Posted by: tankofalltrades | April 7, 2010

The Day I Lost My Face: Why I Quit Wearing a Mask

“So why aren’t you wearing your mask anymore?” I have been asked this

question multiple times via emails, texts, phone calls, and in conversation during the past six months. For years, I have been “the guy in the mask” at derby games across the United States. I get photos, masks, and all sorts of other luchadore memorabilia sent to me from friends. Why would I get rid of something that has become part of my identity?
To understand why I started wearing a mask, you need to understand how I became an announcer. In the winter of 2005, I came across the MySpace page of former Texas Rollergirl Rosie Cheeks. We began to email back and forth about roller derby. I had always been a big fan of Roller Games in the late ’80s and Roller Jam in the ’90s. I showed my ex-girlfriend pictures and videos of Rosie and the rest of TXRG skating. My ex then went on to start the Ohio Roller Girls (OHRG), the first roller derby league in Ohio. I was excited about this, as she would finally have a hobby and I would have plenty of free time to paint with her out of the house.
Since OHRG was brand new and nothing like it had ever been attempted before in the state, everything within the organization was in short supply. Early practices were held where ever the girls could find space, we screen printed our own t-shirts at Triptease’s house, and I made our original recruiting business cards. During the summer, practices weren’t going very well, and the league brought me in as a coach. I spent weeks watching the TXRG championship bout DVD over and over again, figuring out how checking, blocking, and general strategy worked, basically learning the game from the ground up.
I was never supposed to be the league’s announcer. Originally, an art school friend of one of the skaters was going to announce. She talked a big game, but when given the chance to announce the girls in a local parade, she froze up and didn’t deliver what she said she was going to do. Our first big event, full contact musical chairs, was coming up and the league needed someone to announce it. Since I knew all the girls, I volunteered to do the job.
To call full contact musical chairs at Club 202 a train wreck would be an insult to train wrecks, but at the time we thought we had done something special. That night, I was just a nervous fat guy in a DIY silk-screened OHRG shirt. I didn’t have a mask and I didn’t know what I was doing, but I did have a bar to help me ease my stage fright. There were many memorable moments that night. One of the skaters showed up so drunk she couldn’t stand up on her skates. I met Caesar for the first time and thought he was really weird. One of the bands brought a girlfriend/groupie with them who promptly stripped and danced in her bra and panties. And then there were the exploding chairs. Yes, I said exploding chairs. The girls bought a bunch of cheap, white plastic chairs, the kind you buy for your porch when you’re a poor college kid. These $5 eye sores were made for sitting, but not when girls are diving into them. There were multiple times when a skater would crash into the chair and the legs would snap, causing her to fall on the floor. One of the legs literally shot off, rocketed into the crowd, and drilled a fan.
After a few more bar events and OHRG’s first exhibition bout (“The Skatemare Before Xmas”) a few things became clear to me. 1. I liked announcing. 2. I wasn’t comfortable doing it. 3. I needed a gimmick because every other announcer had one. I had always been a big pro wrestling fan and thought that luchadore masks were incredibly cool. I figured that if I wore a lucha mask it would look great with a suit, make me stick out as the announcer, conceal who I was so that I could play a character, and if I sucked, no one would know it was me at the after party. On April 23, 2006, I called the first roller derby game in the state of Ohio in the modern era clad in a black suit and aqua Volador mask.

Wearing a mask in public is not as cool as you think it might be. There are many problems that come with wearing one. They are incredibly tight, and wearing one for four hours leaves you with a sore nose and some pretty nasty red marks on your face. Masks can be a total pain to hear, see, and talk out of, depending on their design. The fan reaction is very mixed. People who get it and little kids love it, but people who don’t freak out. You get treated like you’re a clown or a mascot.
The main problem I had with wearing the mask was people not taking me seriously. I felt like I had to prove myself game after game, because players and fans would blow me off as a tool in a stupid costume. In a way it was good though, because I would not be the announcer I am today if I didn’t feel I had to bring my A game every time I hit the mic.
When I moved to Cincinnati and started announcing for the Cincinnati Rollergirls, I started to feel the urge to change my look. At this point I was done being worried or intimidated about calling games. I lost count of how many bouts I had called and I had announced with every big name announcer in the sport and held my own. I had called games in front of thousands of people live and on the internet. I didn’t need a mask to hide behind anymore, literally or figuratively.
I knew going into the end of the 2009 home season that I was ready to hang the mask up, but I wanted to wait till 2010 to make it official. If the mask was going to go, it was going to go out in style. For our final home game, I crafted my own Mad Max/Fall Out 3/Legion of Doom-inspired battle armor (nail covered shoulder pads and catcher’s shin guards). Then we went to Pittsburgh, where I was greeted with a fan holding a sign that said “BDSM Announcer Creeps Me Out”. He and the rest of the crowd didn’t really get it, but whatever. Rumor has it that one of their announcers is now wearing a lucha mask, I chalk it up as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
The final time I wore my mask in public was only a fleeting five minutes at the North Central regionals on September 18, 2009. I sat down at the announce table, laced my mask up, flipped on my mic, and started talking. Suddenly this ominous, loud voice blared over the house PA “Yeah, you, the guy in the mask, we can’t hear you through that mask, you will have to get rid of it.” I leaned back in my seat, flipped my mic back off, muttered “F*** it”, ripped my mask off, and tossed it behind me. I haven’t worn it since.
Today, my game uniform hasn’t changed much. I still wear all black, my thought being if it worked for Johnny Cash and Darth Vader, it will work for me. Working without a mask is pretty cool because now I blend into the background more and am less of a focal point for the fans. Also, now at the after parties the skaters from the other team actually know who I am, which is really cool. Overall, it’s been a positive experience, and even though nostalgia hits me once in a while, I don’t see myself going back to wearing my mask. My friend Mr. Rawk summed it up best for me when we talked at Nationals in Philadelphia: “On one hand, I am sad to see you lose the mask because it was you, but on the other hand, I am glad people are finally going to know who you are.”

Posted by: tankofalltrades | March 21, 2010

Cincinnati Rollergirls Season and 1st Game Preview

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Cincinnati Rollergirls 2010: Preview & Predictions

On March 27, the Cincinnati Rollergirls kick off their 2010 season at the historic Cincinnati Gardens. 2009 was a banner year for the team, seeing the ladies fall one game short of making the national tournament. Although it’s only been a few months since CRG took to the flat track, many things have changed both for the league and the WFTDA as a whole. Join me as I give you up to date information on what has changed and what I think might happen because of it; this blog is the best primer you have to get ready for the season.

The face of the Cincinnati Rollergirls, like many leagues in the nation, is changing. A debilitating back injury put an end to the stellar career of Blu Bayou. Blu was voted as one of the most valuable players of the East Coast Derby Extravaganza via an online Derby News Network poll this past summer. She was a cornerstone of the CRG roster at the pivot position, which she shared with Sk8r-Kinney. This combo gave CRG a decisive defensive advantage in almost every game they played in. Blu’s athletic ability and in game leadership will be missed.

