Monday, October 19, 2009

Roller Derby Catch Up...

I have been seriously slacking on my roller derby posts. They have suffered a similar fate as my trade posts. Once you get behind by one, snowballing takes over...I know I never dedicated a formal post to the September 27th bout in Fort Myers-the Ta Ta Takedown. This was a combination benefit and derby bout that raised a bunch of money and treated all of the fans to a night of amazing roller derby! I didn’t take pictures, but I can dig a few up… Fort Myers’ team, the Palm City Punishers has been around for the same length of time (since 2006) as our league and they are only 100 miles or so away from us. This enables us to play against them about 3-4 times a year; it also lends itself to a pretty fierce regional rivalry. The PCP have an amazing defense, but also some very speedy jammers led by Klymaxxx, Jamsterella, Te Kill Ya Sunrise and Lil Miss Slam Bags. All four of them were on their game. Their defense is pretty top-notch, too. Flyin DaBrie, Little Debbie Smack Cakes and Breakneck Brie can all throw a serious hip and their league’s founder Velvet Revolver (pictured here) is a first rate blocker. The Bombers aren’t too shabby either and even though this bout was a late addition to the schedule and some of our vets were unavailable, we got 12 ladies to skate and skate well. We went with a one-two-three punch of Yakuza Girl, Signal 20 and Wild Cherri on the jammer line and our defense, although inexperienced, came together under the lead of Julia Sieze Her (shown here at a less than stellar moment) and contained the PCP’s jammer attack. I could go on for hours about this one, but the quick answer is we won, but it wasn’t easy. It came down to the final 5 seconds and we snuck away with a victory 104-103. It was the closest derby match I have ever seen. The house was packed in Fort Myers (600-700 fans) and none of them were too happy. I was a little scared to be honest. Once the initial shock wore off, all was good and both teams travelled off to the after party together. No injuries, no accidents, no tickets and we won! The best jammer award for our team went to Mofo On Wheels (our roommate!) and she got the award on her 22nd birthday (Happy B-Day Mofo!!!) which makes it even cooler! Wild Cherri, who was also an exceptional jammer, took home the best blocker award. We all made it safely back to Bradentucky, it was all good. Last Saturday we had another bout. A movie came out not too long ago called “Whip It!” starring Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Eve, Juliette Lewis and Jimmy Fallon. It was about roller derby. It was actually more of a teenager kind of coming of age tale, but the backdrop was derby. I don’t think that the movie was much of a success box office wise, but we attended the opening night as a team in full uniform and we planned a home bout to capitalize on the sport getting some Hollywood love. The movie had a huge advertising budget and they also provided our team (and I think teams all across the country) with tee-shirts, posters and cool shwag. Basically things we could raffle off to raise some money. I think the 7 o’clock showing on opening night was a complete sell-out. The next show had about 15 people watching and it tapered off from there. It did get our sport a little bit more in the public eye, though. Anyway, last Saturday night was the first Whip It bout. It was in Tampa. The Tampa Bay Derby Darlins team is the best in the state of Florida. They are ranked nationally (top 10) and play the bulk of their bouts on the road and at national tournaments. Their league splits into a number of sub-teams including the Switchblade Sisters, The Black Widows and the Cigar City Mafia. The best skaters on those teams play for the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins All Star travel team, the team that plays so often out of state. Anyway, the Black Widows and Switch Blade Sisters were playing each other for their league championship as the main draw last Saturday. It was played at a roller hockey rink with seating, bleachers and all and there was a pretty big crowd (1,000+) of fans there. By the time the second bout started, it was nearly 10:00 PM and the crowd had thinned a little. I think that we (Bradentucky) took them by surprise initially and we jumped out to an early lead. They are a better team (at this point anyway) and eventually won by a decisive margin. It was a great experience and it was the first time that many of our newer girls have had the chance to skate against Tampa. I really enjoy announcing there because they have a top notch sound guy (Gary, the guitarist of the Rancid Polecats) overall good equipment, they draw a big crowd and I enjoy working with Vince Hannity and Space Monkey-Tampa’s two veteran announcers. The game was a loss, but matters were made worse with an injury to one of our top jammers, Signal 20 (pictured in red, battling as always!). Signal took a hard hit that left her dizzy, but she got up and stayed in the game. She toughed it out, but could barely skate a straight line and the EMTs realized that something was wrong with her. She went to the hospital and it was determined that she had a grade 2 concussion. This wasn’t her first either. This meant an early retirement for one of our best skaters. As far as post game awards, Yakuza Girl won the best jammer award and Nikki Strych Nine (again, an awesome jammer) won the best blocker award. Fast forward to last night and stage 2 of the Whip It! promo bouts… I was working the bout, so again was not able to take any pictures. I gave my father my camera and he did snap a couple, so there is a small record of what took place. I announced Signal 20’s retirement prior to the start of the bout and she was able to take a victory lap in front of her home fans. Last night’s bout was a Whip It bout as well and was also an intersquad match-up. We split the league up into 2 teams of 11 skaters and called it red versus black (based on the color of their jerseys). It was a pretty even matchup and was an extremely quick, but well defended game. The Red team took an early lead and held onto it throughout the evening and eventually won it 71-56. We played 3 fifteen periods and the bout went fast! The stars shined bright on