January 21, 2010
UPDATE: I forgot to mention a few things and a couple more were pointed out to me. You’ll find them below in italics. Thanks yo!
NOTE: Super big thanks to Terminal City photog and outstanding Canadian Nicolas Charest for the awesome bout photos. He knows lighting. He knows depth of field. He knows derby. So get to know him and visit his site on RollerGirl.ca. It’ll be worth your while. Thanks again!!!
I have to tip my hat to the Slaughter County Roller Vixens. Every time we go out there for a bout, the production runs smooth, the action is always intense. It makes it easy to see why they’re hosting such an amazing tournament coming up in February (more on this toward the end).
Saturday, Jan. 16 proved to be no exception, providing an incredible opening night for all teams involved as the Crackers (a Rainy City Roller Dolls party-mix team) battled the vastly improved Death Rattle Rollers, the Terminal City Roller Girls traveled south to battle the Terrormedixxx, and even the brats got involved, with the Kitsap Derby Brats hosting Spokane’s Atomic Pixies.
I was super excited for this bout for several reasons. First, as a fan, the offseason is just too damn long. Shoot, as a fan, ANY offseason is too long! I may be kidding, but there is truth in those derby withdrawls. But yes, before it comes flooding in, I know skaters need the break. But again, the fan in me needs derby…all the time. And this was finally the return of that much needed action!
Also, since I didn’t begin getting into derby until last season, this was my first official season opener for any team or league, and, almost perfectly, the one-year anniversary of my first bout. So that’s cool. Throw in the fact that just about all my derby cherries were broken between Rainy City and Slaughter County and it just gets better. Plus, I had never gotten to see junior derby before. And I haven’t even gotten to whiskey yet!
Now’s a good time to say that while I was not working this bout, in the NSO sense of the word, I was workin’ this bout in the drunkypants great-times sense of the word. So my details aren’t as detailed as normal, my voice is much more hoarse and my sense are still overloaded. So take that shot of tequila with a few dozen grains of salt.
CRACKERS vs. DEATH RATTLE ROLLERS
I was already pretty excited about this bout, as mentioned above, and the excitement was well justified right from the beginning. The aptly named Crackers (Crack Attack became Coach Crack for this bout, not skating herself) featured both Crack Attack and line coach Josh Bomb’s coaching debuts, the return of Deathrose and D.O.G.G. E. Style, and featured a host of Rainy City skaters getting their first in-bulk bout experience.
Coming in, I had heard a lot about how much better DRR had been skating since last season, how great some of their practices had gone. Throw in skaters like Skate Oddity, Roll-Model, Edie Disorder and Squid Viscous from the Cherry City Derby Girls (Salem, Ore.), and you’ve got one heck of a scrappy squad.
This one started all DRR too. DRR was being way more physical, thanks to the efforts of skaters like Slamber, Rude E. Gorland, Miss Direction and more. Bashley Blaze and Speedy Gun Haul-Ass held down the jamming line for the Rollers, as did Scuttlebutt Jibber Jabber. Meanwhile, the Crackers weren’t hitting, weren’t watching the opposing jammer and weren’t being the Rainy City team known for its hard hits and physical style of play.
The result? A hard-earned and well-deserved 34-point lead for the Death Rattle Rollers at the half (these are the details, like halftime score, my drunk pen-forgetting ass should have written down, but didn’t).
As a Rainy City fan first and foremost however, I was pissed. In my green Crackers shirt, I probably looked like I was about to Hulk it a couple times… Instead, I one-crutch hobbled my buzzed-and-fumin’ ass over to the Crackers locker room at the half to deliver a message: HIT SOMEONE!
Now, to be clear, I’m not claiming any part of what happened next. I was merely a pissed off superfan that had to get that off my chest. They did, however, start hitting.
The second half was like night and day for the Crackers. Within the first five or 10 minutes of the half, the lead was already cut down to something lik 88-80 DRR. The Crackers were on a war path and it showed.
With something like 1:55 left, the Crackers ended up tying up the score at 109-109. DRR wasn’t about to just let them have it either, as both teams picked up the intensity. In fact, it was so freaking tense I don’t even remember who jammed last. All I know is when it was said and done, the Crackers came away with four more points in that final jam, just edging DRR 113-109.
Another insanely close finish. Now, just to show you how far DRR has come, I saw them skate a few times. They lost to the Trampires 70-32 in a minibout at Dockyard vs. the Northwest in July (Rainy City lost by 4 to the Trampires 145-141 in August). At Knocktoberfest, Rainy City beat DRR a whopping 109-26 en route to the title. So you can really see exactly how far DRR has come in a single offseason. True, Rainy City has lost some skilled skaters too, but DRR looked like a team with a chip on its shoulder in this one (look at that use of cliche action!).
