Crosstown Knockdown Preview

The Cincinnati Rollergirls’ 2014 home season finale on Saturday, June 7, Fan Appreciation Night, features the third annual Crosstown Knockdown, plus an opening co-ed matchup featuring CRG’s Black Sheep and the Cincinnati Battering Rams. Tank previews what could be the last Cincinnati Rollergirls game at the Cincinnati Gardens, which remains for sale.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say everyone has been asked the question, “if you had a super power, what would it be?” It’s not an easy question to answer. Flight? It sounds good until you get sucked into a 737 engine or shot down by the Air Force. Super strength? Can you imagine the amount of calories and protein you’d have to eat constantly throughout the day to maintain that amount of muscle mass? It would mean your entire paycheck would be going to GNC and buffets across the Tri-State. X-Ray vision? It would be pretty awesome until you visited your grandmother at the nursing home. INSTANT NIGHTMARE FUEL.
Me? I would want the ability to travel through time. How awesome would that be? Go back in time and see any band that you ever wanted at any venue. Watch the JFK assassination again and again and again from different angles to see what really happened. See a real life T-Rex. Kill Hitler. Make ridiculous bets on big sporting events and become a billionaire. Sit on a hill and watch the Mongols over run a city. Time travel would be better then having one of those cool new Samsung TVs with the curved edges.
Time travel is a good theme for this week’s column as we take a look back at what the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ Black Sheep did at the Brewhaha in Milwaukee this past weekend. Later, we will discuss the third annual Crosstown Knockdown this Saturday – and what could be the final night of Cincinnati Rollergirls roller derby at the historic Cincinnati Gardens ever.
The Black Sheep came into the Brewhaha weekend, 0-10 in WFTDA play and continuing their quest for a win. Their first game pitted them against Paper Valley from Appleton, Wisconsin, which looked to be a close match to CRG going into the bout. The game was an incredibly close contest with both teams trading lead changes through out. In my last column, I talked about how much tighter games are officiated on the tournament level, and this one wasn’t an exception. Paper Valley lost blockers and jammers to the penalty box regularly throughout the game but unfortunately so did the Black Sheep, which ultimately led to a 176-161 loss for the team.
The following day, the Sheep met longtime rivals, the Mad Rollin’ Dolls Dairyland Dolls of Madison, Wisconsin, who have had quite the resurgence over the past season and continue to improve. Madison came out of the gates with a duel blast of offensive firepower and defensive might, accumulating over 100 points before the Sheep could even score. CRG to their credit did battle back, but Madison was unrelenting as they cruised to a 331-92 win.
There were some interesting moments and players in these games. Imma Tattooher and Tru D. Vicious played their first games on the WFTDA A team level. They both experienced the fact that the game is faster on the highest tier of the ladder and saw their fair share of time in the penalty box. Welcome to the big dance, ladies. La Bruja continues to show promise as a jammer but needs to improve her cardio to beef up her in-game gas tank. Speaking of jammers, Ruthless Chris had some nice moments this weekend as she used a spin move again and again to get around blockers in one-on-one situations. As far as the pack play goes, I was happy to see Jungle Lacy doing her thing where she comes out of seemingly nowhere to upend opposing jammers.
As I talked about earlier in the column, penalties continue to be a problem for this Black Sheep team. In 2014, it’s imperative to keep as many players on the track at one time as possible. It’s practically impossible to go an entire game without a few of your players going to the box, but at the same time you can’t have people going to the box because they aren’t working together and going out of their way to make desperation plays. Also, the CRG blockers continually find themselves out of position, standing straight up, and hitting high on the other teams’ jammers. Hitting is a game of leverage and position in which the low woman generally wins as you can drive players out of bounds or knock them down with a well placed low hit. There is a lack of hip checks and because of these things, other teams’ jammers are able to get lower, eat these hits with little strength behind them, and keep on moving through the pack. In a game as multi-dimensional as roller derby, you can’t hang your hat on one strategy (making walls) unless you are the absolute best at that strategy.
While I have only used my hypothetical time traveling power to go back in time, I will now use it to take us into the future for what could be the final night of roller derby for the Cincinnati Rollergirls at the historic Cincinnati Gardens. This Saturday night, June 7, the third annual Crosstown Knockdown will take place with a twist and an interesting undercard. The first game of the night will feature The Cincinnati Rollergirls and the men’s team, the Cincinnati Battering Rams, mixing together to play as Team East Side vs. Team West Side. While this has been going on for years in mixed scrimmages, this is the first time that the men and women of the Cincinnati roller derby community will mix it up in a full 60-minute game in front of a paying public.
This promises to be a fun match-up, as this game will be filled with players with various levels of size, speed, strength and experience and the possibility for dream match ups is endless. Sailor Scary vs. Sista Shovechild, Hannah Barbaric vs. Mirderher, Quad Almighty vs. La Bruja, candyKICKass! vs. Creeper, Nuk’em vs. Tink and on and on and on. One Ram who will not be in action is He-Bruise, who is serving a two-game suspension from the Rams for unsportsmanlike behavior. In unrelated news, he has also been removed as a coach of the Cincinnati Rollergirls. A replacement has not been named at this time.
The main event of the evening pits the Cincinnati Rollergirls Violent Lambs against the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls Blackouts. Cincinnati is 2-0 in the Crosstown Knockdown series, but this is the second year running that CRG’s B team, the Violent Lambs, will be taking on BBRG’s A team, the Blackouts. I think that this is a good move, as it should give everyone involved a better game as these two teams are closer matched then a Black Sheep vs. Blackouts game. That being said, this is a stacked Lambs team that is coming into this game, which includes a number of players with A team level experience.
There are also some interesting individual players in this one as well. Chainsaw will be playing her last game with the Lambs before moving out of state. Jillian Dollaz has made another Lambs roster, which makes her a rookie to watch this season. After being away for a while, Polly Rocket has been back for a few games and it makes me smile to see her back out there. Obie Haive’s regimen of cross-training outside of practice continues to pay off her in terms of now regularly making Lambs roster. And finally Mama Crass, a former Black-n-Bluegrass skater, will be taking the track against her old league mates for the first time since crossing the bridge to play for Cincinnati.
If this is the final game at the historic Cincinnati Gardens, it’s going to be a night of mixed emotions. Let’s be honest, the Gardens is an old building that lacks a lot of the things we look for in a modern arena, such as wheelchair ramps, air conditioning, a sound system that doesn’t sound like the teacher from Peanuts and more. For all its faults, though, you can’t overlook the history of the building and the incredible things that have happened inside of it for the past 65 years. I know when used to announce games for CRG, I would find myself in the private barroom that served as the referee/support staff locker room wondering, “Do you think the Beatles threw paper airplanes made out of sheets of acid in that corner?” It has also become one of the top roller derby venues in the world, thanks to its size, character and raucous fans.
So if this is truly the end, I am going to miss Screamer, Greg, and the rest of the staff that makes the Gardens one of the best venues I have ever had the privilege to watch a game in. In retrospect, maybe I don’t want a super power that lets me travel back in time or into the future, but instead the power to just make time stand still this Saturday night.
For tickets and more information on the Crosstown Knockdown and Fan Appreciation Night, click here.

