New season, new faces, same tough, entertaining teams.
By Jim Almy
It’s a new year introducing a lot of new skaters for the Rat City Rollergirls.
The one thing pre-season bouts and practices have shown is the continued improvement of all around play and the promise that each bout this year will bring a new and higher level of physicality, oomph, enthusiasm and skill.
The vets are back and they are one year better. The rookies, and there are a slew of them, are eager to show that they have their own stuff to strut.
All will be on display this Sunday, January 11, at KeyArena beginning at 3 p.m.
Scheduled to open their season on Saturday, the 10th, Rat City opted to move their bouts to the next day to avoid any conflict with the first playoff game by another group of Seattle pro athletes with a large following, the Seahawks. Seattle begins defense of their National Football League Championship title Saturday afternoon at Century Link Field.
Grave Danger, the Sockit Wenches, Throttle Rockets and the reigning champions Derby Liberation Front, begin their quest for this year’s Queen of the Hill the next day.
The league has opted this year to form their all-star team at the beginning of the season. Those skaters, who would previously have skated the first four months with one of the four league teams, will instead work out as a team to better prepare for the season’s second act, bouts against national and international teams leading up to the national championships in the fall.
The Throttle Rockets, hoping to put the first dent in Derby Liberation Front’s championship trophy in bout two Sunday, return nine skaters from last year’s team. Those include Parker Eyeout (captain), Khaos Theory, Shock Therapy, Ella Whirled, Missile America, Deva (captain), Ethel Vermin, Xena and McKenna Gita Witness.
Coach Lexi Luthor said that, “We lost Raven Seaward, Trippy (Sintripetal Force), Luna (Luna Negra), Rattle (Rattleskate), Bunny (Enurgizer Bunny), and Jem (Jemini Holograms) – all amazing skaters that have definitely left some really big skates to fill. Our returning veteran skaters have stepped up and our newer skaters are up for the challenge.”
That new group of Rockets include a longtime favorite of league fans, Slutnik, who returns this year to skating after taking a turn as a coach of the TRs last season. She also spent a year as a non-skating official (NSO) and a year as a referee as well as six years as a skater. Fans might also remember her sister, Andromeda Sprain, an original Throttle Rocket.
Joining Slutnik and also newly skating with the Rockets this season are Gazelle From Hell, a cold country veteran who skated with the Fairbanks Rollergirls for 3 plus years before joining Rat City last September. Another new member is Liberty BellRinger. She did Rat City’s Makin’ Bacon in June, 2012, was in Potential Fresh Meat for a few months before joining Jet City Rollergirls where she was drafted by the Pink Pistols, transferring to Rat City in 2013.
Another PFM and Rat Lab product is Muad’Dibs, who was drafted to the TRs last October. The Rainier Roller Girls and Rodeo City Rollergirls helped Buster Up break in her skates before she was drafted by the TRs. “I’ve been skating about 3 years now, though I’ve only really considered myself a real derby athlete for the last year and a half,” she said.
Rounding out the roster are Scarlet Fever, A Bomb N ABull, and Ally McWheel.
A team of the new and the old, the TRs have quickly jelled this season and boast a deep jammer bench. “The TR Machine is a family. We genuinely love, care and respect each other,” said Coach Luthor. She added that their strategy this year would be solid – to play roller derby and play it really, really well.