It's roller derby bouts like tonight's match-up between the Seattle Derby Brats and Portland Rosebuds that should be recorded and passed along to possible sponsors, mainstream media and any potential fan out there and spread it around like the most potent virus you could possibly imagine. Simply because if you weren't fully entertained by the fast skating, hard hitting, constant hustle, pure passion, energy, excitement, drama, intrigue, quick lead changes, large deficits overcome, teamwork, all-star players making all-star plays late with the game on the line and, most importantly, two equally talented teams putting on a constant display of a strong will to win a hard fought game over their arch rival, then you're probably a lost cause. Or a corpse of some sort. Hopefully someone will be there to take your pulse to see if you're still ticking.
This, my dear readers, loyal and new, is what roller derby should be all about. And then some. So much so that I'm sure any words I use won't fully describe exactly what unfolded before a packed house at Southgate Roller Rink in White Center on Saturday night. Even that long list of words I used above doesn't even come close to what the audience saw. Really, the only people who might be as pleased with the bout as the spectators were would be the people collecting all the empty cans of whoop-*** to take to the recycling station both teams emptied out on the floor as the night went along. At, say, a penny per can, those collectors would probably be able to easily cover their rent for this month...and have enough left over to buy a new Porsche or something.
Okay...enough of the hyperbole. Let's get down to business here and let everyone who wasn't there know how this all happened.
The early stages of this game was a tale of two different teams. On one hand you had a hometown Galaxy Girls team that looked like they were determined to prove something not only to themselves, but the roller derby world in general. And on the other side, you had a Rosebuds team that looked like they were playing alright, but also had the look of a team that had an old fashioned case of the "bus legs" underneath them (meaning they were on the road). That basic formula saw Seattle take a commanding early lead at 28-0 after the first five jams.
But Portland seemed to shake those pesky "bus legs" after that. Jammers Little Bo Weep and Painbow Fright took advantage of some Galaxy Girls penalty problems and claimed the next two jams by a combined score of 18-5. They continued to slowly chip-away at the SDB lead, picking up quick, short yet very effective point totals over the next three jams, pulling themselves back to within 13 points at 39-26 with about 17 minutes left in the first half.
Beatin Bam!!B seemed to regain the momentum for Seattle in the 11th jam as she went on a 10-0 scoring run that extended Seattle's lead back out to 23 points. However, Portland was quick to answer that little power surge with a more powerful surge of their own over the next two jams as Little Bo Weep (12-0 in the 12th jam) and Tempest Fugit (6-0 in the 13th jam) closed the gap on the scoreboard to only five points with around 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
But that outburst by Portland seemed to be all they had in the tank for the first half. Seattle's blockers began to really have their way with the Portland blockers while the Galaxy Girls jammers picked up lead jammer status seemingly at will for the rest of the first half. Over the final eight jams of the first half, Seattle claimed lead status in all but the final jam of the half while going on a nice little 23-8 scoring run before heading into the locker room with what seemed to be all the momentum in the world on their side. After thirty minutes of play, the Seattle Derby Brats held a 72-52 lead.
In that last paragraph, I should have written the word SEEMED like that...capital letters and bold print. After all, this is the wild and wacky world of junior roller derby. For some odd reason, the kids never seem to buy into the notion that the game is slipping away and they should just pack it in and quit. They never give up. In fact, they actually seemed quite inspired by the prospect of making a big second half comeback to claim the game. And being the true defending champions that they are, the Portland Rosebuds certainly bought into that notion and then a lot more.
Rosebud jammer Tempest Fugit broke out of the pack first during the opening jam of the second half, but was unable to claim lead jammer status. Meanwhile, Seattle jammer DisLykeHer was still eligible for the precious lead jammer tag. However, she was kept within the pack quite nicely for almost the entire jam...especially by an obviously inspired Jesus Feist who was there to stop the Galaxy Girls jammer all by herself at practically every turn in an amazing one-on-one battle between two talented skaters. Finally, 1:20 into the jam, DisLykeHer was sent packing to the pokey with a penalty without having ever escaping the pack during her initial pass. While all this was happening, Fugit was turning lap after lap in furious fashion and ended it by tying the score up on the board with a 20-0 decision. Then with the Seattle jammer still sitting in the penalty box, Little Bo Peep went on a 10-0 scoring run in the second jam that suddenly put Portland up by the score of 82-72.