Three other members of the Black Sheep will not be on the track this season as they are out with nine-month injuries, also known as pregnancies. CandyKICKass!, Mae C. Stars, and Ruff’n the Passer are expected to be out for the entire 2010 season, which will leave three big holes in the CRG lineup, but will also create new opportunities. Candy is a triple threat, which is a valuable weapon to have in your arsenal in a game when you are running into penalty trouble. Mae C. Stars has been playing roller derby longer then CRG has been in existence. She was a major cog in the CRG pack for years at the B3/rear blocker position and her presence on the track will be missed, especially during the first few games, as someone will have to step up to take over this important role. On top of these losses, the Sheep also lost their captain, Ruff’n the Passer. Ruff’n is a linchpin of this team, the calm and cool side opposite the firebrand of the coaching staff. She is going to leave some big skates to fill on the track and in the locker room.

Cincinnati is going to get a new look this year, as a minimum of four spots are up for grabs on the Sheep. Who will step into those roles? Cherry Choke and Jungle Lacy both were sitting in the alternate spot last season. It’s not an easy place to be in, as each game you must be prepared to play, but more often than not, you don’t. They are looking good so far this season. Both women have solid blocking games and jamming experience. I am expecting big contributions out of them.

Dr. McDerby, also skating for the Sheep, is back from a major shoulder injury, which cut the 2009 season short for her. McDerby’s toughness is second to none. I seriously think the girl might have Wolverine’s mutant healing ability. She is a fierce competitor on the track and deserves to play jammer on the next level or pivot. She has the talent to be the next Blu.

Karma Krash has come in about 20 pounds lighter this season. Karma brought it on late last season, making the 20-woman A-team roster and dedicating herself to the gym in the off-season.

There is a solid jammer corps returning to the Sheep: Hannah “Oucho Cinco” Barbaric, K Lethal, Nuk’em, and Sadistic Sadie. Oucho Cinco is the smartest jammer the Sheep have. She knows what to do in every situation she finds herself in. K Lethal, before the age of 21, has won the league’s best jammer award. K is all business and continues to grow into a player that could someday be a household WFTDA name. Nuk’em skates in a style that mixes speed and violence. While most jammers try to avoid contact, Nuk’em uses herself as a battering ram to fight her way through packs. Sadistic Sadie has become a face of this franchise and brings the swagger that CRG has become known for. Sadie infuses the attitude into this team and does so by both what she preaches and how she plays.
Sk8r-Kinney will be running the front of the pack. I know that’s like saying the sun will rise tomorrow, but it comforts me to say it. Kinney has some new skates this year, and I would like to take this time to say for her: “They are not Bengals skates.” These skates are a thing of beauty and intimidation. June with a Cleaver, Sk8 Crime, and Killian Destroy will be in the pack, forming the backbone of this team.

On CRG’s B team, the Silent Lambs, Bex Pistol is in the best shape of her career as well in practice. I am interested to see what she does this season. Rookie of the Year Wheezy also looks to make an impact this season. She came late in the season last year, but her performances in scrimmages have cemented her as a player to watch for 2010.

THE SEASON

This season is Cincinnati’s most interesting one yet. CRG’s home season is all against teams they are ranked above or are not in the WFTDA. This means Cincinnati is favored to win these games and likely will not move up in the rankings unless other teams are beaten and knocked off above them. If they lose, however, they could go into a rankings freefall. This should lead to competitive, close games, and this looks to be a very pivotal season for the Black Sheep.

SAN DIEGO DERBY DOLLS (HOME)
The first game pits Cincinnati in a rematch from last season against the San Diego Derby Dolls. In 2009, Cincinnati traveled to San Diego to beat the Dolls on the flat track and then played them on the SDDD banked track the next day. San Diego is not in the WFTDA but is the best independent league in the country, having been ranked as high as 17 in the DNN power rankings. If San Diego joined the East, West, or North Central regions, they would definitely make a regional tournament, and if they joined the South Central, they could be in contention for a Nationals berth.

San Diego has a lot of talent, experience and the ability to adapt to multiple styles of play. SDDD is now the home to Trish the Dish and Ivanna S. Pankin, who have been involved with roller derby longer then CRG has been in existence. These two women have possibly seen more live bouts then anyone else in America and played in a countless number of games. This gives the Dolls a very distinct experience advantage in their training program. Combine this with the fact that this will be Cincinnati’s first game of the season with a number of personnel changes, and SDDD has a chance to score the upset. CRG is going to have to rely on its veterans to get the W here and allow the new blood on the team to get their feet wet.

Posted by: tankofalltrades | December 10, 2009

Philly vs. RMRG with Caesar and Tank on the call

This past November at the WFTDA Nationals, Cinderella story The Rocky Mountain Roller Girls collided with host and number 1 seed from the East, the Philly Roller Girls. What transpired was a clash between two top tier teams in a game that could not be decided in the standard 60 minutes of play and was forced to go into overtime.

Listed below are links to the entire game. Enjoy.

Philly vs. RMRG Half 1 Part 1 5/45
http://www.justin.tv/clip/89b4bf1654a9fff4

Philly vs. RMRG Half 1 Part 2 6/45
http://www.justin.tv/clip/a27b306cada43949

Philly vs. RMRG Half 1 Part 3 7/45
http://www.justin.tv/clip/577246de6270a2af

Philly vs. RMRG Half Time 8/45
http://www.justin.tv/clip/64f7b6da9c16ade7

Philly vs. RMRG Half 2 Part 1 9/45
http://www.justin.tv/clip/e5dc7a27b862d6b4

Philly vs. RMGR Half 2 Part 2 10/45
http://www.justin.tv/clip/d19bc7fa120d9e7f

Philly vs. RMRG Half 2 Part 3 Conclusion of game with OT 11/45
http://www.justin.tv/clip/7f7d9da5e677a29f

Posted by: tankofalltrades | November 9, 2009

WFTDA Nationals Preview

Live Your Life Two Minutes at a Time V 1.5

The Nationals

According to wikipedia.org as of July 2009, there were 78 leagues in North America who are members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. These leagues are comprised of dozens of women athletes who spend countless hours away from their families at the rink, preparing, training, working to gain an edge against their next opponent. In the world of sports though not everyone can be a winner, even fewer can be a champion. From those 78 leagues, 40 were selected to take part in 4 regional tournaments across the United States over the span of a month. The regional tournaments were filled with a few surprises, but on the whole, the obvious top tier talent took their rightful place in the National Tournament. From 40, we now stand at 12, and after Declaration of Derby, there will only be 1 team who will take the Hydra home, only 1 league will be known as champions.

In the first 4 editions of my blog, I listed each team from 1 through 10 for each regional. Go check out my past blogs (and bump their reader numbers while your at it :), to see what I said about each team and individual players. For this edition of my blog, I am going to break down the tournament in regards to how I filled out my Nationals bracket, because as we all know the only thing that makes sports better is gambling…and beer.

