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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson Roller Derby opens season with speed

    Valentina Martinelli / Arizona Daily Wildcat
The first match of Tucson Roller Derby.
    Valentina Martinelli
    Valentina Martinelli / Arizona Daily Wildcat The first match of Tucson Roller Derby.

    It was a night of impressive beginnings and endings. With great agility, speed and hardiness, Tucson’s Furious Truckstop Waitresses overwhelmed Phoenix’s Brawlarinas with a final score of 159-60 in Tucson Roller Derby’s season eight opener on Saturday.

    The bout was the first of a double-header at the Tucson Convention Center and marked the beginning of the Arizona State Conference, an intrastate tournament that is the first of its kind in the U.S., according to Tucson Roller Derby president Dirty Duchess.

    After the national anthem and team introductions, Juana Chingaso faced off against Brawlarina’s Book’Em Betty for the first jam. The FTW skaters wore short-sleeved, light pink dresses and black aprons as their team uniform, while the Brawlarinas wore black, short-sleeved shirts and purple skirts.

    The pack moved slowly during the first lap. Like schools of black and pink fish swimming in the ocean, the pivots and blockers shifted and swayed to create a passageway for their own jammer to pass through.

    Within seconds, Brawlarina Family Jules bumped FTW’s Sunni Sideup for the first, but not last, tumble of the night. Chingaso broke through the pack to take the lead, but she wasn’t able to make the second pass to score.

    However, this only proved to be a warm-up for FTW’s performance in the first half.

    For the next seven jams, the Tucson team took off on a 38-point scoring run with Chingaso and FTW co-captain Zippy’s Takeout bringing in eight and 10 points, respectively. Book’Em Betty responded in the ninth jam by overtaking the pack early on, and scored eight points before calling off the jam.

    The Brawlarinas struggled to take advantage of this break in FTW’s momentum, however. Jam after jam, FTW’s pivots and blockers presented a formidable defense that kept the Phoenix team’s jammers trapped within the pack.

    FTW went on another scoring run with team captain 12oz Bev Rage bringing in 17 points during the 15th jam. At the start of halftime, FTW was sitting on a comfortable lead against the Brawlarinas, 66-23.

    Before the second period began, FTW’s Sunni Sideup spun the penalty wheel and stopped it at an arm wrestling contest against Brawlarina captain 2Pcs Hacker. They wrestled in the middle of the floor as their teammates laid down and formed a circle around them, cheering and swinging their skates back and forth in the air. After a tense 10-second stalemate, Sunni Sideup won.

    Referees were fast and loud with their whistles and hand signals as skaters on both teams accumulated precious minutes in the penalty box. Body checks and tumbles were almost as numerous as the points scored in the second half. Audience members gasped, oohed or flinched whenever skaters, either singly or in groups, tumbled during the pack’s corner turns.

    In the midst of these setbacks, the Brawlarinas’ jammers alternated between the inside and outside tracks in order to bypass the pack. This strategy allowed the Phoenix team to score 21 points during the first half of the second period.

    FTW responded in kind.

    Bea N Hayve took on the jammer position in the third jam, and within 30 seconds, she broke through the pack to become the lead jammer. With Book’Em Betty in the penalty box, Bea N Hayve took in four grand slams and 25 points before calling off the jam.

    After an unsuccessful attempt to pass on the outside track, Zippy’s Takeout dove into the pack and gracefully wove her way through to score 13 points in the fifth jam.

    Named Tucson Roller Derby’s best blocker in 2008, Sassy Sue ended her roller derby career with an impressive performance in the jammer spot. She hustled and became the uncontested lead jammer in the 16th jam of the second period. Sassy Sue lapped the pack twice before Family Jules could leave the penalty box, and ended the bout at 159-60.

    Derby fans stood around the track and held their hands out to congratulate Sassy Sue as she took one more lap, to commemorate her last day as a blocker for FTW, to end the night.

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