Dundalk Deviants among additions to local roller derby league

Dundalk Deviants among additions to local roller derby league
The Dundalk Deviants.

(Updated 2/23/17)

- By Marge Neal - 

The Charm City Roller Girls, Baltimore’s roller derby league, kicked off its new skating season with a new look and three new home teams named to represent iconic Baltimore-area communities.

The Dundalk Deviants, Hampden Hons and Pigtown Butchers took to the floor at Skateland North Point on Jan. 28, in the first bout of this season’s new format of “home team” competition to augment the league’s higher level, more competitive skating bouts.

When the dust settled after the opening matches, each team had a 1-1 record as they head into the Feb. 25 matches at Skateland North Point. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the first bout starts at 8 p.m. Fans are invited to meet the players at an after-bout party at the Texas Roadhouse in Dundalk.

In season-opening action, the Hons beat the Butchers 121-113, the Butchers handled the Deviants, 79-66, and the Deviants stunned the Hons, 108-102.

The three hometown teams provide a sort of farm system for the Charm City group, according to Mary Hendrie, who skates under the track name of “Miss Dirt” for the Pigtown Butchers.

While the league’s upper-level travel teams will compete against teams from other cities, the home teams will allow fans to connect with the sport and its skaters with monthly bouts at North Point, the league’s home rink, Hendrie said. The new format also provides a venue for less experienced skaters to hone their skills and gather the experience needed to move up to more intense competition.

The Charm City group was founded in 2005 as a “loosely organized group of women,” Hendrie said, and held its first bouts in April 2006.

The sport of roller derby has enjoyed a revival of sorts over the past 12 years, and has evolved from the “fake” actions of the televised roller derby of the 1960’s and ’70s, the skater said.

“We are 1,000 percent real,” Hendrie said of the sport she and her colleagues consider a labor of love. “We don’t stage anything, we don’t fake anything; it’s a very real, full-contact sport.”

Participating in the league is indeed a labor of love for skaters, who pay dues to join.

“While it is a skater-owned organization, we don’t make a salary,” Hendrie said. “We pay dues to belong, we sell merchandise and refreshments when our team isn’t playing and we have a lot of bills to pay, like rink time, equipment and insurance, for example.”

Players have to have their own individual health insurance to participate and they must have additional insurance through the league, according to Hendrie.

“This a passion-driven project, not a money one,” she said with a laugh.

The league is also a family-friendly experience, with reasonably priced tickets and an “exciting, great vibe” surrounding the competition, Hendrie said.

Tickets that include seats are $15, and general admission, bring-your-own-chair tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children. Group rates are also available.

“I encourage folks to come out and support us and meet us,” Hendrie said. “It really is fun - it kinda feels like having all of Baltimore over for Thanksgiving.”

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Perry Hall, Dundalk earn top seeds in state tournament

(Updated 2/22/17)

- By Patrick Taylor -

The MPSSAA is set to kick off postseason play for basketball this weekend, with tournament seedings announced on Tuesday. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Perry Hall boys basketball team secured the No. 1 seed in the 4A/North region. Throughout the season, the Gators cemented themselves as one of the premier teams in the Baltimore area, and for the first time ever, Perry Hall earned the top spot in The Baltimore Sun’s area ranking. The Gators capped off the regular season on Tuesday night, as they beat Milford Mill 70 - 57 to secure the program’s first Baltimore County crown.

The Dundalk Owls boys enter the tournament riding a seven-game win streak, and for their efforts they were awarded the No. 1 seed in the 3A/North region.

Both the Gators and the Owls received first-round byes, so their first taste of tournament play won’t come until Feb. 28. Perry Hall will take on the winner of Parkville (a No. 4 seed) and Bel Air while Dundalk will take on the winner of Franklin and Frederick Douglass.

Elsewhere in the 4A/North, Kenwood was awarded the No. 6 seed. The Bluebirds will have a tough contest against Catonsville, with the winner going on to face Dulaney. In the 3A/North region, Patapsco was also given a No. 6 seed. The Patriots will face Edgewood in the first round, with the winner of that contest taking on the winner of Aberdeen and Towson.

In 2A/North play, Overlea secured the No. 4 seed and will face No. 5 Chesapeake in the opening round. The winner of that contest will face the winner of No. 8 Sparrows Point and Patterson - the top seed in the region. The Eastern Tech Mavericks were awarded the No. 7 seed and will face a tough matchup in Lake Clifton in round one.

For the girls, Perry Hall secured the No. 2 seed in the 4A/North region and received a bye to the second round. Like the boys, the Gators will face the winner of No. 6 Parkville and No. 3 Bel Air. Kenwood was given the No. 5 seed for their efforts and will face Dulaney in the opening round. The winner of that contest will go on to face top seeded Catonsville.

In 3A/North play, Patapsco and Dundalk both managed to secure low seeds. Patapsco (No. 6) will take on Edgewood in the first round, while Dundalk (No. 7) will take on Towson. The winners of those bouts will go on to face each other in round two.