For the Crackers, it was a good opportunity to get some skaters some bout action. Both Iatarainbo, Mambo Boom, and Violent Baudelaire made their true debuts, while others like Chun Lethal and NayK 47, and Mambo Boom saw some of the most action they have yet. Nic Fit and Bruiseanne Con-Her (formerly Maxxxine McFiercen), both saw, and made good use of, solid track time as well. It was to be the debut of Vi-Kerious and another round of bout experience for Bella Sol, but late injuries kept them from skating (but fear not, neither injury is super serious, so both should be back in action in no time.
Overall, as was expected, the results were mixed. Both The newbies (Iatarainbo, Mambo Boom and Violent Baudelaire) performed very, very well, especially Iatarainbo, who upon gaining more understanding of the rules and game itself, should develop into a top jamming threat for Rainy City. Baudelaire stepped up in the second half, looking more comfortable especially in the physical side of the game. That was also true of Lethal, Nay K and Boom, who were much more aggressive in the second half (particularly Lethal, who floored the jammer with a nice one in the second half). Speaking of Lethal, it was also her brother’s debut, ref Pat A. Hoedown. He also did a great job in his debut, showing he’s not afraid to step right in with some solid crews and make an impact (he’ll be primarily reffing out of Lilac City). Nice job Hoedown!
As for the usual suspects, it was the usual results. Slaughter Kinney was one of the top blockers yet again, and it was great to see D.O. lined back up with her for a couple jams. D.O., lost for the bulk of last season to the 9-month injury, didn’t take more than jam or two to get back into a groove. And while Toot A. Lou and Lucyville Slugger did a nice job jamming, it was Deathrose holding down the jammer line all night. In her first bout back since moving to California and back, Deathrose continued to build on her early successes last year.
And while we’ve identified the top blocker and jammer on the night for the Crackers, it might have been Poise N. Bury who had the top all-around game. She has continued to evolve her game on the track and her knowledge of what needs to be done in particular situations. At the same time, she’s cut down her trips to the box. And on Saturday, it all added up nicely.
Ultimately, I was most pleased about two things from this bout from a Rainy City bend: 1) The Crackers’ undying desire to fight back; and 2) the overall play of the newer/less-experienced skaters combined with the continued maturation and improvement of the team’s vets. It’s gonna be a fun season for Rainy City fans.
TERMINAL CITY vs. TERRORMEDIXXX
Another bout I was really looking forward to, having seen both skate very, very well last year. Of course, Rainy City beat TMX in one of the last season’s most epic bouts, while I was fortunate enough to catch Terminal for the first time against the Oly Rollers’ Prima Donnas.
So this was sure to be another nail-biter.
By this time, I was pretty drunkypants and celebrating with Rainy City, so my details on how this bout unfolded are hazy throughout. But in the end, it was another extremely tight contest, with Terminal City getting the drop on TMX by another narrow margin – 116-113. Total team efforts by both squads kept this one back and forth from the getgo.
For TMX, everyone who hit the floor played very, very well. On’Da Sligh was jamming up a storm again, as was co-captain Ree Arrangher. Brawlyanna was joined in the huge hits department by Rollin Dirty, Anna Barbera, BrandiFurious and others.
But the TMXer whose name I kept hearing throughout the bout by the announcers, and deservedly so, was Leanderthal. She had a great all-around game for TMX in this one.
As for the Terminal City All-Stars, 8Mean Wheeler was her stellar self, as was Shift Kicker and Luludemon. I was also very impressed by Barra Couga, RollerGirl and Trixi Trippin Chix. They too played a great team game and matched up well with TMX across the board.
One thing I will say is that I thought (and again, I was drunky) that both teams scored points at the end in the last jam. Anyone with a clearer recollection care to chime in? Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that two awesome teams met and battled epically.
Just as in the last week’s Underground opener, both of these bouts could be played again tomorrow and could have come out with a Kitsap sweep. That’s just how good all these skaters are.
So, sorry again for the lack of detail in this one. Don’t blame me. Blame Jim Beam for being delicious.
I don’t often get to drink, kick back and enjoy bouts very often anymore (usually I’m NSOing, announcing or diligently working the camera and notepad), so this was a PERFECT way to kick off my 2010 derby season, considering I won’t get too many more opportunities to do so later.
KITSAP DERBY BRATS vs. ATOMIC PIXIES
I was more tuned in for this one, as I was scorekeeping the junior derby action that took place at the true halftime of this event between the Kitsap Derby Brats and the Atomic Pixies (of Spokane). Affiliated with the Lilac City Rollergirls, they even have a junior all-star team beginning! It’s great to see the sport growing so rapidly amongst the younger ranks!
