Thursday, September 29, 2011

Show Me Der-B-Q South Central tournament

Tournament play continues to heat up with two more regional tournaments before the big dance. This weekend, the South Central Regional Tournament, Show Me Der-B-Q, takes place in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 30-October 2.
Last year, Kansas City managed to turn their 3rd-seed birth into a first-place finish against Texas in the finals of the South Central Regional in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Roller Warriors pulled off a first seed this year in an opportunity to see tournament play in front of their home crowd.

While KC isn’t counting out Gold Coast or Green Country Roller Girls, the Roller Warriors are already sizing up their second round when they’ll take on the winner of Atlanta versus Houston.

“Atlanta can be all on or off depending on if we have our stuff together,” said Kansas City blocker Kristin “Eclipse” Clarke, in an interview prior to KC’s game against Windy City on September 10, 2011, in Chicago.

Kansas City will put their 2011 season of 8-1 on the line as they try to do something no other team has done before – host a Big 5 tournament and win first place.

“Our goal is to be the first host to win our first tournament,” Clarke, No. 0, said. “Our goal is to win our own tournament. Obviously secondary to that is to punch our ticket to nationals.”

"Really you just have to win twice to punch your ticket" for championships, she said.

That might not be so easy for the derby darlings from Austin, Texas. The 9-7 Texecutioners have seen several battles in the 2011 season, including four bouts against Houston, in which Sisters from Space City narrowed the gaps from 126 and 118 points in the first two bouts, to more meaningful point spreads of 54 and 50. With losses to Oly, Philly and Rose City, Texas will have get past the first-round winner between Nebraska rivals No Coast and Omaha. And then they get to play the winner between Tampa and Nashville, which surprised everyone last year to earn a third-place finish and the right to go to the Championship tournament.

Last year, “we had to go through Tampa, Clarke said. “You have to work hard to put them down for the win. They don't go quietly into the night.”

Texas will have to work if the team plans a return to the South Central Tournament finals this year, but if they slip before then, plenty of other teams will look to capitalize.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Besterns and looking ahead

It’s Monday. For many of us it’s back to work after a long weekend of derby. The Quad-City Rollers just came off a double-header loss; The Rock Island Line dropping a game to the Push Up Brawlers and the River Bend Bombers taking a loss against Peoria Push.

Elsewhere, the Western Region Tournament went down over a three-day weekend filled with derby to determine the next three participants in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s championship tournament, Continental Divide and Conquer.
Gotham, Philly and Charm City repeat their Eastern feat from last year, placing first, second and third respectively in this year’s Eastern Region Tournament. Oly and Rocky would return to the Western final game this year, with Oly getting the better of the WFTDA 2010 champions.

Bay Area would have to settle for sixth place taking losses Rose City, the tournament’s eventual third-place finisher, and Denver.

With the international competitors (Montreal and London) knocked out, Dutchland’s forfeit to Gotham is still on everyone’s minds. Thankfully the chatter is starting to die as the rest of the tournament season continues on.

Six places have been settled after determining the best of each coast. Now, we wait for six more teams to earn a spot in the tournament.

I’ll be attending both the South Central and North Central region tournaments again this year (I guess 3 of 5 is something I’m just going to have to settle on), and I’ll be writing previews on each of those. I plan on posting occasional bout recaps here.

On a side note, surpassed the 3,000 hit total, for which I’m incredibly proud and thankful for all who support the site. September 2011 also bested the 424 monthly hit record set back in July, and continues to climb. Personally I’d like to see it hit 500 hundred. With a few more days left in the month, that goal looks attainable. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Western Regional Preview - A five questions with D-Bomb

Due to a family emergency, I wasn't able to get a full writeup of the Western Regional Tournament. I was on the road for over 10 hours in the last two days and haven't gotten much sleep.
For something a little different, I present to you a Q&A with Oly's D-Bomb.

Q: What's your full derby name, full real name, derby number, your position(s) with the Cosa Nostra's and how long have you been with the team.

