ARCH 2020 Year In Review

The opening line from Charles Dickens’ iconic novel “A Tale of Two Cities” aptly described Arch Rival Roller Derby’s 2020.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

The former could be said by numerous newfound benchmarks as the League entered their 15th season of operation.

Conversely, the latter resulted in outcomes that were equally experienced by all local sports franchises plagued by the pandemic…and society as a whole.

In reflection, the last calendar year turned out to be one of the most challenging for St. Louis’ rep of the women’s flat-track sport.

The first quarter started off full-blast with plenty of activity while the rest of the docket saw on-track operations completely frozen and with no local championship awarded and no travel team competing.

2020 was interesting, to say the least, which makes this ARCH year-in-review recap unique as it contains very minimal skating entries as the months rolled ahead.

Here is a look back at a year that will, more than likely, never be duplicated.

JANUARY

1.3.20 – The first month on the calendar finds the League busy on the promotional end as 101 ESPN-FM Radio personality Meat laces up the quads and goes through drills with ARCH veteran Bricktator and others in a video featured on the station’s website.

1.5.20 – To hype up the local season opener, ARCH skaters Cruella Belle-ville and Gnarley Quinn appear on KPLR’s “Sunday Sports Extra” alongside anchor Rich Gould, who called roller derby for ESPN and the MSG Network during the 1980’s early advent of cable television.

1.5.20 – Also that evening, KSDK Channel 5 presents a feature on ARCH skater Sunday School Slammer during their 10 pm newscast that features action from the Queeny Quad Quake Invitational held last December as well as a Sunday morning sermon by Slammer at First Unitarian Church.

1.10.20 – To promote the local season opener, ARCH skaters Skeevie Nicks, Jam-It Ginger, Downtown Dallis and Trampfire appear on KTVI’s “Fox2News At 9 AM.” Additional footage by the quartet would later be used for the station’s “Waking Up the Day” promotional campaign the following month.

1.11.20 – ARCH’s local season opening event was thrown a major snowball by Mother Nature as afternoon snow drizzles hampered turnout at Queeny Park’s Midwest Sport Hockey. Nonetheless, ARCH trudged on and still entertained a sizable crowd as in the opener, defending League champions the Smashinistas out-dueled Rebel Skate Alliance, 204-169, while in the nightcap, the M-80s bested the Stunt Devils, 231-179, to claim their first win of the season.

1.20.20 – ARCH skater K. Woodward is a guest of the “4th Whistle Roller Derby Podcast,” where the subject matter is body positivity.

1.28.20 – It’s a heavy week of publicity for the League as it prepares for the second local event of the season, the inaugural “Jams & Slams” at Midwest Sport Hockey that features the Smashinistas vs. the Stunt Devils which is then followed by a four-match card from St. Louis-based Dynamo Pro Wrestling. ARCH gets coverage from the following: The Riverfront Times, Arch City Media, the Alton Telegraph, the Interstate 70 Sports Podcast, the Wrestletalk Podcast and many more.

FEBRUARY

2.1.20 – Over 675 patrons attended the inaugural “Jams & Slams” event at Midwest Sport Hockey.  In the ARCH opener, the Smashinistas topped the Stunt Devils, 266-120, to improve to 2-0 and push their current win local win streak to four games. In the wrestling portion’s main event, DPW Women’s Champion “Empress of Evil” Rahne Victoria held off the challenge from “The Barbie Killer” Hayley Shadows to retain the belt that she had possessed since August 2019. Due to the success of the evening, both sports franchises agreed to make “Jams & Slams” an annual fixture.

2.20.20 – ARCH held their mid-season draft, which added eight new skaters to the mix of the local complexion that included former ARCH All Star Rhino Might returning to her former team, the M-80s, as well as Eirinn Go Brawl, a all-star transfer from Jacksonville Roller Derby.

2.21.20-2.23.20 – ARCH made their third appearance at the 31st annual Working Women’s Survival Show held at the St. Charles Convention Center. The weekend had over 40,000 attendees and the League showed off its move sets and flair to multiple audiences.

2.21.20 – ARCH skater Downtown Dallis is featured in Rene Knott’s report on KSDK-TV that focused on her overcoming odds while battling a chronic illness.

2.22.20 – ARCH hosted the annual Trivia Night at the German Cultural Society in St. Louis. Over 30 teams battled for the title of intellectual supremacy.

2.29.20  – Held on a rare Leap Year evening, ARCH continued their local season with a twin bill that hosted the annual “ARCH Alumni Night,” which drew another capacity crowd. In the opener, the Smashinistas topped the M-80s, 283-103, to finish the regular season perfect at 3-0.

In the nightcap, Rebel Skate Alliance snared a 208-122 victory over the Stunt Devils to improve to improve to 1-1 and tie the M-80s in the standings.

MARCH

3.6.20 – Due to the hard charge made by the Arch Rival All Stars that saw them reach the bronze medal game at last November’s WFTDA International Championships, the squad is ranked third internationally, which is a new benchmark achieved.

3.14.20 – Due to the rapid surge of COVID-19 locally, ARCH postpones their scheduled March 21 event at Midwest Sport Hockey that was to host the annual “Girl Scouts Night” in order to keep all parties safe.

