The Tsunami Sirens roller derby team of Crescent City put together one of the most complete performances in its three-year history Saturday night.
The Tsunami Sirens roller derby team defeated the Red Bluff Derby Girls, 280-81, in a bout Saturday at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. LEFT TO RIGHT: Siren Liz “TeacHer Some Respect” Calleja, Autumn “Sprint Eastwood” Luna and Bridget “Killa B” Lacey, all in blue uniforms, tangle with members of the Derby Girls (in red) during a jam. Courtesy of Roger Schultz
Ultimately, however, the Sirens’ 280-81 victory over the Red Bluff Derby Girls will be remembered for a neck injury to a Red Bluff player that required hospitalization and cast a pall over the crowd of approximately 300 at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds Main Building.
“I think everybody was kind of (emotional) there for a minute,” Siren Andrea “Demo-Licious Drea” McCovey said.
The incident occurred during the 19th jam of the first half, when the head of Derby Girl Kate “Ruff N. Tuff” Ruff-Estes collided with the side of Siren Adrianna “Full Metal Jackie” Stefko. Ruff-Estes fell to the flat track and did not move for a few seconds. She was treated for a neck injury by paramedics and an ambulance was called. (Her condition as of press time was not known.)
Red Bluff players discussed forfeiting the game with the officials, as the Sirens led 164-11 at that point in the bout, but the players were convinced to continue. The game immediately proceeded to halftime, and the rest of the bout continued in the second half to a smaller — and still stunned — crowd.
It was a credit in the eyes of Sirens head coach Jack “Old Xchool” Gollaher that Red Bluff not only elected to finish the bout but did so with competitive fire, challenging the Sirens and attempting to match their physicality in what turned out to be a lopsided defeat.
“Our bout with them (in Red Bluff on May 4, a 142-106 Derby Girls victory) was their first ever,” Gollaher said. “They’re going to get nothing but better and better.
“The mental part of this game is so important. You can be down 200 points in the first half, but if (you say) ‘I can’t come back,’ you’re toast.”
Red Bluff, then, showed resiliency notwithstanding the injury to Ruff-Estes.
The Sirens’ blocking in the early part of the first half allowed jammers to slip by Derby Girls and rack up points in bunches. The Sirens scored the game’s first 57 points and led 153-4 after the 15th jam of the evening.
“We were making some real nice holes,” Gollaher said. “They were on their heels all night.”
“She’s just exploding on the scene,” Gollaher said of Bommelyn. “She was knocking people all over the place. She’s becoming the blocker.”
McCovey, Shelly “Sista Rage” Gollaher and Ana “Autopsy’ana” Jaime, the Sirens’ primary jammers on the night, each made the Derby Girls pay repeatedly for penalties and other mistakes. A pair of newer skaters, Kaitlyn “Tricky Kitten” Mitchell and Markawshuwa “Code Blue Sue” Jackson, scored points in the second half for the Sirens when the outcome was academic.
“They skated real smart,” Gollaher said. “They controlled the jam.”
Sirens team captain Danielle “Ragin’ Reg” Arispe was sidelined for the bout with a concussion, but Liz “TeacHer Some Respect” Calleja stepped in and impressed Gollaher with her in-competition leadership skills.
“It’s the little things that make the difference,” Gollaher said.
Little things added up in a big way for the Sirens, even with the injury to Ruff-Estes on everyone’s minds.
“Since they so brutally ripped our asses (in Red Bluff), we returned the favor,” Gollaher said.