May 14th brought excitement, nerves, cold temps and snuggling blankets to Ann Arbor during the home opener of Ann Arbor Roller Derby's 2016 season at the beautiful Buhr Park. Heading into the home bouting season, the Ypsilanti Vigilantes have been working hard on developing strength and unity in their lines, perfecting a deep jammer rotation, and applying new offensive strategy. After being defeated by the Downriver Muscle the previous week, the Vigilantes applied what they learned from that bout and faced the East Lansing Broadbarians with brut and grace.
The first period had the Vigilantes with an early lead. Vigilante jammers took advantage of opportunities offered by the opposing blockers while the Vigilante blockers were cool, calm and collected, easily switching back and forth between defense and offense. Working as a cohesive unit and being aware of the differing situations on the track is something the Vigilante blockers have been focusing on in practice in recent weeks, and the dedication was paying off as they held the Broadbarians to only 48 points with two minutes left in the first half. Meanwhile, the Vigilante jammers mountain-goated, juked, and blasted their way through the hard-hitting walls of the Broadbarians, giving them a score of 110.
After the half-time break, the Vigilantes hustled to try to keep the opposition under the century mark as the Broadbarians came back out of the lockers with a vengeance. While the Broadbarians were able to start narrowing the score gap, their aggressive strategy also left them very short-handed with a penalty-heavy half. Vigilante skaters found their footing, and reapplied their strategy of working in unison, being aware on the track, and communicating with each other. This readjustment was just what the Vigilantes needed, as they continued to increase their score over the 200 mark and kept the Broadbarians well in their dust with a final score of 233-140.
You have two more chances to see the Vigilantes at Buhr Park this season: July 9 and August 6. Tickets are on sale now for these and all of our 2016 home bouts, along with a limited number of season passes.
Bear-a-Cuda is a 40-something skater who still has a lot of spunk in her old lady bones.