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Detroit Derby Girls 2013-14: Bout 4

Bout 4 of the 2013-14 Detroit Derby Girls season, featuring the Grand Prix Madonnas versus the Detroit Pistoffs. 

The Grand Prix Madonnas and the Pistoffs have butted heads (well, helmets really) alot over of the last several years. They were pitted against each other in the championship bout the previous two seasons, with the Madonnas winning the most recent one, and the Pistoffs the one before that. The Madonnas might have breathed a little after watching the Pistoffs lose their season debut to D-Funk, but they knew that the Pistoffs could recover from a bad opener and dominate the rest of the season.

I knew that this bout would be a bellwether for how the rest of the season could play out. That day had the first big snowstorm of the winter, and getting to the Masonic Temple was difficult. There wasn't a single plow truck on the highway to be seen. I got into the drill hall several minutes after the doors opened to the public, yet didn't have a problem getting a seat up front. A lot of people weren't willing to go out in that storm, and the turnout was the lowest I've seen for a sanctioned bout. There was no cannibalistic frenzy for frontrow seats. People showing up 45 minutes after doors opened were still able to get a seat up front. Not where Mama Dent and her clan had camped out in prime spectating position, naturally, but there was still a lot of room available.

First jam was Freakin' Rican jamming for the Pistoffs, and Racer McChaseHer jamming for the Madonnas. Soon after Racer achieved lead jammer status, Rican got was called for back-blocking, and sent to the penalty box. Racer made full use of the power jam, and scored 13 points. Lily I. Monster scored the Madonnas another 8 unanswered points in the next jam, and it was starting to look like a one-sided bout.

The Pistoffs finally put some points on the board in the fourth jam. In a reversal of the events of the first jam, Racer got sent to the box, and Rican scored 13 unanswered point. Mean Streak helped the Pistoffs close the gap a little tighter with a 5 point play in the 6th. That put them just one point behind the Madonna's 22.

The Grand Prix Madonnas gave themselves some more distance in the 8th jam. Sista Slit'chya gained 13 points for them after the Pistoffs' Princess Die got sent to the penalty box. Another 12 points from Sista in the 12th, along with some smaller gains along the way, and the Madonnas were ahead 59-27 at the end of the 14th jam.
Cookie Rumble made up for lost time in the 15th jam, scoring 14 points for the Pistoffs in a power jam. Progress climbing back from the deficit were undone in the 17th jam. Sista Slit'chya lined up for the Madonnas on the jammer line, and the Pistoffs just failed to assign a jammer onto the track. Sista skated her ass off, racing for every point she could within the limits of a two minute jam before passing off her starred helmet cover to Racer, thereby confering onto her the position of jammer (allowable because Racer had the pivot's helmet cover at the time). In total the Madonnas gained 30 points in that jam, giving them a little more than a 2-1 margin in points with a 89-44 lead.

Cookie Rumble chipped away at the Pistoffs' deficit in the 20th and final jam of the first half with a 24 point power jam, making the score 69-104.

The second half started with string of small scoring jams. The first big play happened in the 7th jam when Lily made scored 12 in a power jam.

The Pistoffs got their first power jam of the second half in the 9th jam, allowing Cookie Rumble to score 17 points, narrowing the deficit down to 96-125. U.S.S. DentHerPrize gained the Pistoffs 18 points with another power jam in the 11th, and her team was only behind by 15. A modest gain by Combat Cat in the 12th, and now they were only down by 11.

The momentum in the Pistoffs' favor got thrown off in the 13th jam when Mean Streak got sent to the penalty box, giving the Madonnas a power jam. Racer exploited the opportunity given to her, and scored 18 points. Mean Streak was still serving out the rest of her penalty time in the next jam, and received a power jam herself once she got back onto the track, allowing her to score 10.

Leading into the 20th jam, the Madonnas were ahead 156-140. Cookie Rumble and Lily I. Monster lined up against each other on the jammer line. The Pistoffs showed more aggressive defense in that jam than in any other point of the bout. They completely shut down Lily while Cookie hustled for 19 points. It was the highest scoring non-power jam of the night, and it put the Pistoffs in the lead for the first time for the entire bout, 159-156.

Just 1:36 left on the clock when the 21st jam started. Racer McChaseHer was facing off against Combat Cat. Racer got lead jammer status right away, but it looked like it was going to be for nothing after Cookie successfully knocked her out of bounds. While Racer was trying to re-enter the pack within the letter of the law, Combat Cat got out front. Cat scored 4 points, and it looked like she was going sew up a win, but then  she committed a penalty and got sent to the box. The remaining game time was going to all fall within a power jam. Racer scored 14 points, and secured a 170-163 victory for the Grand Prix Madonnas.

