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Happy Holiday Helpers: Goose, Diggler and Smash

Happy Holiday Helpers: Goose, Diggler, and Smash

The Silicon Valley Roller Girls spent a very special Thanksgiving with West Valley Community Services at Bowlmor Lanes in Cupertino, ensuring that many area low-income families had a day worthy of being thankful for.

Satan’s Kitten, Stevie Knickers, and Absolutely Scabulous served a beautiful Thanksgiving lunch (on roller skates of course!) alongside other Silicon Valley notables, including United Way CEO Carole Leigh Hutton, Assemblyman Paul Fong, Cupertino Mayor Kris Wang and Saratoga Councilwoman Jill Hunter.

Diggler dishes out dessert.

Diggler dishes out dessert.

Smash N’ Burn, Mongoose, Latin Crippler, Lindsay Lohanded, Catherine Beata Bones, and Cannonball Iztik worked the food line and refilled drinks, while Donna Diggler cheered families on at the bowling lanes, and Postal Servix and Beth Sentence handed out SVRG giveaways to children.

The girls were welcomed with open arms and were provided a bowling pin to sign, which will be displayed in Bowlmor’s special case alongside pins from Jason Biggs and other celebrities. They also hosted a ‘Plank-Off Against a Derby Girl’ exercise challenge against Skooter Ov’r where children vied for a chance to take home one of four frozen turkey dinners for their families!

Bowling pin autographed by SVRG

Bowling pin autographed by SVRG

West Valley Community Services is a private nonprofit agency that provides basic needs, family services, and housing assistance in Cupertino and other West Valley communities, such as Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Los Gatos, West San Jose and the unincorporated mountain region. In 2010 thus far, SVRG has completed over 550 community service hours, and looks forward to working with WVCS again soon.

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Filed under Community Service, Off the Rink, Silicon Valley Roller Girls

Skater of the Month: Retox Fox

I am very grateful to my awesome teammates for bestowing this honor upon me. However, interviewing myself is a little meta and a lot awkward. Take a shot with me and let’s roll:

How did you get into roller derby?

I was getting signals for a couple of years. As soon as a team started up in my hometown, Louisville, my dad cut out every newspaper article or ad about the Derby City Roller Girls and mailed it to me, but I didn’t have a team where I was living (in the seventh circle of Hell, or southwest Florida). When I moved to Tucson, my BFF/roommate told me he thought derby would be a perfect match for me, but grad school was eating me alive. My final push was actually seeing derby in the flesh—a friend took me to Virgin MusicFest in Baltimore and I got to see the Charm City Roller Girls demo. Then I decided I had to look into it–the timing was perfect and I really needed a new outlet. I was fortunate to find SVRG, which at the time was accepting even non-skaters like me.

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

Because my dad was a baseball coach/athletic director, I was a total jock. I played competitive softball, soccer, and volleyball growing up. I’ve  had a kickboxing phase and a gymrat phase, but now my time is devoted to derby and volleyball (which my SVRG teammates refer to as my “dirty mistress.”)

As for skating skills: ha! My first time on the rink I was congratulating myself for not having to use the wall to stand up.

How did you derive your derby name?

I’ve always been Fox, and being a damn proud Kentuckian I am rather fond of bourbon, hence the “Retox” rather than “detox.” Maker’s Mark is a favorite, so I went with 90 proof as my number.

What is your primary position?

I have no desire to have a star-shaped target on my head. I prefer to block at 3 because it requires a lot of versatility: you have to know when to switch to work with the front of the pack or the back of the pack, when to switch from offense to defense, and be able to communicate things in both directions.

What is your greatest strength as a skater?

I’m big on strategy and like to think I can make quick decisions in the midst of the jam. It’s easy to line up with a plan, but with this sport you never know when you’re going to lose someone to the penalty box or your opponent is going to spring an effective counterstrategy. You have to reevaluate the situation every few seconds, decide on a plan, and quickly communicate to your teammates to execute that plan.

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?

