When we last left our darling Naptown Roller Girls, they were stuck in an icky mens rest room, skating on a crazy floor, and ready to hit the track against the Dixie Derby Girls, in far, far, away (at least by bus) Hunstville Alabama!
Ok, we were shooed back into the bathroom for our intros. I was kind of freaked out that we didn’t have anyone guarding the bathroom door, to keep people from going in there too pee. They had promised us one, and after kicking a couple guys out, I asked one of the Dixie merch girls, and they assured me by bout time that there would be someone guarding our door.
There was a crazy set up for the intros. I’m sure it looked really cool, but it was scary! They turned all the lights off, set up a fog machine, tube lights on the floor, strobe lights in our faces, and had us skate out onto the track, trying not to trip over the wiring for said lights, or the track rope! Easier said than done when the only light is a spotlight on you and strobe lights! It worked out, no one tripped over anything, and like I said, I’m sure it looked pretty cool. Unfortunately, with the dim lighting, the announcer had trouble with our names. Skaters Jane Eerie, Sin Lizzle, and number 774 Leaf Clover had puzzled looks when they skated out! Poor announcer! I’m sure it’s hard enough trying to whip out those visiting team names, not to mention doing it in the dark! I know our announcers with our brightly lit set up have messed up a time or two! I don’t begrudge him getting the names of some of our girls wrong, like I said, it was probably hard to see. I do however, not appreciate that he called our fans and support staff, who had traveled a long 8 hours to help us out at the bout, and cheer us on, an “ugly bunch”. Not cool at all dude! If I ever caught our announcers dissing the other teams fans like that, I would freak out on them. Derby fans are to be respected, no matter who they are rooting for. No fans=no derby.
After the anthem, we hit the track. It was CU Afterclass and Ace off the line for the starting jam. Our blockers shut down CU immediately, allowing Ace to rack up several grand slams. It set the tone of the game.
Honestly, I expected way more of a battle. We beat Dixie in our second season, but it wasn’t a blow out. It was a solid win sure, but they’ve had a year to get better. Also, we watched the bout DVD on the way down, and they had some good jams against us. Of course, we’ve had a year to get better too, and it quickly became evident that we were going to dominate this game from the start.
I went out as pivot in the third jam, a position I would hold most of the night. The Dixie girls hit very, very hard and solid. Their main problem seems to be that they pick and stick. One on one, leave the jammer to herself. Whereas we shut their jammer down, and at the same time opened up multiple holes for our jammer. In the beginning, I was attempting to use the 20 foot rule. Slowing the pack down, leaving 1 or 2 of their girls up front while our jammer pushed them out 20 feet. It just was not getting called though, so I gave it up. Frustrating yes, but what can you do?
There was also a crazy amount of track cutting. One of the big lessons we learned from Steel City was forcing a jammer to slow down on the outside, by blocking her out of bounds, then slowing down. She either cuts in front of you causing her to get sent to the box for a track cut, or has to slow down, and enter in behind you. In this case, the jammer would, about half the time, zip in front of us, and not get a penalty! Extremely annoying!!!! That was not on every single jammer though. C.U. Afterclass was really good about stopping, spinning, whatever the heck she needed to do to not cut! It was obvious that she was aware of that foul, and she did not want it called on her! I’d say, it was about 50/50 on that one getting called. You never knew, so we didn’t rely on it.
There was also a ton of pushing from behind. I had the back of my uniform pulled as opposing players either tried to whip around me or or slow me down to keep me from getting their jammer. At one point I was freaking out at one of the pack refs screaming, “this is dangerous, what the hell are you doing”? and the response was, “calm down, they’ll get called out eventually”! What??? I really thought Bama Bruiser and I were going to come to blows early on in the game. I kept feeling her shove on my back, and of course, being a sweet, soft spoken derby girl, started screaming at her “What the fuck! Keep your hands off my fucking back bitch”… in the nicest tone possible of course! It turned into a back and forth between the two of us, much to the delight of the NRG fans that came down, since they could hear every single word we were screaming. She came into hit me, screaming at me, right as my jammer zipped through the inside line. Totally worth the hit!
