“Pitbull” Patty Villarruel is always a little nervous when she steps on the track.
You can’t really blame her. She broke her ankle two years ago. She’s only been rolling on quad skates for a year. And now she either had to bully other skaters around or get knocked down herself.
“But when the first whistle blows it all goes out the window,” Villarruel said “And it’s nothing but fun after it.”
Villarruel was a member of Team Fire at the San Marcos River Rollers mash-up Saturday, who melted Team Ice, 195-131, at River Ridge Parkway.
The event was a little different from most roller derbies. The River Rollers invited players from other teams and leagues around the area to compete in an exhibition match and mixed their own players with the participating outsiders into two different teams, thus making it a “mash-up.” The River Rollers noted it was a good chance to learn strengths and weaknesses of both their teammates and their opponents.
“A mashup really does help because we get to play a variety of different players from different leagues that we may not have on our regular season schedule,” Sarah “Deviled Leggs” McCleskey said. “So, it’s just a really good opportunity for our skaters here in San Marcos to play against different skaters, different level skaters. Because there’s beginners, there’s advanced skaters that played today. It’s just a learning experience.”
“It’s really great to build community, too, because we just played Brazos Valley and now we’re getting to play with them,” Tucker “Pan Dulce” Cisco said. “So, you can’t just play against them, you get to kind of build up relationships with other people that are the community.”
Team Ice jumped out to an early lead at the start, but Team Fire kept it close and made a late push at the half to earn a 117-90 edge. Villarruel and Fire’s blockers smothered Ice’s jammers to start the second period and began to pull away.
“We meshed up so good on the bench,” Villarruel said. “We just had a really good flow going on where we felt each other’s strengths during the beginning … So, it just flowed really well the entire time.”
The blue team built momentum near the end, winning the final three jams, but ran out of time to make a full come back. The red team won the derby, 195-131.
The River Rollers’ travel team, the Merciless Mermaids, will head to Rosenberg on July 13 for a road game with the Yellow Rose Roller Derby. They also have two other home games scheduled — one in September and another in October. The team is confident Saturday’s mash-up will help down the road.
“It is very important. It builds team camaraderie,” Melanie “T-Wrecks” Warren said. “You learn the game from other players coming in from various leagues. So, you’re watching their skill set, you’re adapting to the way they play the game, you’re learning their offense, their defense. You’re learning a lot.”