Ultimate RollerCon 2015 Preview: The Challenges

A COMPLETELY SERIOUS analysis of the most important games happening at RollerCon.
This challenge bout didn't actually happen at RollerCon last year. But it should have.
This challenge bout didn’t actually happen at RollerCon last year. But it should have.

RollerCon is so great because it’s got something for everyone. A three-pronged approach to the event means there’s no shortage of things to do.

If you’re a serious skater looking to up your game, there are the five training tracks, a dedicated open scrimmage track, and a host of seminars and off-skates classes. If you’re a fan, there are over 150 game-hours of derby to watch, spread out across three competition tracks. If you’re just there to party and have a good time,1 there are many social events scattered about the week.

But what if you want to do all of those things at the same time? You know, have serious fun while being serious watching seriously fun serious games??

You’re in luck, because this preview is for you! Our crack staff has gone through all 138 RollerCon challenge bouts between the two competition flat tracks to highlight those where the final result will be of the most importance to the betterment of society.

Many games have teams representing competing themes, opposing brands, conflicting ideals, or traditional rivals. Roller derby is the only appropriate arena where these scores can be settled. With RollerCon challenges, we can finally put to rest some of life’s most pressing questions.

Here at Roller Derby Notes, we take these challenge bouts very seriously. (Like, seriously seriously.) As an impartial roller derby website, it is our duty to weigh the merits and faults of the participants in a matchup and, based solely on the names of the participating teams, predict which one will win.

There is a lot riding on some of these outcomes, from bragging rights, to world peace, to the potential end of the human race as we know it.

No pressure, or anything.

RollerCon 2015 Challenge Bouts

Selected Games on Track 1 & Track 2

Wednesday, July 22

9:00 a.m. – Track 1
Bend Over Bitch vs. Tie Me Up & Pull My Hair (B Level/Female)

This is the first challenge bout of RollerCon 2015. The first. Looks like the more kinky skaters among us have got into Fifty Shades of Grey a bit too much, having decided to skip the foreplay and go right into gameplay. How unconventional!

In this battle of Doms (Bend Over) and Subs (Tie Me Up), the clear advantage goes to team Bend Over Bitch. If the Doms tell the Subs to let their jammer through, they’re going to let the jammer through. And they’ll like it. Expect to see some whipping from the BOBs while Team Tie Me Up begs and pleads for more.

10:00 a.m. – Track 2
Heavy Metals vs. Noble Gases (BC Level/Female)

The Periodic Table of Elements can help us out with this one. In this corner, the Noble Gases:

(2)Helium, (10)Neon, (18)Argon, (36)Krypton, (54)Xenon, (86)Radon

…and in this corner, the Heavy Metals:

(24)Chromium, (27)Cobalt, (28)Nickel, (29)Copper, (30)Zinc, (33)Arsenic, (34)Selenium, (47)Silver, (48)Cadmium, (51)Antimony, (80)Mercury, (81)Thallium, (82)Lead

The Noble Gases have a light jammer rotation, and only Krypton, Xenon and Radon have put up good points. But look at the killer lineup of the Heavy Metals! A blocker can only take so much of them without going down. And staying down. Then possibly dying of toxic poisoning shortly thereafter.

You’d think the Gases would have an advantage, being non-corporeal entities. But with some Quicksilver on its side, the Heavy Metals can slip through pretty easily, too. If this were a night game, the Nobles may have had a chance. But in broad daylight? They’ll make little noise.

12:15 p.m. – Track 2
Disney Princesses vs. Villains (AB Level/Female)

To a lot of girls growing up, becoming a Disney Princess was the ultimate. Be adored by the hunky hero, the Prince Charming! And look abfab while doing it.

That’s great and all. But I submit to you one reason why the bad guys will take this matchup.

That’s right: A villain can be a total dick, and in the end, still be adored and admired by everyone.

Tony Montana. The Joker. Darth Vader. Alan Rickman. Even if they get what’s coming to them in the short term, in the long run they come out on top. (Plus, they don’t mind cheating to win.) Give it to the Villains. As they say: Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.

3:45 p.m. – Track 1
Marmite vs. Jelly (AB Level/Female)

Do you remember the kid in elementary school that always seemed to sit by himself in the corner? Yeah, you know the one. Hunched over his lunch, keeping it to himself, as if he was ashamed of what his mother packed in his brown bag every day.

It was this, wasn’t it? I bet it was.

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Poor kid. He never got to taste the perfection that is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich growing up. Warm peanut butter and cool jelly on no-crust white bread that’s just a tad bit soggy. Wash it down with a box of semi-cold 2% milk. You can feel the roof of your mouth tingling right now, can’t you? Exactly.

