14 April 2013

Bout Recap: HARD April Double Header

Before we get to today's bout recap, an announcement:

This will be the last recap we post. We're at a point in our fandom where we'd rather just watch bouts than write about them, and there are so many other things on the calendar that we're lucky to catch a bout every month or two. So Pack Is Here is retiring. You'll still see us at bouts now and then, but without the notebook. Thank you to all the skaters and leagues that inspired our love for the game, and we look forward to watching the evolution of this wonderful sport.

So, without further ado, let us fill you in on what happened last night in Connecticut!

Hartford Area Roller Derby hosted a double-header, with the Wailers up against the Scranton Roller Radicals and the Bedrockers facing Shoreline's Bella Donnas. The A-team bout went off first, and it was quite the nail-biter.

Bout 1: Hartford Wailers vs. Scranton Roller Radicals

Of the first ten jams, the Radicals had lead jammer for seven of them, and took what appeared to be a strong 54-21 lead. Then something clicked for the Wailers, and with a couple of power jams they switched things up, grabbing an 89-58 lead over the Radicals with 13 minutes left in the first period. It seemed like they had things sorted at halftime, sitting 31 points ahead, but that halftime pep talk can be a real deal-changer sometimes.

The Radicals came screaming back from the break, taking the lead back over the course of seven jams, and holding it until there were less than ten minutes left on the clock. Hartford got a power jam that brought them into the lead at 177-175, but two minutes later the Radicals got their own power jam and switched up the lead again. Another Hartford power jam in the next jam put the Wailers back in the lead at 209-190, and when the final whistle blew a few minutes later, the unofficial score was 221-117, Wailers over Radicals... and then the NSOs did their review. The Radicals' score came up a few points, the Wailers gained one, there seemed to be a tie, things got a little fuzzy, and when everything was said and done, the Wailers had won, 222-221. Both teams put on quite a show, and the sportswomanship really impressed us. Congrats to both teams on a fantastic bout!

Bout 2: Beat City Bedrockers vs. Shoreline Bella Donnas

This bout wasn't nearly as close as the first one, but it was just as much fun to watch. Once again, it took the home team a good chunk of the first half to figure out their opponents, but once they did, it was in the bag. The bulk of the points for both teams were scored during power jams, and there were a LOT of them.

Halfway through the first half, the scorekeeper's computer bricked, but the venue swooped in and had their old-school analog scoreboard hooked up within a couple of jams, so we barely noticed the interruption. The new scoreboard lighting up coincided with the Bedrockers taking the lead, and the Bella Donnas, despite a strong effort, couldn't get it back for the rest of the bout. Things wrapped up with the Bedrockers winning 288-192.

With that, we bid the derby-blogging world farewell. Thanks for everything, and we'll see you around!

03 March 2013

Bout Recap: Hellions vs. Green Mountain

Howdy, derby fans! It's been a loooooong off-season, and we're excited to get back in the swing of things. A little warning before we get to the good stuff: this year promises to be full of non-derby activity and changes, so we may not be able to get to as many bouts as we have in the past, but we are still in love with the game (especially the new WFTDA ruleset), and we'll keep the recaps coming for as many bouts as we're able to attend. If you'd like to contribute a recap, email Flocci (link in sidebar) and she'll hook you up!

Yesterday was Flocci's birthday, and what could be more fitting than going to see two of her favorite leagues duke it out on the track? Our beloved Green Mountain Derby Dames made the trek to Schenectady to play the Hellions of Troy, and it was the best bout a birthday girl could ask for.

From a points perspective, the bout looks pretty straightforward: the Dames took a commanding lead right off the bat and never let the Hellions get close enough to even consider a lead change. Sitting trackside, though, watching the skaters employ their skills and feeling the energy in the room, that was a different story. This bout was exciting, packed with talented skaters, and incredibly fun to watch.

