The force is strong with East Coast derby.
I am breaking my “fourth wall” of journalism for an editorial series of articles focusing on some of the best skaters of my area in 2011. My friend in the West, Elwood Bruise, writes as the Seattle Roller Derby Examiner. For the last three years, he has assembled a Northwest All Star team.
When I saw this, I immediately knew I wanted to do an East Coast version. 2011 has been filled with a lot of start-up leagues getting their skates firmly underneath them. There have been tournaments, rivalries and stars born this year.
He encouraged me to run with it. The result was a week and a half of voting by fans on skaters from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Washington D.C. Any skater (male, female or junior) who skated on a team from these areas during 2011 was eligible for nomination.
This is Elwood’s third year taking votes from fans, and he had 172 people weigh in. I am proud to say that I had, for my first year, a response of 148 ballots cast from as far as California, Florida and Ontario. In the end, 137 skaters had at least one vote, and they hailed from a total of 26 different leagues.
It was a pretty intense race the whole way through. I am so grateful for everyone who sent in nominations. My favorite part about the process was that many of those who voted shared stories with me. It was wonderful to hear what made you love the skaters you were voting for.
In the end, only 20 skaters could make the cut. Remarkably, 14 leagues are represented on this list; so it truly is an ALL STAR team!
This article is announcing the reserves of the All Star team. On a charter, a league names 20 skaters eligible to skate. On game day, 14 dress, and there are 2 alternates. I am announcing the four skaters that made the “charter” but not the roster. Tomorrow, I will post the alternates. Then, I will begin posting the skaters that made the full roster.
For readers who are familiar with Elwood’s All Stars, you will notice a few extra tweaks. For one, the skaters with the highest number of votes (after our MVP), will be named “Captain” and “Co-Captain”. Then, there’s the B Team.
I got to thinking as I was collecting votes. If there were to be a team to CHALLENGE this All Star team, who would be on it? Well, I am going to throw in my two cents on the issue.
After our Keystone All Star Team is assembled, I will post my counterpoint. This B Team will be comprised of skaters that did NOT make the list. They would be the skaters that I would like to see challenge the named All Stars.
As fans, I implore you to please leave stories and love letters to the skaters in the comment section of these articles. I do not have the ability to collect the stories of everyone who has come in contact with our winners, but I want the world to know why so many people love their roller skills.
Without further ado! Here are the RESERVES of the 2011 Keystone All-Star Team, as voted on by the fans:
‘Snot Rocket Science (Steel City Derby Demons)
Eastern Regionals in Baltimore this year reminded us all of a little team called Steel City. On that team is a quietly improvisational jammer named ‘Snot Rocket Science. She makes slicing through a pack look like she’s slicing through cake. For those in the audience, regardless of who you were cheering for, it was tough not to root for her. It was hard to not watch the moves of her skates as she evaded hits. Then, when she made Team USA, it was impossible to not be excited for her. Black and yellow, black and yellow.
Olive Havoc (Black Rose Rollers)
Here is the first of many small leagues to make an appearance on the list. The Black Rose Rollers of Hanover, Pennsylvania have this naturally agile and speedy jammer. She actually hates turn two so much, that she jumps it at every opportunity. Over the last year, she’s been focusing on her defensive blocking. She has hopped her way into the hearts of many fans being more slippery than your average Rose.
Veronika Gettsburger (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals)
“A leader and an inspiration” is what one ballot said of Gettsburger. A triple threat for the Roller Radicals, she has known the struggle it takes to keep a small league afloat. Burger is an assertive pivot, strong blocker and impossible piece of wall. She can get lower than anyone expects, and is a ringer with the star. With her wife, Liberty Violence, Burger has helped teach a young Radical team, and they will be a threat in 2012.
Simone ta Devour (Harrisburg Area Roller Derby)
Our first rookie is named. Simone, or STD to her teammates, debuted in March for H.A.R.D. and quickly accelerated to their Nuclear Knockouts. Having skated from a young age (with no substantial break like most derby girls), she was able to focus on the dynamics of blocking and the finesse of jamming. She is tenacious on the track, and fiercely competitive. For a girl so small, it is amazing to see her move players like Betty Crasher of the Rocktown Rollers, who is twice her size.
See the gallery here: