When we hit the track for the second half, it was like a different team came out of that locker room. Everything was a blur for the first few minutes, so my details are a bit sketchy.
I do know that we chipped away 15 points before the Ft. Wayne Bomb Squad put another point on the board. There were no blow out jams, it was a hard fought battle, that we started gaining on bit by bit. Shadi Layne had the most enthusiastic jam of the night. She barreled her way through the pack, and while she didn’t put any points on the board, it felt like the turning point for that second half. The energy, enthusiasm, and downright POWER she put into that jam got the crowd on their feet, screaming her name so loud it drowned out the music!
I went in for the second part of the second half, and stayed in until the end. Our pack was tight, and it was a total battle to the end. Hits were coming in extremely hard from both teams, and the refs were calling tight as hell!
Regardless, we tied up the game and even started to even climb ahead. About three jams from the end, the thing you never want to happen, regardless of who you’re playing, happened. Touretta fell down, curled up in a ball, and Pushycat, the jammer for Ft. Wayne, tripped over her skate. According to a couple friends who were sitting right in suicide when it happened, she flew up in the air, and came crashing down on her knee. Game play halted, and everyone got completely quiet. It’s amazing how a couple thousand screaming fans can scream for blood one second, and the next get completely quiet and show respect for a hurt player. EMT’s rushed over, and got her on her feet and off the track.
We lined back up for the next jam, but the Ft. Wayne coach was extremely upset that one of his girls was hurt. He felt that Touretta needed to get called for a foul, claiming she tripped Pushycat. The refs disagreed, and when the coach wouldn’t stop yelling, at the refs and Touretta, the head ref ejected him. We’ve had a coach ejected before, so I know how bad it sucks when it happens. He was upset his girl was hurt, and called what he thought he saw. The refs all saw something different. He might have even gotten away with the yelling, but our head ref for the night was Rev Riot. We brought him in for the bout, knowing how freaking good he is. Good, but very, very scary. He is the most strict, most “by the book” ref I have ever skated under. While I’ve been known to mouth off at a ref or two in my time, I would never, ever mouth off to this guy. He scares the living crap out of me! That’s a good thing though! I shouldn’t be mouthing off to a ref, and I want the ref I skate under to have apparently tattooed the rules on the backs of their eyelids. (which I bet $5 this guy did, he was really incredible). We could tell from the get go how good he was going to be. During our equipment check, he was more thorough than any other ref I’ve seen.
So teams out their looking for a good impartial head ref for you bout? Rev. Riot. Just don’t pull any crap on him unless you feel like taking a seat in the penalty box for a while!
After that little drama, with just a few minutes left on the clock to go, we had our lead, but it wasn’t a big one. When the final jam came up, we were just 13 points ahead! That is not a lot of points in derby! Almost all of our jammers were close to fouling out, so CK took a turn at the jam line. I can not for the life of me remember who Ft. Wayne put up, but she was good, and fast. With some of our girls in penalty, we knew that this could go south for us very quickly. I did NOT want to lose this game in the final 2 minutes!
Ft. Wayne immediately held CK, while we let their jammer slip through. She came around again for her second pass, we held her briefly, and she was through again. Inside my head it was this constant “SHITSHITSHITSHITSHIT” mantra. Then CK saved the day for us. When the Ft. Wayne jammer came around again, CK got right in front of her, and put her brakes on, forcing the Ft. Wayne jammer to slam into CK’s back, pushing CK out of position, and putting a major on the Ft. Wayne Jammer. Tom Klubens caught the moment their jammer, I think, realized what had happened when she went to the box.
At that point, no matter what happened, we had won the game… but I didn’t realize that! All I knew, since things had happened so fast, was that Ft. Wayne had scored points before getting in the box. So when the final whistle blew, and we skated around the track, and the Belles were streaming onto the ref lane to slap our hands and hug us, I was asking over and over, “did we win? Did they get too many points”? Katya assured me that we had, in fact, just won the game!
I have never felt so elated after a victory before! We smacked hands with Ft. Wayne, and spent a very long time cheering, screaming, and crying with team mates and fans.
Final score was 78-70. Whoohoo!
Apparently, during out bout, Tornado Sirens were going off. So immediately after we won, someone put the weather up on the scoreboard screen! Total craziness!
Here’s some bout pictures until I get time to do Part III!
*photos by Tom Klubens, Marc Lebryk, and NRG [U]FC
Oh and this pic I took at practice. Four days after the bout, and this is what Sweet C’s leg looks like!
The pic does not do justice to the nasty that is her damn leg right now!