Skating in June against the Denver Roller Dolls’ Bruising Altitude was just phenomenal. The venue is amazing, their fans are great, and the skaters themselves are super nice, fun women to spend time with. And although we lost the bout, we owned the afterparty. I just wish Beth Sentence didn’t break her ankle during the bout.

What is your worst injury?

I sprained my ankle twice when I was just starting derby, and unfortunately it didn’t go well since I had broken that one before. It not only kept me off skates for nearly 4 months, but the collective damage now severely limits my range of motion, which is sooo not optimal for skating. I should point out, though, that both these sprains were due to my dirty mistress, volleyball, not derby.

Who’s your biggest fan?

My boyfriend, who is amazing. He came to see me skate in a bout for the first time last August, and the very next morning we were at a skate shop getting him fitted for his own pair of skates. He is very understanding that my free time is on a timeshare with derby and doesn’t complain if I’m up late handling derby business or jetting off for an away game on the weekend. If he ever sees me wince or hears me complain about being sore, he is quick with a massage or a beer. Dreamy.

Which teammates do you work well with?

On the track, if I’m up front, I work well with Knuckles DeVille, BootyVicious, and Mauly Anna. In the back I like working with Belle Wringer, Bones, or Sadie Mae Gutz because I can read where they are going and thus complement their coverage—and they’re hard hitters so it always makes my job easier getting sloppy seconds with the opposing jammer.

Off the track I work well with Absolutely Scabulous, Satan’s Kitten, and Zootown Throwdown doing head stuff. And Bitch Puddin’ and I work our livers together. It’s great just to be surrounded by so many awesome women.

The jammer shall not pass. Photo by Jim Cottingham

What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?

I am the Head of PR and Marketing, I contribute to Community Service and Safety committees, and I run this here blog. I try to help out with anything involving writing, editing, or running surveys since those be my goodest skills. As a personal trainer, I like working out with my teammates or sharing exercises with them that can help them recover from an injury or develop strength, balance, agility, and flexibility. However, I make sure to counterbalance the healthful contribution by supplying baked goods en masse, like Oreo truffles, bourbon brownies, and a variety of cookies. NOM NOM NOM. I am eating a brown sugar oatmeal cookie as I type, and it’s rad.

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life?

Places you will find me: on the volleyball court, with a book, in my kitchen, at the bar, or behind the wheel on a road trip. And, too often, working in front of my ‘puter. My life is awesome because every day I get to read/write, eat, and sweat. That’s happy.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?

Commit. Roller derby really doesn’t work as a half-assed hobby; it is a lifestyle. You have to commit your time, mind, body, and, in cases involving demons, your soul.

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Filed under Roller Derby, Silicon Valley Roller Girls, Skater of the Month, SVRG Skaters

SVRG KillaBytes topple Lake Tahoe Derby Dames, 123-48

The KillaBytes warm up under the redwoods at the Lake Tahoe Derby Dames' dreamy venue. Photo: Amy Anderson.

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.

Unfortunately, pileups were all too common on the slick surface. Here, Zootown Throwdown and a Lake Tahoe skater are entangled.

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.

Bozo Disposo on the line of the fateful jam.

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.

Left: Postal Servix skips by on a no pack; right: Zoo deftly evades a hard hit and breaks the pack.

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.

Top left: Steffin' Razor and BootyVicious pinch jammer Fiona Fearless and blocker Mad Maggie. Top right: Postal Servix's booty was rockin' everywhere. Bottom left: Lizapalooza whips Zoo past LTDD's last line of defense. Bottom right: Retox Fox and BootyVicious help clear the path for CynTax.

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).

Jammer Tennessee Smitan cleverly sneaks by on the outside as Knuckles Deville offers protection (and the Lake Tahoe jammer leaps over Knuckles's wreckage).

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!

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Filed under Roller Derby, Silicon Valley Roller Girls, SVRG Bouts

San Diego Hard Corps inch past KillaBytes, 108-105; Dot.Kamikazes quell the Dockyard Derby Dames, 158-88

Bitch Puddin' (right back) gives Mauly Anna (right front) some extra momentum as she goes in for the hit on San Diego jammer Blur D'Lee. Photo Credit: Adrian Valenzuela

Wow, for those of you who couldn’t make our doubleheader on Saturday, you missed an amazing night of roller derby!

