A post-bout analysis of the 2016 TXRD Roller Derby Championship of the Cherry Bombs vs. the Hellcats.
It has all come down to this. The final two teams will fight for the glory of hoisting above their sweat soaked brows that most celebrated of sports achievements: the Calvello Cup. Symbol of victory. Validation that all those sacrifices were worth it. The Hellcats have made a mad dash for the top since their first game this season. They’re a team that came in with a plan: fix it. They brought in former ref Neil B4 Zod as coach, and under his tutelage they left all opponents in the dust. They have but one final challenge for all glory to go to the Kittens. And that challenge is the Cherry Bombs. The Bombs path to the top was not as straight of a shot as the Hellcats, but they tackled the challenge with the kind of tenacity that you would expect from these firecrackers. They may be the underdogs, but that doesn’t mean they’re underrated, and anyone looking to stand victorious at the center of the Thunderdome will have to go through their bomb-field first.
The championship kicked off with Jammit Janet of the Hellcats picking up five points in the first jam against the Cherry Bomb’s Bendy Davis. The next couple of jams would be a bit of a slow start, and only eventually did Rocky Casbah bring in one point on a jam to put the Bombs on the scoreboard. Scrappy would soon add to the Cherry Bombs total with a four point jam against Janet, and Bendy would eek out another point jamming against Hellcat Break N’ Bake. The Cherry Bombs defense would look good early as Rocky Casbah and Bully Jean teamed up like a dynamic-duo of punishment to clear the way for Joleit Jane to score two points. But the jam was just a bit dirty and on a re-skate Mo-Lest-her would shake off the Bombs defense to the tune of six points for the Hellcats. Rocky would get a little roughed up early in the game, but I’m pretty sure that lady is part Wolverine because she was healed up and back on the track before the end of the quarter. Train Wreck Trina would close out the first quarter with a two point jam for the Bombs and the period would end with a low tied score of 12 – 12.
The Hellcats would hit it hard to start the second quarter with Break N’ Bake scoring four points while Knottie Knoxville kept Rocky Casbah in check. But then, like a ninja out of the darkness came…Ninja Please (okay, all the jokes can’t be A material, people) for the Bombs and she stole four points and vanished into…well, the bench at the center of the ring. (I’m just saying, it’s not very mysterious, Ninja. Work on it.) But a ninja’s work is never done and she jumped right back into the fray to help Train Wreck bottle up Hellcat Hannthrax and allow Bendy Davis to earn a tidy five points. Alas, Ninja was a bit overenthusiastic and found herself in the penalty box with Hellcat Glitterotica. Seizing the opportunity, Hannthrax jumped out in front and made up three points for the Kitties. The blocking would continue to shine as Rolla Parks and Milla Juke-a-bitch held up Jammit Janet, and the Hellcats kept Joliet Jane blocked up at the back of the pack, but Janet kept at it and was eventually able to get out in front for four points. Glitterotica’s enthusiastic play style would earn her another trip to the penalty box and Rocky Casbah would seize the opportunity to get herself five points. Milla and Bully would would continue the solid defensive performance for the Bombs that would help Train Wreck jam for six points, and Bendy Davis would cap off the second quarter with a nine point jam for the Bombs. With the Bombs play coming together like a Voltron Lion, the second half would close with the Cherry Bombs pulling ahead at 39 – 22.
