Blue Ridge Rollergirls season opener draws 2,000 to Ag Center

The joy of victory is muted with the departure of ‘Sugar Magmalya,’ who has been a valued player through most of the history of the team. She is moving to Nashville soon.
(photo by Bill Rhodes)

No one was really sure how the new site was going to work out. The nay-sayers chimed in all winter with online comments like “you can’t leave the [Asheville] Civic Center,” “downtown is where you have to be,” “every derby team in the country would kill to play in the Civic Center,” and even worse ones that do not bear repeating. The team has been doing its best to get the word out about the positives of the move — free parking, tailgating before and after the bouts, more control over the entire venue — and it appears that worked.

As the fans lined up and streamed in today, it was clear the hard work behind the scenes all winter was going to pay off. Were there glitches? Sure, of course. Can they be corrected? Yes, of course. Sound, using the installed equipment was an issue — as it was for a while in the Civic Center — and a plan is already in place to correct it, based on what is needed for roller derby and learned from years in the downtown facility (now named the U.S. Cellular Center). Other issues were not as obvious to the fans but will be corrected before the next bout.

The first bout featured the French Broads against the Appalachian Roller Girls from Boone. Just like other leagues around the area, there is a fair amount of crossover in these two teams. There are players who came from ARG to BRRG and vice versa. Most of them are friends. ARG is having a tremendous season so far, especially for as young as the league is. The French Broads had a tough first half and in spite of a big come-back in the second half, and a nail-biting finish, but still fell 3 points short in a 122-119 loss.

The second bout was the BRRG All Stars against the Carolina Hurticanes. The latter is a constantly-shifting amalgam of players from teams all over North and South Carolina, usually dependent on who is playing elsewhere that weekend. Like Forrest Gump’s ‘Box of Chocolates.’ you never know what you are going to get with them. The Hurticanes came this time with some really strong players, notably Elektra Q-Tion from the Carolina Rollergirls, TruckStop from the rarely-defeated Columbia, S.C., Quad-Squad, Chucktown Bruiser also of CQS,and, from well, Charleston, SC,  and PunkBlocker from the South Carolina Coast. Some other ringers could not make it, and the ones who made the trek to the mountains were jokingly calling their team the “suicide squad” without them.

The result? 174-89 in favor of Blue Ridge. But even though the score appears lopsided, the Hurticanes gave as good as they got. Some suicides are poison pills, and I am sure there are some bruises and bumps being nursed all over Asheville today from this one. The victory was bittersweet for many fans and skaters. This was the last bout as a BRRG for Sugar Magmaulya. She has been an MVP many times and a critical ‘big-play’ maker throughout the history of BRRG and in spite of putting the best face on it, will be missed. She is moving to Nashville, and we wish her all the best.

Next home bout is May 26 with a double header against Atlanta and another sister league, Little City Roller Girls of Johnson City, Tenn. If you see one bout this spring, this might be the one.


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2 thoughts on “Blue Ridge Rollergirls season opener draws 2,000 to Ag Center

  1. AndaPanda

    Was an awesome night for Roller Derby! The Blue Ridge Rollergirls are AWESOME!!! I can’t say enough Wonderful things about theses Ladies.
    The author of this article is another story. I felt that he was an advertiser for the AG Center instead of an bias reporter. The writer of this article sugar coated the sound problem. It was terrible. If you want to understand what anybody using the mic was saying then go to the bathroom. It was loud and clear in there. I don’t know about the coaches, but I had problems with the Ref’s call’s on both sides. At one point during the first match the lead jammer for the opposing team was trying to call the jam but the ref kept waving her off. Several members were sent to the bench for penalties that had spectators jumping to their feet screaming at the Ref’s for bad calls asking why??? what for??? And the article never even mentioned the fact that Tigra had a “skate malfunction” (she lost the front two wheels off her left skate and managed to make it around the rink with one foot/skate)!!! Which begs the question why didn’t the Ref’s call a technical time out??? Also not mentioned in the article was that last year’s MVP (Skelly-Tor) was not in the game due to a medical problem with foot over the season hiatus. And another problem I had with this article was that the reporter got the score wrong on the first match, the score was 122 – 119.

  2. Bill Rhodes

    Thank you for your comments. I indeed did mis-type the score, you are correct. As for being an advertiser for the AG Center, I assure you I have no interest in that at all. I have been at every roller derby bout for years in Asheville now, and sound is frequently an issue. I have no doubt they will correct that next time.
    Your observation about the Ref’s actions, well, that is as old as sport. They are volunteers, and need more, want to do it?
    Skate malfunction time outs are rarely called, and usually only when there is danger to other skaters, like when parts are on the track.
    As for Skelly-Tor’s injury, she had asked me not to mention it.

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