First up, the Silicon Valley Roller Girls’ KillaBytes faced off against San Diego’s Hard Corps. In December, members of SVRG’s Dot.Kamikazes and KillaBytes had traveled to San Diego to play a scrap bout (i.e., an unofficial bout where whomever can go and play does) with a hybrid of their A and B teams and ended up losing in the last moments of the bout. Given San Diego’s stellar level of play, the Killas were looking forward to hosting them on SVRG’s home turf. The KillaBytes were also very excited to debut three new skaters who graduated from bootcamp at the end of last season and were skating in their very first bout: Absolutely Scabulous, Bozo Disposo, and Catherine Beata Bones.

Top image: Bozo Disposo, Sadie Mae Gutz, Absolutely Scabulous, and pivot BootyVicious wall up. Bottom: Why, they look so sweet on the line! Belle Ringer, Sadie, Mauly Anna, and Double Knuckles pose for a family portrait. Photo Credit: Jim Cottingham

San Diego started strong, setting the tone for the first half. They repeatedly contained the Killa blockers as their jammers raced through the pack. In the first half, San Diego jammers dominated the Killa jammers, securing lead 11 of 19 jams and taking control of the point spread. The Killa jammers, whose collective endurance lends itself to serious pack-lapping at times, never managed to get into the double digits in a single jam in the first half, although CynTax deftly maneuvered through a 9-point jam. In contrast, San Diego jammers Blur D’Lee (2 10-point jams) and Heidi Evidence (13-pt and 9-pt jams) racked up serious points, giving the Hard Corps a 62-38 lead by the end of the first half.

Left: Retox Fox and Catherine Beta Bones tag team the San Diego jammer; Right: Beth Sentence puts some booty into it to control the jammer.

The Killas reconfigured at halftime, but were still struggling into the fifth jam, when Blur D’Lee racked up a 20-point jam and the San Diego bench went wild at their 40 point lead, 91-51. The cheering made its way to the KillaBytes, and somewhere in that moment the tide turned. The Killas managed to turn up their offense and their defense simultaneously. Sadie Mae Gutz, Belle Wringer, and Retox Fox doled out big hits at the back of the pack and kept the Hard Corps jammers contained or on the floor. Captain Knuckles DeVille, BootyVicious, and Beth Sentence smartly controlled the front of the pack, teaming up with Mauly Anna, Bitch Puddin’, Spankin’ Firecracker, Absolutely Scabulous, Bones, and Bozo Disposo to optimize the Killa jammers’ scoring via offensive blocking and a few power whips.

The rookies rocked it last night! Absolutely Scabulous assists Catherine Beta Bones, who had the KillaBytes' highest scoring jam at 17 points.

The Killas kept the Hard Corps scoreless for six consecutive jams, recovering those 40 points and then some to pull ahead 96-91. Catherine Beata Bones shined in her debut bout, racking up the Killas’ highest scoring jam of the night at 17 points. Co-Captain Zootown Throwdown laid down a 10-point jam, and Beth Sentence, making her debut as a jammer, secured an 11-point jam. Double threat BootyVicious and CynTax rounded out the jamming rotation.

Left: Killas Co-Captain Zootown Throwdown sneaks past PT Bruiser. Photo Credit: Jim Cottingham. Right: Captain Knuckles DeVille crushes Summer Crush. Photo Credit: Adrian Valenzuela.

