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Detroit Derby Girls: Bout 9 of the 2013-4 Season

Bout 9 of the 2013-14 season of the Detroit Derby Girls took place on April 12th at Detroit's Masonic Temple

This bout was the first to happen after a significant rule change. The time spent in the penalty box for an infraction was reduced from a full minute down to just a half. Fans were now going to see how this would change the game.

The crowd didn't have to wait long to see how a jammer penalty would play out. Terror Ettes, jamming for the Dames, was sent to the penalty box in the first jam, which helped Freakin Rican of the Pistoffs score 18 points. The half minute penalty didn't hamper Terror too badly, because she was still able to score 7. Another milestone under the new ruleset for jammer penalties happened in the 4th jam. After gaining lead jammer status, the Pistoffs' Elle McFearsome was sent to the penalty box twice . Elle was still able to outscore her adversary 9-5, putting her team's lead at 31-16.

The Dames made their first double digit play of the bout in the 5th jam, with a 10 point gain from Swift Justice. The Dames were scoreless over the next 5 jams, but during that time the Pistoffs only added 13 points themselves.

The 13th jam saw jammer penalties from both teams; Mean Streak of the Pistoffs followed by Swift Justice. Mean Streak came out ahead, outscoring by a 10-6 margin, and keeping the Pistoffs in the lead 57-36.

Terror Ettes gave the Dames a needed 14 point boost in the 14th, putting them just 7 points behind. The Dames kept creeping up, and were only 5 points down with a 61-56 score at the end of the 20th jam. The Pistoffs put the momentum back into their favor for the remainder of the half, shutting down the Dames for the last 3 jams while adding 19 points.

The second half was mostly a string of small scoring drives. The only double digit play was a 10 point power jam from the Pistoff's Swamp Stomp after the Dames' Shelby Cobra got comitted a jammer penalty. The Pistoffs may have only had one big play of the second half, but that wasn't the only thing keeping them in the lead. Their small scoring drives were consistently a little better than the Dames, and so their lead kept growing. The final score, 153-101.

A few words from Captain Swift Justice and Manager Hi-Death of the Devil's Night Dames:
Detroit Area Dork: What are you thinking about that bout right now?
Swift Justice: I think we played amazing. I don't think the score reflects how well the game played today. We really pulled from our bench, really, really deep. Everybody stepped up and played a lot of positions they never played before. I couldn't be prouder of everybody.
Hi-Death: Absolutely. Our bench did play really well, very together. I really don't think we lost this game, I think the Pistoffs legit won this game. They just played tighter. They played harder. They played more conducively as a team than we did. The score reflects it, and they came out on top. Congratulations to them.
D: Which of your teammates are in London right now?
S: Murder City Mistress, Feta Sleaze, and Lost and Found.
H: Those are definitely three of our powerhouses. Murder City Mistress obviously wouldn't have been on the track anyway. She blew out her knee a couple games ago. Feta and Lost, definitely big pieces of our team. Did it hurt us that they weren't there? Absolutely it did, but at the same time the Pistoffs had people that were in London as well. We can't really blame it on that. We're not blaming it on that at all. It would have been great to have them here, but we still played as the Dames today, and I'm still happy with how we played.
D: How did you adjust for those absences?
S: We really worked hard the past month and a half. We had a lot of extra practices. A lot of scrimmages. Discussing who we could move up in the jammer spot, and who we could move into the blocker spots. Just a lot of extra practices and scrimmaging to see where people are going to be more comfortable.
H: Both Lost And Found and Feta Sleaze are two powerhouse jammers, so we had to jam some people who don't normally jam, or haven't normally jammed in previous games. But we knew they weren't going to be here, and we knew we could start preening these people and getting them ready to be able to go out there and put up points on the board, and they did that.
D: Were the players more exhausted at the end of this bout compared to other bouts in this season because of less players?
S: Yeah, we were playing with thirteen people, and even some of those thirteen were hurt, so a lot of people were playing hurt.
H: Absolutely, that will take a toll. The Pistoffs are a physical team as well. Hitting hard, and people were getting knocked down. Going down, getting up, that takes a lot out of you. Yeah, we had some tired girls out there.
S: We had some people who were going out three times in a row.
D: The penalty times have been reduced from one minute down to half a minute. How does that change the game?
S: Games are not going to be won on power plays anymore. You're not going to see twenty, thirty point jams any more, because the jams are coming in quicker. That's the major difference.
H: A lot of the times now we can just ride out those jammer penalties. Hopefully only lose five, ten points, or conversely we're probably only going to gain five points on that penalty because they are so short.
D: Are you in favor of this change?
Both: Yes.
H: I think so. Now you're not going to have those huge blowouts that you could have earlier because one team got in a little bit of jammer trouble. You get three jammer penalties in a game, that's three full minutes of not having sombody scoring on the track. That is really going to take its toll.
D: Is there less of an incentive to play clean now?
S: I don't think so.
H: Absolutely not. It's still seven penalties, and you're going to be going to the lockerroom.
S: The number one rule in derby is don't be a douche.
H: Right, that's rule 1.0.1. Don't be a douchebag, don't play dirty. We never, never encourage people to play dirty. The solid hits are going to be good, but if you make a hit and get sent to the box, you're not doing your team any favors, even for those thirty seconds.
D: This is the last bout for you for this regular season, right?
S: Yes.
D: How would you sum up this season for the team?
S: Oh my god...I feel like we're the Rocky of DDG. We overcame a lot of adversity.
H: Absolutely.
S: This is the first bout where nobody got hurt.
H: Oh my god, I'm so happy to not have to sign an incident report at the end of this game. We've lost four players in three games to injury. We kept getting knocked down, but we came back.
S: Kept getting up every time.
H: I think the real positive take-away this year has been education. This team is playing better strategy. They're playing better derby. They know where they're supposed to be. They're getting there. We've become a much more cerebral team, and I think that is really the take-away from this. We have grown so much as a team this year, individually as skaters, and as a team as a whole.
S: I think we gained a lot of respect of the league too. I think before we were seen as the happy go lucky team...
H: We still are...
S: We are, but I think we gained a lot of respect with respect to our skill level.
H: Exactly. Before, people just wrote off the Dames. "Oh, it's the Dames. They're just the party team". But now we party because we won.
D: This might be premature, but what do you think you're going to be looking for in the next draft?
S: That's hard to say without knowing who's staying and who's going, but we always look for somebody who's well-rounded. Someone that's kind of a double threat; blocker and jammer.
H: The Dames always have very few spots because people love to be on the Dames. People stay on the Dames a lot. We only have a couple of spots, and there's a lot of people who want those spots. What are we looking for in the next draft pick? I'd say whoever comes up with the best bribes, really...not really.
S: Personality has a lot to do with it too. We're looking for somebody whose personality matches with our's, like our philosophy about the game.
H: Right. We think everybody would say we're one of the happiest teams out there, if not the happiest team out there.
S: Most cohesive.
H: Everybody gets along on our team. It's like a big family. We all love each other. We don't have animosity that you sometimes might see in other teams.
D: What would you say is the philosophy of the team?
S: Stay together, play together, win together.

