By Thomas Gerbasi
When it comes to the Gotham Girls Roller Derby league home season and the two teams that will play for the Golden Skate trophy next month, Coney Island is where all the fun happens this Saturday, and how appropriate is that? Next to the Cyclone, Wonder Wheel and all the other rides and attractions, the premier skaters in the sport will battle it out before what is expected to be a packed house at Abe Stark Arena in Brooklyn.
And while the annual doubleheader always delivers thrills and high-level derby, this time around, it’s a race between the four home teams that can produce any number of outcomes when it comes to the title picture.
The Queens of Pain have continued to be the juggernaut they’ve been for years, yet while they’ve been the bridesmaids several times recently, they are determined to be the bride and win their first GGRD title in five years in 2018. At 2-0, they’ve secured their spot in the August 25th title game at John Jay College, because even with a loss to Brooklyn and a win by the Bronx, their June win over the Gridlock breaks that three-way tie.
But that’s where things get interesting among the other three squads.
The resurgent Gridlock sit at 1-1 heading into their matchup with Manhattan, and a win over the Mayhem, coupled with a loss by Brooklyn, will set up a championship rematch with Queens next month.
And though the Mayhem have struggled thus far this season, the winless squad could salvage everything should they defeat the Gridlock and watch Brooklyn fall to Queens. That would produce a three-way tie for the final spot in the championship game, with the other half of the title bout matchup being determined by overall point differential.
As for the defending champions getting a home game in Brooklyn, the Bombshells bounced back from a season opening loss to the Bronx in March to win a nail biter over Manhattan in May. And while defeating Queens is a big task, in their last meeting in 2017, Brooklyn earned their third league title with a 162-158 victory.
In short, all bets are off in Coney Island this weekend, and each game matters. So when the dust settles, we’ll have two teams in the championship game, two in August 4th’s third-place contest, and a lot of happy derby fans on the boardwalk.
Tickets for tomorrow's double header are available here.