For ROT a big win, a loss you can live with in LA

by Jim Almy

When your style of play is similar to your opposition’s you can skate a tight bout of familiar strategies or you can smash a team because you know what their next move will be and you know how to defend it or take advantage of it.

Lesson taught last Saturday in Los Angeles by the Rat City Rollergirls B All-Star team, the Rain of Terror (ROT) to the Angel City Derby Girls B team, the Rocket Queens, 325-110. The Angel City Derby Girls hosted seven team event.

“The Queens play a game similar to ours, they are very aggressive both offensively and defensively. They like to attack the edges and can be very dangerous if you are not successful driving them out of bounds. Fortunately for us, we were able to execute our strategies to a T,” said ROT Coach Inspector Parts.  “This game was very much like the next step from the last game we played against Silicon Valley. We built on what we accomplished in that game and just kinda turned it up a notch. The result was that we were dominant. After the first jam (where the Queens took the lead), we pretty much ran away from them and didn’t look back.”

Rat City was also represented at the two day Pac Destruction mega-bout by its A All-Star Team (AST), which skated three bouts against other ranked Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) teams. AST’s hopes to improve its number 12 worldwide ranking did not survive the weekend as they were bounced by the Angel City charter team, the Hollywood Scarlets, 250-79 Saturday morning and did not fare much better in their first Sunday match, losing to the Victorian Roller Derby Girls from Melbourne, Australia, 240-105. The Scarlets entered the tournament ranked at six and VRDL at ten.

AST’s weekend ended with a win over number 23 Santa Cruz Boardwalk Bombers, 192-154.

Skater Belle Tolls (#4) found herself moved up as an alternate for AST, did not skate in the ROT bouts, and thus was able to watch her teammates compete against the Rocket Queens.

“I know our players–and can thus deduce from my own knowledge that the biggest difference between ROT and the Queens was probably in jammer experience. At Rat City we are blessed with an incredibly deep bench–and lots of jammer experience. Our home team structure might help prepare our jammers for interleague play with game time experience, as does the fact that our local juniors league is developing really strong athletes who are ‘aging up’ into adult leagues. My impression of Angel’s B team jammers, on the other hand, was that many of them were fairly new, and just may not have had the time to develop their own strategy and skills base.”

Coach Parts said his entire team deserved praise. “At some point against the Queens, everyone stepped up and made a key play which led to our success. Then against the guys (ROT skated against a men’s team on Sunday), everyone stayed positive and focused and hung together.”

Belle Tolls commented the, “…outstanding performances from Patience Grasshopper (#46) who was dropping opposing jammers with absolutely killer ‘hockey stop sternum blocks,’ jammers Shock Therapy (#1400) and Ella Whirled (#2010) for taking on packs of men much larger than themselves and fighting tooth and nail for every point, and Sun Shiner (#36) for her coolheaded pack management coupled with lightning fast defensive strikes.”

ROT was scheduled to play another women’s team for their Sunday bout, but that team had to back out and was replaced by Los Angeles’ men’s team, the Drive-By City Rollers.

“In a sense, we were lucky to get a second game. Typically teams don’t like to travel to play just a single game,” said Coach Parts.

“Lucky” might be questioned as Drive-By handled ROT with ease, winning 304-57.

“It just looked like the men weren’t holding back anything. They were consistently larger–much larger–and their hits were brutal and their walls were tight,” said Belle Tolls. Coach Parts added that, “Drive-By play a much more power based game. They just drive right through your defense and they lean on you defensively. They were, right from the beginning, too much for us and there really wasn’t a whole lot we could do about it.”

His primary goal being to manage the bout without any injuries Coach Parts said that, from that perspective, the game was a success. While he had some hesitation about skating against a men’s team he said that, “The skaters all want to do it. They enjoy the challenge (which is admirable).  We didn’t go easy on them at all. We went in trying to give them our best shot.”

Belle Tolls added that skating against a men’s team is a really wonderful experience for her team to get such intense competition. “It shows what our weaknesses are and what we can improve on. And that’s really the whole point of competition, right?” she said.

Coach Parts said that his team came home with some bumps and bruises, but nothing out of the ordinary. “The team got to bond and spend some time together. Which is a plus no matter how you look at it. The weekend was totally worth it,” he added.