While I failed to charm the captains of the Pistoffs into participating in an interview, Captains Peaches N. CreamYa and Racer McChaseHer of the Grand Prix Madonnas gave me a few minutes of their time:
Detroit Area Dork: What are you thinking right now about that bout?
Racer McChaseHer: I think that it was way too close. I don't like the closes ones. Hopefully the 300 fans that made the drive were entertained.
Peaches N. CreamYa: It was worth the money.
D: You had four players out tonight. What was going on?
P: We've kind of been plagued with injuries this year. We've had a few girls that had some unfortunate injuries that are not playing with us, and we look forward to them coming back.
R: Also every team in the league this year has beyond what you're allowed for roster. The team can have up to twenty girls, but for home teams, we're only allowed to roster 16. So you'll see girls sitting out regardless if they're actually injured or not. All of our's are injured, unfortunately, but we have others that are sitting out. There are only 16 that are eligible to play.
P: We have a 19 person roster, so 3 can't play anyway.
D: Were you surprised last month when the Pistoffs lost to D-Funk?
R: Nothing surprises me in derby. Usually in your mind you have like an idea of maybe who would win, or at least whether it'll be a good game. Hometeams get new recruits every year, and sometimes in midseason. Our rosters can be changed significantly from adding different people. When we have people out on injuries the rosters fluctuate a little bit more nowadays. So you never know what's going to happen.
P: At the beginning of the season you never know what to expect. You come to the games, and you're "Oh, this is going to be good", and you don't know the outcome. You can't predict what's going to happen with our hometeams.
D: Seeing the Pistoffs play last month, were you analyzing them?
R: Absolutely. We watch bout footage at least the night before our game. The managers will also watch and come up with some tips on what we should be focusing on. We'll try to focus some of our drills towards the team we're going to play.
D: The Pistoffs started to catch up to you in the second half. Did their gameplay change at all?
P: I don't think their gameplay changed any. I think we just had to take a second to reel ourselves back in, slow down, and get back to playing our game. When we're playing our game, I feel like we're unstoppable. I think the momentum changed, got ahead of us a little bit. We had to reel it back in, sink back in, get low, stay slow, and play our game.
D: How worried were you before that very last jam?
R: Unfortunately I've had the pleasure of being put in that scenario where you're down by a few in the last jam, and you have to make sure you get lead jam. I've personally have dealt with it. I guess I do okay under pressure. Other people seem to buckle, but I've been playing for 8 seasons, and I've had to be in that position. You learn to analyze all the things that are significantly important in the last jam; lead jammer, how many players are out there, what the penalty times are like, how much time you have to burn, what the score is, how many points they've scored. There's all these factors that are contributing to the outcome of the game, and you need to know all of those. Not just before the jam starts, but as the jam is going on. Was I nervous? Hell yeah. Did I think we could do it? Absolutely. Did we? Yes.
D: How relieved were you when Combat Cat got that penalty?
R: It makes it a hell of a lot easier. That's the easier route to go. Kudos to, I believe it was Rocky Brawlboa who dropped her out of bounds, and got her a [track] cut [penalty]. That was fantastic. Takes the pressure off. You can just focus on what you need to do. If you noticed, when she went to the box, the points she already scored were not reflected on the board, so that's one thing that's a little bit tricky, and can throw people off in games and tournaments. It's something you have to keep in mind.
D: What can you tell me about the new lineup?
P: We've got lots of new girls with the team this season. Tattoozz, Fish, Hottimus Prime, Motown Philly, and Zom B. Itch. Some of them have come from back from retirement. Sista Slit'chya returned. She was with us our first season when we were the new expansion team. A lot of them are coming from other leagues with experience. We've got two brand new girls, and we've just been working with them really hard. They've come so far since they joined the team back in September, and I think they're going to be great for us this season. I really do.
D: Any retirements during the offseason?
R: Cinda Railya, who just got engaged. She's doing real life things, so that's good.
P: Do we have anybody else? Detroit Knock Ya Silly.
R: She's also doing real life. We have somebody on leave. She's coming back, at least for part of the season. We have a few people on temporary hiatus, but they'll be back with us for the rest of the season.
P: Cali'Ente was not here tonight, but she will be joining us sometime this season.
R: And one of our other girls sitting out is coming back next season. Rock'em Shock'em.

All photos by Dan Bachorik

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 With a face for radio, a voice for print, and the prose of a new immigrant, I'll stick to amateur blogging