So last weekend, the inaugural season of the Toronto Roller Derby league came to a conclusion, with the first Championship match. The Gore-Gore Rollergirls and The Chicks Ahoy! - the two undefeated teams from the summer season - went at it on November 17 up at Rinx in North York. It had been a long time coming - the last public game had been in August - and part of the issue was that most rinks in the city went back to ice hockey use in September. The league was fortunate to get their hands on Rinx, a venue not designed for spectators so much; Rinx features ice rinks, bumper cars, bowling, and a roller rink. But the sweet bonus for all concerned was - provided you signed a waiver - we got to sit on the track, right in the thick of things.
The evening got off to an in auspicious start when the sound system kept crashing during the introductions. It appeared that the DJ's music board kept overwhelming the system, which was a shame seeing as the tunes are part of the whole experience. But they sorted it out, and by sitting on the track and not behind the glass, as it George Bell Arena in the summer, you could hear the announcements and play by play quite clearly. So for those of us who went through the whole summer with ToRD, we were well able to follow the action. I think the newbies who came - and there were plenty, which was very encouraging given the long lay-off - may have still had a hard time, especially when sitting on the rink surface, which of course makes it a bit harder to see things happening on the opposite side of the rink. But overall, I'd say that the crowd went home satisfied.
The match opened appearing to be a massive mis-match. While both squads went undefeated during the summer, the effects of a long lay-off seemed apparent when both sides skated a little slow off the top. This quickly changed as the Gore-Gores kept throwing numbers on the board, and the Chicks kept hitting the penalty box. By the end of the first period, the Gore-Gores had built up a seemingly insurmountable lead, in the neighborhood of 50 to 6. (I'm afraid I didn't write this down.) But the Chicks started to come back in the second, actually outscoring the Gore-Gores in the frame, and closing the gap - a bit. After 2, it was still about a 30 to 40 point lead for the Gore-Gores.
Sure enough, in the third, the hits started coming a bit harder, and while the Chicks made it respectable, they still couldn't get there, and the Gore-Gores wound up winning the first Toronto Championship Boot by a final score of 89 to 53. Led by their amazing jammers, including Bambi and Desmon Deck-Her who both fly through the pack like a hot knife through a baby's bottom, there was no way that the Gore-Gores were going be denied. The Chicks had nothing to be ashamed of, though, and both sides joined, along with the league referees, for a number of victory laps around the rink. Looking forward to next season - I'll keep you posted!