A: My name is Devon Tamaccio, derby name is D-Bomb #8. I generally am a pivot. This is my 3rd year as an Oly roller.
Q: Oly won the 2009 WFTDA championships, and came up slightly short of a repeat in 2010 against Rocky Mountain in the final game. How has that loss affected your overall seasonal gameplan? Have you adjusted anything?

A: I can't say that to much has changed. We do have that 1 point loss in the back of our minds at all times though.
Q: You're 9-0 for the 2011 season including some measure of revenge against Rocky in your June 4 contest against them. Currently you're considered the best team in the West and a favorite to Top 4 in Championships if not win the whole thing. Is it easier to prepare when your at the top of the list in Westerns?

A: Not at all. It adds so much pressure. Its so much easier to go into any tournament as a lower seed.
Q: Which teams in the West, besides Oly, have the best chance at getting a Top 3 spot in the regional tournament and advancing to Championships and why?

A: I think Rocky Mountain is a given to be in the top 3. They have such amazing skaters and teamwork. I also think Denver has a great chance. They are so strategic. You can never count out Bay Area or Rose City, both are very aggressive and talented also.
Q: Oly is famous for its plethora of speed skaters on the team. Can you talk a little bit about the advantages with having a speed skating core?

A: I think if you have any sort of skating background it helps. Your body is able to react a bit faster and you don't have to think about as much. It just becomes automatic.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Eastern Regional Playoffs -- A preview

Today marks Day 1 of Nightmare on 95, the Eastern Regional Playoffs, to determine the first three seeds of the WFTDA Championship tournament.

The Eastern Region has seen international play before with the inclusion of Montreal Roller Derby’s New Skids on the Block last year, but the 2011 tournament includes a second non-continental U.S. team: London Rollergirls.

London’s had a tough inaugural WFTDA season thus far, falling 0-4 on the year, with three of those losses coming from fellow Eastern Region sister leagues. Ranked last in the tournament with the No. 10 seed, London, which is ranked 22 in Derby News Network’s power rankings for September 2011, certainly has its work cut out for it when it matches up with Carolina, DNN 23. The winner of this matchup would face Philly Roller Girls, who took second in the tournament last year, in the second round matchup on Friday.

The other international flavor, Montreal, has had a who’s who of opponents this season with a grand total of 19 bouts, including three bouts at Anarchy in the U.K. and two bouts at East Coast Derby Extravaganza. Against other Eastern Region Playoff contenders, Montreal is 3-3, with losses against Gotham, Charm and Steel City.

Gotham and Philly are the best teams, No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, in the Eastern Region. These two teams are almost assured to meet in the final game of the regional playoffs, even though a disappointing 267-34 loss at ECDX set the City of Sisterly Shove back a little bit. Falling out of the Top 10 in DNN’s power rankings, Philly has a lot of ground to make up after a faltering season. Holding on to their No. 2 WFTDA ranking in the Eastern Region will be tantamount to their birth in the Championship tournament.

Gotham Girls Roller Derby has absolutely dominated their Eastern Regional opponents during their 7-0 2011 season. Outscoring Eastern Regional opponents by 682 points in five games, Gotham’s defense has held its opponents to a pale 218 points – and that’s including giving up 102 points against Charm City in their May 21st game in Baltimore.

Gotham shook off rumors of a possible move by Suzy Hotrod to Philly, their veteran jammer staying with her home team. The New York team also managed to pick up two transfers, cementing their stranglehold on the No. 1 spot in the East. One standout from the South Central tournament last year, Wild Cherri, who played for Tampa Bay in 2010, moved to the Gotham team. The team also managed to acquire Davey Blockit from the Arch Rival Roller Girls. Add those players to a stable including Hyper Lynx, Hotrod, Bonnie Thunders, OMG WTF and a slew of other skaters, and Gotham has a recipe to making it through the Eastern Regional Playoffs and straight into a Top 5 placing in the Championship tournament.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Windy City All Stars versus Kansas City Roller Warriors

CORRECTION: In Jam 4 of the second half, Windy City captain Jackie Daniels was penalized for an Out of Play Block after a No Pack was called. No further penalties were issued to Daniels. A second Windy City was penalized for Insubordination, but I was unable to determine who it was at the time.
Two regionally ranked No.1 seeds attacked the court at the UIC Pavilion, Chicago, on Saturday, September 10, 2011, in a bout that narrowed a point gap near the end only to disappoint the hometown crowd.

