Monday, September 28, 2009
Akron Roller Girls send Burning River down in flames
Tallmadge, Ohio – September 19, 2009 – The NEO Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls hosted the Burning River Roller Girl’s B-Team, Hazmat Crew, in a bout that donated money to the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties. NEO beat Hazmat 163-53 in the bout titled “No More Hits,” a spoof of the INXS album.
When NEO first hanged out their shingle, Burning River Roller Girls from Cleveland loaned them the nail. I realize that’s an obscure analogy, but it couldn’t be more true. As a fledgling league coming of age in the rapidly growing sea of new roller derby, NEO needed someone to look up to. The most logical choice was the league to the North. It proved to be a wonderful relationship where both leagues prospered from having things to learn and teach as well as sharing resources. But all love and hugs aside, when roller girls skate onto the track, there’s no mercy.
Last season, NEO hosted the BRRG B-Team and lost 145-90. Understandable considering that BRRG as a league has been bouting since 2007 and the B-Team included some very good players. To say that NEO has come a long way since them is an understatement. They have played four away games (with only one win) and the game against Hazmat was their 4th of their ’09 home season. Mix in with that some intense training and “boot camps” and you’ve got a team that is determined to play their hearts out from the first whistle to the last.
The game started with Scarlet GoDancin on the Jammer line against Punk’d Pixie. These two women have worked with and against each other off and on for over a year, and their abilities are evenly matched. But that first jam set the tone of what was to become a Hazmat struggle the whole night. Scarlet scored 4 and called it; holding Pixie to 0. Hazmat was able to put one point on the board in jam 3, but didn’t score again until jam 11 where the score had stretched to 55-9. NEO has a good pool of jammers to rotate including powerhouses: Chrissie B. Hynde, Scarlet GoDancin, Phantom Fox, Taking Names, Teeny Houdini, Twin Pistol and rookie Amy Warhol N. And although each of those skaters also works in at blocking, the rotation helps to keep each jammer fresh. Hazmat seemed to be limited in their jammer pool relying mostly on Pixie and Rainbow Fright with some help from Slambassador and Syren VanDahl. But the end of the first period saw NEO in a 87-25 lead.
Scarlet and Pixie started the second period off as well, holding each other to an even 4 point jam. Twin Pistol showed some amazing resilience as she was knocked around like a pinball, forced into one-footers around turns and clinging to teammates for stability, but still triumphed her way into lead jammer and scored 9 points. Chrissie B. Hynde had a similar scene when she was knocked down and around, but with Clydesdale like grace still managed to come out on top. Amy Warhol N. has proved to be a rookie sensation with her ability to adjust to fast paced derby. She’s as tall and graceful as Phantom with the aggression of Chrissie and in her 7 turns at jammer managed to put 18 points on the board. She has a good shot at being named “Rookie of the Year.” Oddly enough, she also had the most trips to the box from NEO with 3; rookie mistakes apparently. Chelle Shock, a BRRG rookie, who despite being an aggressive and effective blocker managed to earn the Penalty Princess crown for the most time spent in the Cheater’s Chair with 5, although she had some stiff competition from her teammates. Team Captain, Punk’d Pixie, was ejected from the second half due to an excessive amount of trips to the penalty box in a period. Clearly, the amount of penalties, both major and minor, committed by Hazmat Crew proves how desperate they were to stop NEO’s scoring train. It was to no avail. NEO ended the game with 163-53. Top scorer of the evening was Scarlet GoDancin with 51 in her 8 turns at jammer followed closely by the rest of her jammer teammates.
It must feel bitter sweet to beat your sister league; a league that helped to nurture and pave your road to success. But in derby, when the game’s over, the friendships are still there; perhaps even stronger for the wear.
Next month NEO will host Assault City Roller Derby from Syracuse, NY in a bout called “Learning to Brawl,” a spoof of the classic Pretender’s album. The proceeds of that event will benefit the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio.