This was the first time I’ve gotten to see an actual junior derby bout and holy cow, these girls are gonna kick some serious ass come legal age time! When they can skate on the regular teams, it’s gonna revolutionize the sport similarly to how speedskating and hockey skating have. It’s gonna be a whole new ballgame.
But for now, they’re still too young. But that doesn’t make them any less skilled or feisty than their full-grown counterparts.
I don’t remember the final score (LOL) but I know early on, the Brats were thumping the Pixies pretty good thanks to the efforts of skaters like Mutch Mayhem and Champ Pain. The Pixies battled back behind Karakin Skulls, Ivanna Czokabich and, on loan from the Seattle Derby Brats, Alexacutor and Lilly Lighting, making it close in the second half (they played two 15-minute halves), but Kitsap still held out for the win.
My two that really stood out though? For one, Whamsday Adams. I knew she’d be good (her mom is DRR coach Jenocidal) and I’d seen her skate a little, score presenting some Rainy City bouts even. But wow, she’s got the complete package. She can hit hard, she’s vocal, she’s smart and she reacts very quickly. Very dangerous combo.
The other, Vanna Fright, the Tiniest Jammer. She couldn’t be more than 12 years old or so going up against some much, much larger teenagers and she never shied away. She was easily the smallest frame on the floor (like, watch-out-or-you’ll-step-on-her small), but skated with more heart than I’ve seen some in some adult skaters. It’s that kind of determination at such a young age that’s going to change EVERYTHING about the sport in years to come. I can’t wait to see the day!
Great job to all the junior skaters though. I may have called out a few I remember busting big plays or such, but they all have skill. Derby is in a good place with the up-and-comers up and coming.
Wow. What more to say after that? Well, a few things actually.
First off (and I meant to post this in last week’s blog), please join me in wishing Elwood Bruise well, as he should be arriving in Tulsa, Oklahoma today to begin his reign as head coach of the WFTDA-sanctioned Green Country Roller Girls. Elwood, who’s blog All Bout Derby you may have heard of , has been instrumental in my succeeding with this blog as well, and from the very beginning. I simply sent him a message one day, asking questions about derby and covering derby, taking stats, all that kind of stuff. From the opening reply, he’s been nothing but helpful, making himself available to me as a derby resource round the clock. I was lucky enough to meet up with them all the Seattle Thunderbirds game almost two weeks ago (my first pro hockey game despite being a hockey fan since 2000), later partying at Skate Pauli Girl and Cop A. Phil’s T-Town pad til about 4 in the morning or so. Truly how any send off should end!
Elwood’s impact on the NW Derby scene is far and wide, and from day one, I’ve never pretended to reach as many people as he did or have the kind of impact he has, and will continue to have, on the sport. And that’s for one simple reason above all others. You don’t replace an Elwood Bruise.
So please, join me once again in saluting this great champion for the sport and wishing him the best of luck in his new digs. You’re gonna do badass coach Bruise!
OK…this weekend, Elwood’s home league, the Dockyard Derby Dames of Tacoma will be hosting a bout to benefit the Lakewood Police Independent Guild and honor the memories of the force’s fallen officers to tragedy all too recently.
It’s $10 as a suggest donation at the Pierce College Health Ed Center. If you can make it, do it! It’s great derby for a great cause! I believe they’re doing this one intraleague, but you never now who’s libel to show up.
Also on the horizon at the end of this month is the Rainy City Black and White Scrimmages! These are always a blast and tons of girls and guys (that’s right…it’s co-ed) show up from the PacNW to take place. This year should be just a good.
So ya. Come to that.
But there’s one date you have to circle and circle now, as tickets I’m sure are going fast. For the first time, Rainy City is battling the Oly Rollers, as RCRD gets ready for the Dropkick Donnas (formerly the Prima Donnas) on Valentine’s Day. Awwwwwwww.
Don’t be fooled though. These girls may look sweet and precious, but they’d kick your ass. And my ass just for saying it. Seriously though, this bout is going to be extremely fun, if not for the Oly-Rainy City battle, then also for the fact that Oly’s newest team, the Bella Donnas (freshmeat and newer skaters) will be going up against Edie Disorder, Skate Oddity and the rest of the Cherry City Derby Girls. Good times! And besides. We all know you have nothing better to do on Valentine’s Day.
Then there’s also this little tournament coming up, the Wild West Showdown. I’ll link it, but I’m gonna tease you with that for now.
So word up kids…derby is back in session!