Three to get ready. Two for the show. One "for the money" to go.
As the track dust settled and the last of the skaters geared down on June 21st in the Bayou Music Center, The Bayou City Bosses, The Brawlers and the Psych Ward Sirens had crowded themselves into a 3-way tie for first place in the league standings at 3 wins and 2 losses each. Only two of those teams get to compete for Houston Roller Derby League Champion on August 16th; and, they only have one more rankings game to decide who goes.
Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Bosses.
As I so eruditely predicted last month, the Bayou City Bosses got in touch with their feelings of chippiness and channeled them into a victory over the Psych Ward Sirens. What I did not know at the time of my prediction was the Sirens would not have their go-to jammer available for the game. Brand-Aid (#26) was absent (with leave?) due to a pre-existing family condition known as "Grandma’s birthday party”-itis. While Grandma-Aid got the girl; the Bosses got the gift.
Thanks to you-know-who-you-are for a few stats. When Brand-Aid dons the star cover, she earns Lead Jammer 63% of the time. She has a 5.3 PPJ (Points Per Jam) average and she jams 16 times (equals almost 85 points) on average per game. But, that’s just averages. When the Sirens beat the Bosses in March, Brand-Aid chalked up an actual 117 of the Sirens 218 total points.
So while Little Red #26 went over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house, the big bad Bosses went roaming the trackside without having to deal with her as a scoring threat - posting a 216 to 90 Final Score.
I am not saying that if the Sirens had been able to apply a Brand-Aid to the wounding, they would have necessarily won the game. The Bosses definitely demonstrated that they wanted the “W” more than the remains of the Sirens. But the game sure as hella-would have been closer than 126 points. Who knows? Perhaps Gramma-Aid is actually a Bosses fan; and maybe, a picnic basket full of a 126-point smackdown against the Sirens was just the special gift that a special lady wanted on her special day.
Do Blue Chickens Dream of Green Skaters?
After only a couple of point scoring jams by Freight Train (#22) and N. Fuego (#585), The Brawlers had duckwalked to a commanding 44 to 0 lead over the Valkyries in game 2 of the June 21st double-header. With half time approaching, The Brawlers had extended their lead to 55 points (87 points to the Valks 32).
But, just when it looked like The Brawlers could set the cruise control and coast to victory, they suddenly got all kinds of mystified. Valkyries jammer, Mystified (#0), to be more precise.
Near the end of the first half, Mystified went track-meet on The Brawlers - scoring 34 points while her teammates Speed O (#3), Kelly Killpowsky (#93) and Loco Meaux Tion (#555) had opened up a Recycling Center on Brawlers jammer Elly Gone Gonzo (#38). Elly never got out of her initial pass and went GonZero for the jam. That 34-point shutout was the Valkyries momentum shifter.
With Big Mo’ on their side, Bullet Sucker (#950) followed with a 10-point shutout and Hot Assets (#751) capped it with a 15-point shutout of her own to move the Valks ahead of The Brawlers 91 to 87 at the half. The Valkyries never looked back; and, The Brawlers never quite caught up.
But the bout ain’t over ‘til the fat referee bee-ooo-weeps. With the game clock running out, Brawlers coach Chicken had dreams of one last jam and one last chance to avoid a loss. The Brawlers jammer Flyon Maiden (#666) had earned Lead Jammer and the Valks jammer Mystified (#0) had earned a trip to the penalty box. A hit-it-and-quit-it Call Off by Flyon would have set up one more (power) jam with less than a minute remaining and only 17 points separating the two teams.
Chicken’s dream of a Call Off and a Power Jam abruptly ended however with an ill-advised Flyon Maiden Star Pass to Radium DK (#88). Radium picked up where Flyon left off - finishing a 5 point pass and adding 4 more for The Brawlers. But by then, the game clock had gone to zero and the Valkyries Win record went from zero to one with a final score of 170 to 162.
Three teams enter, one team leaves.
The three teams in contention for the coveted 1 and 2 Champs spots control their own fate.
The short version is thus: Whoever wins the Bosses v. Brawlers game on July 19th, goes to Champs on Aug 16th. The Sirens go to Champs with a win against the Valkyries. The Valkyries will be playing for 3rd place at Champs no matter who or what happens.
The less-than-short version involves a Sirens loss to the Valkyries. A Sirens loss would put them in a tie for 2nd with the loser of the Bosses v. Brawlers games and the tie-breaker would be decided by margin of victory (or defeat) over the season. Thanks to exhaustive web-surfing, an assumption-laced spreadsheet and several adult beverages, here are the numbers I have.
Of the three teams, The Brawlers have the highest accumulated over/under margin at 180 points. The Bosses have the next highest at 87 points and the Sirens (thanks in large part to June’s loss by 126 points) have the lowest at 28 points.
So if the Sirens lose to the Valks by just 1 point, they would need The Brawlers to beat the Bosses by at least 61 points or the Bosses to beat The Brawlers by 154 in order to skate clockwise-direction into a Champs spot.
Were Ifs and Buts all beers and nuts, we’d all be wasted and full.
At the risk of sounding fanboy, if you miss (or even show up late to) The Brawlers v. Bosses Game 1 on July 19th, you may need to have your derby-fan card suspended. Because, while I highly expect the Bosses to take the Win and a trip to Champs, The Brawlers have had time to get their minds right and will NOT go down without a rumble. And, not to take anything away from the Valkyries or their very vocal fans in Game 2, but a fully (I repeat *fully*) staffed Ward full of Psych’d Sirens is a difficult thing to put on lockdown.
~The great white T. Burón