The start of the third quarter would have Rolla Parks in the box for playing a little too rough with Jammit Janet. Followed by a somewhat confusing jam that was called off before Nina Please and Break N’ Bake could make any points happen. Soon after, Break N’ Bake would square off against Rocky Casbah, but have to call off the jam defensively with Rocky chasing her down like a three year old girl at a princess party. Tired of the other girls getting all the glory, Heathen would bulldoze out to get five points for the Hellcats. Train Wreck would then take a long jam to score nine points for the Bombs, making a special point of scoring the last point off of Glitterotica who, until then, had played “runaway kitty” to keep Train Wreck at bay. Next Break N’ Bake would go up against Scrappy in a tough jam, but manage to eek out one point for the Hellcats. The Cherry Bombs would soon face a setback as Ninja Please would get flagged four her third major infraction get ejected from the game. (Once again, just use those ninja skills and no one will even know you’re there!) On the re-skate from that penalty, Scrappy would earn back Bakers point plus one more for good measure. Baker would continue to fight hard for the Hellcats and on a tough jam is able to get out in front, but she wasn’t clean, so when Rocky eventually made it out of the pack, she called off the jam to keep Baker from scoring any points for her efforts. The defenses would stay strong at the end of the quarter with Soviet Crusha, Mo-Lest-her and Glitterotica keeping Train Wreck in check, and Rolla Parks sitting on Heathen for a scoreless jam. By the close of the quarter, the Bombs had grown their lead to 52 – 27.
The final quarter would have a slow start until Jammit Janet scored two points against Rocky. Break N’ Bake would call off another jam for the Hellcat’s, this time against Rolla Parks. Then Rocky Casbah would liven things up by jumping the apex with the same look on her face that you get when you give a toddler a double espresso, and added another point to the Cherry Bombs lead. Soon after, Glitterotica would send Joliet Jane into the rail with a hard hit that the referees would take exception to. This would be Glitterotica’s third major and she would follow Ninja in the walk of shame out of the ring. The Hellcats would try to step up their defenses late in the bout as Baker tried to hold back Train Wreck, but Train Wreck went off the rails (Did you see what I did there?) for another Cherry Bomb score. Heathen manages to break out of the pack early against Scrappy, but the Cherry Bombs run away like reason at a Trump rally (That’s right. The W.C. just got political, yo.) to hold her to one point and allow Scrappy get one point of her own. The Bombs would runaway again to keep Janet to a single score, but on a re-skate Bendy Davis would score nine points as Janet looked sluggish. Rocky would end the bout the way she started, with punishment (this time in the form of a face full of rail). In the final jam of the championship, Break N’ Bake would go all out to earn a whopping seven points to Louis Slay’n’s one. But the Bombs were just too far out of reach and the final score would be Cherry Bombs 63, Hellcats 39.
What can be said about the 2016 Calvello Cup Championship? When I started covering TXRD at the start of this season, it was already apparent that the Hellcats had their eye on the prize. Not once did they waver from their newfound convictions to be the best. They trained hard, they played harder, and if things went south they didn’t bitch, but just hit it all the harder the next time. So why didn’t they walk home with the glory this year? From what I saw it was the death of a thousand cuts. Everything that the Hellcats did great this last season, the Cherry Bombs did just a little bit better in this bout. The Cherry Bombs pack work was just a little bit better. Their teamwork just a little bit stronger. Their jammers just a half step faster. Was this a clean bout? Not by a long shot. The lovely and talented Rosy Behind commented that this may be the most major penalties in any bout yet played at TXRD, and she just may be right. But in the end it wasn’t the penalties that cost anyone the game, it was those thousand little things that just stack up too high by the end of the night. It’s going to be a long wait until next years season opener, so all the hard hits, anguished cries, triumphant tears and filthy, filthy profanity of this years Calvello Cup Championship will have to echo through memory to keep us all satisfied until we can come back again. Congratulations to the Hellcats for everything they accomplished this season. Congratulations to the 2016 Calvello Cup Championship winners: the Cherry Bombs, you ladies earned every inch of it!
Let’s end on a downer, shall we? Train Wreck Trina and Glitterotica have both made the claim that this will be their last season. I’m sure they’re not the only ones who’s wheels will no longer rumble across the boards of the Thunderdome’s ring. So to all of you who are passing quietly (Or not so quietly. I’m looking at you, Glitter.), just know that we miss you already. The game is better with you in it.
Thank you to everyone who still reads this blog. Without you I would be just another series of ones and zeros adrift in a sea of data. I truly appreciate it.
Special thanks to Jeffrey McMillan for letting me do things to his photos that shouldn’t be allowed in polite society.
We’ll see you around the track.
W.C. signing off.