But after a 0-0 draw between Jesus Feist and Galaxy Girl jammer Mal Intent in the 3rd jam, tSAMnami took home a penalty filled 4th jam with a 11-0 decision that reclaimed the lead for Seattle by one point. However, the Seattle jammer saw herself sitting in the sin bin once that jam was over with. This gave Painbow Fright the chance to snag the lead back for Portland in the 5th jam. After an awesome offensive block by Lemon Stinger during the initial pass that sprung Fright loose for her scoring run, the Seattle blockers did a great job of containing the Rosebuds jammer, surrendering only 5 points during this power jam, thus keeping the game close.
Tempest Fugit extended the Rosebuds lead out to 8 points after a 4-0 lead jammer run in the 6th jam of the second half. However, Seattle had a couple of strong answers of their own at that point. First off was 2012 Washington All-Star Lilly Lightning, jamming for the first time on the night. She got things going the Galaxy Girls way with a 5-0 decision over 2012 Oregon All-Star (and Northwest All-Star) Jesus Feist in the 7th jam. Then with about 20:00 remaining in the second half, Beatin Bam!!B took advantage of a power jam situation created when Rosebud jammer Tempest Fugit went to the penalty box during her initial pass and went on a 15-0 scoring rampage, giving Seattle the lead once again at 103-91.
Tempest Fugit made up for her sin in the next jam, though. As the Portland blockers did an outstanding job of corralling Lilly Lightning during her initial pass, Fugit sprang free from the clutches of derby jail, earned lead jammer and powered her way through the Galaxy Girls wall on her way to picking up a 4-0 decision in the 9th jam, drawing Portland back to within eight points at 103-95.
However, Seattle still had another Washington All-Star in their little bag of tricks waiting to don the jammers cap and do her thing. Her name is Enurgizer Bunny and when she got the opportunity, she made the most of it with a 14-0 power jam decision in the 10th jam of the second half. The power jam came courtesy of a penalty by yet another 2012 all-star, this one being Oregon's Scream Cheese who, with the star on her bonnet, fouled-out of the game with that penalty.
You would *think* that after not only being on the lower end of a 29-4 scoring run over the previous three jams, letting a lead slip away and get further away from you AND losing perhaps the most intimidating blocker on the NW junior circuit really would be the final nail in the Rosebuds coffin. Again, we're talking about junior players here. They really, honestly don't know when to give up. Frankly, it's not even in their nature yet. And, hopefully, never will enter their nature.
Annaphylactic Shock took Scream Cheese's place in the penalty box with the jammers cap on her noggin. She sat and had to watch Seattle's Beatin Bam!!B claim lead jammer once again for Seattle. However, Bam!!B wound up taking a penalty of her own. And once A. Shock earned her freedom for a crime she actually didn't commit, she paid back society with a 20-4 scoring run that catapulted the Rosebuds back to within 6 points at 121-115.
The 12th jam of the second half was a scoreless tie between Seattle's Mal Intent and Portland's lead jammer Little Bo Peep. The 13th jam featured some really old-fashioned roller derby. Tempest Fugit broke out of the pack with lead jammer status, but Galaxy Girl jammer Enurgizer Bunny was hopping all over her heels. The pack took off and set an incredibly fast pace while both jammers raced around for what seemed like forever trying to catch up with them. Finally, Fugit was able to catch the pack, pick up 2 points and call it off before Bunny could counter with any points of her own. Jerry Seltzer himself would have been extremely proud of how that jam unfolded.
The 14th jam of the second half was another 0-0 draw, this time between Tempest Fugit and lead jammer Beatin Bam!!B. This was the last jam of the bout that was pretty much uneventful.
With about 10:00 remaining in the game and the score standing at 121-117 in favor of the Galaxy Girls, some of the most amazing sport...not just roller derby, but all of SPORT...took place.