3.16.20 – The Arch Rival All Stars publicly reveal their 2020 charter that contained five new members.

3.17.20 – The ARCH Nemesis b-team, who finished eighth at the B-Champs tournament last October, publicly reveal their 2020 charter.

3.17.20 – Due to the pandemic, the mandated restrictions on public gatherings and for the safety of all skaters, officials, volunteers and fans, ARCH officially postpones the remainder of the 2019-20 local season and suspends all future league events.

3.31.20 – Due to a shift in the WFTDA calculated rankings, the ARCH All Stars find themselves dropping from third to fifth internationally.

APRIL

4.18.20 – After weeks of social distancing, and to break up the monotony of being locked down during the pandemic, ARCH holds a virtual talent show where league members perform individually online within a private Facebook group. Acts include juggling, lip synching, puppetry, dramatic and comedic acting, joke telling, harmonic belching, a yo-yo performance, physical human tricks, paper airplane building and artwork via footwork.

4.27.20 – ARCH launches their online series, “Inside ARCH,” to keep fans updated on League activities during the pandemic.  Over the next four weeks, topics include an overall state of ARCH’s operations by League president Zombie, a recap of the local season with Oliver Smacks, the reveal of the All-Stars charter with Vicious Van GoGo and a virtual talent show recap from Outlaw Josie Wheels.

MAY

5.17.20 – ARCH debuts their “Small Space Series” of online tutorials to the derby public that encourages the development of new and advanced skill sets.

5.23.20 – Jumping in on the web trend of viral videos that maintain social distancing, ARCH debuts its own “Don’t Rush” video.

5.28.20 – The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association suspends all monthly rankings for international leagues, leaving the ARCH All Stars frozen in their current fifth-ranked designation. The governing body would eventually postpone all regularly scheduled post-season tournaments.

JUNE

6.7.20 – Thanks to public donations, ARCH raises $1,400 for Tent Mission STL from a virtual raffle that featured multiple baskets of merchandise.

JULY

7.1.20 – ARCH becomes an official entrant in the 2020 NATAS Mid-America Emmy Awards in the category of “Sports Program-Feature” thanks to a “behind-the-scenes” story that KPLR-TV aired in December 2019. The entry featured a May 2019 Nemesis home game vs. Nashville that followed bench coach Gil wearing a wireless microphone while the action commenced. Reaching “Elite 8” designation in the seven-state competition, the story was eliminated in October’s penultimate round.

AUGUST

8.3.20 – Thanks to public donations, ARCH raises $595 for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis from a virtual raffle that featured original artwork by League members.

SEPTEMBER

9.21.20 – ARCH publicly updates the League’s status via social media outlets. Although a future return to the flat-track remained uncertain, the fan base is assured that they are still in operation and will not fold. The story also announces the retirement of 14 skaters from the League.

OCTOBER

10.13.20 – ARCH skater Joan of Spark gets married to her partner Kelly on the steps of St. Louis City Hall in a public drop-in elopement ceremony held by Lot’s Wife Trans & Queer Chaplaincy.  The marriage is featured in a news report on KTVI-TV later that evening.

10.20.20 – Former ARCH skater C.J. Etzkorn, who skated multiple seasons as “The Siege,” passes away at age 42 after a multi-year battle against ovarian cancer. The veteran member of the M-80s claimed three local titles with her team and competed with the All Stars in the team’s first-ever WFTDA post-season appearance in 2009.  

NOVEMBER

11.2.20 – ARCH is featured in a story by KTVI-TV’s “Contact 2” department. The news report details the League’s ongoing battle with earned monies owed from a online sales support center based in Seattle, Washington. In the story, ARCH was owed over $3,500 in monies obtained from a pair of events from February 2020. Currently, a resolution is still being sought.

11.6.20 – ARCH’s Oliver Smacks appears on KTRS-AM’s “The Carney Show” to provide a League update. During the interview, host John Carney readily admits that he has been a long-time fan of the League and has attended numerous ARCH events with his family.

11.23.20 – In recognition of the 15-year anniversary of the League’s formation, ARCH reveals the installation of the “Arch Rival Hall of Fame” that will induct five skaters, one official and one volunteer every February. The inaugural class will be nominated and elected in December and the first class of inductees will be recognized in February 2021.

DECEMBER

12.14.20 – After flights of nominations and voting, the inaugural “Arch Rival Hall of Fame” is revealed to the public. The first class includes skaters EnYa Nightmare, Grave Danger, Joanie Rollmoan, Mayor Francis Slayer and The Siege as well as skating official Fo Jammi, League founder Mary Manglin’ and longtime League supporter Eggysan.

And there you have it. No doubt, this year’s recap was unique to say the least. Good things. Bad things. Great things.

These current times have us perpetually adjusting just like you are.

One thing’s for sure, no matter what the upcoming year brings to ARCH, we’ll be ready to roll with the punches even if we cannot roll on quads.

We’ll keep you up-to-date on future developments.

At least we know this much, there will be a future for ARCH.

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Muckety Muck

Muckety Muck has been a co-announcer for Arch Rival Roller Derby since 2008. Writes Arch Rival previews and recaps for Arch City Sports, a St. Louis-based sports website.

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