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Windy City Rollers Keep Crowd On Their Toes In Bout 6

By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on May 24, 2010 4:20PM

Betsy Mikel/Chicagoist
For those who had never before attended a roller derby, Saturday’s Windy City Rollers bout was the perfect first. The audience didn’t need to understand the difference between a jam and a block to see that each jammer had to fight hard for every single point and to know that all four teams skated their best. The crowd fed off the skaters’ energy and vice versa, which led to an exciting, everyone-on-their feet end to the night. If you’ve been meaning to see the Windy City Rollers, we recommend you get your act together and buy tickets for the Ivy King Cup Championship on June 5. After we saw how well The Fury and the Double Crossers skated this weekend, we’re certain we can guarantee the bout will be a worthwhile investment. We hope the woman dressed as a giant strip of bacon will be able to make it, as she provided endless entertainment between bouts and at halftime.

The Fury and the Double Crossers skated the first bout. These are the teams in the Windy City Rollers league with the best records. We tried to pick one team to cheer for, but we failed as we quickly realized they were equally matched. This was surprising considering their performance in bout 3 in which the Fury dominated the at-the-time undefeated Double Crossers 128-51. Halfway thru the first period, it looked as if The Fury would once again take the lead, rack up points, and leave the Double Crossers in their dust. Early in the game, the scoreboard stood at 33-12 in The Fury’s favor, but the Double Crossers weren’t about to let their opponents win easily. The game continued in a fast back-and-forth pace as The Fury’s jammer took the lead, then the Double Crosser’s jammer moved up front, and then back again. The Fury eventually gained control of the bout and with 10 minutes left, it was clear they would win. But the Double Crosser pack worked together well to ensure that the defeat would not be an embarrassing one. They didn’t allow The Fury’s lead jammer to score too many points. The final score was 95-69.

But the main excitement was saved for the second bout.

The Manic Attackers competed against Hell’s Belles in the second bout, and before the first whistle, we weren’t sure how good of a match it would be. With a 0-5 record, Hell’s Belles had never won a bout. But the team was determined to make this their first win, which led to an exciting bout. The Hell’s Belles jammer immediately skated to the lead and went on to score 14 points in one jam. As in the previous bout, the Manic Attackers weren’t going to make things easy. Although we weren’t really counting, we think saw a lot more falls, crashes, and wipe-outs in this bout as each team blocked and bumped non-stop in attempts to send its own jammer to the front. One injured Hell’s Belles member was escorted off the track and left the bout. Every time a lead jammer pushed through the pack, the other team’s jammer was close behind. The lead jammer frequently called of the jam early to prevent her opponents from scoring, which led to fast, frequent, and often no-point jams. With 8 minutes on the scoreboard, the Manic Attackers and Hell’s Belles stood matched at 87-85. Both teams continued to skate expertly and diligently in hopes of winning. The Double Crossers held the lead by only a few points with 2 minutes to go, and we were certain this would be their first win of the season. However, The Manic Attackers were able to push through to score a handful more of last-minute points. With the Hell’s Belles’ jammer stuck in the penalty box and only a few seconds left, the Manic Attackers quickly added more points to win 108-93. Most of the crowd, who heavily favored Hell’s Belles throughout the bout, wasn’t pleased about the outcome, but they enjoyed the adrenaline-filled finish. We were disappointed to hear the crowd booing the Manic Attackers as they scored their finals points, but pleased to see the lead jammers embrace seconds after the bout ended, as if to reiterate that the win was fair and deserved.