By Thomas Gerbasi
On paper, a league’s third-place game is, well, the third-place game. But when the Brooklyn Bombshells face the Manhattan Mayhem tonight at John Jay College in NYC, it will likely feel like a championship game three weeks before the Queens of Pain and Bronx Gridlock do it for real on August 25.
Why is that, you may ask? Is this just pre-game hype to get you into the city on a Saturday night? Well, if you’re reading this, you know precisely why there will be a championship intensity between the Bombshells and Mayhem, and it’s been something repeated over and over in this space for years.
But for the uninitiated, whether they play each other in April or August, Manhattan and Brooklyn always play as if the Golden Skate trophy is up for grabs. I’ve asked skaters about it every year, and no one can put a finger on it, but suffice to say that theclash of blue and orange produces magic on the track year after year after year.
This season has been no different, with May’s regular season meeting between the league powerhouses delivering another nailbiter, with Brooklyn edging Manhattan 169-164. That’s in keeping with tradition, as Brooklyn has now won five of sevenmeetings with the Mayhem since 2013, with the total margin of victory being 37 points. Average winning advantage? 5.2 points.
Sure, most games of this nature are an opportunity for the skaters to hit the track one more time with their home team, maybe try out some new strategies and make sure not to enter the post-season with any injuries. In this case, there will be no stone left unturned in search of victory and no figurative punches pulled for 60 minutes.
It’s Brooklyn. It’s Manhattan. And it’s like the great sportswriter Jerry Izenberg said of the trilogy between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier: by the time they made it to Manila in 1975, they were fighting for the championship of each other.
There’s no Golden Skate up for grabs tonight, but Brooklyn and Manhattan are playing for their own title. And there’s no third-place about it.
Tickets for tonight are available here.