Your Mom Takes the 2013 MRDA Championship

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Photo Credit Bob Dunnell

 

Just like our sisters are doing in WFTDA, the men of roller derby are finally beginning to create a style of play that is unique and ground breaking. For the formative years of the men’s side, we were playing catch up, learning the ins and outs of game play while at the same time trying to stay on our skates. With a great deal of help and apprenticeship from the more experienced females and hard work with a bit of derby addiction, top level men’s derby has finally arrived.

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Photo credit Manish Gosalia

Every year the competition grows with the top teams getting better and the number of viable contenders becoming greater. Some of the top matches of the entire tournament happened on day one including a nail biter between the number two seed St Louis Gatekeepers and the number seven seed Puget Sound Outcast. The outcome wasn’t decided until the final jam when PSO jammer Dilly Dally received an ill timed jammer forearm which sealed the victory for the STLG. The moment was one of sadness for the spectators as everyone in the building wanted to see the game finish out full strength to enjoy the total madness at hand. The game that everyone was looking forward to on day one was the rematch from Spring Roll between the numbers four and five seeds, Magic City Misfits and Mass Maelstrom. This game started out just like the first bout with each team hitting each other with burst of scoring followed by a handful of zero net jams. By the second half, Mass had worn the Misfits depleted bench down and penalties were beginning to take a toll. The bout proved to everyone in the building that Mass was not the same team they were year ago and that any team that could set their mind and bodies to the task of teamwork could generate victories at the top level. Your Mom Men’s Derby and New York Shock Exchange were the other two semifinalist from day one with victories over newcomers The Deep Valley Belligerents out of California and the a team to watch in the future, The Bridgetown Menace out of Portland.

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Photo Credit Bob Dunnell

The semi finals were both matches that everyone wanted to see. Semi one was a rematch from the 2012 MRDA opening round with defending champion Your Mom Men’s Derby taking on the highly motivated and rebuilt Mass Maelstrom. These two teams mirror each others game play. Both have fast agile jamming and one on one recycling blockers that turn four walls into what seems like 12 walls. The bout was as rough and fast as promised with a halftime advantage going to YMMD 100 to 61. Nearly every jam was played with each team missing players to the penalty box and jammers still being recycled to the back of the pack numerous times. The Mass blockers were a mix of backward skating chests and agile skating footwork that kept taking jammers out of bounds whenever they slowed to avoid the contact. YMMD continued to recycle the Mass jammers over and over with relentless skating and positioning. In the end, the game was largely won by perseverance with the speed skaters from Iowa outlasting their brothers from the East. The final from semi one was 173 to 119 going to the top seed Your Mom. From a highlight perspective, the Jammers from both of these teams displayed amazing moves and power in order to get free as all teammates were relegated to defensive play in this fast and penalty filled game.

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Photo Credit Bob Dunnell

The other semifinal featured the two pillars of men’s derby, The New York Shock Exchange and the St Louis Gatekeepers. The two teams had met earlier in the year in St Louis with the Gatekeepers winning big. With the work ethic of the Shock Exchange as well as the training partners they have with the women’s team known as Gotham, everyone knew this would not be the same match up we saw earlier in the season. The Gatekeepers are well known for having the strongest walls as well as the best offensive plays in men’s derby. The Shock Exchange features tireless jammers, well timed team defense and the most educated team on the men’s side. With history on the line and both teams relying on team work, everyone in the building was ready for a show. The first half saw both teams pull ahead and then fall behind with St Louis eventually taking a 73 to 67 lead at half. New York came out firing on all cylinders and took the lead in the second and built up what looked like a comfortable margin. With around five minutes to go, The Gatekeepers caught fire and closed down an over 40 point deficit down 2 points with one jam left in the game. It was either teams game now to win or lose. Side bets were being waged all over the arena as many of us have witnessed St Louis pull out some incredible victories in the past when it looked like all was lost and who could forget the breathtaking finish from Spring Roll 2012 when the Shock Exchange educated us all on what was possible with rule interpretation. Jonathan R and the Shock Exchange were able to get lead jammer on the final jam and hang for to a 161-149 victory.