With 1:37 left on the clock, the game was tied 99-99. The coaches sent out their strongest packs for what appeared to be the final showdown, and Zootown Throwdown took the line against Blur D’Lee—a faceoff of the two skaters who would eventually be named their respective team’s MVPs. Killas Knuckles, Sadie, Belle, and Fox contained the nimble Blur as Zoo zipped through the pack and secured lead jammer. The Killa jammer made a full scoring pass and started on another before calling off the jam with 37 seconds left on the clock. Zoo pulled six points as the Killa pack held Blur scoreless, pushing the Killas into the lead, 105-99. The home crowd screamed as the points appeared on the scoreboard, but the Killas would have to hold down the fort for one more jam. Right off the line, the Hard Corps mapped a perfect strategy and were able to get Heidi Evidence lead jammer status. Knowing she had two minutes to work with, she raced through the pack twice and called off the jam after she hit the floor at the front of the pack. There were tense moments as the referees conferred and the scoreboard remained unchanged, but then the final score was announced. Heidi Evidence scored 9 points in the final jam, securing the win for San Diego. Although the Silicon Valley fans were disappointed at the loss, the thrill of the battle still had its rewards, and the Killas were congratulated for their amazing second half comeback. ‘Til we meet again, San Diego…

MisTits, walling up front with Postal Servix, helps Smash 'n' Burn clear the pack. Photo credit: Adrian Valenzuela

The Dot.Kamikazes were anticipating the faceoff against the Dockyard Derby Dames because one of their coaches, the infamous Hollywood Chuck Barry, had paid SVRG a couple of visits during the off season and put them through some strenuous conditioning and skills practices. The Dots wanted to prove to Chuck that their newly minted thighs of steel could hold up against the Dames’ Wave of Mutilation.

Pia Mess multitasks, picking jammer T'erin Traxx off the line and clearing the path for Smack Dahlia. Photo credit: Jim Cottingham

The Dot.Kamikazes started strong and never let up. Smack Dahlia laid down a 9-point jam to kick off the game while the Dots’ pack never released Dakota D. Stroya to score. Although the Dames kept the margin close for much of the first half, the Dots never surrendered the lead, pulling ahead to 75-56 by halftime buoyed by two 9-point jams and a half-ending 13-point jam by Pia Mess.

Left: Rot Wheels helps clear the way for Smash 'n' Burn while Pia Mess eyes the Dockyard jammer. Credit: Adrian Valenzuela. Right: Donna Diggler contains a Dame. Credit: Jim Cottingham.

Although the Dames’ T’erin Traxx and Rocky Hardplace made the pack significantly less jammer-friendly, the Dots’ offensive blocking cleared timely paths for their jammers while Rot Wheels, Death by Dollface, Pia Mess, and Lizapalooza (also a regular whip machine), kept a powerhouse defense at the back of the pack.

Left: Feisty Irish goes after a Dockyard jammer. Photo: Adrian Valenzuela. Right: Postal Servix and Kimfectious maintain a hard wall in front of the Dockyard jammer as Smack Dahlia sneaks up on the pack. Photo: Jim Cottingham.

Kimfectious, Feisty Irish, and Postal Servix, who all donned the pivot cap during the bout, Skooter Ov’r, and BootyVicious, fresh from the Killas game, filled out the pack. Donna Diggler connected on some vicious and crowd-pleasing hits. MisTits showed the crowd why her teammates recently crowned her Skater of the Month. As pivot, she nimbly switched from defense to offense, whipping her jammers out of the pack. After repeatedly flooring the Dames’ jammers, she directed them to what very may well be the least desired position on the track: having to re-enter the track, sans momentum, right behind Tits.

Smack Dahlia (58 pts.), Smash ‘n’ Burn (32 pts.), Pia Mess (43 pts.), Death by Dollface (5 pts.), and rookie Betta Watchit (20 pts.) filled out the jammer rotation. Pia Mess (7.17 points per jam) and Smack Dahlia (5.27 points per jam) impressively averaged over one scoring pass each jam. Smack proved to be the grand slam champ in the second half, earning lead jammer in every appearance and racking up a 13-pt., 2 10-pt, and an 8-pt jam. Donna Diggler and Kimfectious nobly stepped to the line for the final two jams, although both were held scoreless by a hard-hitting Dames’ pack. In the end, the Dots triumphed, 158-88.

Lizapalooza (off camera, to right) lends a helping hand to rookie Betta Watchit. Photo: Adrian Valenzuela

We would like to thank both of our opponent teams for traveling in from San Diego and Tacoma to come play us. Thank you to our amazing SVRG coaches: Pandamonium, who spends so much time off the track getting us in shape strategically; LTO, whose passion for coaching is communicated in every hand signal; Pia Mess, who whips us into such great derby shape; and Aim De Kill, who is cultivating the derby girls of tomorrow. We would like to thank our hardworking ref and NSO staff for keeping us all in line.

