Pinky & The Brawn: Roller Derby Re-cap

October 26: Reynoldsville Roller Dome Halloween-themed event

Northern Allegheny Roller Derby put together a huge Halloween-themed roller derby event. In the Reynoldsville Roller Dome on Oct. 26, two roller derby bouts took place.

The bouts took place at 1 and 3 p.m. with six different roller derby leagues represented. Teams came from all over western PA and New York.
The skaters registered early and were assigned to teams based on their experience and skills in the sport.

All skill sets from just passed minimum skills to the three-year derby veterans participated in the Monster Mash Up. The skaters picked out their favorite scary boutfits, and rolled onto the track.

In bout one, the Sugar Skulls took on the Scream Queens. The first jam was cautious, like two boxers feeling each other out in the first round.

Hunter S. Stomps ‘Em (NARD) of the Queens forced Stitch Her Up (SCAR) to call off the jam when she only scored one point.

The Queens took their only lead of the bout in the next jam when NunCrusher (J-Town) scored four points to take the lead 4-1.

After that the Skulls took off and kept scoring. The Skulls used a three-skater rotation at jammer. Those three jammers racked up 5-point passes and 6 jams with at least 15 points scored.

Stitch Her Up(SCAR), Misfit Sally (Corry) and BruiseHer BeatHer (Corry) slashed through the pack with serial killer efficiency to score 173 points. Green White Check Her (Corry) led the scoring for the Queens in the first half. With all of the work, the Skulls led the Queens 173 to 38.

Things improved for the Queens in the second half. They got together at halftime and made adjustments. They reduced the amount of 0-point passes in the second half to four, as compared to the nine they had in the first half. The skulls did not let the scoring phase them.

They kept going and the first-half rotation kept hacking the pack. A few new jammers donned the star helmet cover to score points, but Stich, Bruise, and Misfit scored a majority of the points. The Skulls carved up the Queens’s defense and won 318-155.

Hunter S. Stomps ‘Em led the scoring for the Queens when the final horn sounded. She had 55 of the 155 points, and NunCrusher chipped in with 21. Hunter lead the Queens in points per jam average (PPJ) with Green white Check Her close behind at 4.75 PPJ (38 points).

Teams were reshuffled, new players came on to the track, and the second bout began. Some of the skaters played in both bouts to show the stamina of a derby girl.

The second bout was much closer and competitive. The bout was the Rolling Dead Girls versus the Ghouls Next Door. The Ghouls’ Hunter S. Stomps ‘Em opened the scoring in the first jam but the Dead Girl’s Misfit Sally scored eight points in jam three to take the lead 8-4.

Playing conservative derby (scoring a few points then calling off the jam), the Dead Girls increased their lead 34- 16 in the 10th jam. The Ghouls would start chopping away at the lead and lead by Giggidy Girl (ERG) and Green White Check Her the lead shrank to 52-45 by the end of the 14th jam.

In the 15th jam of the half, the Ghouls would re-establish their lead by Green White Check Her scoring 18 points, 63-57. The Dead Girls combination of Lucky Hammer (J-Town) and Granarchy (SCAR) scored 17 points in the last two jams to take the lead back at the half, 95-84.

Slow but consistent out-scoring to begin the second half would extend the lead of the Dead Girls over the Ghouls. By the end of the sixth jam, the Dead Girls’ lead was 132-100.

The Ghouls would go on a scoring drought in the next three jams, and the Dead Girls jammers took advantage. The 36-0 run opened up the scoring wounds, and the Ghouls would never recover. The Dead Girls won the bout with a haunting 210-163 final score.

The Ghouls were led in scoring by Hunter S. Stomps ‘Em. She had 56 points (6.2 PPJ) and Green White CheckHer had 47 (5.22 PPJ). The Honey Badger (ERG) chipped in with 36 points (3.27 PPJ). The Rolling Dead Girls’ leading scorer had 56 points also — she is Misfit Sally (4.3 PPJ). Granarchy scored 52 points in four jams and led the bout in points per jam at 13. BruiseHer BeatHer continued her great jamming and had 47 points in the second bout.

Many roller derby leagues award a Most Valuable Player award to a deserving jammer and blocker. Northern Allegheny Roller Derby did not deviate from that tradition and handed out some hardware.