Another advantage for Jelly: Variety! Grape jelly one day, strawberry the next. It sure as hell beats Marmite one day, Marmite the next day, Marmite every day. Anyone who says they love the stuff was probably one of those kids in elementary school, desperately wishing someone would trade them for a PB&J. Haha, you wish. Enjoy your yeast extract, pal!

10:00 p.m. – Track 2
Halloween vs. Christmas (A Level/Female)

Both of these holidays are great. Christmas is a time for family, for gift-giving, and gift-receiving. Halloween is a time for a little bit of the crazy in us to come out, dressing up in an appropriate costume, getting lots of candy (for kids and adults) or lots of alcohol (for kids and adults), and having a good time deep into the night.

But don’t forget! Only 156 shopping days left until Christmas! You can never get that perfect gift too early. It’s our pre-pre-pre-Christmas sale! Save 70% on gifts for the entire family, including a wonderful collection of ugly sweaters! Who cares if it’s July and 106° in the Las Vegas desert. You need to think Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, buy, buy, buy!

Christmas is great on December 25. Not July 22. Halloween wins by default.

Thursday, July 23

12:45 p.m. – Track 2
Time Lords vs. Daleks (B Level/Female)

Every time a Time Lord “dies,” he regenerates into a new Time Lord. In the case of our dear Doctor, he is the same character played by a number of actors. How many now… 14 or something? (I lost count after Christopher Eccleston.) Having four more lives than a cat is very handy when you’ve got a mutant race of armored killers relentlessly perusing you through space and time.

This will be a disadvantage to Team Dalek in a game of roller derby. While not explicitly stated in the WFTDA rule book, exterminating opponents is frowned upon, and a head referee would likely judge this action as an ejectable offense. And are those energy weapons legal? I’m not even sure the Daleks will get through the pre-game gear check. (Or the referees, now that I think about it.) Pick the Time Lords here.

4:30 p.m. – Track 1
Micheal Jackson vs. Prince (A Level/Co-ed)

No contest. Michael Jackson.

Growing up, everyone in the world loved MJ. MJ loved people back. Going back through the ’80s and ’90s in my head, Michael Jackson springs to mind ten times more than Prince/The Artist Formally Known as Prince/The Artist/The Artist Once Against Known as Prince does. The King of Pop was the King of Pop for a damn good reason.

Prince is no slouch, of course. Purple Rain. 1999. Basketball. Pancakes. But you’re not beating Michael Jackson in his prime. Or even before his prime, back when things were as easy as A-B-C for him and his family. Maybe you have a case against Michael in the last few years when things got really fucking weird at Neverland Ranch. But it’s not as if Prince didn’t have his phase. At one point his actual name was 15px-Prince_logo.svg! A derby announcer will not be your friend if you ask him or her to pronounce that.

6:15 p.m. – Track 2
Star Wars vs. Star Trek (AB Level/Female)

There is a conversation in “Terra Nova,” the 6th episode of the Star Trek prequel series Enterprise, that will forever solidify my love for and loyalty to the future-thinking ethos of the Star Trek universe. This is a very small, hyper-specific thing. But it made me realize something very profound.

Capt. Archer: Is everything all right?

Dr. Phlox: Nadet’s cancer has been eliminated.

Archer: Nice work.

Phlox: But I found something quite troubling. Both she and her son are showing signs of microcellular decay in their endocrine systems.

In today’s society, cancer can be summed up with two words: Fuck Cancer. But in this hopeful future society, the often-deadly disease is thought of something that isn’t very troubling at all.

I find this wonderful.

There will be a future time in human history where this becomes the attitude towards cancer. Star Trek perfectly previewed this future, this real future, with just a few words of casual dialogue. The Star Trek series knew how to hit the right notes when it came to shining a spotlight on the true potential of the human race. I believe that’s a major reason why Trekdom is so large and so passionate.

That being said: I’m taking Star Wars to win this particular roller derby challenge bout.

Maybe you’ve heard of that new Star Wars movie coming out this year? The Force Awakens. Yeah, that one. While Trekkies wait for a new TV Trek and hope for a little less lens flare in the movie reboots, Wookies everywhere have been completely re-energized by the Disney hype train. It’s going to be hard to not get pulled on board…actually, screw it. I’m already on the train. Choo-Chewie, bitches! Next stop, December 18!

11:00 p.m. – Track 1
Unicorns vs. Dragons (AB Level/Co-ed)

A tough choice. A really tough choice! A race of majestic, magical creatures here; thar be dragons there. One breathes fire, the other is…well, a unicorn. If someone gave you one of these things for your birthday, you wouldn’t turn down either one, would you?

To determine a winner, let’s look at the crossover potential. Would a fire-breathing unicorn work? Certainly not. How about a magical dragon?

puff
Puff the Magic Dragon, the top-scoring jammer for the Honah-Lee Rollers, pictured here with bench coach Jackie Paper.