Special thanks to Jim Cottingham and Adrian Valenzuela for their photography and helping us share the glory with those of you who missed the bout. You can see Jim’s Killas photos here and Dots photos here; also check out his main page here, which includes some sweet galleries from Mavericks, aviation pics, and more. Adrian has Killas pics here and Dots pics here; you can also order prints from his website. (Hint: derby girls love them!)

And, as always, thanks to our friends, families, fans, sponsors, and other supporters for making this all possible!

The Dot.Kamikazes were anticipating this faceoff because the Dockyard Derby Dames’ coach, Hollywood Chuck Barry, had paid SVRG a couple of visits during the off season and put them through some strenuous conditioning and skills practices. The Dots wanted to prove to Chuck that their newly minted thighs of steel could hold up against the Dames’ Wave of Mutilation.

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SVRG sorts with RAFT

From left: Death by Dollface, Absolutely Scabulous, Belle Wringer, Retox Fox, Satan's Kitten, Knuckles DeVille, Beth Sentence, and Bozo Disposo at RAFT.

The ladies of SVRG kicked off the new year with a service opportunity sorting school supplies at the Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT). RAFT is an amazing organization that collects donations and used supplies from businesses and then recycles or repurposes them to benefit teachers. We spent most of the day going through bins full of donated binders, organizing them by size and color, which can then be reused or, if damaged, are cut apart for use in other projects. Many binders have a clear plastic sheet on the front so that you can slide in a descriptive front page–but because of their stiff backs and the clear material, they can operate as sort of mini-whiteboards with dry erase markers. (It also got me to thinking that that would be a great thing for when I use recipes torn out of magazines–you can protect it from moisture and other splatters, but still use a dry erase marker to make notes as needed.)

We had a good time and, especially because SVRG has many mothers and teachers, were happy to know that Bay Area educators would benefit from our labor. We look forward to revisiting RAFT soon! See more pics of our visit here.

Kitten in a box (full of binders, not litter).

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SVRG has a fun and derbyful weekend

The Silicon Valley Roller Girls’ season officially ended at the November bout, but we’ve still been workin’ it out and taking any derby opportunity that rolls our way. This weekend SVRG members made appearances at Red Red Holiday, a mixed scrimmage hosted by Sac City, and a scrap team (translation: anyone who had the time & money to travel) meandered down to face some of the San Diego Derby Dolls.

Red Red was particularly exciting this year because we got to send a lot of our new blood for some scrimmage experience. In addition to SVRG vets Steffen Razor (Team Orange) and MisTits (Dark Green), five of our interns got their first taste of bouting: Bozo Disposo (Dark Blue), Cannonball Iztik (Black), Absolutely Scabulous (Red), Blanca Basura Barbie (Pink) and Catherine Beata Bones (Light Green). The ladies had a wonderful time, and three were on the top teams. Barbie’s team, Pink (too appropriate!), took first place, MisTits’s Dark Green took second, and Steffen’s Orange took third. Congratulations!

In the meantime, a bunch of scrappers were bouting in San Diego. There was a question of whether the bout would even take place, because the roof at the Del Mar Fairgrounds was leaking in several places above the concrete track. Thing is, you can’t just tell derby girls there’s no derby. After consulting both teams, SDDD’s Bonnie D. Stroir declared that the game would go on, with some brave volunteers actively toweling the wet spots on the floor.

Because SVRG couldn’t field a whole team, we were grateful for the assistance of a couple of Central Coast Roller Derby ladies, Ivanator and Lacy Thunderware, to help fill our roster. Ivana joined Pia Mess, Death by Dollface, CynTax, and Betta Watchit (in her bout debut)  in the jamming rotation, while Rot Wheels, Kimfectious, Lizapalooza, Belle Wringer, Satan’s Kitten, Bitch Puddin’, Retox Fox, and BootyVicious performed blocker duties. Refs Texas Tea Bag and All Nate Long made the trip with the team, and the most honorable Aim De Kill tackled lineups for the group since her knee injury kept her off the track.

