The first ever Roller Derby World Cup, which concluded yesterday in Toronto, can be best summarized by the following chronological countdown of vicious verbs compiled from headlines at DerbyNewsNetwork.com: 5. USA Hammers New Zealand, 377-8. As DNN reporter Justice Feelgood Marshall put it in Friday's report from opening day, "New Zealand had the unfortunate distinction of being the first team to face perhaps the best collection of flat-track talent ever assembled when they took on Team USA," including Denver Roller Dolls star Tracy "Disco" Akers and Rocky Mountain Rollergirls wrecking balls Frida Beater, Psycho Babble, Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya, and Psycho Babble (seven of the 28 skaters on Team USA are from Colorado; rotating through the 14-woman roster for each game). My first thought after tuning in to watch the DNN webcast of Friday's bouts was that roller derby fans in Colorado are awfully spoiled: The Roller Derby World Cup venue in Toronto was more Fight Club than 1st Bank Center or Fillmore, with a concrete floor, padded pillars in the center of the rink, and almost no seating to speak of, but the gritty venue also served as a reminder that roller derby doesn't necessarily need to be glossy and glamorous. And, speaking of grit, New Zealand may have had their asses kicked back into the Southern Hemisphere but they still managed to make their opening bout into one of the most badass moments of the World Cup, thanks to this pre-bout Māori haka:
4. USA Buries Scotland, 435-1. Scotland blocker Wild Oates didn't put her team's lone point on the scoreboard until the last five minutes of the bout, but that one point earned the loudest applause of the weekend for thwarting a Team USA shutout. I was about to write that Denver Roller Dolls jammer Heather Juska and Rocky Mountain Rollergirls skaters DeRanged, Frida Beater, Urrkn' Jerkn' as Booty Blockya, and Psycho Babble might want to avoid traveling to Scotland for a while, but then I saw this interview -- let's call it Scotland Syndrome -- with Wild Oates, who seems positively thrilled to have had the opportunity to get beaten by her Team USA heroes:
3. USA Flattens New Zealand, 470-8. After that initial whoopin', New Zealand went on to beat Scotland 124-111 in their second bout of round-robin play, becoming the 9-seed team as the World Cup transitioned to a bracket tournament. They then beat the 8-seed team from Germany, 143-127, in the first elimination round. Their reward? The dubious distinction of getting to face Team USA again, this time with both Denver Roller Dolls skaters -- Heather Juska and Tracy Akers -- in the mix.
2. World Cup Semifinal: USA Dominates Australia, 532-4. Team USA continued its show-no-mercy strategy against the 4-seed Aussies in Semifinals, sending them back down under from whence they came with the biggest points margin of the World Cup. Ouch. 1. USA Sweeps First Roller Derby World Cup with 336-33 Win Over Canada. Although that score ain't pretty, the 2-seed Canadian team -- and World Cup hosts -- seemed pretty stoked to have racked up more points against Team USA than all of the other teams put together. Canada beat teams from France, Sweden, Brazil, Finland, and England on the way to the final bout, and their fans were going wild with every point scored against Team USA: Sometimes you take your victories where you can get them, eh?
One question remains... Was the red white and blue beatdown good for the sport of roller derby around the world, or will it prove to have been a debilitating blow? One thing is certain: As the rest of the world's teams head home bruised and bloodied to nurse their wounds, they'll be training and plotting for revenge. In roller derby, that's a good thing: We're calling it a win-win.
To get your derby fix back here in Colorado, check out the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls' holiday mixer bout -- Grinches vs. Ho Ho Hos -- on December 10 at 6 p.m. at the RMRG War*house, 5200 Smith Road ($10, kids 12 and under are free) and pick up season tickets for the Denver Roller Dolls' 2012 season at 1st Bank Center (starting at $72).
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