FIRST ROUND

(S2) Kansas City vs. (W3) Denver:
Kansas City is one of only one of three teams in the history of the WFTDA who have been national champions, playing the part of Cinderella in 2007. Even though they have a Hydra at home in the trophy case, I feel that Kansas City is like Rodeny Dangerfield in this one, they just can’t get any respect against the sleek, sexy pick that is Denver. Thats not to say that K.C. Isn’t good, far from it they are a solid team, but Denver has been on an offensive tear this year putting over a 100 points a game on the board and doing it against much stiffer competition then what the Roller Warriors are used to playing in the South Central which is the weakest of the 4 divisions. Does this mean Denver is going to walk through K.C.? No, far from it, as the Roller Warriors beat the Mad Rollin’ Dolls this year by 40 points at ECE and stayed within 20 points of Charm City who had an incredible 2009 season. This game is going to be a lot of fun but in the end I see Denver moving on to the 2nd round.

(E2) Gotham vs. (N3) Detroit:
Gotham has to play in the first round of a tournament for the first time in a long time against an always tough and tenacious Detroit team. Losing to Philly at Eastern Regionals was the best thing that could have happened to girls from the Big Apple to help them to refocus and sharpen up their training for Nationals. You know that Gotham is going to come into this tournament with something to prove, that even though they are the 2nd seed from the East, they are still the best in the world. Detroit has a lot to prove to as they have been one of the top 10 teams in America for the past 2 years, but have yet to be able to knock off a top tier program like Philly, Gotham, Windy City, or Texas. From what I have been able to gather from individual Detroit players Facebook pages, they are training their ass off for Nationals and pushing themselves to new limits.

Detroit is a strong team, they are smart, they are aggressive, and they have a lot of talent. I have seen them control entire games just by having Cookie Rumble lock down the back end of a pack and let the rest of the squad destroy the other team with speed. That being said, Gotham is going to come into this game revitalized, refocused, and ready to do whatever it takes to get into the championship game. Detroit will have to play as a team to try and get the W as Gotham’s jammers are to good for anyone to try and match up against 1 on 1 in the pack. Gotham gets the win here, but I honestly feel that if Detroit would have gotten matched up with any other team in the first round, they would also be moving onto the second round.

(N2) Madison vs. (E3) Boston:
Remember back in the day when you would be playing Street Fighter II and you and your friend would pick to fight as Ken vs. Ryu which is essentially just the same character but with different color gais? Yeah, thats exactly what this Madison vs. Boston match up is. Both teams live and die on controlling the speed of the pack and shifting the tempo from light speed to slow as skating in tar.

After years of bitter disappointment Boston scratched and clawed their way out of the Eastern Regionals with the 3rd seed, beating rival Charm City in the process. Madison on the other hand irked out a victory against Detroit before going on to be completely over matched by Windy City. Even though Madison has gotten better through out the course of the 2009, I don’t see them beating Boston. Boston’s skate skills are second to none and they do the little things so well which is why I see them prevailing in this match up. The only way I see Madison winning this one is if they can draw fouls and force Boston to play short handed which will allow them to gain pack control.

(S3) Houston vs. (W2) Rocky Mountain:
The last time these two teams met at Battle Royale 2008, RMRG skated away with a 25 point victory, this time it will be by much, much more. Rocky Mountain has been the big surprise this tournament season, recently beating Rose City before Derby on the Rocks and then trumping cross train arch rivals Denver en route to earning the second seed in the West. Houston on the other hand took third place in the weakest of the 4 WFTDA regions and was easily handled by Kansas City in the process. With the recent additions to Rock Mountain they are looking better then they ever have in the history of their league and unless the entire team suffers an outbreak of hamthrax (H1N1), there is no way Houston is going to be able to stop them.

SECOND ROUND
(N1) Windy City vs. (W3) Denver:
The chatter coming out of the West is that n one else is able to match the regions speed and offense. Offense is great, offense is fun, and offense is sexy but defense is what wins championships. Just like the 1985 Bear’s “Monsters of the Midway”, WCR can play some defense and on top of that can score a staggering number of points as well. Windy is going to be fresh unlike Denver who is going to have to play a competitive Kansas City the day before. Windy will get the W here and move on to the 3rd round.

(W1) Oly vs. (E2) Gotham:
The most intriguing match up of the weekend bar none. Oly has been on the scene for less then a year and now firmly sit on top their region at 8-0, the only undefeated team in all of the WFTDA. Gotham, is a team that needs no introduction. These two titans are separated by 2,894 miles, but will meet on the flat track in Philly. I know that Oly is a great squad but there is no way I am picking them to beat Gotham. Gotham’s experience is the big edge in this game and while the sisters for Oly are two of the best players in the history of modern flat track, at the end of the day its a 14 woman roster and Gotham has a much deeper bench. Gotham gets the W here, but Oly will learn from this game and look for them to possibly hoist the Hydra next season.

(S1) Texas vs. (E3) Boston:
Texas v. Boston, what an interesting clash in styles as those two are polar opposites. Boston will look to control the pack and try to work as unit where as on the other hand, Texas will do what Texas does, beat the living hell out of anyone who lines up against them in the pack, open holes, and let their jammers fly through the pack. Boston is good, but Texas is just bigger, faster, and stronger and when push comes to shove, I see TXRG rolling into the 3rd round with a win in this one.

(E1) Philly vs. (W2) Rocky Mountain:
The home town team makes their first appearance of the tournament against Rocky Mountain. RMRG is a good team, but Philly has had such an amazing 2009 taking out Carolina, Boston, Rat City, Kansas City, Windy City, Charm City, Gotham, and more. They are just a juggernaut of a team right now and Rocky Mountain does not have the answer to the riddle that is how to beat Philly. To top it off, The Belles are going to have home track advantage and you know their fans are going to be the “6th woman” for them. Philly gets the victory and moves on to the 3rd round.

THIRD ROUND
(N1) Windy City vs. (E2) Gotham
The second city vs. the city that never sleeps. Again, WFTDA power houses Windy City and Gotham meet with national championship implications on the line. When it gets to this level of play, it just comes down to who is on that weekend. WCR has never beat Gotham and that is going to give New York the mental edge. Windy generally doesn’t play well against Gotham and thats why I predict that New Yorkers will be playing for the Hydra.

(S1) Texas vs. (E1) Philly
This will be the most ass kicking battle between females since the Bride took on Elle Driver in Kill Bill Vol. 1. Philly can play any form of roller derby so Texas is not going to be able to out play them or intimidate them physically. This game is going to come down to the 2 biggest stats in flat track roller derby, lead jammer and penalties. Texas has a tendency to get lots of time in the box and it has costed them in the past in tight games. Look for Philly to exploit this weakness and move on to play Gotham for a national championship.

3rd Place Game
(N1) Windy City vs. (S1) Texas
Both of these teams are going to be angry and disappointed if they don’t win a national championship. The winner of this game will come down to who can keep their composition and focus to win. Windy got the W the last time these 2 teams met, but it was only by 13 points. Look for Texas to get this win as they have come on strong this season and then look for them to put up serious numbers at the after party.