On the unicorn side, you can only get the unicorn experience. What an experience! But a one-trick pony experience. With Dragons, however, you’ve got an entire spectrum to play with. European dragons, Chinese dragons, Dragonslayer, Enter the Dragon, and so on. It is well documented that dragons are easily trained, so they’d probably pick up roller derby quite easily. Bonus: They’re not as elusive as a six-point pass!

Friday, July 24

9:15 a.m. – Track 2
Cupcakes vs. Twinkies (BC Level/Female)

There was a time not so long ago, a dark time, when Hostess closed up shop. It appears there would be no more Twinkies or other spongy snacks from the Hostess family, and from that came a proverbial gold rush for the golden cakes. It was like a real-life Zombieland Twinkie hunt, minus the zombies. Had nothing changed, it would have been minus the Twinkies, too.

But then they made a comeback! And everyone was happy. I was too, but not for the obvious reason. You see, Twinkies are good and all, and so too are Cupcakes. Unfortunately for these teams, however, they’ve both backed the wrong horse.

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Take the perfect bar shape of the Twinkie and the iced topping of the Cupcake, and you create the perfect junk food: Zingers. You do not need to settle for one or the other. You can have both! On top of that, you get three Zingers for the same price as two Twinkies or two Cupcakes. It’s a no brainer. Even for zombies!

9:45 a.m. – Track 2
Black with White vs. White with Black (AB Level/Co-ed)

Last time, on Intentionally-Confusing-Team-Names Theatre

White Power! No, uh…Black Power! Fight the power jams!

A post shared by Roller Derby Notes (@derbynotes) on

This was at RollerCon 2013. Making the black team wear white and the “black” team wear black was funny. In 2015, the Black-White vs. White-Black challenge is just a straight-up troll. The announcers calling this one will have to be at the top of their game.

“The White with Black blocker just backblocked the Black With White blocker! The black and white whistled the White with Black blocker to the box! Black with White is whitewashing White with Black!”

The reward for nailing it, though? Glorious. Anyways, I flipped an Othello chip and it landed Black side up, so I’ll take that as a sign team Black With White will win.

10:00 a.m. – Track 1
Galactic Empire vs. Rebel Alliance (C Level/Female)

Hype train, guys. Hype train.

forceawakensI know, right?!? Seems like this would be an automatic win for the Rebels, especially because they’ve already won. But let me throw in an unexpected trump card for the Empire.

This anime-inspired short film does the impossible: It makes flying a TIE Fighter look cool as fuck. All hail the Galactic Empire!

6:15 p.m. – Track 2
Narwhals vs. Unicorns (AB Level/Co-ed)

Alright, Team Unicorn. You can’t beat a dragon, so how about a narwhal? A narwhal is kind of like a sea unicorn, with its ridiculously-long horn sticking out of its head. In the length category—important to some ladies out there—the narwhal would easily beat the most potent unicorn in the land.

Ah! But here’s where the Narwhals lose out to the Unicorns. The giant spike protruding from the narwhal isn’t a horn, but is in fact a tusk. A long-ass malformed tooth, basically. And because it’s a tooth, the thing actually punctures through its lips and out from his face. Lisa needs braces, big time!

That really makes a narwhal a sea Pinocchio. The more it lies about being in the same class as a unicorn, the longer its tusk grows. If it gets too big, it will never become a real unicorn!

8:45 p.m. – Track 1
Candy Crush vs. Angry Birds (AB Level/Female)

Like many of us, my face is buried in my phone during most of my free time. Much of this time is spent playing games. Candy Crush and Angry Birds are two of the heavyweights in the mobile gaming space.

I played Angry Birds a little bit, and it was fun. As far as Candy Crush goes, I th—

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So, yeah. Angry Birds.

Saturday, July 25

9:15 a.m. – Track 2
Mustard vs. Ketchup (BC Level/Female)

You will find this quote from Dirty Harry relevant.

“Nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog,” says the guy who would later go on to have a one-way conversation with a chair. Well guess what? I put ketchup on my hot dogs. I put only ketchup on my hot dogs. Hamburgers and fish sticks, too. Not that hyper-sugary crap, either. A nice, simple ketchup. There’s nothing better.

Mustard can be nice in the right applications. My mother’s macaroni salad has tons of mustard in it, and it’s delicious. But I always get a little bit of ketchup mixed into my macaroni as it dribbles off the edge of my hot dogs and hamburgers and back on to the plate. That extra tomato flavor did the trick for me every time. Ketchup for life!

1:00 p.m. – Track 2
Futbol vs. Football3 (AB Level/Male)

Our American football is a more complex game than soccer. A lot of people like to point to this fact and use it to complain about how much more boring soccer is in comparison. It’s a fair point, but one that misses something bigger. Futbol is the world’s game because it is so simple. This simplicity is what makes it so damn compelling.