both teams and it was an overall success. Considering it was an intersquad game and it was a very last minute exhibition game, we did manage to fill our rink with over 400 fans. We sold almost double that in raffle tickets (this is important because raffles is one of my jobs for the team) and the fans were really into the game, which was at no times a blowout by any means. The wife, also known as Esther Gin N Juice started as jammer for the black team and skated the opening jam against a new skater for our league, Strawberry Shortskates. They faced off often and split points, it was a very tight match between those two! As an announcer calling your wife, it gives you mixed feelings. I want to be professional and not show her special treatment, but when she does well, I get excited! And I’ll be honest, if someone lays her out with a big hit, I get mad! My favorite part of announcing her is her introduction line. “She's got her mind on her skates and her skates on her mind; she’s rollin down the rink, smokin’ jammers and sippin’ on…1/5 of Esther Gin N Juice!!! I think I have cool and catchy tag lines for all our ladies, but I think I have the most fun with my wife’s… I got to say her name an awful lot throughout the bout. She skated nearly every jam over the entire 45 minute bout. She rotated back and forth between jamming and blocking and really showed off her endurance, I guess all of her bridge running is paying off. My Pops did manage to snap a pic of the wife and I and the two of us with Mama Troll as well! If I may go off on a small tangent about being a derby announcer… I have had the privilege of calling baseball (A-level ball on local radio, but still…) and also have the honor of calling roller derby. The biggest difference is that in roller derby, you are exclusively calling the action of the game. Everything moves so quickly, by the time the words come out of your mouth, what you’re saying is old news. In baseball an at-bat can last for 10 minutes. You can give that players life history in that time. Where they went to school, the names of their kids and parents, their hometown, their favorite hobbies and their batting average against lefties in 2004. In roller derby, you can’t get into that depth as the action comes so quickly and there are nearly no stops in the action. During an occasional time-out, you would have a chance, but I use that time to thank our sponsors and draw raffle prizes. The one time that I can truly add color to the game is the opening introductions. Every lady has a tag line and the opening intros generally last about 10 minutes. That is where an announcer can show off their wit and flair for the language and the sport…Okay, back to the bout. Julia Seize-Her, Poison Apple and Madcap led the Red Shirts on defense and really kept the black jammers in check. The Red jammers, led by Yakuza Girl, Strawberry Shortskates and Toxic De-Meaner were able to get through the Black Pack just enough to come away with the win. The black blockers were stellar as well, here is the tallest Bombers skater, "The pin-up who can knock you down", Miss Dita Von Cheats delivering the pain and feeling it... (pics from Gainesville bout) There were standouts all over, but in the end, I handed the hardware out as follows… For the Red Team, Madcap won the best blocker and Toxic DeMeaner was the top jammer. I personally thought that Julia Seize-Her was the star of the show, but these awards are voted on by the opposing team. For the black team, which featured Esther Gin N Juice (who was the top jammer in the last Red V. Black game) the awards went to Snow Wipe U Out for top blocker-she was knocking bodies all over the rink all night long and the award for best jammer went to our league founder, Gigi Ramoan (pictured here). The night was close to being a total and complete success, but was marred by an injury to rookie skater and fan favorite Shitz N Gigglez (pictured). SNG was ill with the flu, but still toughed it out and skated for the fans, but the illness was getting to her. She stayed in the pack as a blocker for the first two periods, but took the jammer line in the third and final period. She was great and got lead jammer, but somewhere out of my view she took a big hit that ended with a rough landing. Both teams took a knee while the EMT attended to her. She was done for nearly 10 minutes before they got her skates off and got her off the track. The bout was finished and her team was victorious. She didn’t see the end of the bout as she was at the hospital. None of us knew her condition either until long after the final whistle of the night. As it turns out, she broke her ankle in three places and she will be having surgery in the morning. Shitz is a special skater and a great friend, but regardless, it is really tough to see anyone get injured to that point. With everyone unaware, we all trekked on down to the Distillery, one of our sponsors, for the after party. Drinks were poured and emptied and laughter shared. We got a treat, a big surprise appearance from a former Bomber, Splatsy Kline and her husband. They were in town for one night to attend a wedding and got out just in time to stop by the after party and give hugs all around. Splatsy was the Bombers Rookie of the Year last year and one of our top blockers before she moved and joined the (Washington) DC Roller Girls. Okay, that should catch everyone up. One big final victory at Fort Myers, an exhibition loss and a very successful exhibition win/win at home to cap off the 2009 season! Thanks to all of our fans and sponsors! With Whip It sponsoring the promotion, I had to dress the part (instead of my more standard and formal shirt and tie), shown here with my two favorite women in the world. My Mom and my Wife, Esther Gin N Juice. All non-labeled photos are of Esther Gin N Juice and occasionaly your Side of Bacon AKA The Collective Troll...By the way, Captain Canuck, this post is for you!! Go Bombers! Troll out.

2 comments:

  1. thank you.... thank you very much...

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  2. I really wish I could go to a roller derby match sometime. Your recap was really nice. Lots of cool photos. I feel bad for the girls that got hurt though.

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