The Rushin’ Rollettes
In anticipation of the Brewcity Bruisers’ 2011 home season opener on January 8 at the US Cellular Arena, DJ Hostettler, aka BCB announcer DrAwkward, will preview each home team for ThirdCoast Digest.
A look at last year’s stats screams Soviet Bloc ass-kickery:
-They outscored their opponents by 217 points (an average of 43.4 points per bout), 504-287.
-Rollette jammers had lead jammer status in 52.1% of their jams, compared to 37.3% for their opponents.
-Rollette blockers caused 35 jammer takedowns, allowing only 26.
-And of course, this all lead to a 4-1 season record.
But is the Red Scare—the Rollettes’ reign of terror—nearing its end?
The big story this offseason was the defection of star blockers Pound Anya and Fidela Castrate—two linchpins of the Rollettes’ packs for the last four years, as well as key members of the All-Star travel team—to those nefarious ninjas, the Crazy 8s. At first glance, this is a huge blow to the Rollettes. Pound Anya was unofficially a defensive MVP of last year’s championship, using three huge jammer takedowns and impressive positional blocking to frustrate Shevil jammers Femeldahyde and Skittle all night long.
On top of those losses, the scintillating socialists also must do without longtime teammates Roadie Foster (pregnant) and Melba Toastya (knee surgery), as well as retirees Jesse Jameson, Maggie Numb, and Suzie Hotpants.
The departures will be replaced by ten new rookies—by far the most fresh meat assigned to one team this offseason: Alisin Derbyland, Carabunga, Grins & Roses, Irish Vixen, Nysassin, Sister Warrior, Strykher, T.Wrecks, T-Lo, and Tucker ‘In.
Holy crap, is this even the same team?
Team captain Rhoda Ruin—who also happens to be the Rollette’s all-time leading scorer with 337 points (of which 229 were scored in 2010, leading the league by about the distance from Moscow to Yakutsk)—doesn’t sound very worried. “We have a ton of rookies, but honestly, many of these girls are already looking like they’ve been skating for years. Way better than I was when just starting out, that’s for damn sure!”
It’s a sentiment that’s shared among all four teams, and definitely points to a growth in the Milwaukee talent pool, or perhaps a wider net being cast as roller derby catches on in Southeast Wisconsin. So maybe losing Pound and Fidela won’t be as huge an issue as we think?
“Two [rookies] to watch are Strykher and Carabunga,” says Rhoda. “These two have the characteristics of Pound Anya and Fidela Castrate, respectively. So it was fun to get them in the draft, because it was like: OK, we’ve got a new Pound, and a new Fidela. Done!”
(Not to mention the fact that in the inaugural 2011 Derby Little Secrets webcast, Rhoda claimed—tongue-in-cheek, we’ll assume—that both Pound and Fidela were getting a little “soft.” We’ll see what the new ninjas have to say about that when the two teams meet in February.)
Also offsetting the losses is the return of the artist formerly known as Fly Girl, Rollemite. As Fly Girl, Rollemite’s 187 career points rank her #4 all-time in team history, despite sitting out last season. She trails only Rhoda, former Rollete Jackie O’Nihilate, and another star Soviet, High D. Voltage, who contributed 161 points last year.
Voltage returns for her third season, as well as jammer/blocker double-threat Carrie A. Hacksaw (68 points and 8 jammer takedowns last year). They’re joined by several other Rollette vets, like Sevo (8 points, 2 assists last year), Jailhouse Roxie (3 assists and a respectable 2.24 plus/minus blocker rating), Fergie Vicious (6 assists), and new co-captain (and killer National Anthem-belter… not bad for a socialist) Blue Siren.
The Rollettes open the 2011 season with a championship rematch against the Shevil Knevils. While the red & camouflage emerged victorious in the title bout 78-59, that one blemish on their record last year came at the hands of “Team Pretty” in a nail-biting 71-70 result last March.
So what will happen this time? Will the Shevils, stocked with returning vets, overpower a retooled Rollettes squad with so many rookie skaters? If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last four seasons, it’s that whenever everyone thinks it’s another team’s year, the Rollettes come right back to prove everyone wrong, and that they’re still the team the crowd loves to hate. After all, communism never dies—for every declining Soviet Union, there’s a China waiting to rise (or even…an America? Damn you, Obamaaaaa!) .