This Ain't Your Daddy's Derby
Rivals square off in second annual derby championship
After a season of bone-crunching, high-scoring Duke City Derby action, the undefeated Doomsdames will take on the Derby Intelligence Agency in the championship game that will decide who's crowned queen of the rink.
Although the two teams squaring off are the same as in last year's final match, a lot's changed since the Duke City Derby's inaugural season a year ago. “The level of playing has improved 10 times compared to what it was last year,” says Doomsdames' jammer (or scorer) Kim Saito (aka Kamikaze Kim). "When we first started last season, a lot of us had never skated or were new to the sport, so it was focused on the theatrics of derby—like the uniforms and outrageous names. This year, the focus has been on actually playing this game. We've assumed our identities, and now it's just about going out and competing.”
While they remain undefeated, the Doomsdames have had to fight tooth-and-nail to remain so. In a recent game, the reigning league champions came within one point of their first loss in Duke City Derby history against the league's third team, the HoBots.
“The Doomsdames have something to prove in the championship,” says Duke City Derby cofounder Nan Morningstar. “They want to show themselves, other players and the fans that they're not ready to start losing games.”
As for the Doomsdames' opponent, the Derby Intelligence Agency will have one of its best chances yet to knock off the top dogs in the league, but the team will have to show it has improved its defense. “Our team has some of the best jammers in the league, so we've been focusing on building up our blockers for defense and our teamwork,” says Carson Stradford, one of DIA's best blockers. “We've been holding practices as much as possible, with as many people as we can to build the teamwork aspect, and I think this is our best chance to take the championship.”
Regardless of who wins this year's championship, the future power structure of the Duke City Derby will get a severe jostling if plans to add a fourth team to the league come to fruition. Players from Santa Fe, who are some of the best members of each of the three current teams, are forming their own Santa Fe-based team to eliminate the hassle of driving to Albuquerque several times a week.
That kind of league shakeup ensures plenty of healthy uncertainty for next year's season, but Saito is confident that certain trends will continue.
“Every season we get more and more fans. A lot of people never would have gone and now they're hooked; they come to every one of our games. Roller derby speaks to people on different levels and it's something you don't see on TV.”