Derby Strikes Back: An Insider’s Look at Last Weekends Game
Tue. Apr 11, 2017
Dedicated fans claim their seats early as the Smokin' Laces and Apex Pistols roll out for warm-up. My heart pounds with excitement and nerves. A year ago, I blended in with the crowd admiring these women, now I get to skate with them.
Like most sports, we had an inspirational speech given by our coach and captain before the game. Each player took turns describing a teammates strength, then closed with Yoda's words of wisdom, "Do or do not. There is no try."
We skate out in game mode, whipping around the track to flaunt our Scar War costumes. Each of us create a personal twist on our favourite Star War icons (we even invited our own characters like, Ringle Dingle and Pink Yoda). Introductions are made by the MC, as our head-shots are displayed on the oversized screens. Wheels are on fire, we are ready to strike back.
The anticipation of who will take lead jam at the start of a game is as intense as a call back from a first date. Patience is hard to find, it's impossible to sit still. Apex Pistol's Purr-Fect-Lee Legal, takes lead in the first jam. I can feel sweat developing inside my wrist guards. Hard hits are given and received by both teams. This is roller derby, this is what we are trained for. I repeat this to myself when I go to line up with my teammates.
By the end of third jam, a time-out is called. Spots of blood are found on the floor, belonging to veteran warrior, the Fighting Mongoose. Without any hesitation she goes back into battle like a die-hard warrior would. Some injuries need special attention, and in the world of derby safety is taken seriously. There was no other choice but to set our Mongoose free to the emergency.
Coach, Scott Killgrim, congratulates us for staying clean of penalties for most of the first period (which is not easy in this sport). Sadly, luck doesn't last forever and by the time we enter the second half, the numbers on the score-board heat up. The Smokin' Laces earn some well deserved points during a power jam.
Power jams can really make or break scores, it's an opportunity for a team to snag points while the other jammer is stuck in the penalty box. Which means only one team is scoring, as the opposing team's blockers work extra hard to save their points. Between Zelda Fightzgerald's fancy footwork and CrackHer Jacks super-natural strength, the Smokin' Laces make us sweat in more ways than one.
Only fifteen or so minutes left of the game, the Apex Pistol's lose another golden veteran skater. Our blockers are sent in and out of the penalty box. At one point, Jedi blocker Sweetie Gonzalez, is alone on the track rockin' her defence skills to defend the galaxy of points we just redeemed.
It's a score of 157 to 145 for the Pistols. The period clock stops with less than a minute before the last jam ends. I'm on the edge of my seat, crushing on our Natural Born Spiller as she fights her way through the Lace's pack. Then I see Zelda, a few strides away from making an escape. This isn't a game I'd ever bet on, the odds between both teams are too great.
The whistles blown, all eyes are on the score board. The final result is 161 to 158 for the Apex Pistols. I want to cry with joy for the whole team, for every body that made this event possible. Then I remember the heavy dosage of black eye-liner applied to my face, and I decide to save those tears for the drive home.
It was a full night of slams and bams, and good ol' derby love.