(E1) Philly vs. (E2) Gotham
I am predicting a rematch from the Eastern Regionals, the greatest roller derby game I have ever seen. In my bracket I picked Philly to win it all, but Gotham could just easily take home back to back Hydras. This all goes back to Gotham being revitalized and ready to reclaim their place at the top of the mountain. While my heart says Philly, my brains says Gotham.

That brings us to the end of my Nationals preview. Will it all pan out the way I wrote it? Probably not, but thats why we watch sports, the thrill of watching an unscripted drama that no one knows the answer too. Unfortunately, I won’t be getting into the tournament until late Friday night so I will be checking my phone all day for updates tweets from the tournament. On the upside though I will be calling games live and mostly likely for derby news network as well so make sure your tuning in and watching from home. Thanks for reading and as always remember to live your life two minutes at a time.

Posted by: tankofalltrades | October 2, 2009

Western Regionals Previews

West Regionals: Derby on the Rocks
Dates: October 2-4
Location: Denver, Colorado

Dear readers, sorry for the late posting and poor quality of this blog. I have been dealing with a personal crisis this week. Last Tuesday my power company informed me I owed the three thousand dollars. Allow me to repeat that in numbers, $3,000 dollars. After a week filled with stress, depression, and an uncountable amount of hours on the phone straightening this mess out it turns out I owed them a grand total of 70 dollars. When the meter reader read my meter he accidentally hit the 3 button twice, thus charging me for 33,000 used watts instead of 3,000. Thank you Duke Energy for wasting multiple hours of my time and scratching a few years off my life.

It’s hard to believe that 3 weeks has passed and we have 9 teams out of 30 who have punched a ticket to Nationals. It’s only appropriate that we finish the regionals out in the most unpredictable tournament yet. I mean seriously where to begin at? Oly has the number 1 spot in the tournament but has played a grand total of 5 WFTDA games (which they won all of). Rose City and Denver both came within ten points of beating them. Rat City and B.A.D. Have been running the left coast for years. And we all know that Duke City loves playing the role of a spoiler. Pikes Peak and Rocky Mountain have also tasted success. Tucson has made it back to a regionals tournament and Angel City steps into it’s first ever WFTDA tournament. My advice to anyone watching this weekend is to pack an extra face, because I get the feeling Derby on the Rocks is going to rock your’s off.

1.Oly Rollers: Oly played their first WFTDA sanctioned travel bout on 1/18/2009, today they are the number 1 seed in the west. How has such a young team gone so far in so short a time? Well having Blonde An Bitchin’ and D-Bomb on your roster never hurt anyone, except the teams playing them. Oly has also put up a minimum of 157 points in these 5 games (twice eclipsing the 200 point barrier). Two of those victories are over seeds 2 and 3, Denver and Rose City respectively. While Oly has talent, they have never played in a 3 day tournament before and this is a whole different best from playing a game once a month. I think that Oly has a great shot of making nationals, but I am not sold on them having the number 1 seed coming out of the west, especially with a more experienced Denver right behind them.

2.Denver Roller Dolls: The Dolls have been on a tear this season, going 6-1, with their only loss coming to Oly by a scant 2 points. They have also broke the century mark in every game they have played this season. Denver took their lumps early on in their career and have really brought it together in the past year. They are looking strong, plus they are playing on their home court with zero travel involved unlike the other leagues. Denver is my pony that I am putting money on to win the whole thing and walk out with the number 1 seed from the West.

3.Rose City Rollers: Rose has gone 4-1 this season. While thats not much in the way of quantity, this record has a lot of quality to it. They opened the season getting upset by Oly by 6 points, after that they went on to beat top tier west regional sister leagues Rat City, B.A.D, and Duke City. They also took out the Carolina Rollergirls on this run. Rose has talent and can play in big games, but I question if their light scheduling in terms of how many bouts they played this season will come back to haunt them, having only played 5 games total this year, they will play almost half their season in one weekend. Rose certainly has a shot of making nationals, but its not a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination.

4.Rat City Rollergirls: Rat City was one of the original powerhouses of the WFTDA. They have been playing other leagues and winning big games since 2006, thus bringing a ton of experience into this regional tournament but all is not well in the land of Starbucks, flannel, and incredibly overpriced housing costs. Rat City has played 9 bouts this season but have a record of 4-5, their first losing record ever. Rat did play top quality competition with those loses coming from tough battles with Charm City, Rose City, and Windy City who they played incredibly tight, but it also includes blow out losses to Denver and Philly. Rat City is one of the few west coast teams I have gotten a chance to see live and they are very impressive, however I question if they will be able to close out a close game if they get involved in one in this tournament which is likely to happen. Rat has a good shot at going to Nationals, but they also have a good shot at not making it as well. Only time and this weekend will tell us who they really are.

5.Bay Area Derby Girls: B.A.D has been having a bad year. Sitting at 1-4 on the season is not an impressive record but you must also consider the strength of schedule they played. This has been a rebuilding year for them, especially with the retirement of Kitt Turbo among others. I know they played Texas tight but they also weren’t playing the best of the best that TXRG has to offer either. B.A.D. Won’t be going to Nationals, but the new girls who are playing for them this season are going to cap off the year with valuable experience from this regional and that is going to pay major dividends next year at this time.

6.Duke City Derby: Duke City is always going to be known for their Cinderella story in 2008 when they upset then defending WFTDA champions, Kansas City. Since then they have played 13 games and went 4-9. We all like Duke City, we dig their sweet skeleton t-shirts, and how can anyone hate a victorious underdog, but I don’t see Nationals in the cards for them this year.

7.Pikes Peak Derby Dames: Pikes has gotten beat and beat handily by top tier competition all year long including losses to Denver, Oly, and Boston. Pikes isn’t going to get to Nationals this year.

8.Rocky Mountain Rollergirls: Rocky Mountain has played some tight games this year against some great teams. They beat Houston, who will be making their first appearance at Nationals and only lost to Windy City by 39 points a year ago. I can see them going up the rankings by the end of this tournament but not making the big dance.

9.Tucson Roller Derby: It’s nice to see Tucson back in a regionals tournament. One of the original leagues in the world is going to try and make a run back to the top but it’s not going to be easy for them. They are 1-2 on the season and the last 2 games they played resulted in those losses. Their last game was in August, but before that it was in February. I am not expecting much but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

10.Angel City Derby Girls: Angel City is coming into their first regional with this appearance. This will be a great learning experience and going up in rankings, no matter how small, would and should be considered a nice accomplishment.

Well that closes out the 2009 Regionals for us. Thanks to everyone who is reading my blog, it means a lot. Keep coming back as I plan to keep writing editorial pieces about the world of derby. So until next time, remember to live your life two minutes at a time.

