Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Rollergirls fans wait no longer — the darlings of the Alamo City have dusted the cobwebs off their skates for the first down ’n’ derby action of the regular season, pitting the Prim Reapers against the Missyfits. As the girls eagerly await new bruises, bloody noses, and sprained knees, their insurance companies wince at the thought of another Alamo City Rollergirls season and the flurry of claims that will inevitably accompany it. But girls will be girls, and this troop has no intention of slowing down nor softening up.
The ACRG is still a developing league, but a lot has happened since its inception. The Prim Reapers reigned as inaugural champs, then lost all four bouts last year after being plagued with injuries. The league also lost a team, bumping down to three, and the Dragon Divas edged out a hard-working Missyfits team for the second-season title. With the loss of key skaters and the addition of new recruits this year, the outcome of the third season is wide open. The Current caught up with captains of the Divas, Missyfits, and Prims to get the dirt and talk derby.
“We can only get better,” said Ashlee Lester, a.k.a. White Trashlee of the Divas. “We’ve learned so much since our first season, and we’re continually growing. The Divas believe in team, and there’s no all-star player for us — we work together.”
Quickly learning the ins and outs of the sport proved crucial, as the majority of the ACRG’s first season skaters had never derbied before. Derby is a complicated sport for the uninitiated, because the rules of the game are unlike any other in the sports world.
“Last season I saw a lot more strategy,” said Kat Feuerbacher, Kitty Glitter of the Missyfits. “The first season, everybody was just getting used to the sport. I’ve realized, especially with new girls, that multi-tasking is a big issue because it’s very overwhelming. You have to know where everybody’s at and be aware of your surroundings at all times.” The Missyfits definitely created a stir last year. Dubbed the “bottom dwellers” in print after a lackluster first season, the Missys doggedly clawed their way back up, and proved themselves with a regular season record of 3-1.
But predictions for this year are still difficult to make, as many key skaters have dropped from the ranks. Austin’s ballooning derby scene — which contains both banked and flat-track leagues — was largely the culprit, snatching up promising skaters that were household names for loyal ACRG enthusiasts. The Divas championship squad lost vocal and hard-hitting Mummy Dearest, exemplary captain Killa Byte, speedy Pain Jane, and intimidating Miss Treator. Sisters Fender Bender (Prim Reapers) and Ruby Wring (Missyfits) also moved on, though they will serve as ACRG referees this season. The Missys losses also include Satan Speed, exceptional jammer Heidi Explosive, and the beloved penalty queen, Osa Peligrosa, who will return next year after a leave of absence.
“The teams are totally different, all three teams have a lot of new skaters,” said Tonya Feinstein, Tonya Hurting of the Prim Reapers. “We have the most vets this year, four or five, and I think we look good. A lot of the other girls are talking about our team. We’ve got some really fast skaters, and they just need to learn how to be in the pack.”
During the off-season, the league pushed recruitment, hosting new assessment sessions once a month for interested skaters. There was a good response and many new skaters laced up to try the sport. The league requires a three month training program for new skaters, primarily to gauge their commitment and hone basic skills. “About 12 girls have been drafted so far, with four to a team,” said Feinstein. She said the Prims lacked jammers last season, and the team now strives to teach every skater how to jam. Luckily, the draft treated the Prims well and landed them some new jammers. “We definitely found some jewels `also`,” said Lester. “When we got our picks for the Divas, I couldn’t be happier.”
Revisiting the season outlook, Feuerbacher said the Divas and Prims do concern her. “The Divas have a lot of force, and the Prims have a lot of speed,” she said. “But I know we have a lot of strategy and we play really smart. We’re definitely focusing on getting our penalties in check, with good hitting and timing. The only way to be successful is to trust that everyone on your team is there for you.”
Lester again stressed working together, and pushing everyone to be utility skaters. “We look damn good,” she said. “Every Diva is gonna be able to pivot, be able to block, and be able to jam, because in a pinch you’ve got to do everything and be strong in all areas.” •
For The Love of Derby: Missyfits vs. Prim Reapers
7pm Sun, Feb 10
223 Recoleta Rd.