No Fluke - Bronx Turns Back Queens, Begins Defense of GGRD Title

By Thomas Gerbasi / Additional reporting by Hewlett Smackard

PHOTO DAVID DYTE

PHOTO DAVID DYTE

After shocking the Gotham Girls Roller Derby faithful by taking their first Golden Skate trophy since 2010 and breaking an eight-year championship drought last August, it would have been understandable if the Bronx Gridlock had an emotional letdown in the 2019 home opener on March 9 at John Jay College in NYC.

And maybe they did as they fell behind by 19 points at halftime to perennial contenders Queens of Pain. But with a second half surge both offensively and defensively, the Gridlock successfully began the defense of their crown with a 173-156 win.

“When we learned that Queens was our first opponent, we were actually really happy about it,” said Bronx captain Fast and Luce. “We were really happy to get a chance to do the game over and prove ourselves again. We had a one-win one-loss relationship with Queens last season, and I wanted to double down and make it really clear that that was not an accident that we won that game.”

It was no accident, but beating Queens is no easy feat, either, as evidenced by a big 17-point jam by Team MVP Stephinity and Beyond that put the ladies in black up 28-12 early. Queens would stretch that lead out to 26 points (52-26) on the wheels of Suzy Hotrod’s eight-point run eight jams later, and while the Bronx always stayed within striking range, they just couldn’t put together the scoring run to get past Queens’ vaunted defense.

PHOTO DAVID DYTE

PHOTO DAVID DYTE

Yet by the sixth jam of the second half, Bronx MVP The Smacktivist announced their arrival to Gotham in style with a 16-point jam that pulled the Gridlock even with Queens 101-101 and gave the newcomer a taste of derby life in the Big Apple.

“I came from Ohio, and I skated with the Ohio Roller Girls starting in 2011, and we didn't have home teams, so I didn't know what to expect for a home team game,” said The Smacktivist. “I didn't know what it would look like, or how it would feel. Everyone in the league [Gotham] always says things like home teams are really competitive. I knew it would definitely be a really grueling game. It's definitely an intense matchup, more than I think I've seen with other leagues that have home teams.”

It would get more an intense as the teams traded the lead twice more, with Bronx eventually holding on to the advantage, even surviving a late run by Queens.

“I think that the big difference maker was that we lost focus in the beginning of the second half,” said Queens captain Livvie Smalls.“We got a lot of penalties, which was something that we'd been able to keep in control for the first half. So we had a lot less people on the track,we got more jammer penalties and they played really effective offense and were able to capitalize on those moments. Even though we were able to bring that fight back and really get back into the game, it wasn't quite enough at that point.”

PHOTO DAVID DYTE

PHOTO DAVID DYTE

But knowing Queens, this isn’t the last we’ll hear of them in 2019. As for the Gridlock, let the reign truly begin.

QUEENS vs. BRONX STATS

1        2        F

Queens 9264156

Bronx  73100173

Queens MVP – Stephinity and Beyond!

Bronx MVP – The Smacktivist

Leading Queens Scorers

Beauty Andie Beast 63 points (18 jams)

Stephinity and Beyond! 49 points (15 jams)

Suzy Hotrod 37 points (15 jams)

Leading Queens Blockers

Pinky Swears 23 jams (-13)

Livvie Smalls 21 jams (+13)

Muffin Topless 18 jams (-25)

Ana Bollocks 18 jams (-44)

Leading Bronx Scorers

Kate Sera Sera 84 points (21 jams)

The Smacktivist 77 points (22 jams)

Big Banger 12 points (3 jams)

 

Leading Bronx Blockers

Fast and Luce 26 jams (+39)

Cherry Napalm 22 jams (-28)

Bunny McBones 18 jams (-16)

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.