Posted by: tankofalltrades | September 23, 2009

South Central Regionals Preview

South Central Regionals:  Southern Fried Smackdown

Dates:  September 25-27

Location:  Atlanta, GA

The South Central tournament will be interesting to say the least.  Texas and Kansas City, both former national champions are women among girls in this division.  It reminds me of when I was  playing basketball in the 6th grade.  One of the kids in the league hit puberty early and was easily 6 feet tall and needed to shave his mustache before every game, he dominated the league as he had 6 inches on the next tallest player, let alone the rest of us.  Thats Texas and KC in this tournament…well minus the mustache.  Can some fun still happen though?  Absolutely.  On the flipside, we should get some close games like we did at North Central, that will be a nice contrast to number of blow outs we saw at Wicked Wheels of the East.

1. Texas Roller Girls:  Back in 2006 Texas won the original Dust Devil to become the 1st ever WFTDA national champions and decimated anyone who stepped on the track against them. However in 2007, everyone in the WFTDA was improving.  Unlike fellow old school alumni Tucson and Arizona, Texas continued to remain a dominant force as new powerhouses began to emerge.  Significant losses to Rat City at Dust Devil 2007 and Texas Shootout 2007 saw their grasp for another championship thwarted.  At this point besides a 2 point Tucson victory in 2006, no one else had defeated Texas.  Then they were schlacked for the first time ever at ECE by 61 points, a total that was almost 3 times the amount of total points they had ever lost by, at the hands of Gotham. Then at Northwest Knockdown, Texas was surprisingly beat by both Windy City and Philly.

Why am I bringing all this up?  Because Texas, who has a lifetime record of 26-8, has used these losses as a reason to reexamine themselves as a team and as the fuel to make a 2009 Hydra run.  Texas is back and I am talking Texas style back, loud, bruising, violent, and blazingly fast.  They are going to line up and punch you in the mouth, jam after jam, wearing down your packs with their brutal style of play and then their lighting fast jammers are going to fly through and pick your bones dry.  Jim “Kool Aid” Jones has made the move from the announce booth to trackside as their coach and fills the role nicely as the man has forgot more about derby then most people know.  Desi Cretion, the former Minnesota Roller Girl and hockey player is one of the best players in the country bar none.  Rice Rocket has been 1 of the top 5 jammers in America for years and looks to continue to dominate in 2009.  You know Bloody Mary, Curvette, Olivia Shootin’ John, Belle Star, and Morphine.  This team is athletically stacked and genetically jacked.  Texas is back and are looking to massacre the competition.  TEXAS! TEXAS! KILL! KILL! KILL!

2. KC Roller Warriors:  In 2007 Kansas City had a true Cinderella story, as they defeated Gotham and Rat City in route to their 1st national championship.  2008 though would prove to be a tough year for them as they were shockingly and unceremoniously bounced from Battle Royale by Duke City.  While Snot Rocket and Xcelerator are gone, there is still a lot of talent left from the 2007 season including Annie Maul, Archie, Missile Toes, and Jessika Rabid.  2009 has seen them go 5-2, with their only 2 losses coming to east coast powerhouses Philly and Charm City.  They have beaten some stellar talent in  Madison, the number two seed from the  North Central.  The biggest victory though was their last game against SC  rival Houston in which they drummed them by 69 points.  KC is number 2 and Houston number 3 in their division, so I am very confident to say barring major injuries, we will be seeing Texas vs. KC in the finals and no matter if they win or loss that game, they will be punching a ticket to Philadelphia.

3. Houston Roller Derby:  The 4th largest city in America is hoping their girls make it into the national championship picture.  Houston played a ton of games in the 2008 calendar year including appearances at ECE and Battle Royale and win or lose, they came away with some valuable experience that has helped cement them the 3rd seed in this tournament.  In stark contrast to 2008, Houston has only played 4 games this season, but has complied a 3-1 record, but that 1 loss was a big one to KC.  Can they make it to Nationals?  They can, but I think that same argument could be made for Dallas and Atlanta.

4. Dallas Derby Devils:  Dallas, the city not the awesome 80′s television show, is home to oil fields, gigantic HD screens that get hit by punts, and the Derby Devils.  2009 has been good to the Devils seeing them go 6-1.  The bad news is the highest ranked team they played, Duke City, beat them by 51 points.  On the upside, Dallas did beat regional rivals Atlanta, No Coast, and Tampa Baby.  Remember in the regionals, its all about who beat that weekend to go to Nationals and Dallas has a great chance of doing that against anyone but Texas and KC.  Don’t be shocked if they make their first Nationals appearance this fall.

5. Atlanta Rollergirls:  The Queens of the Dirty South are not only hosting regionals but trying to secure a berth in the Nationals.  Atlanta does have talent and if they play as a team and not individuals have a great shot at coming in third.  Demi Gore has got game as does tough as nails team captain, Queen Loseyateefa.  Wheelin’ Jennings, SK8 Outta Compton, Deathskull, and Tanya Hyde are all competent players that continue to grow every time I see them play.  They have played 13 games this season and have been on both ends of an ass whipping, both giving and taking some.  However you do learn more in defeat then you do in victory and those losses to Denver, Texas, Charm City, and Cincinnati should help them here.  However, they also lost to 3 seed Houston and 4 seed Dallas.  Atlanta does have a legitimate chance at going to Philadelphia but they are going to have put some hard work in at Southern Fried Smackdown to do it.

6. Nashville Rollergirls:  First off I would just like to say that the Grand Ole Opery needs to reinstate Hank Williams.  Now that I have that out of my system, lets talk about the 6-2 Nashville Rollergirls.  They have played it smart by playing teams that are near their skill level in the south and those wins have had to help gain confidence coming into this tournament.  Here is the problem though, they lost to Atlanta and Ft. Wayne this year which I am sure they learned from, but they are opening this tournament against Texas, need I say more?  Nashville will benefit from playing in their first regionals and for them thats going to be something very positive to have for next year.  Also Nashville has the greatest blogger on the planet following them.  I present to you OMG Rollergirl http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=omg+rollergirl&search_type=&aq=f

7. Tampa Bay Derby Darlins:  Tampa Bay is a big question mark for me.  They are 2-4 for 2009, including an 83 point loss to the Dallas Derby Devils.  That being said, I called their game at the East Coast Derby Extravaganza this year for DNN and was amazed at how much of a game they gave Madison early on before the Double D’s took control in the later end of the game.  Bottom line, I ain’t putting money on them to win or lose, because I just don’t know what they are going to bring to the tournament.

8. West Texas Roller Dollz:  The Dollz come in 2-2.  This season has been one of winning big and losing big.  They aren’t going to win against the big teams, but could beat No Coast, flip a coin on that one.  However neither of these teams are beating Houston in the second round.  No nationals this year, but this tourney could help them push up higher in the rankings.

9. No Coast Derby Girls:  No Coast has never had it easy but in the past few months, things are looking up.  NCDG loaded up the 2009 season with 9 games this year and scoring 3 victories, which is more then they had in 2007 and 2008 combined.  Like I said about the Dollz, this tournament is going to sort some things out and see who is on the upswing and who is going home to lick their wounds and try something different for next year.

