Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file
Day One: Saturday, June 18
When Albuquerque, NM-based Duke City took the track against Marietta's Peach State at 10 a.m. Saturday to kick off the 2016 Classic City Crush, they were confident the most stressful and frightening events of the weekend were already behind them. Their flight to Georgia was rerouted to Chattanooga due to severe weather. They taxied the runway in Tennessee until conditions improved in Atlanta, where they eventually commandeered ground transportation for Athens. Arriving eight hours late, they did not benefit from a good night’s sleep, nor did they have time for sightseeing. (The Tree That Owns Itself will be there until we replace it again.)
Nonetheless, Duke City battled back after a sluggish start and edged out Peach State 142-113. Later in the afternoon the lovingly nicknamed Munecas Muertas (wo)manhandled San Antonio’s Alamo City 219-133. With two more bouts on Sunday, there would be no rest for Duke City.
The primetime double-header to close out Saturday night’s action featured Long Island’s Roller Rebels squaring off against Huntsville, AL's Dixie Derby Girls, followed by your hometown Classic City Rollergirls battling Louisville, KY’s Derby City Rollergirls.
Earlier in the afternoon Dixie lost two skaters to injury—one severe enough to require immediate hospitalization—during a thrilling 181-167 nail biter versus Alamo City. Playing shorthanded, Dixie was no match for Long Island’s impressive one-two punch from jammers Crashtastic Cate and Femme & M. They are elite. The former opened the bout with a 25-point jam, then came out hot in the second half, scoring 28 points immediately. Dixie couldn’t capitalize on a pair of early Long Island penalties, and the Roller Rebels cruised to a 170-35 halftime advantage. It did not get better for Dixie. Long Island is a well-coached, extremely talented squad, and the 311-91 final score reflects it.
As CCRG took the track, one couldn’t help but notice so many new faces and names skating for the hostess team. If you read this space frequently, you see this word a lot: attrition. Veteran skaters that play significant roles, Tre Booshay and Super Smash Fro, were out with injuries. Couple that with the loss of recent retiree Slam Chop and talented players like Crazy Cait Lady and Cirque du Slay, who weren’t available for various reasons, and CCRG certainly had its work cut out.
With the sparse but passionate crowd pulling for them, CCRG jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after a conservative "hit it and quit it" jam from team captain Louis Strongarm. Derby City quickly tied the game 4-4 in the second jam. Rumbalina took lead jammer status and scored four hard-fought points in jam No. 4, and Classic City took an 8-5 advantage. They never had the lead again. Derby City blitzed their way to a comfy 117-21 halftime lead. The home team put up a fight, outscoring the opposition 30-1 to open the second half, but alas, it was too little, too late. Derby City won going away, 200-92. Despite the loss, track experience gained by several CCRG newcomers like Sara Bellum and P. Monster will undoubtedly pay off in the future.
Day Two: Sunday, June 19
Action resumed Sunday at the unfortunate hour of 9 a.m. Flagpole arrived in time to see CCRG, in the familiar role of underdog, line up against the stacked squad from New York. Classic City, known for sluggish starts and fast finishes, could not afford any mental lapses against a team as disciplined and focused as the Long Island Roller Rebels. Unfortunately, things went south early. In the game's fourth jam, veteran blocker Tenderize Her was making her second trip to the penalty box, where she was quickly joined by jammer Rumbalina, who was whistled for her second penalty in less than two minutes. CCRG fell behind 39-0. Long Island's stingy defense, led by the otherworldly blocking of Anne Frankenstein, made things almost impossible for the ladies in green and black. Down 114-35 at halftime, CCRG scored 21 unanswered points to open play in the second half, but Long Island made several spirited runs of their own, slamming the door shut on any thoughts of an upset, winning decidedly, 210-89.
The main event Sunday night featured the aforementioned team from Albuquerque, winners of all three weekend bouts thus far, versus our Classic City Rollergirls, winless in two attempts. Saving the best for last is a thing. Duke City, sporting killer Day of the Dead-themed jerseys with a comfortable-looking breathable fabric and piped V necks, took the track with confidence.
Cirque du Slay was tenacious, relentlessly antagonizing opposing jammers with bone-ratting hits. Louis Strongarm played methodically, intent on securing the lead jammer position, scoring points quickly, then calling off the jam before the opposition had an opportunity to score. The strategy was perfect, and CCRG took a 66-44 lead into the half. In the second half, with CCRG up 90-77 and roughly 19 minutes left on the clock, fearless and diminutive jammer Bad Ash Booher was involved in a multi-skater pile-up. When the dust settled, Booher was ejected from the match for gross misconduct. The two teams continued to battle, and the lead changed frequently, but alas the shorthanded home team came up short, 129-139 and Albuquerque returned to New Mexico with four victories in two days.