Photo Credit: David Eduardo
What transpired Saturday night at Akins Arena inside the Classic Center was, without hyperbole, the most thrilling display of grit and athleticism in the decade-long history of women’s flat track roller derby in Athens. The largest regular-season crowd in recent memory held its collective breath for two 30-minute halves as the visiting team from Tallahassee and our hometown Classic City Rollergirls battled with every ounce of their being in a slugfest for the ages.
Last month, CCRG had a less than impressive showing, and no discernible home track advantage, going winless in three tries while hosting the Classic City Crush invitational. Key skaters were out with injuries, the offense was anemic, and question marks at the jammer position loomed heavy.
Those question marks have been replaced with exclamations after the emergence of newcomers Dani Doom and Crazy Cait Lady on Saturday. Both skaters are wiry, tough and incredibly deft, with the ability to slip through defensive walls or pirouette effortlessly around opposing blockers and land under control, inside the tape.
Despite trailing 62-72 heading into halftime against Tallahassee, CCRG had to feel supremely confident after surviving numerous ferocious (and questionable) hits, penalty trouble and a scoring drought that saw Tallahassee put up 30 unanswered points. To paraphrase Leonard Cohen: Everybody knows Classic City is a second-half team. Not even four minutes later, the score was tied 76-76.
The verdict would hang in the balance until the 21st and final jam of the evening. With less than two minutes remaining on the clock and CCRG down 143-145, Crazy Cait Lady, with star on helmet, followed veteran blocker Tenderize Her, on the track for the final jam of her eight-year career, and took lead jammer status as she hit turn No. 2. Before the crowd’s emphatic roar dissipated, the home team had scored nine points, the clock expired, and CCRG pulled off the upset, 152-145.