Thursday, December 31, 2009

Home Season Six preview: Atomic Bombshells and Rockits

In the first preview of the upcoming home season, we asked the captains of the Dagger Dolls and the Garda Belts about their teams.  We now turn attention to the other bout on January 2nd...Rockits versus the Atomic Bombshells.

Atomic Bombshells:
Captain: Mitzi Massacre #3
Co-captain: Misfit Maiden #313
Last won the Golden Skate: 2007
Colors: orange and lime green

We asked each team a set of questions; here is what Mitzi Massacre wrote:

Q  How would you explain your team to a person who's never come to a bout?
A  The Atomic Bombshells are confident but not cocky, skilled and athletic but real warm-hearted and spirited, individually strong but collectively bad-bleeping-ass.  If you don't know we're the orange team, just look for the girls that are calmly recycling themselves in the pack and picking off blockers and jammers with (atomic) aplomb! 

Q  Tell us a little about your new crop of rookies.
A  BOOMbay Safire has such a sweet disposition that it's shocking when she knocks a shoulder into your sternum.  You just don't see it coming.  We've noticed a sorta preternatural awareness of who is on the track and where.  Expect her to see her heavy hitting as a Blocker and Pivoting eventually.
We liked Double D. Fense right away because she gets that look in her eye right before she takes someone down that tells you the hit is going to be right on target.  Dubs is relentless and just totally eyes on the prize at all times.
Madame dStompadour comes from having spent a season with the Auld Reekie Rollergirls of Edinburgh, Scotland.  She's taking it slow on an injured knee so far and has just stepped up with amazing sideline support for the team in this first year.  Expect to see her jamming and definitely blocking in the back of the pack; she's got a very solid and fast stride on her.
We fortunate that our rookies apparently talked before the home season started and decided to get their major injuries over and done with early on in their derby careers.  You'll see two of them toughing it out on the track through a separated shoulder (Double D.) and dislocated fingers (BOOM).

Q  Why are you going to win your first match in the home season?
A  We just really like each other and got each other's backs at all times, on and off the track, and this is pretty huge when it comes to keeping our head in the game.  We know this season is ours for the taking and we're ready!  Though we went 2-2 last year, we saw it as hugely successful in a rebuilding year and all games were still very competitive. Individually, our players are very strong but it is the confident, collected way we work together on the track that we will use to win the game.  We try to spend a lot of time on skill-building and techniques like visualization, but when it all comes down to it we just have a ton of fun together playing this game and believe we have both the physical and mental skills to win.

Q  Who is that guy with the mask and the crazy fire extinguisher?
A  That's Meltdown, the coolest mascot of the Atomic Bombshells.  He wears that visor and carries that extinguisher around due to an childhood accident resulting in head trauma that now causes a mysterious powerful optic beam that shoot from his eyeballs.  It's pretty cool.  Also, Meltdown is the inspiration for Beach Party Meltdown, who appears randomly at our bouts.  Look for him this season!

Garrison's take:
Every couple of years, the Bombshells have gone and reinvented themselves.  In 2006, veterans converged on the team and created a superteam that defeated all comers.  Last year, Misfit Maiden and Mitzi took on the gargantuan task of filling seven openings with rookies (not old hands at the game) and whipping the chaotic mess into a damn fine derby team.  That team is now in its second year, and it has the potential to break the Rockits' nine game streak of wins.

Last year, the Bombshells started playing anyone who wanted to jam; we ended up seeing ten different women at the jammer line, six of whom jammed more than ten times.  The more depth you have for jammers, the fewer problems that you will have when several jammers are in penalty trouble.  What's more, the Bombshell jammers were sent to the box only fifteen times throughout the season; only the Rockits did better at keeping their penalty sheets clean.  The offensive firepower of this team is only going to improve; the Bombshells have been deeply involved with the All-Stars this summer, and several of the women in orange played in heavy rotation as scorers.

The front of the Bombshell pack is going to be very, very tough this year.  Venus Thightrap earned her All-Star blues as a pivot, not a jammer.  Against Carolina, against Hammer City, and against Sioux Falls, Venus showed herself to be a phenomenal presence.  When you put her in the front of the pack, the opposing team had a strong tendency to not score.  The Bombshells have got other strong pivots as well...whether Diamond Rough, Chinese Takeout, or Misfit Maiden, the Bombshell pack is going to be well-managed this year.

Captain: Coochie Coup #333
Co-captain: Abbie Mischief #318
Last won the Golden Skate: 2009 (current champions)
Colors: red and silver

We asked each team a set of questions; Coochie Coup sent us these answers:

Q  How would you explain your team to a person who's never come to a bout?
A  The Rockits are a very competitive, egalitarian team. For us derby is more sport than show so we work hard and have a tight team dynamic. We try and focus on strategy and working with people’s strengths and minimizing their weaknesses.  We like to enjoy derby and understand that winning is enjoyable. Plus, I think we are geek chic w/ a love of cake and gummi bears.

Q  Tell us a little about your new crop of rookies.
A  They are f***ing awesome. We feel very lucky to have them and each of them is a great fit for our team. They have great attitudes and work hard both and outside of practice. They are getting better every day.

Q  Why are you going to win your first match in the home season?
A  Because we are superior –  physically, mentally, and culturally. The Rockits have always stepped it up for a bout in ways that continue to impress even a hardened Captain like myself and I expect a continued unbeaten streak and the Golden Skate Three-peat. We don’t need big talk – they will hear us just fine on the track Saturday night.

Q  Will the loss of any previous skaters impact how the Rockits play?  
A  No, this team is deeper than my cleavage.

Garrison's take:
The Rockits are, simply, the team to beat.  No team has defeated them in two seasons; should they defeat the Bombshells, The Rockit Streak goes to ten.  But this is a new year.  Slate's clean and Jawbreaker, Dudezilla, and Soylent Mean - three of the top five jammers for the 2008-9 Rockits last year - are gone from the roster.  Jawbreaker alone scored 40% of the Rockit points.  The trick for the other teams is to not breathe a sigh of relief from this news.

The thing is, the secret of Rockit success has never been at the jammer line; it's the suffocating Red Wall defense.  The Rockits allowed 130 points over five games; every other team allowed at least 300 over the same period.  What does that mean to the fan of other teams?  Watch your packs.  Teams must clear the way for their jammers; the Rockit pack is guarded in the back by the likes of Vuedoo Prodigy and Honeydew Felon.  If they pass the back, the back blockers move up and scrape the opposing jammer off the front walls made of Scarmen Hellectra, Coochie Coup, Rizzo, and Pain Gretzky.  With the loss of several dedicated Rockit jammers, opposing scorers might not have to race as fast to the front of the pack to get the lead, but scorers must still find a way through, and their teams must help them.  So far, no one's pulled it off long enough to beat the Rockits.

2010 is nigh.  It's a new year, a new season, and a new run for glory.  This is the moment that you have waited for, derby fans. Saturday starts the clock on the countdown to April's season championship.  Doors will likely open early; beat the rush and find yourself a seat for the best season yet (you know, deep down, that this is true) at the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Don't miss a moment.

Reporting for the Minnesota RollerGirls,
-Garrison Killer

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