Getting an interview from the captains of the Pistoffs can be difficult, but this time I was able to corner Belle Isle Hurtya:
Detroit Area Dork: What are you thinking about that bout right now?
Belle Isle Hurtya: I think it was a great bout. I always like playing the Dames. They have a lot of fun, we like having a lot of fun. We know it's going to be a hard hitting game. They're a tough team, but I think it was a good game.
D: What did your team have to do to keep the lead?
B: We had to work on smart jamming. We had some pretty strong jammers with us tonight, so we were lucky with that. We just had to make sure they could get the lead consistently. Just working on keeping our walls together. Doing some smart defensive blocking, more active blocking, not just four across, being able to move around the track.
D: What players were you missing tonight?
B: We were missing Cookie Rumble, Bruisie Siouxxx, U.S.S. Dentherprize, and Kraken Whips.
D: What sort of vacancies does that leave on your team in terms of skills?
B: I think it left a blocking vacancy. Those are some of our strongest blockers. Cookie also does jamming, as does Warp and Kraken sometimes. We had to rely on some other blockers that maybe don't get as much playtime, or aren't as active in the pack. We had to step it up.
D: What do you think about this rule change in the penalties, going from a minute to thirty seconds?
B: It's weird. It's over so quickly. Especially when you have a power jam, you have time for one pass to play off, so you have to do it quicly. We don't do more of the passive offense, where we just skate around and wait for the pack to break. You really got to get in there, play some offense, and get back to [defense].
D: Do you agree with that rule change?
B: I like it for the jammers, for sure. I didn't like the passive offense, so I'm glad it's kind of gotten rid of that. It's going to be an adjustment for the blockers, especially the people that are penalty heavy, they have the oppotunity to get even more penalties. We're going to have to tighten it up and play cleaner.
D: This finishes up the regular season for the team. How would you sum up this season for the Pistoffs?
B: A little bit of a growing season for us, I think. We had some different leadership, and it started off a little rocky, but I think we've found our legs as the season's gone on. I think everybody has stepped up their game, and I like that we're finishing strong.
D: What's going to be next for the team?
B: We're looking forward to the grudge match. We're probably going to be playing the 'Whippers. I don't remember if that's for sure of not. Once we know who we're playing, it's figuring out what they're doing, what their game is, and how to combat it.

All Photos by Dan Bachorik

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