women's flat track roller derby team in columbus, ohio - empowering women and gender-expansive people in sport
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The Ohio Roller Girls will boot, scoot, and boogie their way southwest this weekend for a tough bout against the Nashville Rollergirls.  The matchup will be the third meeting between these two teams, with both squads each winning once on their home turf.  Nashville took the first ever matchup in Tennessee, 166-43, back in 2010, while Ohio served up some home-cooking last season in Columbus, 194-128.  With final rankings and tournament seedings being released, both teams will have to channel their inner Spinal Tap, dig deep for that little extra, and turn it to “eleven” if they want positive momentum headed into playoffs.

The Nashville Rollergirls have fallen from Division 1 into Division 2 this season, but it wasn’t because the team has taken a step back talent-wise.  With a 2015 record of 5-7, Nashville’s Music City All Stars have committed themselves to playing a stronger schedule this year than in season’s past.  Riding a three bout win streak with victories against Columbia (SC), Cincinnati (OH), and Providence (RI), Nashville also has victories over Blue Ridge (NC) and St. Chux (MO).  Their losses came to Boston (MA), Charlottesville (VA), Arch Rival (MO), and Naptown (IN).  Most recently, the Music City All Stars found themselves in a proverbial mosh pit at The Big O invitational in Eugene (OR) where they also dropped three bouts to Helsinki (Finland), Montreal (Quebec), and Terminal City (Vancouver), but all by respectable margins.  Following their bout with Ohio, Nashville will have one more tune-up before attending WFTDA playoffs, an early August meeting with Demolition City (IN).

The Ohio Roller Girls could put out a Greatest Hits album based on the ridiculous number of bouts they’ve played over the past three years.  Including the 21 sanctioned bouts they are predicted to play this season, OHRG have played a whopping 65 bouts over the past three seasons, and have played more bouts than any other team in the WFTDA with 136 (seven more than Texas according to Flat Track Stats).  The good thing about playing that many bouts is that Ohio has probably seen every strategy a team could throw at them.  The bad thing about playing that much is that the wear and tear of that many bouts starts to take a toll on the body.  When Ohio has won, they’ve done it convincingly.  When they’ve lost, they’ve unfortunately also done it convincingly.  With solid victories over Tri-City (Kitchener-Waterloo), Killamazoo (MI), Queen City (NY), Gold Coast (FL), Maine, Ft. Wayne (IN), and Toronto (Ontario), and closely contested wins against Charm City (MD) and Demolition City (IN), Ohio is also riding a three bout win streak going into their duet with Nashville.  Ohio has fallen this year in sanctioned play to (currently higher seeded) Detroit (MI), Boston (MA), Jacksonville (FL), Arch Rival (MO), Minnesota (MN), and Tampa (FL).

The Music City All Stars play a very similar game to Ohio, which was evident during last year’s contest.  Strong jamming and “bend but don’t break” blocking are key strengths for both squads.  Last year, Nashville jammers Ann T. Histamine, Four-Leaf Roller, Phantom Power, and Chelsea Dagger provided a halftime lead for the Music City All Stars before Ohio was able to mount a second half comeback.  Ann T. Histamine and Four-Leaf Roller are not on Nashville’s lineup this year, but Lady Fury has filled in nicely and adds a dynamic, fast, and explosive counterpart to Dagger and Power’s physical approach to jamming.  Electra Cal and Zip Drive also have experience with the jammer star and could be used to fill in when needed.

For Ohio, Zee Loraine Acid Gulertekin will appear in her second bout following a ten month hiatus.  Playing limited time against Toronto earlier this month, Acid appeared to have not missed a beat and fit right back into Ohio’s defensive core.  With Ena Flash, Burnadeath, Amy Spears, Jesse “AvaTarr” Fox, and now Acid all in the mix, the band is back together for Ohio as they look for an encore victory over an extremely tough Music City squad.  Following their bout with Nashville, Ohio will be on the road against Steel City (PA) before returning home on August 22nd for a season finale against Naptown.

As always, for additional information regarding the Ohio Roller Girls and upcoming bouts, check out http://www.ohiorollergirls.com and their Facebook page.

Cover Photo by Dorn Byg of Byg Day Photography (full set here).

Andrew Marron