By Thomas Gerbasi
Yes, friends, if this preview of Saturday’s meeting between the Brooklyn Bombshells and Manhattan Mayhem at John Jay College has a familiar opening, that’s not by chance or laziness. It’s because when these Gotham Girls Roller Derby league standouts square off on the track, nine times out of ten, it’s going to be Armageddon on skates.
Why, you might ask? Well in seven of their last eight meetings the average margin of victory between the two squads has been 5.2 points. But in their last bout, the usual mayhem (pardon the pun) wasn’t there, as Brooklyn skated to a comfortable 172-130 win to take the 2018’s third place spot.
This could mean one of two things heading into Saturday night. Either Brooklyn has finally figured Manhattan out, or Manhattan is going to be charging harder than ever to erase that last loss and start issuing out its own brand of orange-tinted punishment.
Or…maybe last August’s bout was an outlier and we’ll be back to nailbiters come this weekend. Well, if scrimmages between the two teams have been an indication, option number three seems to be the winning bet.
“There is definitely some sort of magic that happens on the track when you take it against Mayhem, and they’re also respectful and extremely talented opponents,” said Brooklyn’s Yeti or Not, Here I Come, one of six new Bombshells debuting on Saturday. That’s a lot of new faces, for sure, but with veteran leadership in the form of Lady Fingers, Bellatricks and D.A.R.Y.L. getting the troops on the same page, Brooklyn is ready for battle.
“We’ve been putting in a lot of time and effort over the past few months since the draft, where we got so many new folks, and we’re sort of all learning how to work together,” said Yeti. “And in the end, derby – when you break it down – it shouldn’t matter who your opponent is. If you study them sufficiently, you should be able to combat them on the track.”
Having an extra month to hit the track for their season opener didn’t hurt either.
“We were so grateful that we did not have to play the first game,” said Yeti. “We got six new folks, and while some of them were vets that had been in the league for a while, three of us were relatively new to Gotham so we hadn’t been to John Jay before. And when I was working the first game (between Queens and the Bronx on March 9), I was like, ‘Holy crap, there are so many people in here,’ (Laughs) and it was so loud. But we have made some significant strides at practice in the last month and it’s really when things have started to click. And while we certainly would have done the best we could with the time we had if we had to play the first game, I think we’ll definitely have a better showing with the four extra weeks of preparation.”
Manhattan has had that four extra weeks, too, and having even more veteran skaters that are used to skating together, such as GGRD All-Stars Roxy Dallas, Bonita Apple Bomb, Brawleen Lidz, Cork Rebel, Giles, Malory and Spork Chop, Mayhem has a good chance to erase the memory of a winless 2018 campaign and get back on track.
The talent Manhattan is bringing to John Jay isn’t lost on Yeti, a member of the All-Stars herself, but for competitors like her and her teammates, that’s the reason you play the games. And though tradition has proven that Brooklyn-Manhattan bouts are usually instant classics, Yeti would have been excited to play anyone on Saturday night.
“This game certainly holds an immense weight for some of the more veteran skaters on Brooklyn and Manhattan,” she said. “But for me, any time I get to take the track it’s a privilege, and since this is the first home team game that I get to skate with Gotham, I’m definitely giving it the gravitas that it deserves. It wouldn’t have mattered, I suppose, if we were playing Bronx or Queens, but I think Mayhem inspires a little bit of, ‘Oooh,’ because Roxy’s back on the team, their new addition Malory is a fantastic skater, so I know whenever we take the track against Mayhem, they’re going to bring that level of controlled chaos.”
And Brooklyn is ready for that chaos. And more.
“We’re gonna bring it, and anyone who misses Saturday night’s game is gonna regret it,” Yeti said.“I don’t know how it’s gonna shake out, but I do know that we have a team of 15 folks and two brand new awesome managers that are ready to take the win on the track and see where it takes us for the rest of the season. And I’m so stoked that I get to be a part of it.”
Tickets for tomorrow’s game are available here.