The game was a close one, with SVRG up by only ten points at half time. The tide turned in the second half, however, when SVRG often had more players in the penalty box than on the track. On numerous occasions SVRG was plagued by confusion, because a skater would get sent to the box only to find it chock full of her teammates, at which point she would have to return to the track until she was sent back. Before the midpoint of the second half, SVRG was down two skaters as both Ivanator and Lacy Thunderware had been ejected. SDDD wisely used their perpetual blocker advantage; having more blockers on the floor for nearly every jam allowed them to play woman-on-woman defense and keep one blocker solely on the SVRG jammer, limiting SVRG’s scoring. SDDD also made the most of a couple of power jams when SVRG had their jammer in the box. Gradually, they inched closer and closer, finally securing the lead in the last three jams of the night. SDDD defeated the SVRG scrappers, 97-82. One of our photographers, Adrian Valenzuela, made the trip down with us and you can see a couple of his shots here and a full Flickr set here. You can also check out other pics from the game here.

But the derby wasn’t over for the weekend. SDDD graciously hosted us at their amazing warehouse the next day so some of us could skate on a banked track for the first time. As Satan’s Kitten noted, we were all “SVRG green with envy” about the team’s space, which had room for a banked track, a regular track, workout equipment, lounging area, kids’ play area, and plenty of storage. Some of our previous night’s opponents, Bully Julie and Lila Monster, were there to give us some lessons on how to maximize our speed, hit legally, and take hits on the rail. Despite getting a serious workout the night before, we were all super psyched for the opportunity to skate on the banked track. THANK YOU SDDD and especially Julie and Lila for letting us come skate! You all are awesome!

L: SVRG hearts SDDD! On couch, Lila Monster, Bitch Puddin', Retox Fox, and Satan's Kitten; standing, Bully Julie and Belle Wringer. R: Belle, Kitten, Kimfectious, and Fox on the banked track.

L: Kimfectious and Betta Watchit on the rails. R: Kitten roars on the track.

Of course, that’s not enough derby for some of us. Some of the girls who had skated this weekend (Steffen, Dollface, Disposo, Belle, Fox, and Kimfectious) joined their teammates in welcoming some of the Santa Cruz Derby Girls for a mixed scrimmage last night. Lulu Lockjaw, Hell Louise, Pippi Hardsocking, Roxy Scarmichael, and CinZilla came out to skate with us and it was a fun evening for all. Thanks to all the refs and NSOs who made it possible, and a personal thanks to Broken Baby Doll, Panda, and the rest of the crew who came to my aid after my injury. Congratulations to Team Girth (Pandamonium, Hell Louise, Smack Dahlia, Lindsay Lohanded, Beth Sentence, Donna Diggler, Steffen, Fox, and Knuckles) who defeated Team White (Lulu, Dollface, Pippi, Roxy, CinZilla, Belle, Kimfectious, Smash ‘n’ Burn, and Disposo). Thanks to Jim Cottingham, who came out to photograph us (pics here), and a big thanks to SCDG for coming to visit!

Photo credit: Jim Cottingham

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KillaBytes Topple Santa Cruz Harbor Hellcats, 122-109

SVRG, SCRG, and the SC groms after the bout. Photo credit: Jim Cottingham

SVRG, SCRG, and the SC groms after the bout. Photo credit: Jim Cottingham

The KillaBytes were full of excitement for their fourth official bout of the season, and all the better that they were facing the Harbor Hellcats from SVRG’s favorite friendly rival, the Santa Cruz Derby Girls. The anticipation continued to build as the announcement was made that the Civic Auditorium had sold out and the teams would be facing off in front of a packed house of more than 1,100 derby fans. The KillaBytes wanted to hold on to SVRG’s reign after the Dot.Kamikazes defeated SCDG’s Boardwalk Bombshells in a thrilling throwdown this past June; the Harbor Hellcats were equally motivated to take back the crown and send the Valley girls home with a loss.