It’s the same reason why out-of-towners—including RollerCon attendees—insist on stopping by an In-N-Out Burger during a trip to the west coast. There’s nothing complex its menu board, and you can’t get more simple than two slices of beef and two slices of cheese on a sponge dough bun4. Yet people crave it like nothing else.

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In simplicity, lies beauty.

If you want a half-pound greasy burger piled high with toppings and dribbling with sauces, go ahead, enjoy football. But if you want a Double-Double more, you’ve proven the point: Simple is better. Futbol is better.

3:45 p.m. – Track 1
Yep vs.  Nope (A Level/Co-ed)

Yep? Nope. Nope nope nope. Nope? Yep. Yup yup yup!

8:45 p.m. – Track 1
Zombies vs. Survivors (B Level/Female)

I watch The Walking Dead. With everything that can happen to the survivors, I have to wonder if being a zombie is the better option. Humans work hard enough to try and stay alive, but then they have to deal with the politics of a post-apocalyptic society.

For zombies, being dead is easy. You’re dead! Now someone else gets to worry about your problems. Better still, even if you get killed after you die, you’re still dead! That’s a win-win for the Zombies in my book.

Sunday, July 26

9:00 a.m. – Track 1
Escape Goats vs. Intensive Porpoises (B Level/Female)

Porpoises are like a second-rate dolphin. Everyone loves dolphins, but nobody goes out of their way to say, “porpoises are awesome!” It doesn’t roll off the tongue very well does it?

Goats are better. Goats have their own video game.

Porpoises do not. If things were different in the ’90s, there may have been a game called Ecco the Porpoise on the Sega Genesis, alongside the classic Sonic the Tenrec. But it Nintendidn’t happen that way.

For all Intensive Porpoises, the Escape Goats are better.

10:45 a.m. – Track 2
Christmas vs. Halloween (BC Level/Female)

It’s the same game! Again! But this time, there are only 152 shopping days left until Christmas! Act fast, or these deals will be gone! Christmas in July is the best time to buy! What’s Thanksgiving? Is that like pre-Christmas?

Happy Halloween, RollerCon!

2:30 p.m. – Track 2
Burning Man vs. Coachella (B Level/Co-ed)

Two of the largest cultural events in the Southwest face-off. Coachella is a three-day multi-stage multi-genre music festival so large it had to expand to two three-day weekends. Burning Man is a seven-day social gathering of epic proportions, capped off with the literal burning of a giant (wooden) man.

They are both very significant happenings. Both attract crowds of over 60,000. Another important thing they have in common is that they happen in the middle of nowhere. Coachella, in California’s Inland Empire desert. Burning Man, in Nevada’s Black Rock desert. If you build it, they will come—even if they are coming to areas with triple-digit heat and no air conditioning.

However, what differentiates them is what gets people to come out to the boonies in the first place. At Coachella, people come for the music. At Burning Man, there is literally nothing for people to come to. They just come. What happens when they do, according to many, often results in life-changing experiences.

There are many music festivals, and Coachella is but one. There can be only one Burning Man.

3:15 p.m. – Track 2
F1 vs. NASCAR (B Level/Male)

Let’s go racing! Formula 1 is the world’s most-watched form of motorsport. NASCAR is the biggest and most popular racing series in the United States.

F1 is enjoyed by well-educated, sociable gentlemen. Your typical NASCAR fan is from the South, drinks Budweiser, and probably is dating your sister. (Or his own sister.) It’s no wonder that F1 isn’t as popular in America, despite its global popularity; and NASCAR doesn’t have much traction abroad, despite it being America’s representative motoring competition.

But is not roller derby also an American invention? We came up with all the cool stuff over here. Derby, NASCAR, basketball, volleyball. Yeah, that’s all us! Plus, a roller derby game will resemble a bump-and-bang NASCAR race more than a no-contact F1 race will. Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go NASCAR racin’, boys!

3:45 p.m. – Track 1
Krispy Kreme vs. Dunkin’ Donuts (AB Level/Co-ed)

I’m not sure why Team Dunkin’ Donuts even bothers. This was settled this last year.

You thought you come come into Krispy Kreme’s turf and make some waves? You thought that opening a few stores in Southern California would really make a difference? Yeah, I’ve had your so-called “dunking” donuts. Average, at best.

A Krispy Kreme doughnut, though? That’s the real deal. You can walk into a KK store and see them being made, from dough ball to final glazing. And when you eat one fresh off the conveyor belt while the Hot Light is on? It’s like all the stars in the universe are dancing around in your mouth. And they give you one for free when you walk in. Game over. Game over.

Give it up, DD. Just give it up. Krispy Kreme for life. Krispy Kreme forever.

  • You put ketchup on your hotdogs? How can any of the rest of this analysis ever be trusted?