Growing Up and Growing Pains
The 2008 Recession
Athens is not only home to the Classic City Rollergirls, but also the Georgia Bulldogs. As a college town, Athens is not a place people often settle down in. The transient nature of the town has always been both a boon and bane for the Classic City Rollergirls; new residents (frequently in the form of young, spry college students with good knees) bring fresh blood to the league, but retention is difficult to maintain after students graduate and move on.
CCRG suffered their first wave of skater losses throughout the 2008 season. Some of these losses were the result of student skaters finishing degrees and leaving Athens; some losses were the results of injuries, but it was not uncommon for skaters to burn-out from the intensity of building and managing the league, ever-growing in size and complexity. Members were feeling the toll of the time and energy commitments that running a roller derby league can take.
“...the thing about Athens is that the big business in town is the university, and so it's a very transient community. So people are not necessarily going to be sticking around. And then you’ve got the allure of Atlanta. We always knew that people were going to leave once they graduated or got new jobs, and there were no bad feelings about that." - Poke A. Dot
Taking on Atlanta
While the league struggled to maintain a roster of All-Stars, the beginning of the 2008 season had a particularly bright spot for Classic City: They were invited to play their first bout with big-sister, the Atlanta Rollergirls. In June, 2008, for the second bout of CCRG’s sophomore season, the Classic City Rollergirls All-Stars took on the Toxic Shocks, one of the Atlanta Rollergirls’ four home teams. It was an exciting moment for the league and the skaters; CCRG had gained Atlanta’s recognition as a league ready to compete with rather than a baby sister league that still had training wheels on. While CCRG lost the bout, it was a remarkably close competition through the first half. CCRG announcer Sweet Willie T (Will Tudoroff) will even tell anyone who asks that Atlanta was feeling a little nervous, so for the second half the Toxic Shocks started stacking their lineups with their Dirty South Derby Girls skaters - Atlanta’s equivalent of CCRG’s All-Stars. Regardless of the score, CCRG skaters felt victorious.“We were so proud of how well we did. The game that we played, we put everything on the track that we had trained to do, and we measured up to them. It was a close game, and a lot of them said later, 'you made us nervous.'" - Rudy Huxtabrawl
Changing of the Guard
By the end of the 2008 season, the league had discontinued their interleague games. Hemorrhaging losses of veteran skaters made it impossible to field the two teams, and the Dames and Demons combined to form the All-Stars. It wasn’t unusual to have guest skaters from Atlanta or other visiting teams fill slots on the CCRG’s home game rosters.
At the end of the 2009 season, the league’s president, Ire Starter, was ready to retire. After having successfully lead the league for two seasons, a broken leg (a non-derby related injury) and a new job facilitated her departure. Poke A. Dot, a veteran skater who had joined the league in the summer of 2006 and one of the original LLC members, was elected the president. With Ire Starter’s retirement, an LLC position opened, as well, which was filled by DD Knockhers (Deanna Pieniaszek).