There are those bouts that start out ugly–I mean, nasty, sloppy, penalty-laden, hideously ugly play–but then the players will work out their nerves, clean up their play and the ugly duckling will grow into a beautiful swan. Then there are bouts like Saturday’s against the Cedar Rapids Roller Girls, where that awkward little duck grew into something like this:
Here’s what happened, to the best of my recollection: The first jam was a quick one. Funsize got the lead with AJ Renegade right on her tail feathers. Both jammers scored 2 points before F called the jam. Then things started to get out of hand. Mo Payne scored 10, followed by 20 from PBR and another 10 from Funsize; meanwhile, CR jammers didn’t manage to complete their initial pass through the pack and stayed scoreless while Sioux City snatched the lead, stuffed it into our sports bra and ran away with it.
Then in the 6th jam, things started looking up for CR. Jacquee Da Ripper won lead jammer (the first of the game for CR) and put up 12 points, outscoring the Dames by 6. Then a few jams later, Toothy Hilt (favorite name! Seriously, say it out loud. It’s like that Mad Gab game!) got the lead and scored 8 unanswered points, while our little Dubbs was sent to the box to think about what she did (cutting the track).
Even these impressive jams, though, only brought CR to within 50 points of the lead. PBR had decided that if she was going to go to all the trouble of getting up out of her comfy chair, she might as well score tons of points while she was up. By the end of the night, she had three 20+ point jams, and a total of 90 points in the bout. So if the score looked lopsided at the half–35-123–you can pretty much blame all of that on PBR.
It is sometimes hard to evaluate what causes a bout to go well for one team and poorly for another. Certainly here penalties were a factor, but after looking at the score sheets, another HUGE factor that determined the score in this bout was lead jammer status AND strategically calling off the jam. Toward the end of the first half, CR’s jammer took the lead 5 times in a row, but only called the jam two of those times. During this 5-jam stretch, Sioux City outscored CR by 11 points total, but CR outscored or tied us in the jams that they called off.
In the second half, CR’s jammers took the lead 7 times, and were outscored or tied by our jammer in 6 of those jams. The one exception was the jam that Rockabelle called off, where she scored a grand slam. Rockabelle, by the way, was awarded MVP for the Roller Girls. Way to go, girl!
Throughout the bout, CR played an impressively physical game. They did a lot of hitting within the pack and kept all of the Dames constantly on high-alert. While the Dames usually only hit strategically and employ a lot of zone blocking, CR’s mix-it-up style looked so awfully fun that we decided we should try it too.
Needless to say, mistakes were made. At one point, Steel Bullit Stella and T-Vicious both decided simultaneously to go rogue, and just started clobbering people and collecting penalties. Then by the final jam, with Dubbs and myself in the box, Mo Payne had obviously been hit so hard that she forgot the rules. She got spun around by a solid hit and, instead of turning back in the right direction, she launched herself (in the wrong direction, mind you) at a CR blocker and landed the hit above the legal target zone. Yeah, it was the culmination of several poor decisions, and it got her ejected from the bout.
The final score was 81-250, Dames. Despite the uneven score, the bout was physically challenging and very competitive. Cedar Rapids played a great game and we had a blast with them. There were quite a few new faces since the last time we saw CR and we can’t wait to get to know them all better. Thanks to all of the Roller Girls, refs, crew and coaches for coming all the way out to little ol’ Sioux City to play with us!
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