As you’re all aware by now, Fountain City Roller Derby kicked off its 2018 season with quite a bang Saturday night, and the incredible crowd at B&D Skate Center witnessed possibly the best Fountain City home opener in quite some time.
We’ve said many times in the past that Game Ones are notoriously unreliable predictors of the overall arc a season will take. But as sometimes happens in this amazing sport, this weekend there were a few surprises, an unfortunate injury, and much to learn.
3. The Deadly Sirens are back.
There’s no point in mincing words here — the Deadly Sirens have struggled, and it’s not always easy to see why.
Historically, this is a team with phenomenal coaching and a roster packed with talent, but for one reason or another, they haven’t been able to get things off the ground for long. They’ve landed in or near last place every season since they played in the championship game in 2011, and to this day, they remain the only team in Fountain City to have never won the house trophy — while the other three teams have won it at least twice each.
“What’s the problem?” may have seemed like the pertinent question over the last several seasons, but at this point, the Sirens seem to have answered it and fixed what was apparently broken. If you followed along on Twitter Saturday night, you saw the Ladies in Teal take down a formidably rebuilding Lovely Lethals squad 89-41, outscoring the Pink more than 2 to 1 and looking phenomenal doing it.
Every Sirens fan in attendance, probably.
All the love in the world, but that would never have happened as recently as last season. And yes, the Lethals were skating with eight new players (on a 14-player team), but that does nothing to diminish the inalterable conclusion we came to this weekend: the Sirens are back, and you can dismiss them at your own risk.
2. The Shotgun Sheilas may still be the team to beat.
All right, look. For the better part of the last six years, it’s mostly been a slugfest between the Shotgun Sheilas and the Royal Pains. One of these two teams has won the house trophy every year since 2012, with the exception of 2016, when the Lethals took everyone by surprise. So fans could be forgiven for wondering if maybe we weren’t in store for more of the same this year.
Who’s to say?
It’s never a good idea to count out the Royal Pains in general, and it’s definitely not wise to make predictions with only one game out of the way. But the Sheilas took this game pretty handily over the Pains, final score 75-52, and because of that and the way the Sirens dominated in their game, we can’t help but wonder if the championship game might look a little different this year.
Again, way too early to tell, but Saturday night was a wake-up call for anyone who might have thought we’d be getting the same old thing this season. The Sirens made sure of that, and the Sheilas may just be the team to beat — again — in 2018.
1. Derby love is alive and well in Kansas City.
OK, we didn’t really learn this Saturday night as much as we were simply reminded of it. But one of the things we love here at KC Derby Digest — and do our best to promote and encourage — is the way the Kansas City leagues often support one another.
Fountain City often has quite a few representatives in the audience at KCRW bouts, and this weekend, the Roller Warriors sent quite a contingent of their own to cheer on their favorite players and teams in Fountain City.
Pictured: derby love.
Of course, this isn’t the first time they’ve done this, and we’ve always thought it was fantastic when they did. Because frankly, this is how it’s done. This is how you build a strong derby community.
As much as it might seem like the leagues are competing against one another for fans and ticket revenue, truly, they’re not. Fans might not know this, but the leagues have gone to some great lengths, particularly in recent years, to avoid scheduling their games on the same nights as other leagues, and it’s precisely because they’re not trying to compete against them.
Kansas City is more than big enough to support the leagues we have, and in fact, it was big enough to support past leagues that had to dissolve for various reasons too. It was phenomenal seeing all these familiar faces in the crowd Saturday night, and we hope it continues.
We’re all Derby PeopleTM, and there’s plenty of room for everyone.
So right now, we’d like to issue a friendly challenge to everyone involved with the Kansas City roller derby community: support the leagues you don’t play for.
Whether you play for KCRW, Fountain City, or the Missouri River Rollers, you could be seriously missing out if you aren’t at least checking out one of their events.
Go to their bouts, learn their rule set, buy some merch, and wear your own team/league colors while you’re at it. There’s nothing in the world wrong with representing your own league everywhere you go, and doing so at another league’s events can really build community and raise awareness for this phenomenal sport in the Kansas City area.
Many of you already do this on a regular basis, and we’d like to encourage even more to join in. The sport of roller derby can only benefit from supporting its own.