind Evil, who led all scorers with 66 total points. Rage city sent out to four of their best to stop Bratty: Tenaciaous Leigh, Blitzkrieg Baker, Lethal Lavender, and Shocker Kahn on pivot.

Bratty got through the pack first, but lost lead jammer due to a forearm minor. As the jammers approached the pack, ready to pick up points, it was the Rage City blockers’ ability to keep Bratty at bay that won out. Sally took control of the jam, getting through the pack twice to pick up nine points and seal the win. When the final points were tallied Rage City was on top 134 to 130. Over one thousand people erupted in slurred yelling and sign waving.

It was the kind of night that bonds those involved. It gives us all a setting for the long lasting memories and times in our lives that we shared with those we love. It could not have happened without the marvelous Derby Dames from Edmonton, as well as our admirable Derby Intelligence Compliance Squad. Rage City announced its 2010-11 venue at the Denaina Center, and as the upcoming season now approaches it looks like a winning streak may be in the works.

Rage City Rollergirls Beat Writer,
Hurt Vonnegut

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 September 2010 21:28

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