On Friday, May 2, 2014 Shasta Roller Derby’s Hit Squad faced off against Peninsula Roller Girls’ Psycho Pathogens. The Peninsula Roller Girls have two home teams, the Psycho Pathogens and the Damas De Los Muertos who played Santa Cruz’s Seabright Sirens in the first bout of the double header.
The venue was immediately adjacent to the railroad track in a roller rink with aging hardwood floors. The floors were still in good enough repair for a smooth ride around the track and there was plenty of seating for fans. Normally derby bouts are held on Saturday night and start earlier in the evening. Even though the Hit Squad v Psycho bout didn't begin until 9 p.m. loyal fans were still present to cheer.
The excitement started with the first whistle, releasing jammers Blanche Devilroll for Shasta and Dreadzilla for Peninsula. Dreadzilla snagged lead with Blanche hot on her heels. After a quick two passes around the track, she called the jam scoring 2 points but not before Blanche snatched 1 point on the last whistle. Following the first jam however, Shasta would pull away with a commanding lead and maintain that lead for the remainder of the bout.
Score at the first quarter: 40-4, Shasta
Though Shasta was leading from the first few minutes of play, The Pathogens weren't completely over matched. In each jam Shasta had to fight to get lead and fight to score against effective blockers like Imp Eden, Mandaryn Crush, and Cynful Prowler.
The game was relatively clean with only a moderate number of penalties being served on either side. The referee crew, namely Bookslinger and Massoginist, made accurate and appropriate calls. Though not every call was perfect neither team was favored. Transitions between jams were smooth and there were no needless or drawn out official time outs.
Score at the half: 160-67, Shasta
This bout was the Hit Squad’s first bout with Coach Sac Killa, who managed to weave teamwork out of chaos. In the second half he changed his jammer rotation, sending first-half jammers Sunshine Nightmare and Gore Jus in as blockers and blockers Ape Hanger Alice and NINgirl Roxit to the jammer line. Meanwhile, the new Hit Squad pack was working as a unit on the track, putting up strong walls Pathogen jammers had great difficulty squeezing through.
Pathogen walls were strong as well, containing some Hit Squad jammers for a lap at a time. Every inch on the track was hard fought, for both teams, and even though the lead was large, perhaps insurmountable, the Pathogens would not lay down and take it. Heavy hitters like T-M.A.G.num and Dirty Thirty put the hurt on Shasta jammers while power blockers ThumpHer and McCrusher batted around PRG jammers.
The fight became double the intensity in the second half of the bout, with both teams battle weary but more determined than ever to play their best. Regardless of the heightened competition, the general attitude on the track was one of good will, with smiles all around, until the whistle blew, that is. There was no name calling, a moderate amount of cursing, and generally clean play. Penalties typically increase in the second half of a bout, as they did in this one, but that is more symptomatic of fatigue than ill will. When all was said and done, both teams and the fans agreed it was an energetic and enjoyable bout.
Final score: 198-111, Shasta