BALLWIN, MO — In an instant classic of a game to decide the 2012 Men’s Roller Derby Association Championship, host and #2 seed St. Louis quite literally battled #1 Your Mom to the last second and the last point. The hometown GateKeepers led for the majority of a game that featured six ties or lead changes, and Your Mom only led for a few minutes of the second half — but it was the final one that mattered. The Des Moines team went on a game-winning 21-0 run in the last 5 minutes of the game, going ahead with just seconds left on the period clock to hush a rowdy crowd that was poised to explode for a hometown win. Your Mom’s 136-135 win made them MRDA champions in their first appearance at the tournament.
Your Mom’s win was keyed by a methodical jamming performance from Frank Notsohotra, alternately cautious and aggressive as needed, who was consistently wearing the jam star in the most critical jams for his team. Standout double threat performances from Twinkle Toes and BS Smacker were also critical to the Your Mom win. St. Louis rode an all-around spectacular performance from Magnum PIMP, supported greatly by Percy Controll and Double Excel in the pack and Debaucherous Prime and Bat Wing with the jam star, to come within one point of the title.
The first jam’s action started with a very fast pack speed that eventually led to a 1-0 win for Your Mom, and that speed would define the first few jams of the game; both teams looked to have turned it up more than a few notches since their respective morning bouts. Neither crew seemed to have a distinct advantage over the other in the first sequences; though Your Mom built a early small lead, it wasn’t from stuffing St. Louis’ jammers but from barely coming out of top of slightly more jams. After ten minutes of very tight derby, Your Mom held a 19-18 advantage on the scoreboard.
Although both teams had raucous fan sections in attendance, the larger and louder St. Louis crowd had a big chance to blow up when GateKeeper Shanego Fett finally tied the game on a 2-1 jam marked by impressive work to get past Your Mom’s star blocker Seahorses Forever twice. On the followup, things got much louder as St. Louis was on the right side of the game’s first power jam. Following a failed apex jump from Twinkle Toes, Your Mom completely filled their box and neither Sugar Boots nor Cleveland Stever could do much to slow the roll of hometown favorite Magnum PIMP.
Magnum’s 30-0 jam made it a 50-20 game with 14:33 left in the first half, and Your Mom called their first time out there. The GateKeepers’ lead hovered inside the margin of that 30-0 for the next half hour of game time.
Your Mom ace Frank Notsohotra picked up 10 on the other side of the timeout, showing his champion speed skating background when he caught up to Debaucherous Prime away from the pack to pick up the lap point before calling. Next, Bat Wing had much trouble in the pack with Dirty Larry, Peter Pan and Twinkle Toes; a 16-6 jam for Your Mom’s for BS Smacker was interrupted only by a short break for both jammers to rest a second in the penalty box. At the end of that one, Your Mom was marching right back at 56-46.
Five minutes later, Your Mom finally closed that gap — a 4-0 for Frank Hotsohotra made it a tie game for the second time at 58-58 with just about 5 minutes in the half. They couldn’t switch the lead, though, and the hometown GateKeepers went into the break up by ten, 70-60.
The margin remained equal on a half-opening 2-2, and after a 4-0 to Frank Notsohotra, the crowd erupted in chants for Bat Wing as he took advantage of a jammer penalty on BS Smacker for a 19-0 run. About five minutes into the half, St. Louis was up by 25, 91-66.
Your Mom got an extremely tough break when Mulatto Madness took lead on Shanego Fett and had a nearly half-track lead, but lost it all when he apparently hit a slick spot on the sport court and wiped out — by the time he could regain his footing, Fett had passed him and he had to call at 0-0. The next one went just 1-0 to Your Mom as Magnum PIMP gambled incorrectly with lead.
With the score 91-67, Your Mom finally got their first power jam advantage, but Mulatto Madness couldn’t do much with it as Double Excel and Percy Controll had his number — he could only pick up one scoring pass before St. Louis got Bat Wing back on the track, closing the margin to 19 points at 91-72 with 20 minutes left.
After the teams traded narrow wins to a new score of 95-74, St. Louis lost their jammer again with Mulatto Madness on the track — and this time, he immediately called it off to hand off the power jam to Frank Nosohotra. That proved to be the right idea, as Prime, Gnat King Kill and Neil Death Experience could not find an answer for Frank, who finally retook the lead for Your Mom. His huge 27-0 made it 101-95 YMMD with almost exactly 15 minutes to play.
But just as soon as Your Mom had finally answered Magnum PIMP’s huge 30-0 power jam from the first half, they immediately handed him another one when BS Smacker went to the box as Your Mom jammer. Magnum picked up 15 on power jam — but then crashed into the backs of a Your Mom wall while trying to put up a fourth scoring pass, sending him to the box as well. Out of the box on the jammer switch, Smacker’s 10 points worth of answer made it just a 1 point game at 111-110 Your Mom with 12 minutes to play.
Three jams later, it was Debaucherous Prime putting St Louis back in front with a 8-0 that made it 118-115 with 8 minutes to play — and Your Mom’s Mulatto Madness committed a very damaging back block as YMMD jammer. Magnum PIMP gave St. Louis 14 points of extra margin at 132-115 on that crowd-pleasing power jam; two jams later, it was a 20 point game at 135-115 with 5 minutes to play. But those were the last points St. Louis scored.
The next jam saw Your Mom’s Peter Pan taking lead on Bat Wing and deciding to go to jammer defense, ceding almost a full 2 minutes of clock time to slowly clear the Your Mom penalty box. The jam ended up going 2-0 to Your Mom at the very last second, but ended with both teams at full strength and the score 135-117 with 2:40 on the clock. At the time, it looked like a very risky decision and Bat Wing was clearly more than willing to let Your Mom burn the clock away — but the final two jams ended up vindicating Your Mom’s strategy as St. Louis jammers went to the box twice in attempts to navigate four on the floor.
Your Mom put out ace Frank Notsohotra to deal with the full pack situation, and STL put out Debaucherous Prime — but things got hairy for St Louis as Prime was boxed early. Frank rolled up 14 points and called with the score 135-131 for St. Louis and 47 seconds left to play.
The last jam saw Your Mom put out BS Smacker, Seahorses Forever, Twinkle Toes and Peter Pan to defend against St. Louis’s ace jammer Magnum PIMP; a three-man pack of Double Excel, Percy Controll and Neil Death Experience tried to hold back the opposing ace Frank Notsohotra while Gnat King Kill watched from the box as the 4th blocker. In a bitter irony for the GateKeepers and their hometown fans, it was a major penalty on jammer Magnum — a hit with the head while trying to break out of the incredibly tight pack — and Magnum’s subsequent ghost point that decided the game. Notsohotra broke out of the pack and picked up a single 5 point scoring pass — exactly enough for a 1 point lead — and called it when period time expired for a 136-135 victory.