For more information about the NEO Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls visit NEORollerDerby.com
The NEO Rock 'n' Roller Girls are Ohio's newest addition to WFTDA's Apprentice Program. What this means is that having been teamed up with a Mentor League, NEO is on track to become a full fledged member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association and all the wonder that comes with it, such as competing for national ranking. WFTDA is the governing body of present day flat track roller derby. There are leagues popping up everyday and enjoying the sport of roller derby, but not all leagues are WFTDA. To help preserve the integrity of the sport, WFTDA seeks to ensure that member leagues are of a certain quality and caliber. Through this program, NEO will get the chance to prove its mettle.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Akron Roller Derby Team Loses Yet Wins
Tallmadge, Ohio – August 29, 2009 – The NEO Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls, Akron’s premier roller derby league, hosted Columbus’ OHRG B Team “Gang Green” in a bout to raise money for breast cancer survivors. The event, dubbed Bustapalooza, was a two parter: a game with an art auction at half-time. Gang Green narrowly won the game 118-101, and the art auction was a glowing success. Here is how it all went down:
When the sport of roller derby first came to Ohio it landed in Columbus. The Ohio Roller Girls, or OHRG, ultimately set the standard for what NEO would strive to accomplish. So it was with great honor to have OHRG’s B Team up for a battle of skills and spills. Being a B Team doesn’t imply inability. Quite the opposite; Gang Green has some amazing players that have played on the league’s charter A team and done well. This team works amazingly well together showcasing some great defensive communication and phenomenal offensive drive. The first jam of the night saw Teeny Houdini (NEO) on the jammer line facing off against Hellion Boi (GG). Teeny was sent to the penalty box for cutting the track allowing Hellion Boi to score 14 uncontested points. The second jam went the other way. Scarlet GoDancin (NEO) lined up against Anna Chist (GG) and scored an uncontested 10 points. At this point it was clear to both teams as well as the nearly 1,000 in attendance that this was going to be a full on fight to the finish.
By jam 7 NEO was at a 25 point deficit. But by jam 10, with a 13 point uncontested scoring turn as jammer, team captain Taking Names (NEO) jumpstarted a recovery effort that by the end of the first half saw NEO leading 55-52.
Hellion Boi continued her persistent scoring in the second half but NEO did not back down. The game was wrought with penalties on both sides which opened the door to many power play situations. NEO didn’t always capitalize on those advantages, however, which clearly hurt the team in the long run. The scoring gap started to widen in the last four jams where NEO went three jams in a row without scoring a point. Chrissie B. Hynde (NEO) started the last jam in the penalty box, but due to her team’s defensive efforts was able to get lead jammer status and score two uncontested points. Alas, it just wasn’t enough to close in on Gang Green’s lead, leaving the final score at 118-101. The crowd had anticipated a good game, but was treated to an exemplary display of dynamic Roller Derby.
Hellion Boi was clearly the night’s highest scorer with 77 points earned in 14 jams. Scarlet GoDancin was next with 37 points in 7 jams. NEO’s Chrissie B. Hynde and Phantom Fox in their 8 turns as well as Gang Green’s Foxy Force in her 9 turns came in at 20 points each. NEO’s Rowdy Cougar and Suicide Blonde tied for their trips to the penalty box with three, but were well outshined by Gang Green’s Anna Chist and team captain Handle Barz with their 5 trips to the box. Overall Gang Green accumulated 29 trips to the Cheater’s Chair to NEO’s 18.
Breast Impressions is an organization that provides women undergoing mastectomy the opportunity to preserve an impression of their former shapes. The company has been teaming up with roller derby leagues throughout the nation to raise money for those dealing with breast cancer. To do this Breast Impressions does a plaster cast of volunteer skaters’ breasts. Those casts are then given to local artists who reinterpret them as art. These finished works are then auctioned off during a bout to raise money for a selected charity that provides services in some way or another to people dealing with breast cancer.
NEO was the first league in Ohio to do such an event. Some of the artists that were chosen include world renowned Cleveland artist Derek Hess and Akron’s own Leandra Drumm. The total proceeds of the auction will go to Stewart’s Caring Place of Akron who provides relief services to people going through cancer treatment. The works were displayed throughout the month of August at local art galleries and attracted the attention of art enthusiasts and collectors alike. Those people showed up to the bout in hopes of taking home some one-of-a-kind works. That’s when the fun began.
On average the busts sold for $200-$300; some to collectors others to the derby girls themselves who had grown attached to the art. The night’s highlight came when a bidding war broke out between two art collectors over the Leandra Drumm piece. The price quickly escalated toward the $700 range and the crowd who had been somewhat despondent about the bidding really began to cheer the bidding on. At some point a representative of Scarlet GoDancin, who modeled for the bust and served as its inspiration, joined the fray and the price continued to climb. Scarlet’s representative won the auction for a record setting $925 and was joined by the crowd in a cathartic cheer. As for auctioning off roller derby girl busts, Judi Grove of Breast Impressions said Scarlet’s won the highest price to date. Another high dollar piece was the bust of Suicide Blonde done by Jessica Kinsinger. A bidding war ensued between Suicide’s representative and an unknown bidder. The unknown bidder won the auction for $700 and turned around and gave the bust to Suicide Blonde. As it turns out, the bidder recently lost a spouse to cancer and had used Stewart’s Caring Place as a resource during the treatments.
In all NEO was able to raise $4,385 for Stewart’s Caring Place. Many thanks to those that came out to support a great cause and especially the bidders and winners of the art work. Next month will see NEO hosting the Burning River Roller Girls’ B Team of Cleveland in a bout called “No More Hits” spoofing an INXS album and raising money for the Akron Battered Women’s Shelter.
For more information about the NEO Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls visit NEORollerDerby.com