By Thomas Gerbasi
The old saying is true that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but in the sport of roller derby, you take whatever you can to help keep you on course. So if the Bronx Gridlock needed any motivation to help break a long losing streak this Saturday at John Jay College in NYC, they found it in last month’s season opener against the Brooklyn Bombshells.
“There’s a strength in being able to come back every single time and say this is a new game, this is a new jam, and letting yourself get hungrier instead of frustrated, even if it’s hard when it’s gone on as long as it has,” said the Gridlock’s Heronymus Boss. “But in the last game, and now, I really do think this team can pull it off this season.”
If you want to discuss roster turnover, injuries, and plain ol’ bad luck, the cabbies have had more than their share. But as they prepare to face the Queens of Pain this weekend, they are in a better place than they’ve been in a long time, and it has a lot to do with the bout against the Bombshells, who fought from behind several times before emerging with a 167-148 win that was a lot closer than that score would indicate.
“It actually speaks to the strength of our defense that we had such a tight game and were ahead as much as we were given the penalties and the amount of box time we had compared to Brooklyn,” Boss said. “So it speaks to the strength of our defense, but we definitely want to cut down on the penalties because when we have all our skaters on the track, we’re really a force and keeping everyone on the track is the number one priority for this game.”
Remarkably, Brooklyn only had three penalty box trips from their jammers, which is a low number in these closely contested GGRD home games, and while it’s a testament to the discipline of the Bombshells, without such an effort, the Gridlock may have returned to the win column for the first time since May 2014. That’s okay, though, as they’re planning on getting the job done against Queens.
“They’re a smart and talented team and it’s an interesting matchup because Gridlock is a tall team and Queens is a short team,” Boss said. “There are obvious advantages to both, so we have to use what we have to our best advantage and we have to think about how to play with that shorter team. They can get through cracks easily, they’re fast, but we have big blockers and we just have to stick together. So we’re looking to come in really fired up and cohesive and we’re working really hard on staying together. That’s our path to victory in this game. We don’t want to give them any holes to get through.”
And despite making a quick turnaround from the last bout, Boss and her teammates are looking at that not as a negative, but a positive, as they get to keep the good vibes from the April bout going into what they hope will be a victorious May.
“We knew we had the two in a row, so we were prepared,” she said. “It’s been a really busy month. The Traitors had a game, Termies had a game, All-Stars had a game, so we’ve all been very busy, but we’ve also had this in our sights and we’ve been focused. I think it’s always nice to have a little extra time to keep working on strategy, especially since it was such a busy month. But that was such a close game with Brooklyn and everyone came out really wanting to clinch the win, so we do have that momentum coming out of the last game.”
Tickets for Saturday May 6 available here.