The KillaBytes had already taken some hits to the roster from Satan’s Kitten’s separated shoulder, Absolutely Scabulous’s recent concussion, and a last-minute work obligation from Catherine Beata Bones, so they were down to 13 for this bout. Spirits were high, though, because the Killas were happy to welcome back former co-captain Steffin’ Razor, whose return from knee surgery had been delayed due to a subsequent concussion. The Killas were also excited to debut a new member, Tennessee Smitan, who graduated from bootcamp this spring and made her first roster.
In true form, SVRG made it rain—literally. A couple of hours before the bout, the skies became overcast, thunder rolled in the distance, and the drizzle began. Normally, this isn’t much an issue for roller derby bouts, but the Tahoe venue was an outdoor rink, placidly set beneath the towering redwoods at a nearby park. The rain tapered off shortly before the doors were set to open, and thanks to the hard work of the refs, NSOs, and volunteers from Tahoe and SVRG, the track was squeegeed and blow-dried enough for the bout to go on with only a slight delay. Both teams were aware that the rain had made for a confounding factor, however—despite the cleanup, the floor was still super slippery. Turns were hard to hold, speed was difficult to pick up and maintain due to the lack of traction, and juking and other agile footwork was extremely difficult.
Within the first few jams, the Killas worked to adjust to the track conditions. The pack was sluggish and the jammers struggled to determine optimal speeds to make it through quickly without wiping out. The Lake Tahoe Derby Dames were particularly adept at using their momentum to deliver powerful hits to the outside, and the KillaBytes were happy to engage their strong defense with their own killa hits. Due to the track, however, almost any forceful hit ended up with at least one skater on the ground, if not both, resulting in some inadvertent low blocking and pileups.
In the fourth jam, Bozo Disposo was jamming for the first time and trying to adjust to the surface. After securing lead jammer, she saw a hit coming from the inside and decided to absorb it. Due to the track’s slickness, her skates moved in an unexpected manner and she fell in an awkward way, taking too much force on her wrist. Being the trooper that she is, Bozo immediately sat up and called off the jam, but as she skated off the track it was evident (and a hospital trip later confirmed) that her wrist was broken and needed to be reset.
Greatly saddened by yet another injury (having lost Beth Sentence to a broken ankle in the Denver bout in June and Satan’s Kitten to the aforementioned shoulder injury in the ACDG bout in July), the Killas were now down to 12 on the bench and missing a key part of their jammer rotation, which was now on the shoulders of CynTax, Zootown Throwdown, and Postal Servix, who was also doing double duty as a blocker. Coaches Aim De Kill and Kosmo Trouble helped the team refocus, and a slow-and-steady approach began to reap some benefits, allowing the Killas to creep ahead 57-25 by half-time.
After the half, the Killas leapt onto the track with new energy. Knowing the track was making the jammers’ lives miserable (not to mention those wicked hits from Tahoe’s power blocking, including Jinn Beam, Fiona Fearless, and Mad Maggie), the Killas dedicated more resources to their offense. Steffin’ Razor, clearly happy to be back on the track, strategically redirected the pack as needed. Lizapalooza and BootyVicious vocally and bodily controlled the pack, doling out solid hits with Postal Servix and Mauly Anna. Bitch Puddin’ and Tennessee Smitan worked the front and middle, using both hits and positional blocking to keep blockers at bay. Skooter Ov’r, Retox Fox, and Knuckles DeVille focused on the back of the pack, keeping jammers and pesky blockers on the ground to maximize their jammers’ scoring potential (see some of Knuckles’s work below).
Fearless rookie Tennessee Smitan also stepped in to handle a couple of jams. In the second half, the Killas jammers, working their way more cautiously through the pack, began to rack up more points per jam, including a 20-point power jam by Zootown Throwdown as Tahoe’s jammer sat in the box. Meanwhile, the Killa defense held Tahoe to only 23 points in the second half despite Tahoe having a couple of power jam opportunities, leading to a final score of 123-48.
You can see pictures from the bout on the Lake Tahoe Derby Dames Facebook page (no membership required) courtesy of Photography Hoodoo.
The KillaBytes would like to thank their amazing coaches, Pandamonium, LTO, Aim De Kill, and Pia Mess for prepping them for this bout. Extra special thanks goes to Awesome Amazing Aim De Kill, who head coached our bout and did a rad job while facing adverse conditions, and Kosmo Trouble, who stepped up to help us out. We would like to thank the ref, NSO, and volunteer crew from Tahoe and SVRG who made this bout possible in the first place by getting the track in workable condition, and thanks to our refs who traveled to Tahoe to skate with us (Jonny Demonic, Jacques Strappe, Peter Fondle, and Teapotahedron). Thanks too to all of our fellow skaters and fans who made the trip up to Tahoe to cheer us on. And big, big thanks to the Lake Tahoe girls for hosting us, giving us a tough game (and the bruises to show for it), and throwing a great afterparty!