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Photo Credit Bob Dunnell

The Final day saw a hungry Puget Sound handle Bridgetown in a rematch from just a month ago. As one of the players in the middle of the battles, I would contend that the PSO are back on their game and I was happy not to see them in the tournament. They are doing great things up in Seattle with Roller Derby and with rumors of a Northwest Champs in 2014, I see the Outcast as the team to beat. The consolation game saw an angry group of Gatekeepers take out their vengeance on a fatigued Maelstrom. The Gatekeepers finally played the game we were all waiting for them to play….just one game too late. The offense they displayed in freeing their jammers was still the best in the business. The Maelstrom had to play most of the second half without the defensive play of Jack Hammered who injured his leg midway through the game.

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Photo credit Manish Gosalia

The 2013 championship game at the MRDA Battle of the Midway was another rematch from the summer featuring the relatively new but notorious Your Mom out of Iowa vs. the good old faithful New York Shock Exchange. YMMD had won the first match up in one of the best battles of the season at Coney Island. That battle saw Iowa get into penalty trouble early and New   York continually break the spirit of the smaller YMMD jammers. The depth of Iowa’s jammer bench as well as the jammers turned blockers for a day allowed Iowa to ever so slightly pull ahead in the end.  The scoreboard from game number one favored Iowa but the emotional battle was won by New York. The house was packed for the final game as everyone was done playing for the weekend and this was legitimately the best thing happening in Sioux City on this Sunday evening.

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Photo Credit Bob Dunnell

New York started out strong with a nine to nothing advantage built straight away on the backs of Jonathon R’s jamming and continual battering from the NYSE walls. Abe Drinkin and Buster Cheatin did a fantastic job of keeping the Exchange lines together and moving as one throughout the game. Frank NotSoHotra earned 8 back on the second jam and everyone in the building knew we were in for a see saw battle. The first major separation happened midway through the first when Carnage Asada gave New York a 37 to 21 lead which they were able to hold for the next few jams. The game tightened up bit by bit with Twinkle Toes earning 13 back to the excitement of the local Iowa fans. Your Mom took a slight lead only to see it go away in one giant 20 point run from Ladies Knight giving the Exchange a 69 62 lead with only a few minutes to go in the half. What looked to be a nail biter going into half suddenly changed abruptly. Your Mom was able to free their jammers and give them lead on the last 6 jams of the half allowing them to put up 51 points to New York’s 7 giving Your Mom their biggest lead thus far at halftime, 113 to 76.

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The second half started much like the first with the Shock Exchange taking lead on the opening jam and Jonathon R putting up 9 points for his team. New York took lead 4 of the first 6 jams of the second half and it looked like the adjustments they made at half time had paid off. They had narrowed the score back to 123 to 112 and everyone was back fully engaged to the battle at hand. The next 7 jams saw Your Mom put up 79 points to 8 for New York with the one, two, three punch of Frank NotSoHotra, Twinkle Toes and second half blocker turned jammer B Stang. With the score 202 to 120 and the game three quarters of the way through, the Shock Exchange jammers began taking risk in order to come back. The Your Mom blockers lead by Nicholas Becker, Sugar Boots, Seahorses Forever and Dirty Larry made them pay for their aggressiveness by continually drawing track cut penalties. The game ended with a score of 249 to 130 but all who watched saw a game which was much more exciting and closer then the scoreboard said. Frank NorSoHotra took home top jammer and Nicholas Becker took home top blocker belt buckles for Your Mom but the tournament was filled with lots of other amazing play.

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A special shout out needs to go to the Sioux City Kornstalkers and the MRDA for putting on a perfect event. Minus one random false fire alarm, the tournament ran smoothly. The view was perfect for all spectators. The venue was easy to find and large enough to hold such an important event. The hotels and restaurants were all close and affordable which made watching derby easy. The quality of the men’s side keeps getting better and better with the officiating and sportsmanship sharpening every event. The women of WFTDA have been great thus far in holding our hand, teaching us how to host large events and how to play the game.  Hopefully in the near future we will be able to repay them with some quality play ourselves. The next thing up on the MRDA radar will be Team USA at the 2014 World Cup. Many of the best players from around the country will be representing us and I look forward to seeing how amazing that team plays together. The term “Dream Team” is played out but I can’t think of a better way to describe what we will have on the floor in March.

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  • I totally enjoyed the entire weekend, especially watching the Your Moms win back to back titles. You made Des Moines proud. Thank you for a wonderful weekend Sioux City

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