The Austin Chronicle

Oh, Flat Track, How We Have Missed Thee

By Richard Whittaker, March 3, 2009, 4:00pm, The Score

Once again, Roller Derby fans have a reason to get out of bed on the first Sunday of the month.

Yes, the Texas Rollergirls started the 2009 season Sunday night at Playland Skate Center. A lot has changed since last year: The league has never had a real off-season break before, so everyone looked more refreshed than normal.

There were a lot of familiar faces gone and a lot of rookies and transfers to memorize. But most importantly, the night was a format-buster: A round robin, with every team playing everyone else in 16-minute miniperiods.

Of course, what hasn't changed is the high-energy entrances before the bout:

After the showboating came the real hard work, and some really hard bouting.

While there was a lot of experimentation amongst the other teams, switching jammers in and out to see who gelled with what tactics, the Hotrod Honeys came out like they hadn't skipped a training session since last season. Assured, fast, they kicked off their 3-0 evening with a devastating 51-4 defeat of the Hell Marys.

It was a rough start for the Marys, but when they came back in the second half, they'd changed their uniforms and their attitude. Bloody Mary, who had underperformed by her own high standards against the Honeys, stormed out against the Hustlers with a brace of grand slams, before new addition The Angie Christ took them to a 12-point advantage. Unfortunately, they just couldn't capitalize, and the Hustlers played a sure and steady game to take the period 26-18. The final loss to the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers left them 0-3 for the night. But the difference was that the Marys that finished the evening looked a lot better than those that had begun it. There's going to be a lot of attention paid to their recruits, especially Angie, Sin O'Bite, and the overwhelming blocking force that is Solid Rock.

If the Marys were most improved over the night, there was little doubt who was most improved since last season. The Hustlers have talked a big game over the break about how much of a threat they would be in '09, and the 1-2 scoreline did not truly reflect the tight, cohesive team that came out. New co-captain Das-It looked leaner than ever, and backed by a jamming roster that boasts proven talents Barbarella and Curvette, and new prospects Molotov M. Pale and Acute Angel. Plus, any team with Bullet Tooth Tracy and Cheap Trixie blocking in the pack knows it's got all the talent it needs.

The Honky Tonks had the least new players (only adding Rita Menweep) and so probably had the biggest advantage in consistency. It paid off, too, as they became the only team of the night to come close to giving the Honeys a real challenge. That said, the Hustlers came closer to a victory that the 19-12 scoreline in their matchup suggested, so don't be surprised if either team makes it to the season championship.

But if anyone came out looking like the night's champs, it was the 3-0 Honeys. It wasn't just the score line: Vicious Van Go Go and Lucille Brawl have never looked in better form or more consistent, while the tiny Morphine proved that size means nothing if you can evade every blocker by sheer speed. As for Rice Rocket, well, it's Rice. There's a reason why the Hotrod Honeys dropped to their knees and the crowd took to their feet when she swooped one, two, three, four times right through the Hustlers' pack. It's called awe.

Final Scores

Hotrod Honeys 3-0 (51-4 vs. Hell Marys, 45-4 vs. Hustlers, 18-10 vs. Honky Tonk Heartbreakers)

Honky Tonk Heartbreakers 2-1 (31-7 vs. Hell Marys, 10-18 vs. Hotrod Honeys, 19-12 vs. Hustlers)

Hustlers 1-2 (26-18 vs. Hell Marys, 12-19 vs. Honky Tonk Heartbreakers, 4-45 vs. Hotrod Honeys)

Hell Marys 0-3 (7-31 vs. Honky Tonk Heartbreakers, 4-51 vs. Hotrod Honeys, 18-26 vs. Hustlers)

Copyright © 2023 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.