Just a few minutes into the game, we saw Scarlet Menace (GMDD) and Baby Nuclear (HoT) step up to the jammer line. As they made their initial pass through the pack, both picked up penalties, and there was some confusion at the penalty box, but once that was sorted out and they both got back out on the track, they both picked up penalties again! The second penalty box transition was much smoother, but the jam was still one of the oddest we've seen in a while.

With less than five minutes on the clock in the first half, ref Headless Horsman gingerly skated over to the EMT to have her knee iced and taped, and there was an extended official time out while John Shankem Jingleheimer Strict donned his stripes to take her place. Once the action picked up again, it was just a few jams before halftime was called, with the Dames leading 107-54.

The second half saw one jam without a lead jammer, and only seven (of 22) jams with a Hellions lead jammer. The Dames owned the track, outscoring the Hellions roughly 2 to 1. This isn't to say the Hellions didn't put up a fight -- they more than doubled their points in the second half -- it just wasn't enough to catch the Dames. The gals from Vermont wrapped up the night with an impressive 223-110 win over the Hellions, which will serve as motivation for the Hellions to train even harder for the next time these two teams hit the track together.

05 November 2012

Bout Recap: GMDD Season Closer Double Header

The Green Mountain Derby Dames had their final home game of the season this past weekend, and the bouts were so amazing that it took us a whole extra day to write up the recaps! (Okay, it really took us a whole extra day to drive home, which delayed everything else. Shush.) Both bouts of this double header were exciting, fast, action-packed, and other nail-biting-type adjectives. We were also stoked to see so many friendly faces, thrilled at Star Slayer's triumphant return to the track post-pregnancy, and thankful that we got to know Miss Dairy Air before her derby retirement. All in all, it was an excellent evening on and off the track.

On with the recaps!

Bout 1: Black Ice Brawlers vs. Twin City Riot

The fact that these two teams practice about an hour away from each other and borrow skaters on a regular basis means that the close score wasn't a surprise, nor the two 4-jam stretches where the score didn't change at all. What was a surprise was that, while the jammers skated fairly cleanly (only a handful of power jams in the bout), not one but two Riot blockers fouled out of the game. Granted, they were two of the toughest blockers on the team (Livid Loquita and Pumpkin CarvHer), but it was still a bit surprising to see the first ejection only halfway through the second period.

When we say the score was close, we mean the spread was less than 40 points, there were two jams that saw tie scores, and four lead changes over the course of the game. Lead jammer status was split pretty evenly between the teams, and there was usually some scoring done by the non-lead jammer. An initial 3-2 jam in favor of the Brawlers (despite the Riot having lead jammer) and then the three subsequent scoreless jams summed up the game as a whole: modest, balanced gains, and a lot of good blockers keeping jammers stuck in the pack.

The first power jam happened with about five minutes left in the first period, and the Riot's Peril Liza immediately called the jam to bring in a slightly less exhausted Bad Betty Bonz to wear the star. After a few scoring passes, though, Bonz caught a major penalty, and the Brawlers' Snow Fury swooped out of the box to recover some of the losses. Two more jams with the Brawlers getting lead jammer, and the halftime whistle blew with the Riot barely leading 67-58.

The halftime pep talk worked magic for the Brawlers, inspiring them to tie the score in jam 3 and take the lead in jam 4. Jam 6 saw the start of another 4-jam scoreless streak, despite a power jam for the Brawlers. Both teams nibbled away at the score for the rest of the period, but the Brawlers maintained their lead and wrapped up the game with a 135-104 win. It was an excellent end to the season.

Special Shout Out: Miss Dairy Air, who skated her final bout with style despite a killer cold. We love you, Dairy!

Bout 2: Rideau Valley Vixens vs. Grade A Fancy

Three years ago, the Vixens were one of the first teams to play the newly-formed Green Mountain Derby Dames, and they won by a scant 5 points. Both teams have been working on their skills in the meantime, and everyone was excited to see what would happen in this rematch.

