(20) Ohio and Cincinnati Continue In-State Rivalry
Only 120 miles separate their two cities, but the Ohio Roller Girls and the Cincinnati Rollergirls have not taken the track against one another since October 2011. A long-standing rivalry between these two squads has limited the number of times they have met. In fact, since the Cincinnati league formed back in 2007, these two teams have only met five times. Historically, the Cincinnati Black Sheep are 4-1 against Ohio, with their last victory coming against OHRG at the 2011 North Central Playoffs, 168-82. Since then, however, Ohio and Cincinnati have seen their programs go in opposite directions.
A change in league structure for Ohio led to more bouts with fewer skaters in the league. The focus on the team has enabled OHRG to make not only regional, but international, playoffs for the last three seasons. This dedication culminated in 2013 when they not only qualified for the WFTDA Championship tournament, but were victorious in their opening round bout against Rat City (Seattle, WA). Ohio has qualified once again for post-season play this year, with an upcoming bout against the Jacksonville Roller Girls in September. Conversely, the Black Sheep of Cincinnati have fallen from a top 40 team eleven months ago to #87 in the WFTDA. They are currently in a 17-game winless streak that dates back to last year’s playoffs, where they pulled out a three point victory over Bleeding Heartland in the opening round.
Cincinnati’s drop this season hasn’t been due to poor performance on the track, but more so because they are pretty much working with a new squad. Prior to the start of the 2014 season, an exodus of skaters left the league with nearly no veterans. The departed skaters found themselves either retired, or skating with other leagues such as Naptown, Black-n-Bluegrass, and Ohio. In fact, three former Cincinnati Rollergirls joined the Ohio Roller Girls, deciding to play for the Columbus squad. Transfers Sk8 Crime, Garden of Beatin, and Pistol Whippin’ Wendy now don the kelly green instead of the white and black. Having to rebuild both charter and reserve squads was a tall order for CRG, but they are doing it, even if it takes some time.
The departure of veterans opened the door for reserve skaters to step up onto the charter team, the Black Sheep, and while currently winless, this season should prove to be worthwhile in the long run as the younger skaters in the league obtain valuable track time. Under the guidance of vets Hannah Barbaric, I Caramba, Kitten Kicker, La Bruja, Wheezy, and Mirderher, skaters like Anne Bones, Annie Tomical, Big Ugly, and Skunna Hurt will develop into their new roles on the track. Another benefit of a rebuilding year is that it allows more leniency in experimenting with lineups and different packs. Nearly every bout this season has allowed for different pairings of blockers with jammers, blockers with blockers, and different jammers on the line all together. Although out of the playoff race this season, it is obvious that Cincinnati is building a team that will be competitive for seasons to come.
Following the Ohio bout against the Black Sheep, Gang Green will take the track against Cincinnati’s Violent Lambs. Featuring several swinger skaters, many of the same faces will skate for both the Sheep and the Lambs. Newbies to CRG’s Violent Lambs are transfer skaters Mama Crass and Red Emma, both making their new home with Cincinnati by way of the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls. Also look for Ruthless Chris and I Caramba to wear the jammer star with Big Ugly, Annie Tomical, and Mama Crass to be staples in the pack.
The Ohio Roller Girls All Stars and Cincinnati’s Black Sheep will skate first at 5:00 p.m., with Gang Green and the Violent Lambs to follow. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.
Photos courtesy of Dorn Byg and John Egbert.