2013 was the most successful season in team history and the first at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds for the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls, Lafayette’s own flat track women’s roller derby team.
The black and pink squad skated to a 6-1 record last year. It was the first time the team went undefeated on the road (2-0) and the first year the Brawlin’ Dolls finished with a winning record.
Expectations are higher in 2014 with the team gaining entry into the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the official organization that governs women’s flat track roller derby across the nation.
The Dolls started the season on the road and waged roller war with the Muncie Corn Fed Derby Dames on Feb. 16. The Lafayette team came up short against their hosts and lost by a score of 156-146.
Yes, competition will be stiffer this season but the Dolls are ready to avenge the road loss by trouncing the visiting Naptown’s Third Alarm 7 p.m. March 8 at the Brawl House in the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds, 1010 Teal Road. This bout will serve as the home opener for the 2014 season.
A mix of veterans and second- and third-year skaters fuel the opening roster for the Dolls. While a few new and old faces are sure to get called up throughout the season, the core of the team consists of 12 women. Familiar names are missing from the March 8 roster: Heartless B, Tree Slugger, Mortician’s Pet, Pon Farr Pixie, Get Shorty, Hepatitis T and 2013 team captain Sugar Magnolia all played pivotal roles a year ago, but over the stretch of a long season you never know when some of these names or others could make their return or get called up. Shorty, Pon Farr and Hep T are expected to return soon.
Those set to skate March 8 include LBD originals Dreaded Thunder, The Liberator and Biscuits n’ Crazy. All three had dominant seasons in 2013. Dreaded Thunder played with a necessary edge, throwing some of the biggest, most vicious hits of the year while Liberator’s speed, agility and leadership were extremely valuable assets throughout the long season. Biscuits performed lock-down defense and threw some calculated, brutal hits to free up her jammers.
And speaking of jamming, Psycho Socializer was a team leader in scoring and put some unbelievably big numbers early and often. When Psycho is in the jammer’s position, a lead is always within grasp, or an opponent can be put to rest with quick grand slams courtesy of the speedy skater.
Stitchez’s veteran presence will be relied on more in 2014 with the absence of skaters like Mortician’s Pet and Heartless B — vets that played with passion and edge in the pack.
In 2013, a cluster of second-year skaters shined brightly and now in their third year, Bubblegun, Coquette Threat, Mad-eye Molly and Rampage are no longer secret weapons. They will be expected to lead at jammer and blocker. Look for Coquette Threat to jam more in 2014 but she will not shirk her blocking duties, especially alongside Mad-eye as the two combined for some tenacious D in 2013.
A special moment on March 8 will occur when 2013 LBD coach Bang A. Rang makes her home return as a skater. Early in 2013, a serious foot injury sidelined the tattooed Doll for the entire season. After months of rehab, conditioning and practice, Bang A. Rang has been cleared to compete.
The greatest mid-season free agent acquisition in LBD history happened when Oregon transplant Arctic Wolfsbane made her debut as a Lafayette Brawlin’ Doll late last season. Wolf made an immediate impact with dominant jams, punishing hits and a track presence that has propelled her to a leadership role for 2014.
Bone Krusha is the only second year skater on the opening day roster but her presence should be felt more in 2014. As a blocker, the tall, strong skater can bowl over and barrel through opponents. Bone Krusha looks to make her name happen on the bout battlefield.
With WFTDA status finally in hand, look for the best roller derby ever to be played in Lafayette to occur this season at the Brawl House.
Correction: The Liberator is also one of the few LBD originals left on the team. She skated in the team’s debut season and has competed in every season since.