The Windy City All-Stars, ranked No. 1 in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s North Central Region, invited the Kansas City Roller Warriors, No. 1 in WFTDA’s South Central region, back to Chicago for a chance at revenge for KC’s loss the only other time the two teams have met on September 20, 2008.

Kansas City won 111-92 in a bout surely to shape the Derby News Network’s power rankings for October 2011, well after the regional tournament season has started.

The Roller Warriors shaped the opening half with solid pack control and delayed jammer starts, stifling any tempo Windy City could muster despite a late game rally by Chicago.

KC would effectively wall in the back holding back Windy City captain Jackie Daniels, while Kelly Young nabbed lead and a grand slam, calling it before Daniels could enter the engagement zone to score, and setting the tempo for the remainder of the game.

Windy City dug a deeper hole in the second jam trying to get back into the game when Athena DeCrime was directed to the box for a major track cut penalty 0:32 into the jam. Chicago’s pack would answer – thanks to bridging from Sargentina --  holding KC’s Case Closed into the pack until she finally earned lead 1:10 remaining in the jam.

The third jam took the wind out of the Windy City, when Athena De Crime was released from the box, scored two grand slams in a power jam with Hall Balls serving time as the jammer, only to get called on a major Back Block. Daniels, too, was sentenced to 1 minute in the box for an Out of Play Block after a No Pack situation.

The UIC Pavilion crowd of 999 grew wrestles restless as several fans were complaining about missed calls against Kansas City, while lamenting the number of whistles coming in their players’ direction.

Zoe Trocious drew first blood in the Lead Jammer category for Windy City, nabbing lead after Roller Warriors Track Rat was called for a Track Cut. Trocious would not earn any points however, calling the jam with a 0-0 wash.

Despite the heightened anticipation from the crowd, two Official Time Outs were called after back to back jams. Chicago would try attempted to take advantage of two KC blockers in the box with a knee-down start, but Case Closed would play countered with some jammer defense to free her players from the box to and nullify the WCR pack advantage.

Varla Vendetta managed two trips to the box in Jam 9, giving Hall Balls a significant power jam. Balls would earn three scoring passes at five points apiece.

Chicago calls a timeout with 15:44 remaining in the first half, desperately searching for an answer to their woes.  KC took advantage of a power jam and a 4-2 blocker advantage with a knee down start. Kelly Young snagged lead jammer with 1:11 left in the jam. She would pick up 9 more points and call it before  a sprung Varla could begin earning points.

With a full-pack, Zoe Trocious, would earn lead and successfully call it with a 3-0 point swing, but not before teammate Yvette YourMaker would head to the box on her Four Minors.

After the third OTO of the first half, KC would jump on the opportunity to yank the momentum from Chicago’s hands. Their back wall, thanks to the help of Eclipse and Bruz-Her, would hold Athena DeCrime in the rear, while jammer Track Rat earned a Jammer Lap Point for 5 on her first scoring pass and 3 points (a pass, 2 Ghost Points) for an 8-0 swing in the Roller Warrior’s favor, 53-15.

YourMaker used excellent defensive positioning to knock Kelly Young Out of Bounds to force a Minor Track Cut; Young opting to come right in rather than yield ran straight into one of her own players , knocking her off balance and crumpling her into an awkward heap, much to the delight of the WCR fans.