The Chesapeake girls secured the No. 1 seed in the 2A/North region and will take on No. 8 seed Overlea. Eastern Tech was awarded the No. 3 seed and will take on No. 6 Sparrows Point.

With the logistics taken care of, all that’s left is the playing. A betting man would wager that both Perry Hall teams, the Dundalk boys and the Chesapeake girls have the best shots to bring home a title. But the Eastern Tech girls and the Parkville boys also have decent opportunities to make runs. While Parkville will have to go through the beast known as Perry Hall, they have decent size and ability. It’ll take a bit of a miracle, but stranger things have happened. The Eastern Tech girls, meanwhile, will likely face Dunbar in the second round, who will be a much easier opponent than Chesapeake. If Tech gets on a roll, we could have a classic battle of Essex teams in the sectional final for the 2A/North region.

And for those low-seeded teams... I wish you all the best. While it’s true that anything can happen in the postseason, the opening rounds are often relatively bland. What you expect to happen ends up happening. In college ball, you always hear about low seeds taking down powerhouses once the tournament begins. Teams like George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth, Witchita State and more have proven that being a mid-major doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get walked all over.

But this ain’t college. And it may be unpopular, but not every team deserves to have a chance in the postseason. It diminishes the work that others have done to earn their way into the tournament. There’s also the issue of cost, with referees, transportation and gym time draining money. But more importantly, after dealing with a season of getting shellacked, most lower teams just want the season to end. It’s the equivalent of putting a man in a coffin on life support.

In the past I’ve written about the short amount of time allotted between seasons. If you play football or soccer and your team goes far, you don’t really get a break before lacing up the basketball shoes. It’s the same between the basketball and lacrosse seasons. By cutting down on the amount of teams accepted into the tournament, the MPSSAA can give a little more time for recovery. I know these kids are all young and in great shape, but the body needs rest, and there’s no point in limiting that rest so a couple teams can act as a punching bag.

I never get political or make social statements in this space, but this is what I don’t get when older generations go off about participation trophies and awards. The younger generation has no say. There are no high school kids on the MPSSAA selection committee. They don’t make the awards. As a millenial, I’m often reminded by my elders that participation trophies and ribbons made my generation soft. Well, who was giving out those trophies and ribbons?

I get it; talks about losing and winning and what is or isn’t fair can be tough. No parent wants to see their kid in pain. And while that’s often well-intentioned, pain is a part of life and the sports world can act as a great teacher.

Oftentimes, the youth are left out of these types of discussions. Parents and coaches act as spokespersons; they live vicariously through their children; they want to avoid awkward conversations. But I’d wager that most of these low-seed teams would be willing to just call it a day. Learning to lose is a great lesson, but I’m not sure there’s a lesson to be learned in perpetually having your butt kicked and having your folks ask for more.

Recreation Council Programs

Stembridge Baseball
Registration for Stembridge baseball is underway. Registration will take place on Feb.  26, and March 5 and 12 from noon - 3 p.m. at the Stembridge Rec. Center located at 99 Stemmers Run Road in Essex. On Feb. 22, as well as March 1 and 8, registration will take place from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Carroll Island McDonald’s located at 3423 Eastern Boulevard in Middle River. For more information, find us online at leagelineup.com/stembridgebaseball or on Facebook. 

Back River Girls Softball
The Back River Recreation Council will hold registrations for girls softball at the Back River Community Center, 801 Back River Neck Road in Essex, at the following dates and times: Saturday, March 4, 10 a.m. to noon; Saturday, March 18, 10 a.m. to noon. Costs range from $55 - $80. For more information, contact Ken Fishpaugh at 410-207-8682 or email Ken at mmjkfish1@aol.com.

Middle River Baseball, Softball
The Middle River Recreation Council will hold walk-in registrations for spring baseball and softball at the Victory Villa Community Center, 404 Compass Road in Middle River on the following dates: Saturday, March 4, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Tuesday, March 7, 6 - 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 11, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Saturday, March 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Saturday, March 25, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Find more program information at www.mrgsoftball.com and www.middleriverbaseball.org, or register online anytime at www.middleriverrec.com.

Coin Show Dealers Wanted
Coin dealers are wanted for the Middle River Coin Club’s spring coin show set for Sunday, March 26, at the Victory Villa Community Center, 404 Compass Road in Middle River. Tables cost $35; a second table for the same dealer is $30. To reserve a table, call 410-687-1517, or email pennsylpete@comcast.net. The Middle River Coin Club, a program of the Middle River Recreation and Parks Council, is a member of the Maryland State Numismatic Association.

Horseshoe Club
The Baltimore Metro Horseshoe Club meets at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the Back River Community Center, 801 Back River Neck Road in Essex. The club offers Baggo and horseshoe leagues and tournaments throughout the year. For more information, contact Terry Hitzelberger at 410-686-5174 or terryhitz@hotmail.com.

Art of Pottery
Register now for the winter session of Art of Pottery with Carol. This class meets on Fridays from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. at Victory Villa Senior Center, 403 Compass Road in Middle River. The fee is $35.00 for 10 weeks. Participants must be 60 or older and a member of the Senior Center (there is no fee to join the center).