Since Charm City effectively screwed my tournament bracket back into the Stone Age, I won’t go game-by-game in our wrap-up of this weekend’s Continental Divide and Conquer championships. Instead, we’ll just hit the high notes, and you know what that means: the Kansas City Roller Warriors.
For the most part, anyway.
Texas 141, Minnesota 108
All right, am I the only nut that just plain didn’t see Minnesota coming? I tweeted after the game that my hat was off to them, the one team I certainly underestimated the most out of the entire tournament. And I have to hand it to them, they went one round further than I expected and then gave the Texas Rollergirls a pretty good run for their money, one that the final score doesn’t really reflect; they were ahead by 11 going into halftime, for one thing. Texas being the second-half team that they are, though, they definitely came out swinging, and they played the patient game long enough to let Minnesota get themselves into penalty trouble before allowing their stellar defense to pick up the pieces. Texas can talk all they want about how they aren’t a one-trick pony, but until they start relying on someone other than Olivia Shootin’ John for their early bouts in these tournaments, we’re going to keep on not believing them.
That’s a start.
Texas has other effective jammers (Vicious Van Gogo, Bloody Mary, Shortcut) that entered the rotation pretty regularly later in the tournament, but you have to wonder how much of that was due to the sheer fatigue Olivia Shootin’ John was experiencing as a result of wearing the star almost exclusively earlier in the weekend. The statistics may not quite bear that out the way I’m telling it, but from a fan’s perspective, you could almost say OJ’s name along with the announcers when the jam began, kind of like an old song you’ve heard a hundred times.
Kansas City 112, Windy City 95
They’re calling this an upset even though Kansas City already beat Chicago back on September 10 — and never mind that it’s nearly impossible for the average fan to translate rankings between divisions, Windy City seeded 1 in the North Central and KCRW seeded 2 in the South Central. Nevertheless, there was very little doubt in my little mind that Kansas City was going to take out Chicago, and while Windy City isn’t a pushover by any measure, I’ve heard virtually nothing about them all season long; Kansas City, meanwhile, is one of the most dreaded teams in all of women’s flat track and has been for years. You get that reputation by remaining consistently highly-ranked in your division, which Windy City has done, and other things like beating Rat City for the goddamn championship in 2007, which they didn’t. Kansas City did.
So ugly, it’s beautiful again.
It was a very low-scoring, defensive game, and the best team won, simple as that. What drove me particularly insane were the dufuses calling the game on DerbyAccess.com; I have mercifully forgotten their names. They’re fine as announcers overall, but for some reason, they couldn’t quit calling us “Kansas.” At one point, I even politely tweeted to #talk2WFTDA that we were not known as such. And they may have even seen it, since it was re-tweeted a handful of times, and they only called us “Kansas” twice in the entire second half.
Just… know your teams, my friends, especially if you’re charged with the play-by-play. Otherwise, let D’Nouncer Duane and Dumptruck take the lead on KC’s games, since that’s who we want to hear anyway.
Oly 124, Kansas City 104
Fun fact: anyone who saw Kansas City take a 20-point lead over the Oly Rollers this weekend and still questions our ability to compete on this level doesn’t know the first thing about flat track roller derby.
Yes, I just got through saying that Kansas City is one of the most dreaded teams in the league, and there are still people who write off the entire South Central division like we’re not even there. Well, tell Rose City that we don’t exist; tell Chicago, or any of other teams we’ve kicked around in the last six months (including Jet City, Rat City, Nashville, and Atlanta). No longer should there be any question as to the level of skill, tenacity, heart, and pure muscle of the Kansas City Roller Warriors. This game against Oly seals it.
Oly beat KC earlier this year by 81 points, and that’s a pretty decent thumpin’, regardless of the strong showing we put up against them. So to hold them to only 124 points in the semi-finals — and take a 20-point lead at any point in the game — should certainly show what we’re made of. When was the last time they were treated like that? Before this weekend, it hadn’t happened in quite some time.
Even when you win, you lose.
We looked fantastic. We skated well and we put the fear of Gotham in the Oly Rollers, and this game, above all, is why I’m prouder than ever of our Wolfpack.
Texas 136, Kansas City 112
While I was hoping this would be a day to even the score — and show the Texas Rollergirls that we really are the better team — it wasn’t in the cards for us on Sunday. Texas can’t be accused, on this particular occasion, of firing the same gun all day, as they rotated their jammers in and out in impressive fashion throughout the game. KCRW even led 62-50 at the half, but a penalty-heavy second half threatened a handful of our best skaters much earlier than I would have liked, including a bogus forearm major called on Kelley Young that I personally saw no sign of. That afforded Texas a monster power jam late-ish in the game that didn’t blow it wide open, but certainly made things far more difficult than they needed to be. The Wolfpack never really did recover from that, and the clock ticked away, giving Tex-ass a third place win and relegating KC to 4th where they didn’t belong.
Again, this in no way diminishes Kansas City’s achievement in Denver this year. We made it to the final four. We didn’t take fourth out of four teams, we took fourth out of the entire friggin’ league. In all of women’s flat track. I count 124 teams, and three of them did better than we did — on paper, anyway.
And lest we forget, congratulations to Kelley Young for being named the Continental Divide and Conquer Tournament MVP on Sunday evening, as well as Eclipse for being voted to the All Tournament Team.
We had a phenomenal season, arguably the best since we won the whole thing in 2007. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it’s been, following the Wolfpack’s wins these last few months, seeing Plan B play in Des Moines, and watching the All-Star team beat the tar out of practically every squad in their path all the way up to the Show-Me Der-B-Q, which was a derby experience like no other. Watching KCRW compete on DerbyAccess.com was a ton of fun and a bit surreal, since I see all those guys in real life all the time. Although tripping up to Denver wasn’t possible for me this year (and next year’s tournament in Atlanta will be even less so), I do look forward to possibly making the South Central tournament next season in Lincoln, Nebraska.
As for my own bracket, Charm City (boo!) was where things really went wrong for me. Other than that, I didn’t miss much, and in fact, every bracket error I made was directly tied to Charm City co-screwing the pooch with me on Friday evening.
I called Gotham to take it all, and they did; I put Oly in second, and they got it. Never mind Charm, and then KCRW in fourth place rounds out a pretty nicely-called tournament for me. I wonder what my prize will be.
After Charm City? This.