Trocious would be the only WCR skater to pick up any more points before heading into the half time, earning Lead Jammer and 4 points against Case Closed. Meanwhile, penalties continued to plague Chicago, with Daniels boxed in two different jams, for a Track Cut in Jam 12 and a Back Block in Jam 17, both times as the Jammer but she would be released before First Half clock would run out.

Jammer DeCrime would also be boxed for a Track Cut in Jam 15.

The halftime score was 78-21 in Kansas City’s favor, lead mostly on their jammers’ ability to earn lead and points while capitalizing on Chicago’s inability to stem the bleeding to the box. Kansas City earned lead 14 times in the first half versus Windy City’s 3 (Zoe Trocious earned 3-0 in all three of her jams, earning her team 7 points for her effort). Even with Lead Jammer, Athena DeCrime was the only Chicago player to make multiple scoring passes, earing two grand slams in Jam 3.

Second half
Down by 57 points, Windy City would storm out of the locker room with Jackie Daniels taking the jammer line for Chicago. Daniels, shaking off her first-half penalty trouble would race through a weakened Kansas City pack (Eve-olution serving time in the penalty box) to pick up 9 points in two scoring passes, thanks to WCR’s defense holding Case Closed in the pack long enough for a Jammer Lap Point.

Wreck N Shrew, too, would respond  -- earning lead and four points (which had originally been reported as a 5 point grand slam. Faced with a 13-0 Chicago rally, Kansas City would call a timeout with 27:25 on the clock. A boxed Bork Bork Bork and Deb Autry would give the Roller Warriors the pack advantage, but Varla would still earn five points. Kansas City’s pack work looked sharp in Jam 3 of the second half. Eclipse worked hard at the front of the pack, with some tremendous blocking. KC would answer a Chicago 2-Wall in the front with their own 3-Wall in the back, managing to kill 2 minutes of game clock while only losing a 5-point swing.

Track Rat managed a 10-0 point swing in KC’s favor, despite not clearing the pack on her first pass until a minute-plus of jam clock had ran down. Jackie Daniels exhibiting some fierce blocking at the top of the pack, but get’s called on an Out of Play Block after a No Pack Call and an Insubordination after arguing her case with the referee. A second Windy City player was given an Insubordination penalty, but I couldn't make out to whom the penalty was awarded. I couldn’t tell if she was given a third, because the action happened on the far side (the straightaway between Turns 3 and 4. Unfortunately, a full Windy City box meant Daniels had to remain on the track to await an open seat.

KC Pivot Toto Basketcase displayed sharp positioning tactics holding the front inside line, often holding the opposing jammer back long enough  to reabsorb her. With a sixth sense about the pack behind her, she managed to engage the Jammer in the engagement zone, keenly aware of her positioning and not get called on Out of Play penalties.

Varla’s skill in the sixth jam orchestrated a comeback, with the help of a power jam. Track Rat took an intentional fourth minor, and Varal capitalized on a weaker KC pack. Designated Not Lead (due to a minor cut) with 1:46 left in the jam she picked up 3 grand slams before being sent to the box for a High Block Major.

I don’t see jammerless pack starts very often, but penalty hierarchy dictated that both Varla and Jade Lightning had to serve a full minute before being released. Both teams jockeyed for control, hoping to draw the other into penalty trouble or disadvantaged position. Varla would enter the track and earn lead with 0:58 left in the jam, with Lightning not far behind her. Windy City managed to stuff the KC jammer long enough for a grand slam and 2 points on her second scoring pass.

The referees called an Official Time Out with 16:02 left in the game. Windy City’s hopes of pulling out a win rested on the outcome of the next 15 or so minutes. Wreck N Shrew enticed the crowd to get into the game, rallying the fans around her. Harnessing the crowd’s energy Shrew managed to earn 3 points for Windy City, bringing the game to 93-64. WCR was down but not out, and the house was chomping at the bit with the taste of comeback in their mouth.

Another OTO with 14:15 left, KC would pick up a single point, thanks to Track Rat sprinting ahead forcing Lead Jammer Zoe Trocious to call it to quell a drastic point swing in Rat’s favor.

