The way current roller derby works is pretty simple. The bout consists of a series of jams. During each jam, each team sends five skaters to the floor — four blockers and one jammer. The jammers from each team try to get by all the blockers as the skaters circle around the rink. Teams get one point every time their jammer gets past players from the other team after one time around the skating path. So if one jammer gets past all five of the opposing skaters, that jammer would earn five points (a grand slam) for her team.
All this is happening under rules and guidelines set forth by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.
As I was visiting with folks familiar with the Queens and the Dames, they all told me that the two teams had met last month in Arkansas and it was a close matchup. The locals won that match, but apparently the Arkansas team had never lost a road bout this year. Something had to give in the rematch.
This bout was close for about 16 minutes of the first 30-minute half. The Black Heart Queens found themselves trailing 16-3 early. If this trend continued, I was sure Hoff and company would never let me near one of their bouts again.
But SSRG jammer Kari “Twisted Armani” Larsen took matters into her own hands, scoring a whopping 25 points during the next two-minute jam to put the home team on top 28-16. That started a streak of 51 consecutive points by the Black Heart Queens as their lead ballooned to 54-16.
By halftime, it was 118-38 before the Queens coasted to a 189-123 victory. I later found out that the SSRG had defeated the Benton County squad 196-125 in their previous matchup in Springdale, Ark.
“It was closer through most of the game, but we pulled further ahead in the second half,” Hoff insisted of the first meeting.