What happened was that we spent most of the bout wondering when our beloved announcer Rock Thudson was going to get the visitors' name right (Rideau sort of rhymes with Frito), in between watching the very fast jams and trying to figure out what the score was.

There may have been a pair of lead changes late in the first period, but the period started and ended with the Vixens in the lead, and the Fancy only got lead jammer in five jams (four of which belonged to Terminate Her). The Vixens' Soul Rekker was the superstar jammer, picking up more than half of her team's points all by herself. Halftime saw the Vixens up 93-74.

The Fancy seemed to rally in the start of the second period, getting lead jammer in four of the first six jams and taking the lead twice, but it was not to last. The Vixens' blockers held and recycled the Fancy's jammers over and over again while their own jammers powered through walls to get through the pack in short order. By the time it was all over (and the score was re-adjusted to account for some miscommunication), the Vixens had beaten the Fancy 174-129.

Name of the Bout: Drunky Brewster #3 (RVV)

And with that, we end our year as the official bout recappers for the Green Mountain Derby Dames. We'll be covering more bouts in the southern part of New England in the coming year, and would love submissions (recaps, articles, whatever) from areas we're not able to cover. Use the link in the sidebar to get in touch, and have a marvelous off-season!

31 October 2012


In Sandy's wake, we at Pack Is Here would like to send our best wishes to everyone who felt the effects of the storm, and especially to leagues that lost practice/bout spaces and/or equipment in this disaster. Our thanks go out to all of the first responders, emergency workers, linemen, and good neighbors who have been working tirelessly to repair the damage and keep us safe.

We'll be heading up to Vermont for our last bout of the season this weekend, and we'll tell you all about it when we get home.

08 October 2012

Bout Recap: Shoreline Home Team Championship

After a series of logistical issues, Pack Is Here finally kept a promise to Betty Schnockered that we'd make it down to Groton for a Shoreline home bout. It happened just in the nick of time, too, since last night was their last home bout of the season! We're normally not keen on intraleague bouts, but this home team championship between the Steam Queens and the Underskated Knockouts proved to be exciting, entertaining, and seriously good derby.

The Knockouts started things off with a 4-2 jam, but the Queens tied things up in the next jam and then ran away with a power jam after that, taking a comfortable 25-6 lead. The next few power jams went to the Knockouts, who got within two points of the Queens' score, but then the Queens got lead jammer in four consecutive jams and controlled the track. They controlled it so well, in fact, that there was a separate four-jam streak where the score sat at 32-23, even though the Knockouts had lead jammer for one of those jams. Once the score got moving again, the Knockouts nibbled away at the Queens' lead and finally took over with 8 minutes left on the period clock. That seemed to inspire a change of gears for the Queens, who then took back the lead two jams later and held it for the rest of the period. The halftime score was 75-54, Queens over Knockouts.

The Queens came into the second half with determination. They built up their lead little by little, and with about ten minutes to go they were sitting on a pretty comfortable 58-point cushion. If the Knockouts had found a new gear a few jams earlier, the game might've ended differently, but their comeback started a little too late to get them the win. In what was supposed to be the last jam, a ref was fooled by a jammer who wasn't lead jammer trying to call off the jam, so an extra jam was played, allowing the Knockouts to only lose by 31 points instead of 43. Final score was 165-134, with the Steam Queens taking home the trophy.

While we're still a bit skeptical of intraleague bouts in general, this bout showed us that we will always be up for a Shoreline home team bout. These girls skate their hearts out, their fans love them, and the bout was a lot of fun to watch. We'll definitely be back to see them next season!

Name of the Bout: Bitta Pill #500mg (Knockouts)

07 October 2012

Bout Recap: HARD October Double-Header

HARD finished off their 2012 season last night with a high-energy double-header that left our heads spinning. Both of these bouts had some technical issues, most of which were forgivable (and we realize that we've been spoiled by the level of derby excellence at Regionals), but they were also extremely entertaining. Flocci exposed two derby virgins to the game, and both got into the spirit in short order, so we call that a success.