It all started with the 15th jam of the second half. During the early stages, Seattle's Mal Intent picked up lead jammer status and set out on her scoring run. However, during her scoring pass, she did a no-no and had to go sit in the corner for a minute. This gave Portland jammer Annaphylactic Shock the go-ahead to rack up as many points as she could during the remainder of the jam. She did pick up a 9-4 decision to reclaim the lead for the Rosebuds, but not lost in the shuffle was the great job the Galaxy Girls blockers did to minimize the damage she really could have done. At this point, the score was 126-125 in favor of Portland.
Portland extended the lead ever so slightly over the next two jams. First was Tempest Fugit once again edging Enurgizer Bunny out on the scoreboard 2-0 in the 16th jam. Then in the 17th jam, Rainbow Dash broke out of the pack first during her initial pass, but without lead jammer status. Then while on her scoring run was called off for a penalty after scoring 4 points. Seattle jammer tSAMnami had earned lead status and called the jam off without scoring any point of her own.
With about 5:00 left in the bout and the score standing at 132-125 in favor of Portland, this entire scene went insanely epic as three All-Star players made three All-Star plays to finish the game.
The 18th jam of the second half was an absolute power jam for Seattle's Lilly Lightning. With the Portland jammer sitting in the penalty box with two of her blockers, Lightning was able to earn lead jammer status and bolted her way around the track for a 15-0 decision in less than a minute that gave the Galaxy Girls the lead at 140-132.
Then Enurgizer Bunny stepped up to the line with Rainbow Dash still residing in the penalty area. The Galaxy Girls jammer picked up lead status and racked a 10-0 decision on the board that gave Seattle the lead at 150-132.
With 1:54 seconds remaining in the game, Portland sent Jesus Feist to the jammer line to go up against Lilly Lightning. During a hard fought initial pass, the Rosebud blockers coaxed Lightning into taking a penalty, sending her off the track and to the box. Feist then earned lead jammer status, made three scoring passes for a 15-0 decision that pulled the Rosebuds back to within three points before calling the jam off with only 26 seconds left on the game clock.
However, in a game that was almost too perfect to be true, the one imperfect thing happened at the absolute wrong time. With the clock ticking away, Lilly Lightning still sitting in the penalty box, the refs waiting for the signal and the entire Portland section screaming for it, the Rosebuds never called a time out. And with that, the clock for this incredible game ticked down to 0:00. And once it did, the Seattle Derby Brats Galaxy Girls had come out victorious by the score of 150-147.
3. Stella Mental. The blocking stats for the Galaxy Girls were pretty well spread out in this one. But Stella led Seattle (and finished 2nd overall in the game) on my blocking sheet with 10 blocked jammers and one hole-opening block that helped spring her jammer to daylight. She was in the right place at the right time more often than not for Seattle during this bout. A very solid performance.
2. Jesus Feist. She led the entire game in blocking stats, collecting 10 blocked jammers, one hole-opening block and leveled two Galaxy Girls to the floor with big hits. Not to mention she picked up 23 points in 5 runs at jammer...including that clutch 15 point scoring run in what proved to be the final jam of the game.
1. Beatin Bam!!B. You could possibly say that without her often spectacular jamming runs, Seattle may not have won this game. She slapped the jammers cap on 10 times during this tilt and scored a game high 51 points. But perhaps most importantly in a close bout such as this one, it was the 8 times she earned lead jammer that could have been the biggest difference maker. There were a few times during the game when she had that status and picked up only a few points...maybe one, maybe zero...and used that power to call the jam off before Portland could post any points of their own on the board. By earning all those lead jammers, she controlled the game both on the track and on the scoreboard. People usually associate a jammer dominating a game by posting huge point totals. In Bam!!B's case, it was about all those little point totals and her preventing Portland from posting any points at all several times throughout the bout. An excellent job, for sure.
Key Jam of the Game
You know...for the first time ever...I really can't make up my mind as to which jam was the "key jam." There is a part of me that wants to say it was the opening volley shot by the Galaxy Girls over the first five jams that saw them spring out to a 28-0 lead. There is a part of me that wants to say it was the way Portland answered back at the start of the second half when Tempest Fugit and Little Bo Weep went on that combined 30-0 tear that put Portland in the lead. Lilly Lightning's 15-0 jam in the 18th run of the second half that gave Seattle the lead? Enurgizer Bunny's 10-0 decision in the 19th jam of the second half that proved to be the winning points? Or maybe even the jam that didn't happen at the end of the game? Really, this might be the ultimate reason why this bout was more awesome than feeble words could ever describe. There was just too much greatness to narrow it down that easily.
