Uncle Sam chases the Queen - Blood and Thunder Roller Derby Worldcup Dallas 2014
The best roller derby teams in the world competed at the second-ever World Cup of Roller Derby, taking place this time in Dallas, Texas. The exciting final bout between Team England and the defending champion, Team USA, provided a lot of fun on and off the track. The English athletes gave America a run for their money, and England's physical and mental strength challenged the experienced Americans in the huge arena of the Dallas Convention Center. Inspired by the speed of #9 Kamikaze Kitten (England) and #50 Scald Eagle (USA), the crowd was entertained during halftime with a hunt for "The Queen" - a cardboard cut-out of Her Majesty. English and American fans fought for the poster of the Queen to dress it in their particular colors, those of either England or the U.S. After a most impressive bout, Team USA was victorious, prevailing by a score of 219-105.
Another big surprise had been provided earlier by Team Argentina, which has improved over the last three years to quite an impressive degree. In a well-fought contest, the South American team upset the favored France by a 205-162 tally, thus qualifying for the quarterfinal and a chance to face Team USA. By contrast, at 2011's first World Cup, Team Argentina finished dead last of the 13 teams participating in that event, held in Toronto, Canada.
Team Canada, attempting to defend their #2 finish from 2011, was unable to do so, and was forced down to the #4 spot this year by Team Australia, which finished 3rd. The crowd cheered on the smart, strong play of the skaters from Down Under. What's more, the green-golden-glittered cheering crew in the stands entertained the spectators with hilarious dances and Aussie shoutouts. Not only did the 13 returning teams show improvement during the intervening three years, but the size of the Derby World Cup grew markedly as well: This year's contest featured teams from an additional 17 new countries spread all over the world and representing six continents. Next to returning veterans like Canada and Australia there were teams from Japan, West Indies, Greece, Finland and Switzerland, to name just a few. Many of these teams did quite well and entertained onlookers during the group-stage portion of the tournament. More than once a long line formed in front of Team Japan's merchandise booth, reaching about 20 meters in length. These fans were disappointed to learn that Team Japan had brought no t-shirts to sell them.
The staff behind the scenes did a great job before, during and after the huge event, which is a promising sign the third World Cup, set for December 2017 in a yet-to-be-announced locale.