Bout 1: Wailers vs Elm City Derby Damez

Hartford's A team, the Wailers, started things off by taking on Elm City from New Hampshire. Elm City handed Hartford a power jam right off the bat, allowing for a 14-4 first jam. They tried to fix the situation by taking a 29-26 lead two jams later, but were quickly bumped back into second place when the Wailers brought the score to 58-47 in jam 5. It took Hartford a few more jams to really get into the swing of things, but by the time the halftime whistle blew, they were ahead 203-117.

Despite Elm City snagging 5 power jams in the second half and having lead jammer status in 12 of the 18 jams, they still couldn't manage to pull the score close enough to have a fighting chance. The Wailers took the win 314-268. We thought we saw one of Elm City's skaters foul out of the game in the second half, and we weren't surprised.

Name of the Bout: Poison Ivers #9929 (HARD)

Bout 2: Bedrockers vs Upper Valley Vixens

Hartford's B team, the Beat City Bedrockers, rounded out the evening with the Upper Valley Vixens. This bout was a nail-biter from start to finish. The well-matched teams kept the score so close that after the final whistle, the refs had to re-tabulate the numbers to determine who won.

The Vixens took a narrow lead for the first half of the first period while the Bedrockers got into their groove, and then the fun began. Two lead changes and three tie scores peppered the remainder of the first period, and the Vixens wrapped up the half with a tenuous 117-95 lead.

It seemed like the refs and scorekeepers had some trouble with the second half, calling 7 official time outs to sort out various issues. Hartford briefly took the lead, but only held it for a few jams before Upper Valley took it back. When the last jam was over, it looked like the Vixens had won by a point, but after some quick double-checking of the math, it was determined that the Bedrockers had actually eked out a 225-222 win.

Name of the Bout: Felon of Troy #1000 (UVV)

01 October 2012

WFTDA East Region Playoffs

Holy Derby, Batman! Pack Is Here has just returned from a wild and wonderful weekend at WFTDA's East Region Playoffs, and here's Flocci (abandoning her professional detachment and going full-out fangirl) to tell you all about it!

When friends from the Green Mountain Derby Dames (East Region co-hosts with Montréal) started asking if anyone wanted to volunteer for the tournament, my hand was one of the first ones in the air. After all, how often does a superfan have the opportunity to help her home team put on an event of this size and importance? Of course I wanted to be part of it! I figured they'd stick me at the ticket table or the merch booth or something, but it was even better than that.

My assignment: Team Wrangler.

For Philly.


There are no words for how excited I was about all of this. I got in touch with "my" team ("Hi, Liberty Belles, crazy fangirl here..."), answered some questions, helped out as much as I could via email, and got psyched for the tournament.

The drive up on Thursday reminded me how much I miss Vermont, but the excitement of being back kept me in high spirits, so I wasn't a gloomy gus when I arrived at the home of the fabulous Miss Dairy Air (GMDD) who had generously offered me one of her kids' rooms for the weekend. We spent the evening catching up and talking derby, and went to bed early so we could be at the venue for the volunteer briefing at oh-cold-thirty the next morning.

As usually happens the first day of a major event, things were a little discombobulated Friday morning. We volunteers signed in, got our shirts, and helped get everything squared away. Things got smoother by the time the first bout started, and continued to improve over the course of the day. Because Philly wasn't due to bout until later in the day, I got to watch most of the morning lineup and do a lot of knitting.

I think I did a pretty good job of not going into crazy fangirl mode when I met the team. I mean, I didn't drool on Teflon Donna or throw myself at Mo Pain, so I count it as a job well done. It was a little awkward at first, being the random stranger tasked with gluing myself to this pantheon of derby goddesses and making sure that their weekend went smoothly, but everything worked out well, and I found myself dubbed an Honorary Belle by the end of the tournament.