10. Memphis Roller Derby:  Memphis joined the WFTDA the day before Halloween in 2008, since that time they have played 7 games and went 5-2.  Thats quite the active schedule for such a young team.  They have beat some veteran leagues but the biggest team they have ever played is Atlanta and they fell to them by a large margin.  The experience they get from this tournament will be the most valuable thing they have gotten as a league so far.  Memphis has a solid base going and I am interested to see what 2010 is going to bring to them.

Thats it for this week.  Next week, I preview the final regional tournament, Derby on the Rocks coming to you live from Denver, Colorado.  Oly, Duke, Rose City, Rat City, B.A.D, and Denver all have a legit shot to make Nationals, but only half of them are going.  Join me next time as I throw darts to try and figure this whole thing out.  Until then, remember to live your life two minutes at a time.


Posted by: tankofalltrades | September 6, 2009

NORTH CENTRAL REGIONALS PREVIEW

North Central Regionals:  Brawl of America

Dates:  September 18-20

Location:  Minneapolis, Minnesota

The North Central Regionals’ tagline should be “cornfed kick ass,” as the ladies of the midwest look to get it on in Minnesota.  The North Central promises to be the most closely matched tournament after you get past the number 1 and number 2 seeds.  Madison, Cincinnati, and Arch Rival will be battling for the 3rd spot into nationals and when the dust settles, one of them will make their first-ever nationals appearance.  Minnesota, North Star, Grand Raggidy, Brew City, and Burning River promise to give us some exciting match-ups both in the first round and the losers’ bracket.  I predict that once this tournament is over, the NC region is going to look very different than it did going in.

  1. 1. Windy City Rollers:  It seems like eons ago that Windy City went 0-4 at the first ever Dust Devil.  Since that time, the Second City has gone on to play for a national championship and established itself as one of the top 5 leagues in America.  WCR cemented itself as the top team in the North Central in 2007 when they beat number 1 seed Madison at the East Regionals that year and have been slaying teams across the Midwest ever since.  The resume includes  defeating Detroit at home at the the Masonic Temple, which is akin to surviving The Temple of Doom.  Windy City’s packs are second to none with standout players Eva Dead, Blossom Bruiso, Hoosier Mama, and Megan Formor.  They have the point-scoring machines Varla Vendetta, Ying O’Fire, and Beth Amphetamine all revved up and ready to rock.  And they have one of the most intimidating skaters in the WFTDA, Malice with Chains, captaining the team.  WCR’s one weakness is starting slow out the blocks in games and allowing teams to establish early leads, something they did in recent games against Cincinnati and Philly.   While they can afford to do this in the NC tournament, they will not be able to at Nationals and win.  As long as Windy doesn’t overlook anybody and takes it one game at a time, they will be the NC champions.

  1. 2. Detroit Derby Girls:  “DEEEE-TROIT DERBY GIRLS!”  The unmistakable battle cry of the daughters of the Motor City will be heard at Nationals again this year.  Detroit plays derby like the city they hail from: fast, violent, and scary.  Sarah “Killbox” Hipel, Cookie Rumble, and Del Bomber are all weapons of mass destruction in the pack.  Boo D. Livers and Sista Slitchya has given fresh legs to the D’s jammer rotation.  Racer McChaser is still a superstar and the face of the franchise, but she was not the same dominating player at ECE that she was a year or two ago when she was fresh on the scene.  Did she have a bad weekend or have other teams figured out how to contain her?  Either way, she will be a player to watch at regionals.  They will make nationals, and if they can jump on WCR early in the final game, they have a good chance of winning that game if the entire team is firing on all cylinders. If not, Windy will make them pay and pay dearly.

  1. 3. Mad Rollin’ Dolls:  Back in 2007, all was well in the world of Madison, Wisconsin.  Farmers were producing delicious cheeses, college kids were attending one of the best party schools in the country, and the Dairyland Dolls were the queens of the Midwest and one of the top programs in America.  Then coach/player Crackerjack moved to Austin, Texas and MRD was upset at Heartland Havoc.  The Dolls went through what is akin to a sophomore slump in the music industry in trying new things, but they were never able to reach the level they once were on.  In what might possibly be the greatest comeback since John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, the Dairyland Dolls have their eyes set on going to nationals.  They have the talent to do it too, as Jewels of the Denile is skating on a whole new level and Darling Nikki is almost right there with her. Back Dorris, Phoenix Envy, and Mouse have all contributed to get this team back on the right track.  While they did not have the most dominant win over Tampa Bay at ECE and lost to Kansas City, they did beat Cincinnati very convincingly on the road this spring in a big match up between number 3 and number 4.   If the Dolls are on their game, they can make Nationals, but they aren’t beating either Detroit or WCR at Brawl of America.

4. Cincinnati Rollergirls: The Black Sheep are vying for their first nationals appearance, but are they ready to take that big of a step?  Cincinnati has been a team that plays up or down to its opponents for the past 2 years and is stuck right now between being a small fish in a big pond and the biggest fish in a small pond.   They are 7-2 on the season, but both losses came to WCR and MRD, 2 teams ranked above them in the NC. However, Cincinnati has proven in the past they can beat top-ranked teams, evidenced by the fact that they defeated Carolina last year in the biggest upset in WFTDA history.  Sadistic Sadie, the best player in the Tri-state, is the heart and soul of the squad.  Jammer Hannah Barbaric is the Scottie Pippen of roller derby, always overshadowed but still an incredible talent and the smartest jammer I have ever seen.  Pivot Sk8r-Kinney is the best-kept secret in roller derby as she keeps the front end of the pack locked down like San Quentin.  Blockers Sista Sacralicious, June with a Cleaver, Killian Destroy and Sk8 Crime don’t make headlines, but know how to play their roles in the pack.  Trauma and Rollergirls of Central Kentucky transfer Nuk’em are both players everyone will be talking about after Brawl of America.  The first game will pit CRG against Arch Rival, which will see them trying to avenge an unsanctioned loss to them last year at Fall Brawl.  If they make the second round, they would play WCR, whom they did prove they could hang with early on before Windy kicked on the afterburners at ECE.  Cincinnati has a legitimate shot at going to Nationals by winning the third place game, but they will have to skate clean, not psych themselves out mentally, and learn from their mistakes from earlier this year against Madison.

5. Arch Rival Roller Girls:  They’re rolling into the tournament as the true X factor.  Much hype and publicity has come to Arch Rival in the past year, as they came out of nowhere in 2008, racked up some quick wins, and had pundits wondering just how good this team from The Lou really is.  They have never played in a regional tournament or ECE, so it will be interesting to see how they handle themselves in a new environment.   At tournaments, you’re playing a minimum of 2 high-level derby games in a weekend, which is a stark contrast to playing NC number 9 Brew City in May and then NC number 3 Madison in July.  This will be my first chance to see them play, and I am looking forward to it.  If they do manage to get past Cincinnati in their first round, they will presumably be playing WCR in the next round, and they will not upset them.  At that point, they would still have a shot at a 3rd place shot at Nationals, and while I don’t think they would beat Cincinnati or Madison for that spot, it is the regionals and that’s when the unexpected does happen.