For the Sugar Skulls, The Most Valuable Blocker was Jungle Fevah from Enchanted Mountain Roller Derby and Misfit Sally of Corry was the Most Valuable Jammer. Awards for the Scream Queens were: Most Valuable Blocker Pinky Balboa of SCAR, and Hunter S. Stomps ‘Em of NARD was most valuable Jammer.

In the second bout the Rolling Dead Girls’ Most Valuable Jammer was BruiseHer BeatHer of Corry, and the Most Valuable Blocker was Nard’s Sharp ShootHer. The Ghouls Next Door Most Valuable Blocker was SCAR’s Bash’n LaSassin, and NARD’s Ripper Hardout was the Most Valuable Jammer.

October 19: SCAR vs. New Jersey Roller Girls

Roller derby bouts are generally high-scoring affairs. Teams have won bouts with 400-plus points.

The winning margin can be very high as well. With the disparity of teams either in the age, playing ability of a team, or the amount of time a team can practice leads to some leagues being considerably better than their opponents.

It is not uncommon for a newer league in its rookie season to lose by a wide margin to a better-established team by 200-plus points.

My first bout I refereed, back in October of 2012, was Westco versus the B team of Pittsburgh. Westco lost 400-and-something to 44. This bout was different.

On Saturday night, Oct. 19, the New Jersey Roller Girls (NJ) traveled Interstate 80 to State College, where they took on the State College Area Rollers (SCAR). The travel team for SCAR is called the Happy Valley Dolls, and they laced up their skates to play the blue-and-gold-clad Jersians.

The bout started off in the normal way. The head referee blew the opening whistle, and both teams went at it. Hits were hard, and Jammers flew around the track. Most jams were short and called off early by the lead jammer. In this bout, both halves had 22 jams in them. That is a lot of jams in one half. Most bouts have around 15 per half.

In the second jam of the night #N0N0 Access Denied kept the jam going and scored 24 points for SCAR. That jam turned out to be the highest scoring jam of the game.

With the NJ offense spinning its wheels in the first two jams, SCAR jumped out to an early lead of 28-0. SCAR kept the accelerator down and got 13 points from #36 StitchHer Up to increase the lead to 41-2 by the end of the 4th jam.

NJ would start to chip away at the SCAR lead. In the next jam, #5 Chase Windu would score 15 points and #10 Miss USA-hole would follow that up with another 12 points to cut the deficit to 45-29 SCAR.

Over the next four jams, SCAR would start playing conservatively. Score 4 points as lead jammer and call off the jam before the NJ jammer had a chance to score any points. By using this strategy, SCAR increased its lead to 57-32. NJ came roaring back to score 17 points by #10 Miss USA-hole to edge closer to SCAR 58-49.

Low jam scoring would continue for the rest of the half with no team scoring more than 4 points in a jam. The halftime buzzer would sound with SCAR holding on to an 83-64 point lead over New Jersey.

Early in the second half, SCAR opened up the scoring on NJ. A penalty on the NJ jammer Pixie Bust allowed SCAR’s NanBearPig to get a 17-point jam. That increased the lead to 104-68.

New Jersey would not roll over and die and began chipping away at the lead. Over the course of the next 11 jams, NJ jammers #7 Miss Corpse, #10 Miss USA-hole, #21 Pixie Bust, #12 Shanni-Gunz, and # 5 Chase Windu outscored the SCAR jammers 37-19. That cut the lead to 18 points 123-105.

In jam 18, the NJ team gave the jammer helmet cover to Miss USA-hole, and she scored 17 points and reduced SCAR’s lead to one point, 123-122.

In jam 19 of the second half NJ took the first lead of the game over SCAR 125-123 with 3 minutes left on the clock. Both teams exploded with points.

The jam was one of a few that went the full two minutes as each jammer took a turn in the penalty box. N0N0 Access Denied of SCAR scored 24 points while Shanni-Gunz scored 25 points for NJ. The score was 154-147 with NJ leading and 40 seconds left to go in the bout.

The next jam was going to be the last of the bout. Access Denied stepped up and scored 16 points, while the NJ jammer was in the box and called off the jam for SCAR to win the bout 163-158 in comeback fashion.

