How I kept from screaming myself hoarse I'll never know. The scene was a classic in sports stories. The small town team, having faced the league team only once and in enemy territory, now finds themselves on the night of the rematch, at home. That first meeting found our team facing defeat and a severely mismatched final score. So many things seem to be working against a win for the home side tonight, from memories of the last time to the fact that several skaters and support staff have found themselves running extremely late due to some absurdly heavy traffic for our town on a Saturday evening.
The scene is Hard Knox Roller Girls facing off against Huntsville Alabama's Dixie Derby Girls. The first bout between these teams was an absolute battle that saw an HKRG jammer taken out in the first period. Our side represented themselves well that night, making us proud even as they went down to the Dixie Derby Girls.
Saturday was our night to welcome DDG to our house. I was fortunate enough to witness one of the greatest nights of flat track roller derby I've seen yet.
Hard Knox grabbed an early lead in the first period, seeming to have put a comfortable space between themselves and Huntsville. The second period saw Huntsville begin to chip away at that lead. The third period was an absolute fever of all out derby, neither team able to maintain the advantage for very long.
The final jam began with less than two minutes on the official clock meaning that there would be no lead jammer, and the jam would last the full two minutes. As the whistle sounded to start the jam, Huntsville was ahead with 98 points to Knoxville's 94. The next two minutes were a flurry of teamwork as Hard Knox came together to win themselves a jam score of 12 to 2 and a win over DDG, final score 106-100. Our jammer was pure speed as our blockers kept a clear lane open using every tool from hard hits to timely whips.
I can't say enough about the people that came together this night. The fans were amazing, and they make everyone do their job better when they show up and have fun. Huntsville brought a ref, an amazing and charming young lady we've had the pleasure of working with before. A fine pair of gentlemen drove all the way across our state from Memphis to help our refs as well. All of the refs did an amazing job calling the bout. Dixie Derby Girls brought our town one hell of a bout and, we hope, the promise of more to come.