The Juanna Rumbel Cup, our league’s annual home team throw-down, occurred on Feb. 24 this year and filled up the UIC Pavilion with hard hits, sneaky skates and cheering derby fans who could not get enough of the action. Our four home teams, the Double Crossers, the Fury, the Hell’s Belles and the Manic Attackers played four 30-minute bouts against one another to determine this year’s home season champion.
The first game pitted the Manic Attackers against the Double Crossers. Manics took an early lead, but the score remained close throughout the whole game. Crossers’ jammers Maulicious and Habeas Corpses put points on the board for the Crossers, but a strong, calm blocking presence from the Manics kept them in a close lead the whole game. Manics’ blocker Bork Bork Bork delivered some big hits, while Crossers’ pivot Emtropy wowed the crowd with a few flawless star passes which forced call-offs by the Manics. Mia Go Hamm’s jamming sealed the win for the Manics, however, by consistently grabbing extra points before the whistle blew with her speed and one glorious apex jump. In the last 10 minutes of the game, the Manics took a more comfortable lead, the score ending at 130 to 98 in favor of the Manics. Despite the score, however, both teams brought the pain and kept the crowd on their toes throughout the whole game.
In the second game, the Fury faced off against Hell’s Belles. Two trips to the box by the Fury’s jammer in the first jam gave the Belles a quick lead, helping them rack up 24 points in just the first two minutes of the game. The Fury managed to almost even out the score in the next five minutes with help from quick moves through the pack by jammer Speeding Rainbow, but seemingly impenetrable walls kept the Belles in the lead for the rest of the game, and their intimidating blocking presence brought them the win. Fury blocker Kris Rago consistently delivered solid hits and lead strong lines for her team, but a few big-scoring jams including an impressive 34 point jam by Belles’ jammer Bambi Bloodlust brought the final score to a 149 to 84 in favor of the Belles.
The third game of the night had the Double Crossers competing against the Fury for the title of third place in the Juanna Rumbel Cup. The first five minutes were a wild ride with both jammers going to the box in just the second jam and both teams facing the exhaustion and excitement of having already competed in a game that night. The score was close for the first 15 minutes, with the Crossers maintaining a tight lead despite Fury blocker Flo Rider delivered some massive hits on the line and jammer Six-Pack Abby keeping points on the board for the Fury. The tides turned, however, after jammer Isabel Allend-ya started racking up points for the Crossers and the whole team buckled down, hungry for the win. The game ended at 140 to 42, with the Double Crossers taking third place in the Juanna Rumbel Cup.
The championship game was a rollercoaster ride to say the least, with the Manic Attackers and the Hell’s Belles both bringing the pain and coming for the win. Two jams in, the score stood at 18-15 in favor of the Belles, and it seemed to be anyone’s game. The Manics played a smart, calm game while the Belles played great offense and locked down jammers. Manics’ blocker Jan Trainor did some beautiful solo blocking and kept those tricky Belles’ jammers at bay, but the Belles ended up taking a comfortable 30-point lead halfway through the game with the help of highly effective offense by Belles blocker Tay Q. Down. The game seemed to be in the hands of the Belles until expert jamming by Manic’s Mia Go Hamm and Ying O’Fire started closing the score gap, and suddenly the crowd was on its feet cheering as a power jam for the Manics brought the score up to 78-69 Belles with only two minutes left in the game. In what was assumed to be the last jam of the game, both jammers hit the penalty box and the score was within 10 points, still in the Belles favor. The Manics called for a time-out after this jam, effectively creating one last jam for the two teams to battle it out. The final jam almost produced a last-minute lead change for the Manics, but as the crowd screamed out their collective lungs cheering for their favorite teams, the Belles became the champions at the last second with a final score of 82 to 91! Both teams fought tooth and nail for a victory, and both should be proud to have played an exciting and impressive game of roller derby.