Season 3 of Dead Girl Derby began beautifully this past Sunday night, and I can’t prove it, but despite the nervous chatter and hamster-esque jitters I was fortunate enough to witness via Facebook the week prior, I’m going to go on record to say that no one was more excited than I was. I know, I might need some help with that claim.
You see, KC Derby Digest didn’t exist last season, and this was our chance to finally come out to the bouts in official capacity and cover the games in a way only pseudo-journalists still learning their way around a DSLR can — so clearly, the ladies who lace up and take the hits have nothing on us. Theirs is a mild anxiety. Chortle.
But Game 1, affectionately named Night of the Loving Dead III: Only Fools Fall and Shove, showed us a few things, and if Sunday night was any indication of the action to come this year, there shouldn’t be an empty seat in the house for the next six months. Let’s go.
4. Mel Breakdown is everything we thought she was.
Every now and again, even the most highly-anticipated athletes flop, and sometimes it has as much to do with the very fact that they’re so highly anticipated as it does anything else; it gets in their heads, and sometimes the pressure runs them straight into the ground.
Well… that isn’t the case with Mel Breakdown. Remember our interview with Mel back in November in which we touted the tenacity and mad skillz of this league ref-turned-rollergirl? And a bit later when we buzzed with excitement over the Royal Pains’ new recruits and what it meant for the season? None of it got inside their heads, and Sunday night, we saw firsthand what Mel and Their Highnesses are really made of. They didn’t quite pull out the win against the new Shotgun Sheilas (more about that in a minute), but any team that underestimates this Pains squad in 2012 does so at its own peril.
Just… good luck.
We don’t yet have final stats for the game, but anyone in the peanut gallery who might have wondered whether a ref could switch hats and skate with the big girls is certainly munching those words now. She’s tough, she’s resilient, she’s constantly aware of her surroundings on the track, and her technique has even garnered kudos from a derby coach two time zones away. Mel Breakdown‘s debut season is off to a fantastic start, and intuitively, I have a feeling this double threat has yet to even release the hounds.
3. 10aciousV will be one to watch.
“Sweet, someone’s lunch for me to eat.”
How about that, another Royal Pains recruit who had a fantastic night and had to have made an impression on everyone in attendance. Again, we don’t have stats yet, but for a while there, it seemed like every time I looked up, this impressive rookie was wearing the star and slipping past the Sheilas’ blockers like a greased weasel. She also had her own cheering section that could have populated a country in Southeast Asia with an accompanying decibel level akin to a Justin Bieber concert. Not that I’ve ever been to Southeast Asia.
At one point, one of my favorite Pains, Callie Ente, tackle-hugged 10aciousV after a particularly successful jam in a show of team camaraderie like I hadn’t seen since the Fearleaders won their first game last season. If you’re a fan, or if you’re a skater on an opposing team, you would do well to keep an eye on 10aciousV in 2012, because like Mel, you can ignore her at your own risk.
2. Season 3 > Season 2
Were you there on Sunday night?
Did you see some of that action?
I actually overheard (overread?) on Facebook this week that the first game of the season “looked like the first game of the season.” Once I’d wiped the Coke off my screen, I caught myself thinking: what do you want from yourself??? Night of the Loving Dead III was an electrifying, ball-crushing success pretty much from start to finish. You’d almost have to be a bean-counting league insider to see Sunday night any other way (we are our own worst critics, after all), but that’s really the best part — Season 3 is going to blow Season 2 out of the water. And that is saying something.
I know this because…
1. There is no predicting the 2012 Dead Girl Derby Champion.
Last year, I had the league champion narrowed down to one (or maybe two) teams by the halfway point in the season. This year, good luck with that. As well-matched as the house teams were in 2011, Sunday night showed us that much has happened since the Dead Girls last took the track, all of it good.
For one thing, the Shotgun Sheilas only beat the Royal Pains by 16 points — a relatively solid win in basketball, but barely the skin of your teeth in flat track roller derby. And the truth is that most of the game was much closer than that; the lead didn’t begin to widen until relatively late in the game, and up to that point, it always seemed to be a matter of a few points in one direction or the other.
The Lethals/Sirens game was a lot like this too, with the Lovely Lethals coming out on top by a margin of only 17 points — a close shave by derby standards, but a final score of 83-66 just doesn’t reflect what a maddeningly close, hard-hitting, fist-pounding game it actually was. In fact, both games really just came down to which team was ahead when the clock happened to run out, not which team actually beat the other. If hypothetically we had no time constraints, the lead would have continually changed hands all night long until somebody dropped dead.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
The bottom line is that every game is up for grabs this year, never mind the championship, and this is a good thing. There’s nothing worse than always knowing in advance who’s going to win. Nobody wants that kind of repetitive predictability in a sports league. The Lovely Lethals are as formidable as they ever were; the Deadly Sirens pack a wallop even without their top scorer from last season, who will remain nameless; the Shotgun Sheilas look better than the Fearleaders ever did, which is saying something; and the Royal Pains are so vastly improved over last year that I hardly recognize them. This season is shaping up to be pure insanity. If attendance at Dead Girl Derby‘s games drops this year, it’s because we’re all having heart attacks from the last game we attended.