A visibly upset Windy City Co-Captain Ol’ Drrrty Go-Go came out to the infield to personally deliver some choice words to one of the jam refs, but bench coach Justice Feelgood Marshall coaxed her back to the Chicago bench before she got into any trouble.

After successfully poodling Kelly Young in the jam prior, Kansas City would fail to capitalize allowing Zoe Trocious to pick up a 5-5-4 jam after Track Rat was boxed for a Back Block Major. With their opponent’s jammer in the box, Windy City’s pack slowed the pack down to allow Trocious quick passes. She would earn Lead Jammer in 12 seconds, her first five in 30 seconds and her second five in 16 seconds. Time was definitely not on WCR’s side, but their pack work took advantage of what time they had left. The chants for Zoe were deafening.

Kansas called a timeout with 10:13 remaining the gap narrowed to 95-83, and an opportunity for Windy City to take the lead near. Track Rat managed a 2-0 point swing after getting the game clock rolling, Fueled by the chants of Zoe, Trocious answered with a 4-0 jam in the 13th, quickly calling it. Within 10 points, WCR called a timeout with 7:27 game clock remaining. In what appeared to be a lineup mistake, WCR’s pivot Jackie Daniels instead hands her cover to a teammate, and switching into jammer position relieving Wreck N Shrew.

Chicago would take a knee down start but Hall Balls would earn Lead Jammer, beating Jackie out of the pack by a second. Balls nabbed two points before calling it. Young, further complicating things for a Windy City bench, earned lead with a fantastic spinaround move with 1:20 to go in the jam against Trocious, who’s famous footwork and ragdoll juking looked to tire. Kansas City’s pack amazingly plugged the center lanes forcing Trocious into the high-risk inside/outside lanes.

The gap widened to 102-87, YourMaker managed a grandslam against Track Rat, again bringing the score within 10 points, 102-92

Windy City managed a front 3-Wall against KC jammer Balls, as Evolution worked furiously to free her jammer. Balls scored four points for her effort against Deb Autry.

With less than 2 minutes in the game and a 106-92 Kansas City lead, Windy City looked to throw a tired Zoe Trocious on to the track for a Hail Mary. Trocious with a phenomenal game had to be WCR’s go-to player of the night – if anyone could get through the pack cleanly for multiple passes it would have been Zoe.

Kansas City paired her up against veteran jammer Kelly Young. Pitting Experience against the Chicago jammer’s agility paid off for the Roller Warriors, as Young would earn lead with 1:36 left on the jam clock. With a 14 point gap to be mindful of, Young just had to skate clean and make sure Trocious didn’t outscore her. With 40 seconds left in the jam and the game clock experied, Young called the jam with five more points before Trocious could begin scoring.

The Kansas City Roller Warriors improved to 8-1 on the season, heading into the South Central Regional Tournament as the No. 1 seed and holding their ground as the Derby News Network's No. 7 ranked. Windy City All-Stars slip to 10-2 (both losses to higher ranked teams) and heading to the North Central Regional Tournament with their No. 1 seed.

Traveling to the Windy City, or how to read my notes

I made it over to Chicago to watch the Windy City All-Stars take on Kansas City Roller Warriors. Made it into town just fine, with minor traffic backups (the biggest hiccup was exiting at Downers Grove to go to a gaming store). I arrived a little early, and was forced to wait at guest services until a security guard asked me to go around the building and check in there.

Once inside I grabbed food and drink and headed over to my spot in the stands behind the jammer lines. If I go to bouts and just watch I much prefer spectating from the sidelines, but i need to be able to see numbers when I'm doing bout writeups.

That being said, WCR's second wind has some incredibly hard numbers to have to identify from the stands. The Red numbers on Blue jerseys were impossible to read, made more troublesome by the size and the placement. Their numbers couldn't have been more than 3 inches tall and high up between the shoulderblades.

