Philly Finale

Texas Rollergirls take second in national finals

First, third, fourth, second. The Texas Rollergirls traveling team, the Texecutioners, wanted to bring the Women's Flat Track Derby Association championship, the Hydra, back to Austin, but took second place instead.

This was their first trip back to the title bout since winning in 2006. The commiseration prize for the last two years has been a place in the run-off, but this year's blasting victories over the Boston Massacre and the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls brought them to the finals against an unexpected foe. Rather than a power team from the east, they faced the Oly Rollers in their first year in the WFTDA.

It was, in some ways, a rematch of the dreaded '07 semifinals when they lined up against Rat City Rollergirls. With several former Seattle girls on their roster, including the fearsome sisters Blonde N Bitchin’ and D Bomb, Oly weren't lacking for experience. Courtesy of Atomatrix, they weren't lacking for speed either. Combine that with a pack style so vicious and penalty-heavy that they ended up with not one but two ejections, and Texas faced an uphill struggle.

Texas coach Jim "Kool-Aid" Jones had said before the bout that, if Texas could keep out of the box, they could win it. But penalties went against them, and Oly quickly opened up a twenty-plus point lead that just kept opening up. With a half-time score of 40-95, advantage Oly, there was still some hope of a Texas return. But the lead was just too great, and it became a matter of by how much Oly would win. Still, there was no going down easy, and Texas were still set for a 100 point game. In fact, exactly 100 points.

Texas went down with their trademark style, grace and good humor, right down to the final seconds. After pulling two grand slams out of nowhere, Rice Rocket still had one more jam left in her. It looked like it might end sadly, with Rice getting a major penalty and heading for the box. Instead, she took a backwards victory lap as her team shut the Oly girls down. And the crowd appreciated every second of it.

There were tears from the Texas fans as the final whistle blew on the 100-178 scoreline. But Oly had played hard and fast, and Texas had too, and so had every team and every skater. In a weekend of upsets and great skating, and great hosting of a major sporting event by the Philly Liberty Belles, there will be no tears at the afterparty.

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