SCAR head coach Chris Brace referenced the penalty post-game “I’ve always told my team to play to the end, to give it all you’ve got and leave it on the track. When their jammer went to the box, I knew we would finish strong”

All throughout the night the SCAR team made great efforts to knock the NJ jammers out of bounds. In the rules, the skater who is hit out of bounds has to come back inside the track behind the person who knocked her out.

The tactic of extending the pack backwards is called bridging. Head coach Brace talked about it and said, “If I had to pick one thing I thought worked really well during the game, it would be bridging. We work hard on bridging at practice, and it showed in this game.”

Endurance and having something left at the end of the bout helped SCAR to score points in the end.

Brace reported, “New Jersey was definitely similar in skill, which is evident by the score, but I think the time we spend at practice working on endurance puts our whole team over the top in the second half.”

September 21: Westmoreland County Roller Derby Intra-squad bout

Hot Shots Sports arena in Mt. Pleasant PA hosts a lot of events. They have two roller hockey rinks plus a jungle gym and concessions. It hosted the Westmoreland County Roller Derby (Westco) intra-squad bout on Sept. 21.

The Westco Derby Team divided itself up into two teams and went at it for some hard-hitting roller derby action. The skaters from Westco were split into teams based on their support of the felines or the canines.

The cat lovers were on the “Crazy Cat Lady” team, while the puppy lovers went on the “Die Hard Dog Lovers.” The bigger beneficiary of this bout was the Animal Friends of Westmoreland County. A portion of the ticket sales, bake sale profits and animal food donations went to help this worthy cause. In the arena watching the action were some four-legged animals looking for a good home.

The Crazy Cat Ladies (Cats) jumped out to 20-point lead in the opening jam thanks to the skating of #914 Skitzo Fitzo. She sliced through the pack getting five point passes while the Die Hard Dog Lovers (Dogs) jammer was stuck in the pack on her initial pass.

The Dogs’ Heather Scissorhands (#31) skated hard to close the gap on the score with a 19-point jam a few minutes later. The teams were able to keep it close up until the middle point of the first half.

In Jam 10, while the Dogs were nursing a 54-44 point lead, Skitzo donned the star helmet cover to jam for the Cats and took advantage of a forearm penalty to Dogs’ Queen of Hurts and scored 24 points. Cats opened up the lead to 68-59 over the Dogs.

The Cats’ coach Code Red noticed, “Our jammers showed that they have endurance and great speed. They were able to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them, get low and skate clean, which is crucial in today’s derby.”

For the rest of the first half, the Dogs again began to chip away at the Cats lead. The Dogs worked hard and scrounged points to close the gap to 87-80 with one jam left to go in the half.

In that last jam, the Cats Jammer #333 Malice Chalmers had a 25-point performance and cracked the bout wide open. As the Dogs scored no points in the last jam, the score was 112-80 going into halftime.

To start the second half of action, the Dogs regrouped and went on a 20-4 run in the first three jams of the second half. No. 4 Problematic Peanut fetched the jammer helmet cover and scored all the points for the Dogs in that run. The gap was closed to 116-100 in favor of the Cats but that was as close as the Dogs would get.

In the next three jams, the Cats would take advantage of the Dogs’ jammer penalties and go on a run of their own. Malice Chalmers, Skitzo Fitzo, and Chick of Destiny (#420) scored the 40 points the ferocious felines needed, and the Cats would not look back. The Cats would maintain that 40-point lead throughout the rest of the bout, and the Crazy Cat Ladies would take the victory over the Die Hard Dog lovers, 184-123.

The Cats had 12 five-point passes in the second half, as compared to the Dogs only mustering six. With only 15 scoring passes in the second half, 80 percent of the Cats’ points were off five-point passes.

Between penalties to the jammers and blockers, the Dogs had 8 out of 12 jams in the second half with 0 points.

The Dogs’ coach Pits McGee reported, “(Penalties) as in any sport they hurt not just the player but the whole team. In such a fast-paced game being short handed is very hard to manage. They are the most detrimental to the score when you get right down to it.”

The Cats also were able to attain lead jammer status 17 out of 29 jams, or 58 percent of the time.

Code Red was happy about that stat and said, “earning lead jammer status was critical to our success as a team. Given that we were competing with a small roster, it enabled us to control the clock and get off to an early lead.”

That lead was never relinquished, and The Crazy Cat Ladies secured a hard-skated victory.

Until the next bout, roll on....
Pinky & the Brawn