East Side vs. West Side (subject to change)

East Side: Chris Smith #9 (Rams) // Creeper #975 (Rams) // Giggles #333 (Rams) // Jerry Rigg #77 (Rams) // Jungle Lacy #83 (CRG) // Kitten Kicker #30 (CRG) // Knuckles # 3D (Rams) // La Bruja #66 (CRG) // MIRDERHER #44 (CRG) // Nuk’em #86 (CRG) // PrimeTime #8 (Rams) // Ruthless Chris #5 (CRG) // Sailor Scary #92 (CRG)
West Side: Anne Bones #77 (CRG) // Bubba Thump #31 (Rams) // CandyKICKass #32 (CRG) // Hannah Barbaric #85 (CRG) // Monoclops # i4Ni (Rams) // Nine-Oh #210 (Rams) // Quad Almighty #7 (Rams) // R.E.D. #50 (Rams) // Roxx Solid 74 // Schnack Attack #83 (Rams) // Sista Shovechild #2 (CRG) // TINK #37 (Rams) // Wheezy #43 (CRG)

Cincinnati Violent Lambs vs. Black-n-Bluegrass

Violent Lambs: Annie Tomical #91 // Big Ugly #72 // Chainsaw #80 // Cherry Choke #0 // ¡I, Caramba! #23 // Imma Tattooher #81 // Jenocide #14 // Jillian Dollaz #34 // Mama Crass #26 // Obie Haive #31 // Polly Rocket #63 // Poppy Chulo #27 // Susie Shinsplintski #51 // Tru D. Vicious #19 // Alternates: Roxx Solid #74 // Skunna Hurt #69
Black-n-Bluegrass: Billie Bitchslap // Briggs N. Smack’em // Edel Vice // Darla Vader // Heavy Chevy // Hot T. Molly // Kat Von Diesel // Petal to the Metal // Pinup Pussycat // Psyk Ward // Reva Rackentire // Shaneeda Spankin // Vaughn Babethoven