Burning Rink of Fire Heats Up the Track
By Valerie Hurtinelli
The track at Toyota Exposition Hall was engulfed in competition when the Naptown Roller Girls hosted its second double-header of the season on June 13, an action-packed nail-biter with the Ohio Roller Girls of Columbus. Burning Rink of Fire, the league’s last home bout of the 2008-09 season, featured the Warning Belles taking on Ohio’s Gang Green squad in the first bout, followed by the Tornado Sirens skating against the OHRG All Stars.
Bout One: The Belles
The Ohio team brought a small roster-with four skaters competing in both the Belles’ and Sirens’ bouts. But endurance and teamwork proved mighty weapons for this team, which came out strong from the very beginning of the Belles’ bout. Racer Xtasy launched off the jammer line at the first whistle, and fellow wearers of the star-Blue Messiah, Ivanna B. Naughty, Katya Lookin, and Valerie Hurtinelli-rounded up enough points to put the Belles in the lead at halftime, if only slightly so at 27 to 20.
The second half brought more of a challenge for Naptown’s B Team. Ohio jammer Hellion BOI came out of the break with a tide-turning 9-0 jam, giving her team the lead. Naptown’s pack struggled to control Ohio’s aggressive blockers and our jammers took some rattling blows from Gang Green’s last line of defense, often in the form of the green team’s Nailher and captain Handle Barz. In spite of high-scoring jams by a battle-worn Blue Messiah, and a few of Katya’s inspiring turns wearing the star, the Belles saw their lead slip away with every tick of the game clock. By bout’s end, the scoreboard read 64 to 31 in Ohio’s favor.
Bout Two: The Sirens
The headline bout of the night had Naptown’s A Team trading blows with a squad that included Columbus’ top players. A low-scoring first half featured strong jams by Blazin’ Ace, Fin Addict, Slammy Faye, and Jane Ire-who seemed especially adept at carving out holes in this, the final home bout of her Naptown career. In the last jam of the first half, Ace powered through the Ohio pack to give the Sirens a14-point lead at halftime.
Both teams came back strong after intermission. Ohio jammer Dirty Grrl displayed mad skating skills, nearly tap dancing through NRG’s pack to help the All Stars gain points-and momentum. Small back-and-forth gains kept the crowd on edge, knowing that one big jam could put either team in a comfortable lead. Unfortunately for Naptown fans, that break came when Ohio’s Pippi RipYourStocking slipped on the jammer cap and worked her way past the Sirens’ hardest hitters. In one pivotal jam, she pulled off a 13-point double grand slam that put her team in the lead at 61 to 60.
Points were hard to come by in the final 10 minutes of the game, but the level of excitement was at its highest pitch. Fans who thought they would never see a bout as close as May’s Cyclone Wars were in for another thrill. In spite of valiant performances by the Naptown blockers (including one containment effort that sent Joan of Dark careening into the suicides, leaving skate marks on the “God is a Naptown fan” sign), and a final jam by crowd favorite Shadi Layne, the Sirens managed to rack up only two points in the last five jams. In the end, it wasn’t enough to avoid a 66-62 victory for Ohio.
EDIT: Score updated: 65 – 62 final for an OHRG win.