Credit must be given where it’s due; the Mid Iowa Rollers are a fantastic team. In their home bout this past weekend opposite the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls—the Rollers’ final bout of the derby season—they proved just how remarkably skilled and tough of a team they are. They put on a clinic. And they steamrolled over the Rollergirls, one of the strongest squads in the state, by the incredible score of 212-109. In so doing, they ended their season unbeaten, with a final record of 8-0. A remarkable achievement no matter how you try to spin it.
The Cedar Rapids Rollergirls brought their “A” squad—their Helldorados—to Des Moines to face off with the Rollers after the hard-fought battle the two teams had engaged in last month. The Rollergirls had come within a hair’s breadth of winning that time, and since then, the Rollers were taken to the limit in an exhausting bout against Iowa City’s Old Capital City team. The Rollergirls were primed to play the role of the spoilers. They wanted their win back. Meanwhile, the Rollers wanted to close their season at home as the only unbeaten roller derby team in Iowa. In many ways, this bout was shaping up to be a battle of wills. And the simple fact might have been that on this night, the Rollers’ wills were stronger.
The night had a shaky start—very shaky—if you were rooting for the Rollergirls. Thanks to a pair of powerful jams by Miz Lolli Pop Ya and cTAL faTAL, two of the best (the two best?) jammers in the state, the score after only six minutes was 50-9 in favor of the Rollers. Despite their most valiant efforts—and great, gritty performances by the likes of AJ Renegade, G.I. Jean, and Krash Sanders—the Rollergirls were never able to do much to that forty-plus-point deficit. They managed to whittle the Mid Iowa lead down to thirty points, briefly, in the second half, but that was as close as they got. The Rollers were entrenched too deeply in the zone to be overcome. On the last night of their season, they were doing everything right.
Whenever the Mid Iowa jammers—most prominently, cTAL faTAL, Miz Lolli Pop Ya, and sharp, talented rookie Vyolent Grimm—executed a jam, it would typically be a high-point, momentum-changing jam. Whenever the Rollergirls were on the offense, the Mid Iowa blockers ensured that their jams weren’t more than a few points. The Rollers maintained a psychological advantage, as well, throwing well-aimed elbows and knees all night and maneuvering the track like they could do it in their sleep.
After the bout, the Rollers gathered in the middle of the track to celebrate their 8-0 season, and it was impossible not to cheer for them, even if you were rooting for the other side. Some of their wins were nail-biters (the June bout against Cedar Rapids, recent encounters with Iowa City and the Sioux City Roller Dames), others were blowouts, but their consistently extraordinary season can’t be dismissed. They deserve their moment in the sun. And as far as the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls, they’ll be waiting next season, and will no doubt be more than ready to even the score.