I also found myself wrangling not just the team, but their fans, as well. And boy howdy, are Philly fans devoted. They have cowbells, they have pompoms, they have songs ("Mo Paaaaaain, Mo-o Paaaaaaain, Mo Paaaaaain, Mo Pain, Mo Pain, Mo Paaaaaaaaain..."), they have wrestling unitards (yowza!), and they have Bell Heads.

This is me as a Bell Head. (Pardon the stuck-under-a-hat-all-weekend icky hair.) I wore that thing for most of the first half of the championship (Philly-Gotham) bout on Sunday. Who needs dignity when you're supporting your team?

So yeah, there was a ton of derby. Seventeen games, three days, a couple of slaughters, and some very close scores, too. The biggest win was Gotham over Carolina 437-8 (Remember the World Cup? Yeah, it was like that.), and the closest one was DC over Steel City 239-223. The Gotham-Philly championship bout had the biggest turnout (a claim based solely on how full I thought the bleachers looked from where I was sitting), while most of the other Gotham bouts saw the bleachers mostly empty.

I won't betray the confidence of the team by telling you what went on in the Philly locker room, but I can tell you that the Belles are extremely positive and supportive women, they look out for each other, and they're hilarious. (Especially V. Diva, who is, naturally, Divalicious. To the nipple. *ahem*) They're also adorable, each and every one of them, and I'm trying to figure out how to manage this many derby crushes without going completely bonkers.

Sunday evening found me too exhausted to attend the afterparty, but Miss Dairy Air told me it was a rockin' good time, and I assume everyone enjoyed themselves. I know I had a ton of fun hanging out with Philly every afternoon, playing spot-the-celebrity (not that folks like Quadzilla or Double-H are hard to recognize, especially in a compact venue like the Expo, but their presence was so inexplicably startling that I didn't quite know how to handle it), and working on so much knitting that I had to stop for a while to let a swollen finger heal.

It was great getting to see so many friends and make so many new ones (I think I've doubled my Facebook friends list today). Now it's time to recover, do some laundry, and get ready for the next bouts on the calendar (HARD's final home bout of the season on Saturday, and Shoreline's league championship on Sunday).

Derby on!

18 September 2012

Bout Recap: CTRG vs. Bay State Brawlers

[We have a guest post today, folks! Lana GetDirty of the Bay State Brawlers is here to tell us about the action that went down this past weekend. Thanks, Lana!]

Saturday night, at the Landry Arena in Fitchburg, MA, those of us in attendance saw a hard-fought bout between two teams- one, WFTDA sanctioned, while the other was not. The Bay State Brawlers’ very own A-team, the Petticoat Punishers, got to face off against Connecticut RollerGirls’ B-team, the Yankee Brutals, and in their home rink, no less. It was a hard game to NSO, and definitely a nail-biter the whole way through.

The first half started a bit slow, with the Punishers taking the lead the initial few jams, but when Ashlee Juggz got sent to the box for a track cut, the Brutals’ Kitty Bomb took full advantage and got away with a number of grand slams, giving the Brutals an immediate lead of about 25 points. The first half was something of a mess, much to the crowd’s dismay, when the Punishers’ Ashlee Juggz (something of a star around here) continually got sent to the box on unclear calls, and that by the time the first half ended, Juggz had secured her sixth major- which was a first for the typically very low-penalty jammer. Sandy Ravage of the Punishers brought the girls in purple back to lead a few times, but jammers Revengela and Puke Skywalker did their best to counteract, and the first half ended with 97-88, Brutals in the lead.

At the start of the second half, we saw the Punishers take the game as Sandy Ravage got a solid powerjam and brought the score to 107-97. With Ashlee Juggz possessing a precarious amount of majors at this point, we see a brand new skater, B-Line Blondie, in her skating debut for the Punishers, take lead as star jammer alongside Sandy Ravage.

Not too far into the second half, Puke Skywalker takes advantage of a big hit to the opposing jammer from her teammates, Babe Vigoda and Maura Gregious, scoring enough points to bring them back to lead. The very next jam, all skaters took a knee for Mama Hotep of the Brutals, who was downed for injury, forcing the jam dead.

