You cannot ignore Puget Sound Outcast Derby. Mostly because their uniforms demand your attention, but also because that jersey is probably going by you at Mock 5.
The Outcasts are a team of World Class level roller sport athletes that have come together for the love of derby. Ball and cane, speed skating, hockey, artistic, aggressive inline, downhill racing – these are all the sports (and I may have missed some) that the men of Puget Sound have competed in. When you watch them play, you can’t help but notice their sheer skating talent and balance; they do not fall. They are hard to push out of bounds. They are hard to out skate.
The longest-establish West Coast men’s derby team, Puget Sound is no stranger to the Championship tournament. They have qualified for Champs each year (and even finished #2 in 2011 against New York Shock Exchange), and plan on making a rise above their #4 seeding by the end of this weekend. As host of the tournament, Puget Sound seems to be trembling with excitement to show the world that they have been focusing on their weaknesses and developing game plans for each opponent they face.
In the past, Puget has seemed to rely on their straight-up talent to win their bouts. They are so much fun to watch, but when I have seen them play (Mohawk Valley Cup in 2013 and then streaming at Champs), I have noticed a ‘superstar’ style of play. They have relied less on walls and tightly-bound defense, and more on big, driving hits, pulling cut tracks, quick bursts of speed, and out-skating the opposition in the past. To continue to dominate, Puget knows they must shift into a team-based style of play.
Scott Slamilton’s artistic background make him nearly impossible to capture. Blockers like Bonus Jonas and Dilly Dally are small and unassuming to look at, but their agility on wheels only enhances their ability to pop into larger opponents to stop or redirect an opponent’s momentum. (small blockers – watch these two this weekend. Take notes. Learn things.) With such a variety of sizes on the bench, Puget can really tailor their lines to take on individual jammers to play to strengths. Need pure power and size? Put out Big Bill and Radiallac. Need stronger walls and communication? Put out Quadzilla, Low Rider, and Thunderstruck. If you need blockers who can chase and re-capture a wiley jammer, you put out Cory Pain and Chuck Hendrick.
In the first round of play this weekend, Puget Sound gets to face their little brother, Bridgetown Menace. Bridgetown has been steadily closing the point gap between PSOD and themselves each time they play. Puget needs to focus on communication and containment against Menace if they want to continue their winning streak. Both teams are very fast and very sharp, neither waste energy in their hits or skating. No more can Puget rely on being a team of simply more talented skaters. Menace is coming in with a point to prove, and Puget Sound has an opportunity to show that they have learned from their past match-ups. Puget has a chance to finally solidify being a collective team of insanely talented skaters that know how to read each other and trust each other. Puget has a chance to show the world that they are here not just to play. They have a chance, and a desire to walk away as the host of the Championship tournament where they will leave with more gold around their neck than just what is on their uniform.
Check out Puget Sound’s Facebook for updates and awesomeness. Thank you, Eric Lyons for use of ALL the photos in the article. Tune into WFTDA.tv at 3p PST to watch Puget Sound work their fancy feet magic against Bridgetown Menace.