By Thomas Gerbasi
The task of beating the rolling thunder that is the Queens of Pain will be a daunting one for any team in the Gotham Girls Roller Derby League, all of which have come up short thus far in 2017. But if any squad is up for the challenge, it’s the one that will face Queens for the GGRD home team championship, the Brooklyn Bombshells.
“The team is excited for the game,” said veteran D.A.R.Y.L., who has never NOT been in a championship game during her time in the league with the Manhattan Mayhem and now Brooklyn.“We’ve been progressing a lot as a team this year, so I think a lot of our strategies are finally coming together, so hopefully we can bring all of that on Saturday.”
Saturday’s bout at John Jay College is a clash of opposites in many ways, not the least of which is the roster composition of each team. Queens has had the same roster intact for two seasons now, while Brooklyn was hit hard by turnover after last season. That could have been a disaster for the Bombshells, but when the draft produced the likes of V-Diva, Donna Matrix, Sweets McBacon, Bellatricks and Girl Friday for the team, that can ease the pain somewhat.
Or not, as putting a bunch of talent on a team isn’t always the recipe for success. But in Brooklyn’s case, the newcomers transitioned nicely into the team’s system, and the result has been a chance to win their first title since 2015.
“We were fortunate to have a split with the new team members this season in terms of jammers and blockers, and they’ve been really great at jumping in and learning our strategies and asking questions and really contributing to how our team is developing,” D.A.R.Y.L. said.“So in terms of fitting in and meshing well with the team, it takes hard work and being there and working together day in and day out, and our new skaters have been able to do that.”
The Bombshells got off to a fast start with wins over Manhattan and the Bronx that earned them a spot in Saturday’s championship game, but there would be an initial battle with Queens in Coney Island last month. Queens drew first blood with a 167-118 victory, but it wasn’t a loss without some lessons for the blue-clad Bombshells.
“We learned a lot from that game in terms of what we could improve upon and tightening up our game so that we can beat Queens,” D.A.R.Y.L. said.“I think a lot of our strategies are actually very similar, so it’s just a matter of who’s executing them the best. Luckily we’re gonna have Diva and Punk back for the next game, and while there’s always something to learn from playing the same team consecutively, ultimately, I think it will be a very different game from the one in July.”
Different enough that Brooklyn expects to raise a third championship banner on Saturday night.
“We have so many games under our belts that we can now take what we’ve learned and the team leadership can be like, hey, we’ve done this in the past, we can take what we’ve done and move forward with it. We don’t need to be nervous, we can build off the great things that we’ve already been able to do and know that we can do that and then some. It’s a matter of having the confidence in ourselves, confidence in leadership to be able to lead by example so everybody else then has the confidence to say, ‘Yeah, we can do this.’”