One of the few times Sandy Ravage was in the box, the Yankee Brutals get another powerjam and reclaim lead, 134-127. Shortly after, B-Line Blondie’s first trip to the box gives yet another powerjam to the Brutals, giving them another shot at lead. Ashlee Juggz, Cali N. Tay, and Sandra Mean, however, proved to be a force to be reckoned with in this powerjam, as all were reluctant to give Puke Skywalker their points. More penalties start rolling in, very much to the displeasure of home team fans, as Sandra Mean gets sent to the box and Ashlee Juggz takes her seventh, and final major of the night for a low block in a final desperate attempt to keep Puke Skywalker from making that grand slam, causing an uproar among fans.

With only 11 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock, the score stood at 149-127, Brutals, and we see Folsom Bruise of the Brutals and Sandy Ravage of the Punishers toe to toe at the jammer line. On a mission to get some of those points back for the Punishers, Ravage makes a brilliant apex jump and weasels her way through the pack.

For the first time this evening, we saw Cali N. Tay, star blocker for the Punishers, put on the star panty, but misses a lead jammer opportunity for a minor track cut. With eight minutes and 13 seconds left, the Punishers have reclaimed the lead 154-135.

The next jam becomes the first jam where Sandy Ravage came out of the pack first but did not gain lead jammer status due to a minor forearm, and the Brutals deny Ravage her scoring pass. New star jammer, B-Line Blondie, takes the game away with another grand slam, putting the Punishers in the lead at 4 minutes on the clock, 160-154.

Blondie takes a trip to the box at the end of a points-heavy jam, leaving the Punishers jammer-less for the next jam, but Brutals’ Kitty Bomb takes her place almost immediately at the start, switching the powerjam in the Punishers’ favor. We are in the last precious moments of the bout, and it is anyone’s win at this point. Punishers’ jammer Crushstacean, proving herself to be a skilled jammer early on in the game and in games previous, takes a major penalty in the start of the next jam sending Punishers’ fans to squirm in anguish as Puke Skywalker gets yet another powerjam as we see Punishers blockers getting sent to the box left and right, leaving only Translucid and Mercedes Bunz to take on Puke Skywalker.

In the last jam of the night, Sandy Ravage takes on Folsom Bruise at the jammer line and breaks through the pack first but a minor penalty keeps her from taking lead and Folsom calls it before she can reach the pack again, denying her of the winning point of the night, sending the game to Connecticut, with 169-168, Brutals.

Sandy Ravage takes a well-earned MVP for the Punishers, and Kitty Bomb is granted MVP for her team, the Yankee Brutals. It was a well-fought game all around, and all of the rollergirls involved should be proud.

For the Punishers, Sandy Ravage was the highest scoring jammer, with 60 points overall, and B-Line Blondie not far behind, having scored 58! Puke Skywalker of the Yankee Brutals raked in the most points for her team, bringing home 49 in total for the whole bout!

B-Line Blondie takes a hard hit from Brutals' Babe Vigoda.

B-Line Blondie encountering some heavy blocking by JK LMNOP.

Punishers' Cali N. Tay takes on Folsom Bruise, jamming for the Brutals.

Punishers' Habeas Corpsemaker and Shar'n Da'Hurt keep Puke Skywalker back.

MVP Jammer for Petticoat Punishers, Sandy Ravage

The girls (and guys! Can't forget coaches and bench managers!) of the Petticoat Punishers and the Yankee Brutals posing with announcers, Banshee and Capt. Skidd

MVPs Kitty Bomb of the Yankee Brutals and Sandy Ravage of the Petticoat Punishers posing with Bootiful Banshee and Capt. Skidd!

