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This past weekend at Beast of the East—Eastern Canada’s biggest home team roller derby tournament—The Skateful Dead did the unthinkable. They were, in the Derby Nerd’s words “bracket busters.” Not even the incomparable Derby Nerd could predict that The Skateful Dead would make it to the quarter finals, placing in the top eight of 16 teams invited to take part in the tournament of the year.
As far as The Skateful Dead were concerned, it was a victory just to be invited to play at Beast. It was a humbling beginning, though. In the first bout, The Dead were trounced by Quebec’s lightning fast Rouge & Gore, 130-25. Shaking off the loss, they went on to defeat TORD’s Death Track Dolls—a team expected to make it to the top eight—to the crowd’s astonishment and delight. Skateful Dead 80, Dolls 48.
Everyone loves an underdog. Fuelled by the crowd’s well-wishes, the Skateful Dead defeated La Racaille—a hometown team—in a heart-stopping, lead-flipping 77-59 match that landed them in the quarter finals.
“Montreal loves a Cinderella story,” proclaimed infamous announcer, Plastik Patrik, to The Skateful Dead’s coach Keith El Kapitan Hotte.” “How do you explain this?”
“These women play with heart….” said El Kapitan. “They love and respect each other.” But the love didn’t stop there. After the defeat of La Racaille, the Dead had stolen the hearts of the crowd.
In a quarter-final match, The Dead went on to play RVRG’s Slaughter Daughters in, said fans, “one of the most exciting games of the tournament,” narrowly losing by 10 points. But to the Dead, it still felt like a win, and they celebrated alongside the Slaughter Daughters as the final score of 88-78 was posted.
“Oh my goodness!” said Dr. Sneaks, the announcer of the final match of The Skateful Dead’s Beast debut. “It doesn’t get more exciting than that…. The Skateful Dead have got to be the darlings of this tournament.” And so they were.