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Detroit Derby Girls: Bout 1 of the 2013-14 Season

Bout 1 of the Detroit Derby Girls 2013-14 season. The D-Funk Allstars versus The Pistolwhippers. It was a zombie themed night.

A new season for the Detroit Derby Girls, and while there weren't any big rules changes this year, it seems like every team has added many players. A small change for the audience was that the doors open for them 75 minutes prior to the start of the bout, instead of 60 minutes like it was before. You'd think that would make the early birds chill out a bit, and not border on belligerence as they try to claim ten empty seats in the front row for people who show up at the last minute. It's not as bad as the first season, when four people would sit in the front row and tell you that all of the other seats in the row are saved, but it's starting to look like that. (I'm sure you're thinking that I'm making up that last bit, but I promise you, I'm not)

D-Funk scored the bout's first points when Roxanna Hardplace scored them 4. The Pistolwhippers got on the board in the second jam, when Off The Hook scored 4, while Ally Sin Shoverland scored 3 for D-Funk. The Pistolwhippers didn't score any points for the next 5 jams. During that streak Ally Sin Shoverland scored 15 points in one jam alone as D-Funk ran up the point deficit. When Perish-Her finally scored again for the Whippers, they were down 8 to 36. It was very early in the new season, and I was already having trouble keeping up with the new names. The new talent was not being benched.

The 11th jam had both teams making a double digit score, which you don't often see. Ally gave D-Funk 17, as  Perish-Her gave the Whippers 10. The 13th jam was more lopsided. RAMMpaige (so many new names!) scored 18 unanswered points for D-Funk, now giving them a 71-22 lead. The Whippers shortened that gap in the 14th when Killshot (more new names) gained them 13. The 16th jam had to be called for an injury, but no one got wheeled out on a stretcher.

This bout wasn't seeing a lot of jammer penalties, which isn't what you'd expect from a bout featuring the Pistolwhippers. The 19th jam saw two. After Roxanna Hardplace gained lead jammer status for D-Funk, she got sent to the penalty box. This gave Off The Hook the chance to score unanswered points for the Whippers until she also got sent there, thereby allowing Roxanna to get let out early. At the end of the jam, Roxanna netted 10, and Off The Hook 17. Off The Hook's penalty time carried over into the next jam, which helped Ally Sin Shoverland score 11.

The 21st, and second to last jam of the first half contained the largest single point gain of the night. Killshot scored 20 unanswered points for the Whippers. The first half ended 98-81 in D-Funk's favor.

The second half started with a lot of small point gains coming from both teams. Nothing really explosive. At the end of the 13th jam, the score was 125-108. D-Funk was still ahead by 17, the same point margin as when the half ended. That pattern ended in the 14th jam when Meryl Slaughterburgh, skating for D-Funk, incurred a jammer penalty. Killshot then scored 10 points for the Whippers. Another 3 points in the 16th from the Whippers' captain, Lazer Beam, and D-Funk was no only leading 125 to 121.

Unfortunately for the Pistolwhippers, they wouldn't score any points for the next 4 jams. D-Funk added 4, then 5, then another 4, and it was 138-121 (17 points apart again) with 7 minutes left on the clock. The remaining 7 jams of the bout saw small scoring plays. The Pistolwhippers were held to only 11 more points.  D-Funk would add 14, and end their season debut bout with a win, 152-132

Postbout interview with Pistolwhipper captains Lazer Beam and Cotton Candy Princess:
Detroit Area Dork: What are you thinking about that bout right now?
Cotton Candy Princess: I think we did awesome. We have half of a team of new girls, and we kept up with a team that had hardly any new people on it.
Lazer Beam: I'm extremely proud. Normally I'm one of those people that want to win all the time, but I'm very proud of what our team did today. I think this is just the first step in our season. Every team after this better watch out, because we're only getting better. We only had 4 practices, and 2 of the practices we weren't there, because of the [travel team] playoffs. We're going forward. We're not going to be in last place this year.
D: It seemed as if both teams didn't hesitate to put new players in the jammer position.
L: I think that the girls we had jam for us tonight were the best picks for our team to take the line. I think that they had proven their ability in practice that they could take the track against another team. We knew that they could produce, regardless if they were new or not.
C: I agree.
D: I only counted 3 jammer penalties the whole night. Did that seem unusual to you?
(both captains erupt in cheers) (Postscript edit: looking back afterwards, I there were a few more penalties than that)
L: Oh my goodness. I think that might be a Detroit record.
D: Is that something you really worked on?
L: Yes. Our team, in the limited practices that we had, we really worked on that. I know that the jammers for D-Funk, Ally Sin Shoverland, and Roxanna Hardplace jam for travel team, and that's something we really worked on in the summer time. I think for sure that helped them, and us. The new girls, we told them, "Be smart. Don't cut. If you don't know, go all the way to the back". They were all very smart about it.
D: What can you tell me about that injury that delayed the game?
C: It was a high block. She's doing good now. Ready to come back. We'll see her at practice.
D: Who was the injury on?
C: Perish-Her.
D: In the beginning of the bout, you had a really slow start, but then in the second half you were within 4 points. What did you do to change that momentum?
L: One of the big goals this season that Candy and I had talked about was that we wanted to make smarter management decisions as far as when to call time out, when to call official reviews, when to fix people up. I think that worked tonight. We went down into the locker room. Her and I, Blossom, Coach Cliff talked briefly right after we went into the locker about things we've seen. As well as my husband from the sidelines telling us things he's seen. We took it to the team, and they excecuted it. It worked good.
C: Just minor changes in the some the things we had done, I think helped a lot.
D: How do you think D-Funk was able to pull ahead towards the end?
L: I think that their main jammers have been jamming all summer. That helps tremendoulsy. I haven't been jamming all summer, I've been blocking on travel team. Not taking anything away from their jammers, but that really makes a huge difference on my end. That last jam, I had the wind knocked out of me, and I had nothing left when I got up. They had better endurance than our jammers did, but that's something we can fix.
D: What do you think you have to work on for the next bout?
L: Better walls, faster feet, and staying out of the box, as always.
C: Staying out of the box. We need four blockers on the floor at all times.
L: I think that helps too. Going up against a 4 person wall, especially a D-Funk 4 person wall is no joke.

