On Saturday May 31, Jefferson State Roller Derby welcomed Flood Water Roller Derby to the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds. The Flood, who also practices in a fairgrounds exhibition hall, felt quite comfortable rolling over the uneven cracks in the polished concrete. The bout, a superhero theme, was complete with comic books, costumes, drama and fanfare.
The Flood skated out with swimming arms in sync with a jaws dubstep theme song and open-mouth shark masks over their faces. As each skater’s name was called, she used her hand to make a shark fin and rose up as if from the water. When Jefferson State skated out for introductions the skaters were all variably dressed in superhero costumes, as if superheroes had shown up to play derby in black and gold jerseys.
The floor was very carefully tended to, with any less than smooth spots covered neatly in cut duct tape. One crack must have been particularly gnarly because it was covered with a thin piece of sheet metal and taped down securely. In no way did it impede skating or cause alarm. Another example of home town derby engineering other leagues can happily take a lesson from.
The first jam
Flood Water started on the back line mere inches in front of Jefferson jammer Diva Destruction and Flood jammer Zombie Sue Aside. As soon as the first whistle blew, Diva was swarmed by the ladies in blue. Zombie was able to break away for lead and to make four clean passes while Tactical Nuclear Penguin single-handedly subdued Diva with repeated and fierce hip hits. Meanwhile, the efforts of Bettie HaSkull and the Jefferson pack to stop Zombie were nullified by the remaining three Flood blockers.
Score after the first jam: 22-0, Flood Water
Even a 22-point lead can’t guarantee a win; with time remaining on the clock, the game is far from over. Despite a strong opening jam, Flood defense continually struggled to prevent Jefferson jammers Gore Jus Krysten and Little Fugly Foo Foo from scoring. The score remained as close as two points apart. Though Jefferson was never able to take the lead, they remained constantly within striking distance.
The botched star pass
Smashtag, jamming for the Flood, was having a particularly difficult time getting through the pack. She was getting beat up, despite efforts by her blockers to make her a hole. Eventually she collapsed on the floor, took off her jammer panty and held it out in front of her. Bad Astral, who had been wearing the pivot panty for the majority of the bout, took the panty from her and while putting it on started moving forward. She was able to get the panty on and break away from the pack in what might have been a textbook panty pass, except that she was not wearing the pivot panty.
According to the most current WFTDA rules, the moment the panty was passed Smashtag should have been assessed an illegal procedure penalty because the jammer may only remove and pass the panty while upright and in play. Astral should have been assessed an illegal procedure because only the jammer or pivot may touch the jammer panty. Instead, Astral made a lap around the track, heard her coach Shadow Soldier yelling that she was not the pivot and returned the panty to Smashtag who was then sent to the penalty box. It’s possible, however, to make big mistakes and still win the game. The Flood finished the first half with a modest 9-point lead.
Score at the half: 84-73, Flood Water
In the second half, things got a little tighter and a little uglier. Am Bam Booty Slam, aggressive enough to accidentally attack her own jammer in the confusion of the first half, redoubled her intensity and hunted down every girl in black. There were frequent incidences of entire packs of girls falling down and falling over each other’s backs. Despite the carnage, few low blocks were assessed. In fact, very few penalties were called the entire bout, for either side.
Amazonian blocker Zulu Mutha Smutha ruthlessly and repeatedly hit out Flood jammer Sunshine Nightmare and drug her back 20 feet for a full two minutes. This made way for Gore Jus Krysten to grab enough points for a lead change. The two-point lead for Jefferson (about half way through the second half) was only held for one jam.
Though the Flood held the lead for all but one jam, they were in no way in control of the bout. On any given jam, especially a power jam, Jefferson could easily have taken the lead away. The last jam ended with 28 seconds on the clock. Flood had a 19-point lead and two remaining timeouts. Jefferson had three remaining timeouts, did not call a time out, and did not get the opportunity to skate one last jam. It will never be known if one last jam would have been sufficient to break a 19-point Flood Water lead.
Final score: 162-143, Flood Water