Battle For The Coast as seen by Hockey Honey
Battle for the Coast – A Behind the scenes review of the high action tournament in Ventura, CA.
By: Hockey Honey
The Ventura County Derby Darlin’s hosted Battle for the Coast in lovely Ventura, CA. (The weather was total crap, and I’m from AZ now so anything below 85 is freaking freezing). The first day of the tournament featured each league playing in four, 20 minute bouts to decide which four teams would move on to the finals on Sunday. The biggest surprise this weekend was Ventura (or VenDolls) who came in as the 6th seed, and came out of the tournament at #2!
I have the great opportunity to travel for Atom Wheels and be able to attend roller derby tournaments all over the country and this weekend was no exception. The event I was most looking forward to was the Men’s Derby challenge game on Sunday, which pitted the NW All Stars vs SW All Stars. A little background on my coed/men’s derby experience; I originally started with Dallas Derby Devils and almost immediately the Dallas Deception men’s team invited me out to Thursday night SHITT Factory practices which were coed. When I transferred to Oly I played against Puget Sound every Monday night and so I have been actively involved with men’s teams, PLUS I am a hockey player, its nice to be around sports guys. The best thing about men’s derby is the pace, holy cow they like to skate hard and roll fast. I think sometimes women forget that speed is a strong sign of athleticism and really draws an audience in! The boys also showed a lot of individual skills that can definitely be a double-edged sword.
Men’s derby needs to learn to play a little more like women; the boys are so focused on individual skills that most struggle with playing with another blocker in the pack. For the entire first half it was battle of the jammers rather than the blockers working together to stop the jammer. I was impressed with several of the Jammers, B. Stang (whom I declared to be my derby crush of the week at the after party), Jam Monsta J, and Speed Dealer showing some very impressive footwork and individual skill. Blocking wise it seemed to be across the board, you have people like Matomic who are great players but seem to kind of fly solo. People like Pitchit and Ryrod really show their experience by making their players play as a team rather than a sporadic mess. I am pretty sure one of the announcers said that Bonus Jonas, a skater out of Tucson “skates like a girl but plays like a boy” was actually a compliment!
Sunday was definitely the day to watch at BFTC. LADD, San Diego, VenDolls, and Sac City Rollers made it to the finals and the first game LADD vs Sac City was a bit surprising on Sac City’s part but eventually LADD pulled away with a vengeance in the second half to win 227-103. It was an insane game when the Vendolls played San Diego Vendolls 154 – Wildfires 151. Everyone thought that San Diego would pull away but it was a fight to the death. When the men’s game came around I started textcasting along side Ivanna and Trish who had been doing it all weekend, but by standing in my chair at the Atom Wheels booth, I had a perfect line of sight to the men’s line ups (who I actually knew most of them). The best part of the men’s game was men from all over the country and Canada got to come together to play some awesome derby. San Diego won a well-deserved third place finish beating Sac City 212-116. Finally the LADD game against the Vendolls was insane mostly due to the crowd; I couldn’t help but dance to all their high school like cheers. LADD ultimately came out on top 134-83.
All in all a great weekend filled with entertaining moments. At one point I was on my hands and knees trying to catch a glimpse of the poorly marked penalty boards. It was also a very well executed event. The Vendolls staff kept the games moving, and I think they were only like 15 minutes behind schedule at most the entire weekend.
Thanks for reading, if you like this recap and want more (i.e. after every bout I go to) let us know!