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11/13/14

The Detroit Derby Girls 2014 Championship and Grudge Match

June 7, 2014, at Detroit's Masonic Temple.  The Detroit Derby Girls' Grudge Match for third place, followed by the championship bout.


Grudge Match: The Detroit Pistoffs versus the Pistolwhippers

The Pistolwhippers were slow to start, not scoring for the first two jams. The Pistoffs were up by 12 and looking strong. The Whippers finally put 2 points on the point in the 3rd jam, but they really looked awake in the 4th when they scored 9. When the Pistoffs' jammer, Kraken Whips, got set to the penalty box in the 5th, the Whippers took the lead, 16-12.

The Pistoffs evened the score in the 6th jam, and then took the lead back in the 7th. This bout might not have been the main event, but the teams were still making it interesting.

Off the Hook narrowed the point gap for the Whippers in the 11th jam with an 8 point play, putting her team just one point behind. Lazer Beam gave them another point in the 12th to even it out, and Perish-Her put them 2 ahead in the 13th. U.S.S. DentHerPrize created another lead change, and the Pistoffs were ahead with her big 14 point play in the 15th, the first double digit scoring drive of the bout.

The Whippers answered back with a big 15 point play of their own in the 16 jam. The play was aided in part when the Pistoffs' jammer Freakin Rican went to the penalty box, but Freakin still scored 8 for her team that jam, and her team still held the lead by 1. Perish put the Whippers on top again in the 17th, and a 10 point power-jam from Tig O'Hitties widened the margin.

Perish started the 21st jam as jammer for the Whippers, but passed the jammer status on to Tig by handing off the starred helmet cover. That combined with Pistoff jammer Effin' Money going to the box made it a 16 point Pistolwhipper powerjam. This wasn't just unusual because the starpass is typically an act of desperation, it was unusuall because it's often the Whippers undermining themselves with jammer penalties. The half ended 84-68, Pistolwhippers.

The bizarre penalty pattern continued into the beginning of the second half. The Pistoffs' Combat Cat was sent to the penalty box in the 2nd jam, and Off the Hook scored 14 points.

Cookie Rumble is known to make big plays througout every bout she's in, but lingering injuries kept her from putting up her usual numbers. She was back in her old form in the 6th jam, scoring 15 while Perish gained 5. Another 5 from Dent in the 7th when Lazer went to the box, and an extra 1 from Freakin' Rican in the 8th, and now the Pistoffs were only down by 10.

What started to look like the beginning of a serious momentum change started to fizzle. The Pistoffs only scored another 9 points over the next 8 jams. Freakin Rican scored 8 in the 20th jam, but by the 21st the Pistolwhippers were ahead 148-116. Despite another 8 point play from Dent in the 22nd jam, the Pistolwhippers held a lead of over 20 points for the remainder the bout, giving them a 153-129 victory, and a third place finish for the season.

Captains Lazer Beam and Cottoncandy Princess gave their postbout analysis. Lazer was jubilant, and Cotton was only mildly annoyed to be talking to me:
Lazer Beam: We won! We Won! We Won! I've been a Whipper for four years, and we've never beaten them before in that time. This is an extremely great night for us. They're a tough team, and they don't lose very often. It's a good night.
Detroit Area Dork: You weren't always leading. The first couple of jams were rough for the Pistolwhippers. Did you have trouble getting started?
Cottoncandy Princess: I don't think so. I think we just had to play.
D: What did you do to gain momentum after that slow start?
L: We just kept pushing. You know what I mean? We kept our cool. Candy and I made decisions before the game started. We were going to make some line changes, things like that. It seemed to work for us. We tried to be smarter, not work harder, and it worked tonight. And we stayed out of the box.
C: Yes we did.
D: Early in the second half the Pistoffs starting catching up to you, narrowing the lead. Did you start to get worried?
C: No.
D: How would you sum up this season for the Pistolwhippers?
C: We started in last place, and ended up in third. That's pretty damn good.
L: We have built our team so that now we're in third place. As a Whipper, I've been here four years, and I've never finished in third place. This is the first season ever. I've always been either last or forth. It feels great to be moving on up. Next year we're coming for the fucking olive.
D: How has the team evolved over the season?
C: Learning to play together.
L: Most of our team is either on the travel team or the Motorcity Disassembly Line, and I feel like that helps us. When you're practicing more, you're skating more on the track. Candy is captain of the Motorcity Disassembly Line. I'm captain of the travel team. So it kind of works out, and I feel like we brought the team together, and it helped us.
D: Any player retirements coming that you know of?
Both at the same time: Not that we know of.
C: And if they know, they better not.
L: That's right. Boo started crying, "I'm so happy". I'm like "why are you crying?". She said "I'm just crying for joy". It's a big night for the Whippers. We have not beaten them in five years. It's a big night.
C: Are we done now?


