Your guest correspondent for the WFTDA National Tournament is Crotch Rock-It from Red Stick Roller Derby. We hope that you enjoy your Crotch.
This morning we woke up early enough to get all the requisite touristy crap out of the way before the tournament started. So we walked about a mile to the historic district and saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. After getting our fill of history, we went to the Reading Terminal Market and stuffed ourselves with yummy cheesesteak.
After lunch, it was derby time! The first day's bouts involved all of the 2nd and 3rd ranked teams, and while there was lots of great derby, there weren't any big surprises as I managed to correctly pick all four of the opening bouts. The first bout, Madison vs. Boston, was the most competitive and entertaining of the day. Boston gained an early lead and seemed to be taking control, but Madison stormed back and took the lead about halfway through the first half and held on until halftime, Madison 76, Boston 62. The second half was more of the same as the teams swapped leads several times, but the Massacre was able to pull out a narrow 104-96 victory.
The second bout was Rocky Mountain vs. Houston. Rocky shocked everyone in the West Regionals by coming out of nowhere and claiming 2nd place in the tournament. Today they proved that they deserve to be here by pummelling Houston for 60 minutes straight. By halftime, they were up 142-5, and by the time the dust had settled, Houston was staring at the wrong end of a 239-46 blowout. Even though Houston has a ways to go to become competitive with the top tier teams, I give them credit for giving it their all the entire bout.
Next up was Denver vs. Kansas City, and I've got to say that this was the most irritating bout I've ever watched, and the frequent boos from the crowd back me up on this. Denver seemed to be confusing the pivot line for a water cooler, because they hung out there for a while at the start of almost every jam. I half expected them to break out some cigarettes and start puffing away right there on the track. I've never seen such a slow-paced, frequently stopped pack before. But to Denver's credit, it seemed to be working for them, as they were ahead comfortably for most of the first half. KC had gained some momentum with a 20 point powerjam with about 9:00 left in the half that brought them within 10 points, but Denver then countered with a few 20+ point powerjams themselves to go up 100-49 at halftime. The second half continued the trend of players stopping for power naps on the track, and Denver cruised to a 175-89 victory. The high point of the bout was when KC called a timeout with 1 second left. Then they put their big bruiser Eclipse in as jammer for the first time that night. Denver tried their usual tricks, but I could almost hear Eclipse humming the song "Move bitch! Get out the way!" as she repeatedly brushed Denver's blockers aside to score 15 points. Perhaps KC should've tried that strategy sooner.
The final bout of the night was Gotham vs. Detroit. There's not much to say about it. Gotham did what they do best, win convincingly. They were up 86-25 at the half, and the lead had grown to 187-38 by the time the final whistle blew. I've never seen any of these teams in person before except Boston, and Gotham really impressed me out of all of them. This win earns them a spot against Oly in Saturday's quarterfinals, and I'd wager that it will be the most anticipated bout tomorrow, as Oly attempts to prove once and for all that they are the real deal. A win against mighty Gotham would do just that. I can't wait!