Postbout interview with Captain Fatal Femme, and Manager Uniballer:
Detroit Area Dork: What are you initial thoughts about that bout?
Fatal Femme: I did not expect it to be so physical. The travel team girls and I came off such a hard season, that we only had a couple practices for D-Funk, so we were all feeling discombobulated with our team. I did not expect for it to be that hard of a game.
Uniballer: We're happy we had that team first. They've got a lot of new girls on that team, and they're going to tighten up from here, and give everybody hell. I guarantee it.
D: It seemed like neither of the teams hesitated to put new players in the jammer position.
F: None of them are new skaters. They're transfers. They've been playing derby, some of them, for a couple years. It was a no-brainer. They came in good.
D: Where did they transfer from?
F: Turbo [Turbulence], on my team, came from Texas, but most of them came from small local leagues.
D: I counted only 3 jammer penalties from both teams tonight. Was the team working on penalties in practice? (Again, there was probably a few more penalties than that)
F: No, I'm surprised. I thought there would have been more. Good, because coming off of tournament season there were a lot of penalties.
U: We work on penalties. She's in the packs getting yelled at at practice. She's a working captain, so she doesn't know that all the penalties are being called. Both teams are penalty conscious. Both teams have a history of doing it. Refs did a good job tonight of being fair, and the penalties we got were deserved. No complaints.
D: What's the deal with the mascot?
F: Nobody on our team knows who that is. I think it might be a fan called Malcolm, but he's never taken the hat off, so we're not sure who it is.
D: The Pistolwhippers got a slow start in this bout, but later started to close that gap. What did they do to change that momentum?
F: I don't know. Being in the pack, it's hard to tell sometimes.
U: Not taking anything away from the them, the first 15 minutes was D-Funk style. We started getting loosey-goosey, started running. That allowed their athletes to come out, their stars to come out, their new girls to show what they had. Once we gave them a bit of hope, they had no complaints taking it and running with it. Then it was just an outright brawl after that.
F: They wanted it.
D: What did you do towards the end of the bout to widen the point gap again?
F: [Uniballer] yelled at us a lot.
U: I yelled at them a lot. This game has a way of getting in people's head space, and the pressure starts building. It's close. Everybody wants to do really well. A lot of times, they go the other way. They try to do too much. They try to leave their walls. They try to make that spectacular play. That leads to penalties. As it was getting hectic, as they were pounding on the door, it was literally a matter of, "Knock it off. Go back to the D-Funk way, and let it roll". Once we did that, we started slowly rolling away again. That's just the nature of the beast.
D: What do you think you have to work on in practice before the next bout?
U: Exactly what we just talked about. Not letting it get in your head space. Not thinking you have to do more than you can. This is a team sport. D-Funk believes in that through and through. You've just got to count on people to be where they're supposed to be when they are. That's what we're going to be doing at practice. Just keep beating it into their heads. Don't be superstars, just be a team.
F: Once the wall gets broken up, we're taking our time to get back together. It needs to happen now. There needs to be urgency, and there just isn't urgency right now. Both teams have only had 4 practices alone. We just rolled right into the season this year. By the next bout, hopefully we'll have our walls tighter. That's the number one thing coming into practice next month. The first pack is more solid, but the second pack is what we need to practice.

All photos by Dan Bachorik

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I'm a dork, I live in the Detroit area, and sometimes I take blurry photos on an outdated camera