Seattle Derby Brats (Jams - Lead Jammer - Jams in Box - Points)
Beatin Bam!!B (10-8-1-51)
Flyin' Hawaiin (5-3-1-18)
Mal Intent (5-3-0-8)
Lilly Lightning (4-2-1-20)
Enurgizer Bunny (4-2-0-24)
Portland Rosebuds (Jams - Lead Jammer - Jams in Box - Points)
Little Bo Weep (10-4-3-33)
Annaphylactic Shock (7-2-2-35)
Medulla Oblongotchya (3-0-2-0)
Tempest Fugit (10-6-2-40)
Painbow Fright (3-1-0-14)
Jesus Feist (5-2-0-23)
Scream Cheese (1-0-1-0)
Rainbow Dash (3-0-3-4)
Seattle Derby Brats (Blocked Jammers - Open Holes - Big Hits)
Stella Mental (10-1-0)
Mal Intent (4-1-0)
Poison Izzie (5-0-1)
Lilly Lightning (7-2-0)
Rosie D. Kream-Her (4-1-2)
Tina Angst (5-0-0)
Rockin' Red (8-0-0)
Brutiful Beast (0-3-0)
Enurgizer Bunny (7-1-0)
Flyin' Hawaiin (4-2-0)
Portland Rosebuds (Blocked Jammers - Open Holes - Big Hits)
Scream Cheese (8-1-1)
Rainbow Dash (1-0-0)
Painbow Fright (4-0-1)
Lemon Stinger (0-1-0)
Annaphylactic Shock (2-0-0)
Shank You Very Much (2-0-0)
Heavy Nettle (5-1-1)
Medulla Oblongotchya (2-1-1)
Tempest Fugit (4-1-0)
Jesus Feist (10-1-2)
Root Of All Evil (1-0-0)
Seattle Derby Brats (PIM)
Stella Mental (3)
Mal Intent (2)
Poison Izzie (3)
Lilly Lightning (6)
Rosie D. Kream-Her (2)
Rockin' Red (1)
Brutiful Beast (1)
Enurgizer Bunny (1)
Beatin Bam!!B (1)
Flyin' Hawaiin (1)
Portland Rosebuds (PIM)
Little Bo Weep (2)
Scream Cheese (7)
Lemon Stinger (3)
Annaphylactic Shock (1)
Shank You Very Much (1)
Heavy Nettle (3)
Medulla Oblongotchya (2)
Tempest Fugit (1)
Jesus Feist (1)
Root Of All Evil (3)
Commentary: I honestly believe that the northwest junior roller derby scene is the best derby scene in the world. Many away from here may scoff at that notion, but a lot of people who watch it around here would probably back that statement up. It's everything that the sport can and should be. The players set an example everyone should follow. Win or lose tonight, everyone involved with this bout (players, coaches, refs, NSO's) should be incredibly proud of the product they put out there. Honestly, it's not much of a secret that the juniors are the only thing that kept me interested in covering the game. And after tonight, the faith that I have that the sport is in good hands for the future was strengthened just that much more. Now hopefully I don't twist my ankle while getting off this soapbox of mine.
On the Roller Derby Examiners page on Facebook, you have writers who cover other junior teams in depth across the country. Sometimes we even cover adult derby. Women and men. Not to mention all the different styles of derby (WFTDA, USARS, banked track). It's a pretty crazy thing we got going on there. So definitely click on that link above and "like" us.
I also tried to tweet some scores during the game tonight. But my phone couldn't connect with the internet in that building for some odd reason. Anyway, my plan is to tweet updates whenever I can at bouts I attend in 2013, whether I'm doing a recap of them or not. So if you like getting some updates from around the Puget Sound (or even northwest) derby scene on bout night, take the time to follow me on Twitter.