A New Season Begins For Old Rivals from the Bronx and Queens

 By Thomas Gerbasi

A year ago, there was little indication that the Gotham Girls Roller Derby league’s first great rivalry was about to be reignited. With the 2018 home team season about to begin, the Queens of Pain was expected to be the same juggernaut it always was, while predictions for the Bronx Gridlock put them somewhere around the middle of pack if all the planets aligned.

That wasn’t a knock on the talent level of the cabbies, just a reality given the waves of bad luck the squad had to deal with over the last few years.

PHOTO SEAN HALE

PHOTO SEAN HALE

But in the space of 60 minutes at John Jay College last St. Patrick’s Day, all expectations changed for the Gridlock thanks to a 185-136 win over the defending champion Brooklyn Bombshells.

Two wins later, the Bronx Gridlock owned the Golden Skate trophy once more, and in the course of that 2018 championship season, two bouts with Queens made sure that the great rivalry was back on again.

Of course, despite the 1-1 tally between the two last year, it was August’s championship bout win by the Bronx that mattered and the one that will be on the minds of the skaters in black when the 2019 season kicks off this Saturday at John Jay in NYC.

PHOTO SEAN HALE

PHOTO SEAN HALE

And with Queens returning all their veterans, there will be no one coming into this game blind to the importance of getting the season off to a winning start. And if there’s one thing this squad knows, it’s winning, and that’s a trait ingrained in the team’s psyche by the hallowed GGRD trio of Suzy Hotrod, Hyper Lynx and Ana Bollocks. These are skaters who were there in those early glory years, and now they’re the standard all skaters are aiming for.

But the champs are as strong as they’ve ever been, with the leadership handled by Fast and Luce, Caf Fiend and Cherry Napalm, and the scoring in the capable skates of Kate Sera Sera.

So in other words, it’s a new year, a new season and a fresh start for all GGRD home teams. But on Saturday night, the intensity the Bronx and Queens bring to the track will be unchanged, reaffirming that only in Gotham can a season opener be a championship game preview.

Tickets for Saturday’s game available here 

Gotham Girls Roller Derby Celebrates 15 Years

Photo by  David Dyte

Photo by David Dyte

2019 marks Gotham Girls Roller Derby’s fifteenth season of hard hits, fast-paced skating, and advancing the sport of roller derby on a local, national, and international level. Founded in 2003, Gotham held our first exhibition game in 2004. Since then, Gotham has won five Women’s Flat Track Derby Association international championships and medalled in every championship tournament for the past nine years. Currently ranked number four in the world, Gotham’s skaters have also represented countries such as the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Ireland, Australia, Korea, Sweden, Portugal, Romania, Israel, and Team Indigenous in the Roller Derby World Cup. Off the track, we are proud to be founding members of the WFTDA and to continue furthering the sport’s values of inclusion and diversity.

Our fifteenth season officially kicks off on March 9, when the Bronx Gridlock will take on the Queens of Pain at John Jay College. Get your tickets here and join us to celebrate throughout our fifteenth season!

2019 Season Schedule

March 9 at John Jay College

Bronx Gridlock vs. Queens of Pain

April 13 at John Jay College

Brooklyn Bombshells vs. Manhattan Mayhem

May 11 at John Jay College

Bronx Gridlock vs. Brooklyn Bombshells

June 8 at John Jay College

Queens of Pain vs. Manhattan Mayhem

July 13 Doubleheader at Abe Stark Arena

Queens of Pain vs. Brooklyn Bombshells

Manhattan Mayhem vs. Bronx Gridlock

August 3 at John Jay College

Third Place Game

August 24 at John Jay College

Championship Game

Home Team Logos: Now and Then

GGRD 2018 Online Auction Now Open

With our All Stars preparing to take on the world in New Orleans at WFTDA Champs this week; Gotham’s 2018 season is coming to a close. We’re hosting an online auction to help sustain our organization for our 15th season* of growing roller derby of all levels in New York City and beyond.

With 17 new recruits and a massive expansion in our recreational and youth programs in 2018; we’re excited about how our hive has thrived this year; and looking to our community to sustain the organization’s growth in 2019.

With the help of some of our league’s best friends & supporters, we’ve curated a selection of unique experiences and memorabilia* to offer.

As you take a look at these special items; join us and keep Gotham’s torch lit and help sustain the future of roller derby in New York City and around the world.

To bid, visit biddingowl.com/GothamRollerDerby.

Showdown at John Jay as Queens and Bronx Fight for the Golden Skate

by Thomas Gerbasi

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers ain’t got nothin’ on the Bronx Gridlock and Queens of Pain. Sure, it’s impressive that either the Cavs and Warriors have won the last four NBA Finals, but from 2005 to 2010, Queens or the Bronx were the only members of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby league to win the Golden Skate Trophy.

Now that’s really impressive.

On Saturday, one of these storied squads will reign once again, bringing a sense of nostalgia to the 2018 GGRD championship game at John Jay College in NYC, but also perhaps ringing in a new era for the league.

PHOTO MANISH GOSALIA

PHOTO MANISH GOSALIA

Since the Gridlock’s last title in 2010, parity has made GGRD one of the most competitive home team leagues in the world. With practically every bout played with title game intensity, it’s no surprise that the league’s All-Star team is consistently in the running for a WFTDA world championship. But in recent years, it’s been Brooklyn and Manhattan trading titles back and forth, with only a 2013 win by Queens breaking up this new monopoly.

On paper, it would make one assume that Queens and the Bronx have been bringing up the rear for the last seven years, and while that’s been the case for the bad luck Bronx, Queens has been a perennial powerhouse, with only a series of untimely defeats keeping them from winning the title year after year after year.

One could say that there is no better mix of bruising defense, high-powered offense and veteran experience than what the ladies in black bring to the track, and you would get few, if any, arguments. And with Suzy Hotrod, Ana Bollocks and Hyper Lynx reminding the younger players on the team what the glory years were like and what it takes to hoist the Golden Skate, it’s hard to see them as anything but a prohibitive favorite this weekend, especially after going 3-0 this season with a 182-147 win over the Gridlock in June.

PHOTO MANISH GOSALIA

PHOTO MANISH GOSALIA

But as the old saying goes, that’s why they play the games, and if any team has consistently upset the odds, it’s been the Gridlock. For years after 2010, the cabbies often had to battle injuries and roster turnover more than their fellow league mates.  That can break a team’s spirit, but as the adversity piled up, the Bronx got tougher. And after snapping a three-year losing streak in 2017, they beat the defending champion Bombshells by 49 points in the 2018 opener, and then bounced back from the loss to Queens with a 51-point victory over Manhattan to clinch their return to the title game.

And now, the odds don’t matter. All that matters is what happens on the track over 60 minutes on Saturday. It’s the dream of every derby skater. Win, and you’re a champion. Lose, and it’s a look toward 2019 and thoughts of what might have been. Queens and the Bronx know what’s at stake.

So just blow the damn whistle.

Tonight’s game is sold out!! Follow us on Twitter for recaps and score updates. 

Brooklyn and Manhattan Play for the Championship of Each Other Tonight

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.

PHOTO DAVID DYTE

PHOTO DAVID DYTE

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.