Photo Credit: Gene Rabin
Last Saturday morning, the Classic City Rollergirls caravanned through the North Georgia hills and Cumberland Plateau, over more than 230 rural highway miles, to face the heavily favored Dixie Derby Girls in Huntsville, AL. CCRG lost by five points in a heartbreaker to Dixie last season in Athens. When the team took the concrete track shortly after 6 p.m. at the National Speleological Society Conference Center, they showed no signs of being road-weary—or the least bit intimidated.
Both squads went scoreless in the evening’s first jam, setting the tone for the entire bout. These were defensive-minded, physical skaters, unafraid to mix it up in the pack. Classic City quickly acclimated themselves to the opposition and track conditions. High Jinxxx scored seven hard-earned points during her second jam, followed by an impressive 14-point scoring effort by pivot Elizabeth Impaler after jammer Louis Strongarm had the presence of mind to pass the scoring star to her teammate.
Generally, the star pass is a move predicated by exhaustion, when jammers run out of gas and simply can’t fight through a wall of blockers. Seeing as this was just the sixth jam of the first half, it’s safe to say strategy played no small role in Strongarm’s thinking, and Classic City led 28-7.
Dixie, benefitting from a pair of back-to-pack power jams, was able to trim the lead to 31-29 with 14 minutes remaining in the half. The CCRG scoring drought ended when Louis Strongarm picked up nine points and Human Missile Crisis eight more, bringing the score to 48-29. Dixie scored just two more points the rest of the half. Classic City went to the locker room with a comfortable 85-31 advantage.
At halftime, in any sport, teams get rest and make adjustments. Dixie returned to the track a more focused team. As CCRG endured flying elbows, questionable blocking techniques, a few icy stares and some heated exchanges, they watched their lead dwindle. For eight consecutive jams, our girls were held scoreless and Dixie appeared unstoppable, closing the gap to 96-71. With CCRG jammers getting pummeled and sent to the penalty box, it was time for the defense to step up and protect the lead if the offense wasn’t up to the task of extending it. Indeed, the home team could only manage 10 points over the course of the bout’s final dozen jams, and CCRG won decisively, 123-81.
The victory was, according to flattrackstats.com (a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association endorsed scoring, statistics and rankings clearinghouse), the biggest upset in the country Saturday night. Look for CCRG to significantly improve upon their No. 173 ranking when the new WFTDA poll is released later this season.
Up next, Classic City is holding a three-day boot camp for would-be rollergirls beginning Monday, June 16 at Fun Galaxy on Cherokee Road. The next home bout is scheduled for Saturday, July 19 at the Classic Center versus Bowling Green, KY-based Vette City Roller Derby.