The Championship: The Grand Prix Madonnas versus The D-Funk Allstars

The Grand Prix Madonnas entered this bout as defending champions with a perfect record. D-Funk just barely made it into this bout, with their 2-2 season record. While D-Funk lost to the league's last placed time during the season, they came very close to beating the Madonnas when they faced off. Even though the Madonnas are the newest team in the league, they're not the underdogs anymore.

The first jam of the bout and Meryl Slaughterburgh went to the penalty box, leaving D-Funk without a jammer. Ana Matronique utilized the power jam for the Grand Prix Madonnas and scored 10. D-Funk didn't get points on the board until the 3rd jam, when Turbulence scored 4. After some slow action and modest point gains the Madonnas were ahead 21-10 at the end of the 9th jam.

Tinja started the 10th jam as jammer for D-Funk, and made a starpass to Black Eyed Skeez. The two of them combined for 23 points, the first double digit scoring drive from D-Funk that night. Sista Slit'chya also scored 12 for the Madonnas in that jam, putting both teams even at 33 points.

Motown Philly put the Madonnas ahead again with 3 points in the 11th. They gained another 12 over the next four jams, while D-Funk only added 3. The pace of the pack seemed to be increasing. While D-Funk would score 4 in the 16th, Sista fired back by scoring 8 in the 18th. The first half ended with the Grand Prix Madonnas ahead 61-53. The Madonnas never trailed in the first half, but D-Funk still looked optimistic heading down into the lockerroom.

The Grand Prix Madonnas must have had a better pep talk during half time, because they only allowed one point by D-Funk in the first 7 jams of the second half. Between an 8 point gain from Sista in the 3rd, a big 14 point play from Motown Philly in the 5th, and other point gains, the Madonnas were now ahead 98-54.

Racer McChaseHer ended the 7th jam in the penalty box as the Madonnas' jammer. Her penalty time carried over into the 8th jam, giving Tinja a powerjam to start, where she scored 5 points to momentarily end the D-Funk slump. They didn't score again for the next 2 jams, while Racer added 9, and then 11 points for the Madonnas.

Gameplay had been stopped early in the first half when Roxanna Hardplace was injured, so she must have shaken it off by the 11th jam of the second half, as evidenced by her 9 point play. Another 5 from Turbulence's powerjam in the 12th, and it looked like D-Funk had their head in the game again.

Tinja not only scored 5 points in the 13th jam, she also performed the most amazing unintentional stunt all season. With her back facing the sideline, a blocker from the Madonnas made a hard hit to Tinja's center torso. She flipped backwards, pivoting on her helmet, nearly completely a full backwards somersault. If you had snapped a picture at just the right milisecond, it would have looked like Tinja was doing a headstand. She got right back up like nothing had even happened. I don't know if it was D-Funk's resurgence, or Tinja's Wolverine like healing abilities that startled the Grand Prix Madonnas, but they needed to call a timeout to regroup, even with a 115-78 lead.

The Madonnas might have called the timeout, but D-Funk utilized it better. Roxanna scored 27 unanswered points for D-Funk. Their bench leapt out of their chairs, their fans stopped grumbling about the officiating, and their manager Luigi O'Rally was hopping up and down. 7:45 left on the clock, and only 10 points seperating the two contenders. No one likes a boring championship game.

The Madonnas put in Racer as their jammer for the next 2 consecutives jams, which they're known to do when the score is close at the end of a bout. This time it didn't get them the result it normally does. Their lead was now whittled down to 115-109. Roxanna scored 4 in the 17th, while Sista only gained one. D-Funk fans were ecstatic.