Although this was the first showdown for these teams, several players had encountered each other on the rink before. A few KillaBytes had played against the Hellcats before when the Bytes helped fill out the roster for the Brentwood Brawlin’ Betties earlier this year. Also, both the KillaBytes and the Hellcats roster for this game featured several A/B swing players that had played against each other when the A-teams faced off in June. There was plenty of new blood, however; both teams also featured skaters making their official bout debuts: Satan’s Kitten, Belle Wringer, and Beth Sentence for the KillaBytes and Hallie Peña Popper and Astrid Avenger for the Hellcats. Going into the match, the teams were well-matched on skill, experience, and, yes, a little bloodlust.

The KillaBytes had been practicing as a team leading up to the bout, but some last minute roster changes rattled their nerves a bit. Aim DeKill managed to contract an ear infection from the SVRG Jell-O wrestling fundraiser the previous weekend, so the KillaBytes were short one of their captains and a powerful pivot. The team resolved to win one for their MamaByte, and alternate Feisty Irish stepped in for blocking duty. The team suffered another roster shakeup right before the game when Juicy K. Tore, who was set to block and jam, got a nasty case of shin splints during the warmup. Santa Cruz graciously dispatched Shamrock N. Roller to try to soothe the Juice, but she was fearful of a recurrence during the game. With great disappointment, she requested that the second alternate, Smack Dahlia, come out of the stands to take her place, but Smack was only permitted to block. Because of the last minute change, Smack’s only warmup consisted of the rollout during the team introductions.

Left: Skoot and Fox hold the Santa Cruz jammer while Secret Servix whips off of The Beast. Right: Smack Dahlia and Beth Sentence wall up to contain the Santa Cruz blockers. Photos: Jim Cottingham

Left: Skoot and Fox hold the Santa Cruz jammer while Postal Servix whips off of The Beast. Right: Smack Dahlia and Beth Sentence wall up to contain the Santa Cruz blockers. Photos: Jim Cottingham

Now down a jammer, the pressure was on the KillaByte jammer rotation. Zootown Throwdown kicked off the bout with a 9-0 shutout jam, quickly followed by a 4-0 jam by Postal Servix to get the KillaBytes off to a strong start. Over the course of the game, Zootown scored a remarkable 55 points, Servix snagged lead jammer 7 times, and CynTax delivered a decisive high-scoring jam in the second half that sealed SCDG’s fate. Feisty Irish and SKooter Ov’r also took the line once each for SVRG. Santa Cruz relied mostly on the speedy Liv N. Letdie, Pippi Hardsocking, Kiki Clash, and Cleopatra Catastrophe at the jammer line. It was also worth noting that throughout the bout, jammers from both teams were aggressive, leading to some hot jammer-on-jammer action. Servix and Feisty Irish both went after their opposing jammers, and Santa Cruz’s Liv N. Letdie frequently engaged Zootown while Pippi Hardsocking bounced several blockers.

The game featured some killer defense. Top left: Some of The Beast's aftermath. Top right: Fox socks a wincing Pippi. Bottom left: Beast and Dirty put the squeeze on Liv N. Letdie. Bottom right: Pigeon executes a killer C-block on Postal Servix. Photos by Kelco (top left, top right, bottom left) and Jim Cottingham (bottom right).

The game featured some killer defense. Top left: Some of The Beast’s aftermath. Top right: Fox socks a wincing Pippi. Bottom left: Beast and Dirty put the squeeze on Liv N. Letdie. Bottom right: Pigeon executes a killer C-block on Postal Servix. Photos by Kelco (top left, top right, bottom left) and Jim Cottingham (bottom right).

