Season Preview by Rex Blocker: San Francisco ShEvil Dead

Perennially strong, the San Francisco ShEvil Dead also have a frustrating history. Regularly rostering some of the league’s toughest skaters (seven current or former ShEvil Dead, more than any other team, will populate the All-Star roster this year) as well as some of the league’s longest-tenured, it would stand to reason that this pack of zombies had at least won their fair share of league titles. Regrettably, that end-of-year success has eluded the Dead and with a few notable retirements or skaters leaving to focus on bringing home the Hydra, this year looks to be the beginning of a rebuilding project.

Coaches Miss Moxxxie and #52 Kid Ace talked about bringing a new crop of skaters onto the track, and instilling in them the brain-eating fierceness that has been a hallmark of the league’s San Francisco representative in the hopes of catching fire quickly and taking the league by storm.

San Francisco ShEvil Dead Season Preview

2013 Record: 2-2
All-time League Record: 7-14
Key Roster Losses: Nock Nock, Lulu Lockjaw, belle RIGHT hooks, Luv U. Longtime, Sugar Pusher, Miss Moxxxie
Key Roster Additions: Silver Foxxy, HummVee, Nurse Lithium, Thea Venger, Korn Holy-O, Mae K. Haste

It was already known to league insiders that ShEvil were going to have an uphill road in 2014, when foundational skaters #32 Nock Nock, #21 Lulu Lockjaw, and #1619 belle RIGHT hooks announced their intention to focus their efforts solely on wresting the championship trophy from the grip of New York’s Gotham Girls Roller Derby. Combined with the retirements of Luv U. Longtime, Miss Moxxxie, and Sugar Pusher (the last two staying on to coach), that’s nearly half of the game-day roster from what was called “the strongest incarnation of the ShEvil Dead to date.”

So the first question, then, on the minds of anyone shuffling along with the Dead is, what now? Coach Moxxxie acknowledges, “This season will definitely be one of rebuilding for ShEvil. Needless to say, we have some work to do” Ace adds, “This year our goal is to build a team.” With that loss of personnel went half of last year’s jammer rotation, so who is going to step up? “You’ll see some of your favorite Dead jammers this season,” says Ace. You can look for #360 Trixie Pixie and #89 Mean Burrito to return from last season wearing the star, and new to the rotation are second-year skater #318 Mae K. Haste, and #713 Sherlock Home Slice, whom Moxxxie calls an “All-Star powerhouse.” Her blocking is well-known, so she might well fill the knock-em-down role that Nock Nock filled last year.

But when asked who might toe the jammer line when they really need points, the coaches were cagey. “Our dynamic jammer line-up will prove that it takes a team and not just one person to make the difference,” said Ace.

One thing about which they were sure, though, and open to discuss was the team’s attitude, which will start on the bench, run this year by recent retiree Sugar Pusher. “Our strength as a team is maintaining a calm, focused bench,” said Moxxxie. Ace echoed this, saying “The mood is focused and determined.” Ace also spoke to the team’s strength. “Our team has heart. Everyone on this team wants to skate harder, faster, and stronger.” In particular, she pointed to the dedication shown by recent draftees #616 Silver Foxxy, #300 HummVee, #140 Nurse Lithium, #D1E Thea Venger, and #17 Korn Holy-O.

But there ARE a lot of fresh faces on this team. With, perhaps, less bout experience than in previous years, how can that strength be brought out? How is the bench going to maintain the focus and poise you seek, particularly in an emotional bout? “We’re all buying in,” said Ace. “We touch it up on the bench,” Moxxx added, “maintain a forward focused, next-jam mentality, and play one jam at a time.”

So the coaching staff is working hard to craft a team from the wealth of talent they have, though this has its challenges. “We’re trying to gel,” says Moxxxie. “ShEvil has a reputation for being a pretty awkward team, and this season does not look to change that. But we embrace our awkwardness.” Their traditional zombie photo shoot with Marrstache goes a long way to illustrating both points, but is a regular team-building event. That it also coincided with #0 Slaybia Majora’s birthday was an added bonus.

Slay will be leading the team on the track offensively this season with her “air-tight offensive moves,” while defensively you can look to #47 Kimfectious, whom Ace describes as “a skating fortress, impassable,” to be calling the shots, but when asked for an idea of a lock-down defensive pack, Moxxxie was bullish on the entire team’s abilities. “Any combination of our skaters [is] capable of handling a jammer,” she said. “The key is consistency and initiative, which we expect from all of our blockers this season.”

As for which bout they’re looking forward to the most, both were circumspect, “Each team will present its own challenge,” said Ace. But when asked what would constitute a successful season – besides what all teams want, a 4-0 season and the league championship – the ShEvil Dead coaches have additional goals in mind for this team in transition. Said Ace, “If you see focus faces for 60 minutes straight, you know we’re reaching one of our goals.” Moxxx agrees and adds, “If we can have fun, stay positive and focused and grow together as a team, that will be a win for us.” She went on to say, “We need to prove that a team in a rebuilding year can hang with a team like the Outlaws.”