The visiting Big Easy Rollergirls Roller Derby squad hopes they are up to the monumental task of defeating the Texas Rollergirls' Hotrod Honeys
Any flat-track Roller Derby team coming to Austin knows its best hope is to be a giant killer. Facing the Texas Rollergirls (what with their regular 60-plus point spread against traveling teams and that whole "Austin starting modern Roller Derby" thing), especially for a relatively new team like New Orleans' Big Easy Rollergirls, can be a daunting task. But BERG's touring team faces TXRG's Hotrod Honeys on June 1 at the Playland Skate Center, knowing the stories.
Formed in 2005, BERG just finished its second full season, with the Marigny Antoinettes becoming their first-ever league champs. The touring team has something in common with Austin: Both beat Tulsa, Okla.'s Green Country Roller Girls. But that was a home bout for BERG, which blocker lacy underalls accepts is different than a road game and places them out of their comfort zone. "The biggest challenge is not knowing your opponents," she said. "When we play our intra-league games, I know everyone, so I can anticipate what they are doing better than I can a foreign league."
Underalls has been rolling for a year and a half, which she sees as an advantage in the mental game. "For me, being new to the sport, I don't really know who the top leagues are, beyond hearing everyone go, 'Oh, Austin.' But I've never seen them play. So I think that naivete is keeping me from being extremely nervous," she said.
For three-year veteran Marquee de Squad, the undefeated Honeys' rep is more imposing. "I'd almost rather play their travel team than their home team, because a home team gets so much play," she said. "I'm intimidated, but I'm looking forward to it."
Both hope for a good learning experience from going up against a seasoned team and to at least beat the spread. But that may be underselling BERG's strong rising squad (watch for small, speedy jammer Trixie la Femme to pick up some points). Plus, as underalls knows, a bout's momentum can flip in an instant. "It's so mental," she said. "If you let that jammer by you, you've got to let it roll off your back because they're going to be coming around again in a couple of seconds."
The Roller Derby action gets under way Sunday, June 1, 6:30pm (doors) at the Playland Skate Center (8822 McCann, 183 & Burnet Road). See www.txrollergirls.com for more. Thomas Hackett returns to this space next week.