The parking lot and interior of The Rollercade was packed just before game time; I made it just in time to hear the National Anthem and team introductions. The doubleheader shook up the game format a little — instead of one bout with three 20-minute periods, the teams played two 30-minute periods each. In addition, the two bouts were split in half. The Divas took on the Victory Dolls for the first period, then the Prims paired up with the Missys for their first period. Play after halftime followed suit, with a Divas-Dolls final period, then a Missys-Prims final period.
Both the Dolls and Divas were decked out in red and black, the Dolls sporting red back flaps (like girly letter jackets!) embroidered with their skater names. Bodies were flying early — both teams landed players in the penalty box within the first few minutes, and scoring remained low and even. The Divas’ Devlyne Disguise wiped out hard at the 18-minute mark and both teams took a knee. It looked like she got the wind knocked out of her, but Devlyne bravely rose from the track after lying on her back for a bit. The score was tied up at 10-10 with 17:17 left to go in the period.
It’s always interesting to see the way our league stacks up against teams from other cities. Thirteen minutes into the first period, it seemed our Divas were a good matchup for the Oklahoma City Victory Dolls. The two teams had been skating on a fairly even keel, with controlled and measured scoring on both sides. The Divas pulled ahead with a 20-14 lead right around the 16-minute mark, but the Dolls overtook the Divas at 12:35 with a 22-21 lead. A timeout at 10:14 was accompanied by a point discrepancy. The Dolls bench screamed for new points to be put up while lively announcer Ubetta Doant (sporting clown makeup) yelled towards the stat panel, “I don’t know what’s going on up there, does anybody have a clue?” The final verdict seemed to be Dolls 32, Divas 24, and back on the track the Divas last line of defense sent a Doll flying into kiddos sitting on the floor in the front row. The bout was clearly far from over at this point, and looked like it could come down to the wire if both teams could keep up the frenetic pace. The Divas closed the gap to Dolls 43, Divas 40 with 2:30 to go, and at the end of the first half the score stood at Dolls 49, Divas 43.
Rock en Español three-piece Los Roxmantix turned up their amps for intermission entertainment, while the Missys and Prims took the track to warm up and fans headed for the beer stand. Sunday’s bout brought up an interesting question for some derby fans I talked to during the break. Do the girls hit harder when they’re playing a team they don’t know? Although there are some heated rivalries in the league, the ACRG is a close-knit group of skaters, many of which forge friendships across team lines. But I’ve got to give it up to the ACRG for keeping friendships off the track. Although it might be easier to smash a skater you’ve never met before into the rink walls, I’ve seen all ACRG skaters sending both friends and foes flying, no holds barred.
I talked to two of the Victory Dolls during the break also, and they relayed that today’s bout was a bit last minute for them. Apparently a different team dropped out of the scheduled interleague matchup, and the Dolls picked up the bout because they were in the area and some of their skaters have family here. They said they used to be part of a multi-team league in Oklahoma, but broke off as a travel team and are in their first year. The horn cut off our conversation, while the Missys and Prims raced around the track in a flurry of black and purple, pink and gray to start off the first half of the second bout. The Prims beat the Missys 205-24 in their last matchup, a season opening blowout in which Missys captain and exceptional skater Kitty Glitter re-injured her knee. After being sidelined for three months, Glitter was back in action for Sunday’s rematch, and the Missys hope her reinstatement can jumpstart their squad.
Prims lead jammer Tonya Hurting was in usual speedy form, racing through the pack and racking up points with relative ease from the get go. The Prims jumped out to a 15-1 lead less than five minutes into the bout and the lead ballooned to 35 within five minutes. The score stood at 38-3 as the Missys took a time out at 19:57 in an attempt to stanch the flow of blood. The announcers relayed what was already apparent on the track — the Missys couldn’t slow the bout down. The Prims were already at the 50-point mark with 14 minutes left in the first half, which would translate into another 200-plus point bout if they kept up the pace. The bout seemed exceptionally lopsided, evidenced by a 12-minute stretch in which the Prims scored 23 points and the Missys only 2. The Missys never gave up the fight, however, as Glitter exchanged words with the Prims Shay Manu — “Get outta my face! — as they skated side by side leading up to the final minute of the half. “There’s always bad blood!” proclaimed our announcers with excitement, and the first half closed with a score of Prims 97, Missys 18.
After an exceptionally exciting first half, The Divas scored some points off the bat to close the gap — Dolls 52, Divas 51 — and Divas jammer Skully Vera continued to break through the back in her red and black cheetah print pants to give the Divas the lead, 56-52. With only two skaters on the bench, however, the tide began to change for the Divas as they struggled to keep up the pace of the first half. The Dolls pulled away to a 71-56 lead with 18:42 to go and never looked back. The Divas were still hitting hard and fighting harder, but the skaters were looking more and more exhausted as they came off the track. The Divas switched off jammers right and left, probably because they were down skaters, but still weren’t able to close the gap. The hard-fought bout ended with a final score of 112-72 in favor of the Victory Dolls, who respectfully skated over to the Divas’ bench with hugs and compliments for their new rivals.