Friday, October 29, 2010

Ready to brawl

Tomorrow night the Old Capitol City Roller Girls will take on the River Bend Bombers (Quad City Rollers' A-team) on our home turf of the Coralville Marriott for our annual Monster's Brawl season finale.

Last weekend at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, OCCRG tied the Mid-Iowa Rollers for the most wins in a single season -8- when we triumphed 182-91 over the Hell Dorados. There's a more than a good chance we will break that record when we take to the track, though I know the Quad City ladies will be ready to put up a good fight. Like us, they will be wheeling back in one week's time; just having suffered a tough 141-87 loss at the hands of the Des Moines Derby Dames at the River Center.

There will also be a costume contest during half-time; come see us possibly make history in Iowa's fledgling but blossoming roller derby scene. As always the doors open at 6:15 and the action starts at 7.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Reeking of sweat and victory

I am pleased to report that last night at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, the Old Capitol City Roller Girls extended their win streak to three with a decisive 182-91 tally over the Cedar Rapids Roller Girls.


It was the first time that OCCRG had played the Hell Dorados (CRRG's A-team) since June of 2009; an event which we lost largely due to inexperience -- we had only had our first bout exactly one week earlier. (This past May, OCCRG thumped CRRG's B-team, the Bombshell Cartel, 271-84 on our home turf of the Coralville Marriott.)

Given the long drought between facing the Hell Dorados, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I knew we were a much more athletic and seasoned team since the last time we had faced them, but I knew the same would be true of the Hell Dorados.

As it was, it was undramatic bout. OCCRG took the lead from the outset with the usual big jams from Ophelia Fracture and GladI8Her (who was last seen bouting in June). I had a quite a few successive go-rounds as my turn as jammer, as did Left 4 Deadwards. The team's defense was quite strong, with plenty of full-body leans and booty blocking used to impede the progress of the Hell Dorados jammers by Fannysaurus Wrex and Animal Mother. As expected, Bat R Up and ZomB Blokr did the dirty work of breaking up walls put up by the Hell Dorados blockers and delivering some puissant blows.

The Hell Dorados did put up a good fight from beginning to end. Their blockers were aggressive and hit hard, and OCCRG had to rely on fancy footwork to evade them. In the second half the Hell Dorados employed a strategic play, delaying their blockers rolling past the pivot line as long as possible, for every single jam. (This is a play that is experiencing an unfortunate surge in popularity in the roller derby world in the moment, and is dissected well by Left 4 Deadwards in her latest blog post.) The motive behind such a play is that, in being the last blockers past the line, the Hell Dorados gained immediate control of pack speed since OCCRG blockers could not shoot ahead or risk being called for splitting the pack. It also meant that OCCRG jammers would hit a wall right off the line and isolate her from her own blockers As it turned out, all it really succeeded in doing was running down the clock, as OCCRG jammers were temporarily stymied before their blockers interceded by skating backwards into the Hell Dorados' walls to literally break things up.

Left 4 Deadwards holding up a Hell Dorado jammer

MVP of the bout in my book was Left 4 Deadwards, who switched back and forth from jammer and blocker throughout the night. She is alternately known on the team as 'Crazy Legs' for the impossible and unnatural footwork and she regularly doles out on the track. Left 4 Deadwards is not known for big hits that send opposing skaters flying like Bat R Up, but she is known for her heavy leans which are just as --if not more-- effective in fettering opposing jammers. She also sports a rear that, though diminutive, always manages to get up in everyone's business and throws thought-out plays into disarray.

As for me, I had a couple of big jams though there were two instances where a Hell Dorado blocker pushed me inside and, before I could stop myself, I cut the track. Controlling my speed and path is definitely something I will be working on in coming weeks, but on the whole I played fairly cleanly (No major elbows!) with fewer majors and minors than I have ever incurred during a bout. The Hell Dorados were successful a few times in distracting me from their approaching jammer by engaging and blocking me. I'm trained now to keep an eye out for that opposing jammer but now it's readily apparent that I also need to watch for opposing blockers who will try to knock me around when I'm caught off guard or looking the other way.

And no post-bout recap would be complete without the action shots, which come courtesy of Jonathan Johnson:

GladI8Her makes lead jammer while Fannysaurus Wrex and Chemical Spill wall

ZomB Blokr (center) and I watch for both jammers

Ophelia Fracture, as usual, runs circles around the competition...

...and slips through the inside while Left 4 Deadwards hampers another Hell Dorado jammer

More photos to post in coming days from our own team photographer, Emily Sherman.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Going green

This week the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) accepted ten new teams from around the world to be a part of their Apprenticeship program. Three of them are from Iowa.

In addition to the Old Capitol City Roller Girls, both the Des Moines Derby Dames and Mid Iowa Rollers --both of the state capital-- were accepted. This goes a long way in sending a message to the rest of the international roller derby community that Iowa is ardent and dedicated to the sport and will be becoming a more prominent name.

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is the international governing five-member body for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby and a membership organization for leagues to collaborate and network. The WFTDA sets standards for rules, seasons, and safety, and determines guidelines for the national and international athletic competitions of member leagues. There are currently 98 WFTDA member leagues and 43 leagues in the WFTDA Apprentice program.


So what's the big deal? WFTDA is the big time and certifies all of the nation's best teams from the Oly Rollers of Washington and Gotham City Roller Girls of New York to teams in Canada and Europe. Member leagues get a vote in organization decisions, access to vast networks of other WFTDA teams and eligibility to tournaments and rankings. Part of being an apprenticing team to WFTDA stipulates that a team must play at least six sanctioned bouts against other WTFDA-certified teams during the season, which means that OCCRG will playing against several teams in the North Central region in 2011 for the first time. The quality of skating will be higher and the team will be, hopefully, getting more press and exposure.

Can you dig it?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gaining momentum

Highlights from the first half of the Sept. 18th Flying Elbow bout in which the Old Capitol City Roller Girls derailed the Quad City Rollers. Plenty of big hits from Bat R Up, and you know you've been clamoring for them.