Texecutioners Want to Bruise the Georgia Peach
It's been a rough year for the Texies, but they rolled out of the last ever WFTDA South Central Regionals as number one after a knock-down, drag-out fight with nationals hosts, the Atlanta Rollergirls. That win gives them a first round by, and Friday off, until they face the winner of Friday's bout between the highly competitive Philly Roller Girls and the smash-mouth style of the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls.
Neither will be an easy match. The Texies haven't faced Philly since May 2011, when the ladies of the City of Brotherly Love won 142-76. It wasn't much more fun last time Texas faced the San Fran wrecking crew: They took a 159-88 loss at home in the 2012 Star of Texas Bowl. But if there's one truth about the Austin-based originators of the sport of flat track Roller Derby, it's that they always look best in a tight spot.
Can't make it to Atlanta before first whistle? The entire weekend will be broadcast via www.wftda.tv. Viewing passes are on sale now for $12, or for $50 you can get access to the complete archive of all four regional tourneys as well.
Why "the last ever WFTDA South Central Regionals"? Because next year the league shifts away from regionals to four tiered tournaments. In a radical shift, they'll be mixing up the top teams from each region, creating a lot of new possibilities and interesting match-ups. There's concern that it could mean the toughest regions – East and West – could dominate from the first rounds. On the other hand, it could really force up and coming teams to raise their game.
One note for this year: The title hunt – like so much these days – has been thrown into confusion by Hurricane Sandy. The Gotham Girls were generally regarded as the top contenders, but with New York hammered so hard, there's a big question about whether they will even be able to make it to Atlanta at all.
If they can't, then it opens up the field a lot. But no-one wants a championship with an asterisk over it. The reigning champs have mounted what they call Operation Get There, and are taking PayPal donations right now. That they're still struggling to make the trip, even though some team members have been flooded out or are living without power, says a lot about their determination.
WFTDA Championships, Nov. 2-4. More info at www.wftda.com.