By Thomas Gerbasi
The Queens of Pain’s Hyper Lynx wants to talk about practice.
Fifteen years after basketball hall of famer Allen Iverson created a stir by talking about practice with reporters, the GGRD All-Star veteran wants to do the same in the lead-up to Saturday’s bout at John Jay College against the Bronx Gridlock. And that’s cool with her.
“I still think Queens is the hardest working team,” she said. “We’re the ones who started up the extra hour for land drills. (Laughs) We’re always there every single team practice and win or lose, we always practice. We really felt like we should have been up there (last year). Obviously, every team feels that way, but we felt like we worked the hardest, so we want to show it this year.”
Forget last year. Over the previous four years since they last won a GGRD home team title in 2013, Queens may have been the best team in the league night in and night out. But at key times, wins proved elusive, surprising their fans and the team itself.
“There’s an element of luck in derby,” Lynx said. “Sometimes things just don’t go your way. Maybe we just enjoy pain. (Laughs) But losing is never fun. You can’t win everything. It’s a game and anything can happen at any time. There are no guarantees.”
Well there is one, and that’s the reality that Queens will try to outwork their peers in the Crashpad practice space, garnering a reputation as the best conditioned team in the league. If a skater gets drafted and presented with a black jersey, they know that Suzy Hotrod and company will put them through hell before it’s time to hit the track on game night. But that’s a badge of honor Lynx and company wear with pride.
“We work our asses off and it doesn’t matter if you’re a good or bad skater, we’ll build you up to be a good skater,” she said. “There’s a lot of skater development that goes on with Queens, and that’s our biggest strength. That and the intensity of our practices have remained consistent year after year.”
And if there was a wish for the derby gods to throw some good fortune their way, it was granted before the 2017 season even started, as the team revealed that they were taking the track with a roster intact from the previous year. That’s a rarity in Gotham, and Queens have taken full advantage of it, tearing out of the gate in March with a 176-130 win over the defending GGRD champion Manhattan Mayhem.
“I think it really helps because we’re basically continuing from the previous years,” Lynx said. “In the past years when we had new skaters, we always had time in the beginning when we had to get to know each other, if they were brand new they had to build their endurance up, and we had a harder time ramping it up. Whereas with us, at our first practice we said, ‘Let’s practice our plays again.’ And that really helps. I’m not saying we’re doing awesome every time, because we do lose scrimmages too, but our teamwork is great. Everybody knows what to do and everybody is much better at playing together. And a lot of that is from the sheer amount of practices that we do.”
Is Lynx talking about practice again? You bet she is.
Tickets for Saturday May 6 available here.