It took some getting used to, as I slowly started to get into the pace of it. But if Second Wind threw in a new jammer (particularly after the half when the moved to the furthest bench) I was struggling to hear the announcers call the number.

Luckily the B-team bout gave me an opportunity to relearn my system of keeping detailed notes. Unlike most professional sports, statistics aren't always available immediately after the bout. Dedicated fans or journalists have to keep their own form of stats. About eight months have passed since I've even used the system and nearly a full year since I've effectively had to use my own notes for a writeup. I was rusty. But the Second Wind-Plan B game gave me an opportunity to slowly get back into the flow.

To give you an idea (And I may have to take a photo to give you a clearer picture): At the beginning of each jam, I record the jammers' numbers. If the jam whistle is some how delayed via a slow pack, for example, I'll try to write down the time into the jam that the jammers are released. During a particularly long delay, I have enough time to write a few quick notes about players jockeying for position.

Once the jammers are off, I immediately look for the jam ref in the lead. Upon his or her signal (and the subsequent jam ref's signal) I write a (L) or (1st) or (N). L is lead, N is not lead and 1st is first out of the pack but not lead. Above each note, I'll look up at the clock and see what time she successfully (or unsuccessfully) earned each status. It's not crucial, but it gives you a better understanding of defense or how quickly a jammer is making it through the pack. If a jammer is designated Not Lead because of penalty, I'll usually write a little initial above the note. For example: Black Jammmer made it through the pack first but is not lead at 1:45 into the jam because of a minor track cut, would look like this -
1:45 x
Her # (1st)

On each scoring pass I'll write down the number of points signaled by the jam referee. Particularly skilled referees will signal a minor penalty if a jammer finishes her scoring pass but does not earn a point for an illegal pass. If you are one of these refs, I love you. If you're not, I probably have yelled at you but I'm not sorry.

If the Lead Jammer successfully calls of the jam, I circle her last reported scoring pass, and look for the other jam ref to signal her skater's points. One of the great things about General WFTDA NSO setup, is that the score table is generally pretty close to where I set, so if there is a correction I can usually tell.

After a few jams, I look up at the clock to check the time left and the score, write those down and underline it so that I can go back through and quickly double check my math, a subject that isn't my strong suit.

If a jammer is sent to the box before she completes her next scoring pass, I'll mark this with an (IN) and a capital intial for her infraction and hopefully the time remaining in the jam. When she is released I'll mark it as (OUT) and if I can, I'll write down the time in the jam.

It's all pretty complicated, but if I have time I'll scribble some notes down below the jammer line, usually trying to get some form of pack description or recording a big hit.

During Regionals I slowly devised this style, and it worked for me particularly at Championships. I've showed a lot of people how much information I can record in a short amount of time, and usually I get looks of disbelief. :D

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bout day - Sept. 10, 2011

Today, I'm headed over to Chicago to watch the last home game of Windy City's travel season Windy City's last home game before the Regionals. In a double header that features the Second Wind (taking on Ohio, I think), the All-Stars (10-1) will play Kansas City Roller Warriors (7-1). Windy City, ranked 9th on DNN power rankings for September 2011, will challenge KCRW, ranked 7th, in a contest surely to have implications on the next power rankings and the WFTDA Championship tournament.

Chicago bested Kansas City 155-39 the last time these two played September 20, 2008. Kansas City's only loss this season came at the hands of No. 1 Oly Rollers, while Windy City fell to Bay Area Derby during the Golden Bowl, for Chicago's only loss in an impressive season.

There's no shortage of roller derby in Chicago. The Chicago Outfit's Syndicate, No. 20 on DNN and 8th in the North Central Region, takes on Brew City, NC7. The 8-4 Syndicate looks to add another impressive win on their inaugural full season as they head into Regional play.

In Iowa, the Old Capitol City Roller Girls of Iowa City take on Cedar Rapids' Helldorados.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

By the position – No. 2

In the first installment of by the position, we took a look at the Pivot, sometimes referred to as the No.1 position, and what qualities pertain to the position.

