10 July 2011

Road Trip: Boston

In our quest to expand our roller derby horizons, we sometimes travel great distances to see teams that are new to us. Yesterday, for example, we drove out to Wilmington, MA to see the Boston Derby Dames host Chicago's Windy City Rollers. The five-hour round trip was totally, unequivocally, absolutely worth it.

To make the trip out a little less boring, we stopped in Nashua, NH to check out Bruised Boutique, a skater-owned and -operated one-stop shop for everything derby. Flocci was mistaken for a roller girl (she was wearing fishnets and an NHRD shirt, so it was an easy mistake to make) after going a little crazy in the sock section, and Johnny picked up some goodies of his own, including Roller Girl - Totally True Tales from the Track, which Flocci will pester him to review here once he's finished reading.

The Boston Derby Dames sure know how to organize a game. Ticketing, merch, seating, music, everything was presented well and kept simple, which let fans focus on the action, and holy cow, what action! The first bout paired two Boston teams: the Cosmonaughties and the Wicked Pissahs. Intraleague bouts can often be boring because the skaters are used to playing together, so they don't put up much of a fight, but Boston is different. These two teams played their butts off, and every jam was exciting. Even though the final score was 58-145, the second half saw the underdog Cosmos score more points than the winning Pissahs, giving us great hopes for the Cosmos' future. If they can get their blocking together, they'll do great things. Our MVP of this bout was the Cosmonaughties' Space Invader, who caught our eyes with her stellar jamming.

In the second bout, the Boston Massacre went up against the visiting Windy City Rollers. This bout was intense. Windy City's skaters are fast, strong, agile, and rock solid. A couple of Boston skaters literally bounced off of some of the Windy City girls while trying to block, and one Boston skater was overheard saying something about "a very large woman" being the cause of her injury as she crawled off the track. Windy City's co-captain Jackie Daniels got our attention with her white cut-offs and shiny belt buckle, and led her team to a 147-44 victory with apparent ease.

That bout was the very last for Boston Massacre skater Maura Buse, and in the final jam, she came on the track as a pivot and left as a jammer, thanks to a seldom-used WFTDA rule allowing for Passing the Star. While there are rarely strategic reasons for passing the star, there are sometimes sentimental ones, and giving a departing skater one last moment of glory is certainly at the top of the list. It was a neat thing to see, both from a gameplay perspective, and as proof that, despite the bruises and badass names, roller girls really are sweethearts. Good show, Boston.