Ana Matronique boosted the Madonnas lead to 120-113 in the 18th, and Racer lifted it even further to 122-113 in the 19th. Roxanna's late game surge continued in the 20th jam with a 3 point gain. In the 21st and final jam, Racer scored 4 points, while Tinja could only gain 3. The Grand Prix Madonnas were able to hold onto their lead against the D-Funk Allstars late surge, winning their second consecutive championship, 126-119.

The fan reaction was subdued. How did the only expansion team, the league's upstarts, become regarded as the evil empire? For all the complaining about the officiating coming from the green clad fans that surrounded where I was sitting, I think I have to place more of the blame for D-Funk's loss with their lackluster start in the second half.



Postbout analysis with D-Funk is always like a roundtable discussion. Fatal Femme, Eight Mile Rose, Uniballer, and Luigi O'Rally shared their thoughts:
Detroit Area Dork: So what are you all thinking right now?
Uniballer: I'll say what I think everybody's thinking. You come here to play, and you want to go toe-to-toe, and the penalties are almost two and a half times one way and not the other, it's tough. You can't win like that. It's wrong. Anybody that was here tonight, you heard what they thought at the end of the bout. Everybody left, nobody was clapping.
Eight Mile Rose: That's what I'm hearing from my friends.
Detroit Area Dork: The beginning was rough for you. You didn't score for the first couple of jams. Did you have trouble getting going?
U: Yeah, to say the least. We have a problem with overthinking. You saw what happened. We fell behind. We say "screw it, let's play derby", and came back and made a run at them.
D: The score was close at halftime, but they starting pulling away from you in the beginning of the second half. Were you worried?
Fatal Femme: I have my magic number. I don't like to be forty behind. I think forty is little harder to come back from. As you saw, one jam can be twenty points, and you're back in it. You just never know from how much you're down whether you can come back or not. All you can do is try.
Luigi: You just keep pounding away at them. It's a sixty minute game. I'ts nonstop movement. You can get your little two point, three point jams, but if you pull off that twenty point jam you're back in. You're never really concerned at all.
U: A long time ago, we started every jam as zero-zero. Don't worry about the score. Don't worry about the score after the jam. Win the jam you're in. So I know the girls cheat and look at the score, but our mentality has always been zero-zero every jam. Win the next one, and get on a roll. We did that tonight, and it's a shame that we couldn't just play.
8: I remember the point where we were all so happy with each other because we came together so well. That's the D-Funk I love, and that's why I do this.
D: Did you come into this bout with a plan to shut down Racer?
U: No. We know exactly what they were going to do, and they did it. So props to them, but they didn't do anything that we didn't know was coming. They play one way, and when you win, you can do that. It is what it is.
8: We didn't have a plan for their jammers. We just had a plan for our jammers, and to give them all the playing time they deserve.
F: You can't practice around one person. She's not the team. There's a lot of them you have to worry about. We didn't have a plan for just her, no.
D: How would you sum up this season for D-Funk?
F: It's been a fun year. We've worked hard. We really ramped it up the last couple months. We got to do other things this season, like scrimmage other leagues, and other teams and stuff. That's fun to do as a team. D-Funk's like family, so it's always fun.
L: There was a lot of improvement by a lot of the newer girls like Turbo, who started as one of our draft picks this year. It seems like every practice they've gotten better, and better, and better. You can see it when she plays the travel team too. Even Meryl, who's been around, her game has gotten better, and better, and better. The whole team too. We're a much better team since the first bout of the season. We've just improved, improved, improved. The way it ended tonight was disappointing.
U: The seasons are judged by wins and losses. Nobody is going to remember who was second or who was last this year. They got the trophy. Our season, we judge completely different ourselves. We tried to be respectful. We tried to do the right thing, and have fun. So it's a success. The results are what they are, but we'll be alright. We'll be back on.
D: Any retirements coming up that you know of?
L: I hope not.
8: I'm undecided. After tonight, somethings...feel okay leaving in my heart, but some things don't. I guess I'm not really sure yet.
F: She's the only one I know of for sure.
U: There's always retirements. You get out and do your thing. It'll be a new season next year for sure.


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