6. Minnesota RollerGirls: The land of 10,000 Lakes and almost as many derby fans (okay I am exaggerating a bit, but seriously, they pack the Roy Wilkins Auditorium) are trying to figure out where they factor into this tournament.  Minnesota was once a dominant program, but with the departure of Desi Cration to Texas, Jawbreaker, and plethora of others, MNRG is not what it once was.  However, MNRG is 3-1 on the season and beat arch rival Madison for the first time ever last November. They open up against WCR and that’s not good for anyone, but they could make some noise in the losers bracket and might be able to sneak into that third place game, might being the keyword.  Win or lose, Minnesota will put on a great tournament. They are some of the best hostesses in all of the WFTDA, and their fans are great too.

7. Grand Raggidy Roller Girls:  If I were a fan instead of an announcer, the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls would be my team.  How can you not love a league that forms in such a small city, plays home games in a roller hockey rink with an indoor skate park attached to it, and is not afraid to play any team, no matter how over matched they are on paper?  Jackie Daniels is almost impossible to knock down and bleeds roller derby.  Old Number 7 would be a starter for any team in the country if she decided to move; yes she is that good.  Bette Mangler does a good job of helping to keep Jackie’s jersey clean by pancaking opposing players in the pack.  Quarterboy (seriously, what the hell does that name mean?), could be a large contribution to the team, if she can keep her emotions in check and stay out of the penalty box.  Grand Raggidy’s main problem is they do not have a deep enough bench to get the big wins they need to make nationals.  They open up against Burning River, and while I think it will be a good game, I am predicting BRRG to win it, due to less player turnover.

8. North Star Roller Girls:  The other sister from the Twin Cities has made some big noise for a younger league, winning their first 3 inter-league games and then being bested by the Brew City Bruisers by just a single point.  Their last game, however, saw them get rolled by the Mad Rollin’ Dolls by 87 points, and their offense was completely stifled.  North Star is not going to nationals, but at this point that shouldn’t be their next goal, but rather their main goal to shoot for a few years from now.  North Star will learn a lot in this tournament, and from what they have shown in the past, they will use that knowledge to continue to climb the NC rankings.    They got game, but is it enough to beat Brew City?

9. Brew City Bruisers: The Bruisers are a team with a very deceiving record.  While they have more wins than losses, they are almost always within striking distance of getting a win.  This is a solid roller derby team that no one should be sleeping on.  Danger! Danger! High D. Voltage and Hacksaw both are solid players.  Servin Justice can skate with the precision of a Lotus, but she hits like a F-350.  Brew City is going to do some big things in the future, and I look for them to have a breakout year in 2010, but we are still in 2009.  If they can get a win or 2 at Brawl of America, that would give them some positive momentum rolling into the off season.  I think they can beat North Star, but they would take on Madison in the next round and that’s just a whole different beast altogether.

10. Burning River Roller Girls: Cleveland continues to move up the ladder as they just finished up their 3rd home league season, the only team in Ohio that still has one.  If you look at their 3 and 9 record on www.flattrackstats.com, this is the classic example of numbers not telling the whole story.  In their past 5 games, they have either won or kept their loss within 14 points.  BRRG was leading state rival Cincinnati this spring, before breaking down and enabling the Black Sheep to gut out a tough win.  Ivanna Destroya is 6 feet of athlete and attitude who is ultra competitive.  Eva Lucien and Stroker Ace also have proven to be great jammers and leaders.  E. Gargiulo has come on strong this year and has blossomed into a scoring machine.  Burning River’s bench is not nearly deep enough to compete for a bid for nationals, but at the same time, they continue to slowly but surely go up the ladder.  Just like Brew City, 2010 is a going to be a big year for Burning River.

Once the dust settles from this tournament, I think seeding will determine how far the NC representatives go at nationals, but I will save that for a later column.  Next time, I will be previewing the South Central, so get ready for commentary as hot as Memphis barbeque and opinions as liberal as New Orleans’ open container laws.  Until then, remember to live your life two minutes at a time.


Posted by: tankofalltrades | August 27, 2009

East Regionals Preview

Welcome to “Live Your Life 2 Minutes at a Time.” After announcing a countless number of bouts over the past four years, I have decided to add blogger to my derby resume. Hey, all the anchors and pundits at ESPN are doing it, so why can’t I? This blog is solely my point of view and in no way reflects the views or opinions of my home league, The Cincinnati Rollergirls. I am not writing this blog for “scene points” or to make friends. I am writing this column for the simple fact that I love roller derby and enjoy talking about it.

One of the greatest things about sports are the story lines, drama, and predictions associated with them. I will not make personal attacks at anyone with my blog, but at the same time, I am not going to pull any punches and I plan to tell it like it is. My goal is to spur discussion and debate in the derby community and help convert casual fans into diehards that come back bout after bout to see the best sport in the world. Thoughts, props, and hate mail can be sent to tankofalltrades@gmail.com and feel free to check out my website, http://www.tankofalltrades.com.

The 2009 WFTDA Regionals are upon us. This year the top 40 teams will slug it out in 4 regionals tournaments for 12 open spots for nationals. With the WFTDA doubling the amount of regionals, more teams then ever before have a chance to capture the Hydra.

In the past, major story lines have concluded and new ones have developed at regionals. The only thing that is for sure is the unpredictability of what will happen. Will another number 1 seed get bounced from the ball early, like Madison did at Heartland Havoc in 2007? What team will come out of nowhere to be the Duke City of 2009? Can Texas make it back into the national championship game for the first time since the original Dust Devil? Will Boston finally make nationals? Is now Charm City’s time? Are Rat City, Carolina, and BAD slipping as elite, high caliber programs? Can someone finally defeat the Beast from the East known as Gotham? Read on to get my take on these questions and more. Sit down and strap in–the road to the national championship begins now with my predictions for the Eastern Regionals.

Eastern Regionals: Wicked Wheels of the East
Dates: September 11-13
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

The East Regionals will host some of the largest battles since Destroy All Monsters. With only 3 spots available for nationals, 5 of DNN’s top 12 teams will be fighting tooth and nail for them. Providence and Steel City want to crash the party while Connecticut, DC, and Dominion hope to win a game or 2 against some of the best competition in the nation.