With such a speedy and effective group of jammers, both teams’ defense was crucial in this game. Indeed, the game was filled with solid blocks, relentless waterfalls, and killer hits. Co-captain Steffen Razor typically ran the front of the pack, with Servix, Smack, and Feisty also serving pivot duty. Beth Sentence, Belle Wringer, and Satan’s Kitten walled up with the pivot and helped hold the line against SCDG’s persistent jammers—no small feat given that the Santa Cruz track has tighter turns than most tracks, and thus additional dexterity and precision is required. Mauly Anna and Dirty Thirty used their experience to communicate with their teammates and moved around the pack to address the local threat. Feisty Irish was a constant menace, singlehandedly containing jammers at the back of the pack, while Retox Fox sat on jammers if they tried to force their way through the pack. The Beast was as formidable a force as always, bouncing jammers and blockers alike and leaving a trail of fallen girls in her wake. She met her match in Santa Cruz’s powerful Pigeon, and the fours often battled it out at the back of the pack, helping their respective jammers while putting their opponents on the floor. Indeed, these two ladies kept the crowd going wild watching their handiwork.

Left: Skoot provides some offensive coverage to jammer Zootown. Right: Coach Panda looks on as Hue Refner ejects SKooter for her fifth penalty in the half. Photos: Jim Cottingham

Left: SKoot provides some offensive coverage to jammer Zootown. Right: Coach Panda looks on as Hue Refner ejects SKooter for her fifth penalty in the half. Photos: Jim Cottingham

SKooter Ov’r also did considerable blocking for the KillaBytes, using her positional blocking skills as well as some killer curving hits to floor some jammers. Unfortunately, her big hits attracted attention from the refs, and she got boxed all too frequently—as in five-times-in-one-half too frequently. SKoot became the first KillaByte to be ejected from a game for penalty accumulation. But, as the Santa Cruz announcers noted, she did it while maintaining sportswomanlike behavior, and so after Hue Refner gave her the thumb-over-the-shoulder, they graced her with a farewell lap while the scoreboard flashed, “BAD GIRL.”

Coaches Left Turn Only and Pandamonium. Their brains are so in synch that their outfits naturally match themselves. Photo: Nocklebeast

Coaches Left Turn Only and Pandamonium. Their brains are so in synch that their outfits naturally match themselves. Photo: Nocklebeast

The ejection left SVRG down a blocker, but at this point in the game each team was fighting to keep five on the track. The penalty whiteboard was filled with players who were one minor away from a trip to the box, and both teams’ coaches selectively staffed their jams hoping to keep as many players on the track as possible. With less than fifteen minutes left to go in the game, the two teams were still trading off jams and keeping the score tight. At this point it was clear just how evenly matched these teams were on skill—now it was a matter of strategy. SVRG coaches Pandamonium and Left Turn Only were ON IT. With one eye on the scoreboard, one eye on the penalty board, one eye on the box, one eye on the bench, and one eye on the emerging Santa Cruz lineup (yes, collectively they MUST have at least five eyes), they were able to decide on, condense, and dispatch strategies in the mere seconds between each jam. Their efforts showed a superhuman attention to every detail of the game and in the last minutes, it was their guidance that helped the KillaBytes pull ahead of the Hellcats and bring the win back to the Valley.

Some Dot.Kamikazes and other SVRG supporters shake up the stands as they cheer on the KillaBytes. Photos: Jim Cottingham

Some Dot.Kamikazes and other SVRG supporters shake up the stands as they cheer on the KillaBytes. Photos: Jim Cottingham

The KillaBytes would like to thank first and foremost their amazing coaches, Pandamonium, Left Turn Only, and Pia Mess for preparing them for this game; our wonderful pack o’ zebras; our awesome SVRG cheering section, who stirred up the arena despite being outnumbered 10 to 1; and the gracious hostesses with the mostesses, the fantastic ladies of SCDG. I am not alone in saying this was the most fun bout of the season, and we have Santa Cruz to thank for it. Thanks to the Santa Cruz Derby Groms for putting on such an amazing half-time show: it is refreshing to see the derby girls of tomorrow carrying the torch for our sport. Thanks to all of the photographers and videographers who helped film the bout, especially our team photographer Jim Cottingham. Thanks again to all of our fans, sponsors, and supporters. The KillaBytes will see you at our next home bout in November!

Want to hear more about the bout? Hit up Killer Vee’s writeup here. She’s got some great jam-by-jam data.

You can see Jim Cottingham’s photos here, Nocklebeast’s here, and Kelco‘s here.

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