11 September 2012

Bout Recap: HARD vs. WoRD

When last we saw Worcester Roller Derby, they were recovering from a hard-fought loss to Rock Coast at the All 8 on the Floor Tournament in August. This past weekend, they came down to Connecticut to see how both their A and B teams would do against HARD. We were only able to catch the A teams (Wailers vs. Warriors), but we understand the B teams (Bedrockers vs. Warheads) played a very similar game.

For the first 15 minutes or so, it was a close game. Hartford drew first blood, but only just, in a 10-9 jam. Worcester took the lead and held it for a few jams, keeping a two-point buffer while scoring in every jam. Hartford snatched the lead back momentarily, but then gave Worcester a power jam, which put the score at 38-51 about ten minutes in. That was when Hartford found the right gear. They used an 18-1 power jam to put themselves back in the lead, and spent the rest of the game turning a 4-point lead into a 152-point win.

Worcester got lead jammer in only 7 of the 40 jams (39 if you don't count a double false start that sent both jammers to the box), and gave up eight power jams to Hartford's three. Hartford excelled at keeping Worcester's jammers stuck in the pack, and at finding holes for their own jammers to fly though. In the end the Wailers walked away with a 277-125 win over the Warriors.

There were a couple of technical issues with this game (resulting in 6 official time outs in the second half), but we're happy to report that HARD is growing into an impressive and competent league very quickly. There's marked improvement over where they were two months ago, and we hope to see even more from them as they finish up their first official bouting season next month.

Name of the Bout: Bench Coach Bloodbath And Beyond (HARD)

26 August 2012

Bout Recap: HARD vs Strong Island

It's such a thrill bringing newcomers to their very first roller derby bouts and seeing what happens. After a few months of persistence, Flocci finally managed to get four of her friends to come to HARD's game last night, and the results were exciting: two with mild interest, one with moderate interest, and one superfan. Watching the superfan's transition over the course of the game was a trip -- he wasn't quite sure what was going on for the first few jams, but with some explanations and a few more jams worth of viewing experience, he got the hang of it in no time, and was cheering himself hoarse in every single jam. It was beautiful.

It helped, of course, that the bout was a good one. And not just average good, really good. We've said it before, but HARD really has their act together, so the logistics were smooth, and they invited a team that's very similar in skill level, so the bout was a nail-biter (which was super-exciting for the fresh meat fans). HARD and Strong Island first met two months ago, and HARD walked away from that bout with a very close win, so Strong Island probably had visions of getting their own win this time around. HARD, of course, had other ideas.

The first half was close, and a lot of fun to watch. Both teams use power jams extremely well, there were no slow-start jams, and both teams skate fairly clean, so there weren't a ton of penalties. Hartford's Wailers started things off with 20 points in the first two jams, and then Strong Island started nibbling away at that lead and took it for their own in jam 9. The Wailers snatched it back in the next jam, and it bounced back and forth every other jam for a little while. The next-to-last jam, which ended with about a minute left on the clock, saw the score tied at 64, and despite Strong Island getting lead jammer in the final jam, the Wailers took a tenuous 67-66 lead to wrap up the half.

The halftime pep talk clearly energized HARD, and they came screaming into the second half with a 28-point power jam. At one point during that power jam, there was only one Strong Island blocker left in the pack, and there wasn't much she could do but watch Hartford's jammer sail past again and again. By jam 2, the Wailers had hit the century mark and established a comfortable 32-point lead that only got bigger as the period progressed. Strong Island was relying on one or two jammers, who, by this point in the game, were exhausted, while the Wailers had three or four to choose from, and it really made a difference in who got lead jammer and how well power jams were used. The Wailers ended up with a decisive 203-118 win over Strong Island, giving the girls from New York one more reason to train hard and come back with some new moves next time.

We'd like to give a huge shout-out to the reffing crew for this bout, all of whom were very clear with their calls, making it easier for both seasoned veterans and derby virgins to follow along. There were fewer disputed calls, fewer and shorter official time outs, and it was a more enjoyable game as a whole. Thank you, zebras!

Name of the Bout: Ann T. Virus #24pt (SIDR)