Live Your Life Two Minutes at a Time V 1.5
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.