1. Gotham Girls Roller Derby: The Gotham Girls have had a chokehold on the derby world for nearly 2 years now. With an impressive 16-game win streak, they are definitely a top contender to repeat as back to back national champions. However, Gotham has shown that they aren’t invincible and have some chinks in their armor, as Texas was beating them in the second half before TXRG’s Achilles’ heel, penalties, reared its ugly head. That being said, I don’t see them getting their first loss in a long time in this tournament. Suzy Hotrod and Bonnie Thunders are the best one-two punch in roller derby today and have blocker/jammer hybrids Beatrix Slaughter, Brigitte Barhot, and Hyper Lynx to help shoulder the load. Plus with Ana Bullocks, Ginger Snap, and Hard Anya in the pack, they are stocked to win the number 1 seed of the East for Nationals. They will go through Providence and while Carolina or Boston will give them more of a challenge, Gotham’s real competition won’t come until the championship game.

2. Philly Roller Girls: The bridesmaids of the East Coast are looking to get their first W over Gotham and net a trip to the Nationals in the process. Philly has come on strong in the past 2 years, taking on top level competition all year long with big victories over Rat City, Kansas City, and beating number 2 Windy City on their home track breaking WCR’s undefeated streak at home. Lead by the triple threat known as Violet Temper, Philly’s talent pool is deep. The jammer corps are stacked with Mo Pain, Persephone, Dara Licks, and Teflon Donna. Shenita Stretcher, Robin Drugstores, and Nina Knockout are brutal pack players that look to blast anyone who lines up against them. It’s not always sunny in Philadelphia, however, as they recently dropped their first game of the season to conference rivals, Charm City. That being said, the Philly team that shows up will decide if they are the first seed or the third. If they are on, they CAN beat Gotham, but if they are having an off weekend, Charm City will prove their victory was no fluke by doing it again.

3. Charm City Roller Girls: The yellow and black attack has put together one of the toughest schedules this season to prep for Regionals, including playing back to back games against two WFTDA teams in a night. Dolly Rocket has made a name for herself as arguably the best pivot in the game today and a personality that you either love or hate. Look for Joy Collision to use this tournament and nationals to cement herself as one of the top 10 jammers in all of the WFTDA. The Duchess of Torque, Flo Shizzle, Just Carol, and the rest of the Charm City bench are primed to launch themselves into their first berth at nationals. Charm has already proven they can beat upper echelon talent as they hold victories over Rat City, Boston, Carolina, Detroit, and Philly. While they do have some stand out players, I don’t think their bench is deep enough to get a victory over Gotham. However, regionals are the time of the year when what shouldn’t happen does happen, and if Charm could get Gotham or Philly into penalty trouble, they have a shot to upset both of them.

4. Carolina Roller Girls: 2009 has not been a good year for the once mighty Carolina Roller Girls. This season, Carolina decided to test themselves by taking on the very best teams in the WFTDA. While that was an ambitious idea, the toughest schedule in the nation has left them with a 1-6 record. What made them a stand out program 2 years ago, strategy and skate skills, has been been adopted by leagues with bigger, faster, and stronger skaters, thus stifling their finesse game. On the bright side, they are still ranked number 4 in their division and it’s about how you play that weekend in tournaments, not how you played all year. Playing nothing but the best in game this season will have CRG battle hardened for the East and they have played in big games before, so nerves won’t be an issue for vets such as Princess America, Holly Wanna Crackya, and DVS. Plus we get to see Boston vs. Carolina III, a series that has seen CRG win the previous 2 bouts by a total of 3 points. Will Carolina get some wins this weekend? Yes, definitely, as they still have a lot of talent. Will they go to Nationals? My magic 8 ball says “doubtful.”

5. Boston Derby Dames: Boston has been the on the outside looking in at the national tournament for two straight years now. They lost in overtime in 2007 to Detroit and then to Carolina in 2008 by 2 points. Boston’s skate skills are second to none and they can stall block opponents with the best of them. Their problem is, they don’t have strong enough pack players when they play physical teams like Texas, Gotham, and Philadelphia who open holes in the pack with good old fashioned heavy checking. They also always seem to come up short in big, must-win games, which could mess with them mentally in the later rounds of this tournament. With Clarie D. Way on the line and Pussy Venom, Lois Carmen Dominator, and Krushpuppy in the pack, Boston will continue to be a top-tier program. At the same time, I just don’t seem them beating Gotham, Philly, or Charm City. Boston will make it into the 3rd vs. 4th place game, but for the third straight year I think they will be shut out of nationals.

6. Providence Roller Derby: Don’t call it a comeback: Providence has been here for years. 2008 was a rough year as the Riveters lost a number of players from their 2007 squad, including Dolly Rocket to Charm City. Hard work and a no-quit attitude has paid off for 2009 as they have got back into the win column on a regular basis. Craisy Dukes, Jetta Von Diesel, Shelby Bruisin’, and Baby Fighterfly all have game, but there is a big gap between the top 5 and the bottom 5 teams in the East regionals. On top of all this, their first game of the tournament is against Gotham, which is equal to having to battle Tyler Durden at your first night in Fight Club. 2009 was way better then 2008, but Providence is going to have to wait till at least 2010 to start thinking nationals.

7. Steel City Derby Demons: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is known for breeding large, dominant football players and the same can be said about their daughters when it comes to roller derby. Steel City is 7-2 in their past 9 games and they have broken 100 points in each one of those bouts. While I do think they will handle Dominion, they are woefully unprepared for in-state rival Philly in the next round. Look for Detroit transfer Kat Von D’stroya to help bring fellow jammers Hurricane Heather and The Crippler up to a whole new level. This tournament will also be a great learning experience for human bulldozers Athena and Betty Bonecrusher to see how the elite pack players play. 2009 has been good for Steel City, and now it’s time to put some higher level competition on the 2010 schedule to prepare for next year’s regionals and continued ascension up the ladder.

8. Connecticut Rollergirls: 2009 has a been a big year for Connecticut and by that I mean, they either win big or they lose big. They are one of the few teams in the East that I have never seen play as I have always been calling other games at ECE when they have been skating. Going by the data I have collected from flattrackstats.com, they should match up fairly even with DC in the opening round. However, whoever wins that game is going to walk headfirst into the wood chipper known as Charm City. Scheduling more inter-league games next year will help prep them for the 2010 regionals.

9. DC Roller Girls: The DC Roller Girls might be saying “Yes, we can,” but realistically their chances of making nationals is on par with Sarah Palin winning the presidency in 2012. However, things are looking up in the nation’s capital as DC has gone 3-1 in its past 4 games. Look for this to be a great learning experience for them as they continue to improve. As I stated above, DC and Connecticut should give us a fun game to kick off the tournament, but if they get the W, they aren’t getting past Charm City.

10. Dominion Derby Girls: It’s been over a year since Dominion has won an inter-league game. While I would like to see them get a W, I don’t think it’s in the cards at this tournament. Every sports team has its down years, and hopefully 2010 will treat the ladies from Hampton Roads much more kindly.

I can’t wait for this weekend, as the top 2 teams who come out of it will be heavy favorites to win nationals. I am in the process of moving but hope to get my preview of the North Central regionals up either next week or at the very least two. The North Central is going to be intense, especially with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th seeds being so close in talent and a slot to nationals on the line. Until then, remember to live your life two minutes at a time.

Posted by: tankofalltrades | August 27, 2009

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