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.