Coming off a victory in their last bout against Peach State, the Yellow Jacket Roller Derby team (YJRD) faced Knoxville’s Marble City Mayhem in their third home bout of the fall season. Though the Mayhem put up an intense fight, the Jackets maintained their lead through the entire bout with a victorious final score of 189-161.
Roller derby bouts consist of two thirty-minute halves where two teams of five players face off on a flat, elliptical track. The halves are composed of several two-minute-long jams where players can score. Each team has one jammer as their offense and four blockers as their defense. The jammers’ goal is to lap the opposing blockers, and their team receives a point for each opponent they pass. In the first pass, the jammers do not score points, but the first jammer to lead the pack achieves lead jammer status, allowing them to stop the jam at any point.
After some motivation from team captain Primm Reaper, the Jackets were feeling more than ready to face off against the Marble City Mayhem. Monstrous Nightmare made a strong drive as the lead jammer out of the gate, starting YJRD with a lead. Boulder came in as their next jammer during a power jam, which occurs when the opposing jammer is in the penalty box. YJRD took advantage of this, making three passes and scoring big before the opposing jammer had a chance to get back in the game and stop it.
With GingerSnap and Primm Reaper playing solid defense, Scare Bear slid effortlessly through the pack. Calling upon their figure skating experience, they side-surf past Marble City’s defenders along the inside line of the track.
Later in the half, Lightning McLynn put up a fierce offense as the jammer. Even after getting recycled two times, she stepped back into the track and pushed past Marble City’s defenders to score a few points. The first period concluded with YJRD up 115-57.
The score crept closer to a tie in the second period, but the Jackets held down the fort with a brick wall of a defense. In more than one instance, three of YJRD’s defenders would lock elbows to form an impenetrable wall that prevented the opposing jammer from scoring a single point on them.
Veteran player Sweet n’ Sour, nicknamed “Sweetie,” showed her expertise in the second half when they scored a remarkable 19 points in a single two-minute jam, effortlessly dodging the incoming barrage of shoulders and elbows. At one point, Sweetie leaped across a corner of the track, passing three opposing blockers and landing a near-perfect dismount. Unfortunately, the opposition held the lead jammer status and ended the jam just before their skates touched the ground to score points.
As the second period winded down, the physical intensity of the bout started to wear on the players, but the Jackets did not falter. McLynn fell to the ground after a brutal hit, but she recovered quickly and later overcame the fatigue to score an eight-point jam.
The bout ended in a win for Tech, with players Tonya Hardass and Boulder winning best blocker and best jammer. Each player on YJRD gave it their all on Sunday and put up an intensely fierce fight until the very end of the bout. Students can watch YJRD’s Exhibition Bout at the Exhibition Hall on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m.
YJRD is an all-gender club sport, and interested students can join as “newbies” during the open enrollment period at the beginning of the 2024 spring semester.