The No. 2 player can be called a number of different things depending on the language your team uses. In the 1 through 5 scheme, the No. 2 position is the second blocker on the floor, just behind the Pivot. Some teams may use the term 1st blocker, designating the pivot as a position superlative to the other blockers. The blocker playing behind the pivot thus becomes the first blocker.

Today, we’ll go down the roster and look at the No. 2 position.

If we look at positioning on the track, the pivot takes the pivot line, and her blockers line up behind her. The player behind her on the inside may be called the Front-Inside or Inside.

The next two names for the No. 2 position include Wing or Shadow (or more appropriately, Shadow Pivot). Generally in this setup, the player becomes an extension of the Pivot.

For sake of simplicity, we will just refer to all of these things as the No. 2 position. For help and clarification, we turn to Melissa "Mo Payne" Dittberner and Libby "Pbr" Claeys of the Sioux City Roller Dames, Sioux City, Iowa.

PBR: (The No. 2) goes with the Pivot. Usually covering that inside line is where I like them to be. Their objective is to help hold a solid front on a wall while having the option to chase down a jammer or build a bridge if need be. Offensive/defensive switch needs to be ready!

Mo: Some people call this shadow pivot, I think that is pretty self explanatory there. Make sure you are on that inside line or a step over next to the pivot. This position is where I would put my newer players.
In its most simple form, the No. 2 position works closely with the Pivot serving as a helper. The No. 2 player becomes available to do tasks assigned by the Pivot: Wall, Inside, Chase, Bridge, etc.

A fast and agile Pivot may designate the No. 2 as an Inside 2, essentially taking on all the duties a Pivot may need to fulfill, such as holding the front-inside position. Other 2s work better controlling the middle to outside lanes of the track. 

In a pinch, the Pivot may “sacrifice” her No. 2, pushing her to the outside lanes to impede or block a forthcoming jammer.

The Pivot will generally cover the left side of the track, while the No. 2 will cover the right. A good 1-2 combination of Pivot and 2 is an amazing thing to behold, as the two are almost always in sinc, communicating through telepathy. The No. 2 is the Pivot's right hand, eyes and skate. Being able to cover a wider area than the pivot is important, because covering the outside of the turns is more area than the inside.

Inexperienced players often learn a great deal working the No. 2 position, so long as they are willing to take direction and go where the Pivot tells them (or pushes them). Learning to work laterally with a partner will greatly enhance the No. 2’s skill level.

A breakdown of the two...PBR started the Sioux City Roller Dames and before the beginning BFF Mo Payne was on board to make this team happen. The girls also belong to the Sioux City Korn Stalkers, Mo as coach and PBR as head NSO and the best organizer in the world for local events. These two chicks also started the Norfolk Bruisin Bettys after they put on a killer charity bout in Norfolk, Nebraska. The girls with the help of a couple other amazing derby girls started the Triple Threat Derby Girls, a group of strong willed, focused women to spread derby love without boarders and traveling while speaking the derby gospel to those who will listen. The newest and smallest version of the Mo and PBR show will be coming to the scene in late November...the Natural Born Rollers...a chance for the ladies to help mold the future of roller derby.

Read the rest of the series:
By the position – An introBy the position – Pivot/No. 1
By the position – No. 2
By the position – No. 3
By the position – No. 4
By the position – Jammer/No. 5

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Windy City season

(Editor's Note: This is mostly for my own reference, a place to refer back to on Windy City games. I'll be using this for a future writeup on the North Central Region Tournament. Any rankings are unofficial, and mostly the accumulation of various data on multiple sites, including but not limited to Derby News Network, DerbyTron and

March 4

Windy City 133 (1-0)
Detroit 114

May 20 - Brewhaha

Minnesota 105
Windy City 172 (2-0)

June 3

Windy City 178 (3-0)
Cincinnati 83

June 25 - ECDX No Minors

Charm City 126
Windy City 144 (4-0)

June 24 - ECDX

Windy City 130 (5-0)
Montreal 105

July 9

Windy City 147 (6-0)
Boston 44

July 30

Steel City Derby Demons 117
Windy City 147 (7-0)

Aug. 12 - Golden Bowl

(6) Bay Area 116
(10) Windy City 49 (7-1)

Aug. 13 - Golden Bowl
(10) Windy City 128 (8-1)
(13) Detroit 72
Aug. 14 - Golden Bowl
(11) Texas 121
(10) Windy City 132 (9-1)

Aug. 27

San Diego Wild Fires 22
Windy City Rollers 256 (10-1)

Sept. 10

(8) Kansas City
(10) Windy City

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Playing in Overtime

It's not something that happens in a lot of bouts. Overtime – An additional jam to determine the winner of a tied game.

In close games, everything is in the details and mistakes are magnified tenfold.

The Quad-City Rollers have found themselves in two different overtime jams this season. The first was against the Rockford Rage's Ragdolls, a mix of their Travel team and secondary-level players.

That game ended in a loss after Q-C jammer Lady Gotcha tapped out for an injury stoppage, and giving the point advantage to Rockford.

On August 27, the Rollers got to play against The Outfit's newest team, Shakedown, comprised of B and C team skaters. Two years ago, Q-C's A-team played against The Outfit B-team (The Shade Brigade), and lost handedly.

This time, Q-C would get some measure of revenge after both teams would skate to a 150-150 tie after the Rollers would fail to get a 3-point differential to come out with a win.

The overtime happens when the game is tied at the natural end of the game clock and any current jams are finished.
Often called overtime or sudden death, the overtime jam actually is an extension of the second half, and not a new half in regards to scoring.

The overtime jam consists of No Lead Jammer being designated; scoring occurs on every pass (even the initial one) and will continue for a full 2 minutes, or until a natural conclusion (referee stoppage, injury stoppage).

Lucky enough, the Rollers managed a 166-158 win even after losing two blockers to the box.

The key with overtime is pack control. In overtime, you know the jam is going to last for 2 minutes, so staying composed is mandatory.

I talk a lot about positive point differential (getting more points than opponents), and most people probably will say "no duh." For regulation jam games, positive point differentials and utilizing lead jammer is important. Without lead jammer, teams instead have to focus on the point differentials and pack control for the whole 2 minutes.

After overtime, the winner is decided by who earned the most points. If the game remains a tie, an additional overtime jam will commence.

In overtime, winning can be measured by a 1-0 point jam or a 20-19 point jam. Keeping pack control and tight focus can make the difference in earning that one extra point, instead of losing that extra point.

I encourage teams to practice specific situations to become more and more comfortable when those happen in bout situations.

Because our team had the previous experience in overtime, our focus was on our pack control.

We knew that the overtime jam was a possibility so we had our next line ready to go. Had we not anticipated the new jam, we would have thrown five girls out there that might be in penalty trouble.

The Rollers were also aware of how the overtime jam worked, so the blockers worked on getting our jammer through and collapsing on the opposing jammer, to minimize the amount of points she could score.

Practice overtime jams whenever possible: 2 minutes, no lead and scoring on the first pass. While they happen quite infrequently, they do happen. You want to be prepared when they do.

Web posting - August 2011

It's been a pretty slow month as far as posting things online. I bought a house at the end of July and the entire month of August was pretty much taken up by moving and getting the new place set up. With only one post for the month, I still managed to see 266 hits for the month.

August was the fourth most hits has gotten since its inception. We're looking forward to keeping the coverage going and developing new relationships with players, coaches, vendors, etc., in the hopes of bringing fresh coverage to roller derby.

With Championship season getting underway in a few weeks, look for several posts about the upcoming regionals and some live coverage from Denver. 

Hits     Month

266    August 2011
424    July 2011
168    June 2011
317    May 2011
146    April 2011
222    March 2011
182    February 2011
098    January 2011
121    December 2010
379    November 2010
190    October 2010
050    September 2010