Normally, I’m used to some fouling in derby. Hell, I foul too. I know my elbows pop sometimes, or I chase, or I might deliver a bad back block. It happens. If I sit out for it, I might rant and rave for a moment, but usually calm down pretty quickly. This was quite honestly, the only time I’ve been nervous getting on the track. The farther ahead we got, the more desperate and sloppy the game play became. I’m not putting this all on the Dixie girls either. The refs are there to control the situation. Their job is to act and penalize for fouls. If an elbow to the face, or a shove from behind doesn’t get called, then it’s going to keep escalating! Which it did!
Now at one point, towards the end of the first half, as we were lining up, one of the Dixie girls, and I really, really wish I had paid attention to who it was, but I was just seeing red at this point, tried to calm the situation down. She kept saying, “it’s okay, you’re kicking our asses. Guys, they’re kicking our asses, calm down about it”. She said it multiple times, trying to diffuse the situation. It unfortunately, was not working.
Ivanna B. Naughty, had one of the most beautiful bits of trash talking in the first half. The Dixie jammer got out of the pack ahead of her, and declared lead. Ivanna, being disgustingly fast, quickly caught up to her, right on the girls ass. She started saying to her, “You got out first, and you think you’re faster than me, but you’re not, because I’m right behind you baby.. right behind you…” This earned Ivanna an attempted elbow from the other jammer, which, I really want to say did get called. But either way, Ivanna was right, she got her points. God love that girl.
During the half, we went into the locker room, which still did not have a security person outside of it. After seeing that people were trying to go in, our beloved bus driver parked himself on a chair outside of the doors, and began turning people away. Thank goodness! I don’t wanna concentrate on a game and worry that my stuff is going to get jacked at the same time! We were happy, but freaked at half time. The game was all but over, but as badly as things had escalated at this point, we knew it was only going to get worse. We had faith that Auto was taking over as the Dixie jammer ref, and know that he calls tight, especially on track cutting, so that was hopefully going to end.
I think that is a big part of it for us. As our fans know, our refs are freaking hard asses. We learned in the first game of this season how tough they were going to crack down on us. We lost our first game because of our fouling! We spent a ridiculous amount of time in the penalty box. So it’s very frustrating to play when refs are calling it so loose. Hopefully, this being their first game of the season, it will get better.
So second half. The fouls were still there. I know we’re not supposed to, and I’m amazed I didn’t get called on it, but I looked at the inside ref at one point and said, “this shit is getting dangerous and stupid. Someone is going to get hurt, start calling these damn fouls”! I don’t think she appreciated that at all.
Second half was much of the same. Things did escalate. Thankfully, no fights broke out, no one got seriously hurt. Joanie took an elbow to the face, I took one to my chin and lower lip. Nothing life threatening, no bones broken. Our minors started adding up in the second period. Katya was a jammer, and needed to foul out. What you are about to read, is probably the funniest shit I have ever seen in my life. At the time I was incredibly pissed, now, I think it’s funny as hell!
Okay, when someone gets 4 minors, they go in the box. As a jammer, you do NOT want to be in that box. So the solution is to go in as a blocker, and foul out. During our first two seasons, we would go out, and cut the track, pop an elbow to an opposing skater in front of a ref, anything to get that fourth minor as a blocker! This season, we’ve discovered the easiest thing ever! Go out, and stand in front of the pivot line! Instant minor, and you don’t have to go into the pack, and be a potential elbowing, fouling, biatch, and a danger to other skaters! Easy right?
So Katya goes out, and stands a couple feet in front of the pivot line, and smiles and waves at the pack ref. Pack ref looks at Katya like she’s a crazy person, and the jam starts, with Katya still in! No foul for her! Damn! So, thinking that the refs have just never encountered this, Katya starts trying to do some minor track cuts. She would pop in, cut a skater, directly in front of the ref, on the inside line, and look back hopefully at the ref. Nada.
Desperate at this point to rack up her foul, Katya comes around turn four, and directly in front of the ref, CUTS THE ENTIRE PACK! When she doesn’t get called out, she starts yelling at the ref, “Hey, I want my fourth minor! What do you want me to do! Come on! Give me my foul!” How many times in your life do you get to hear THAT come out of a skaters mouth?
Katya then started escalating. Still screaming at the ref to give her a foul, she cuts the track AND elbows an opposing skater! Screaming, “sorry, sorry, I need a foul” to the opposing skaters. Nothing! Finally, and this was the funniest thing I have ever heard in my life, Katya looks at an opposing jammer and screams, “I’m so sorry! I need my foul! It shouldn’t have to be this way”!!! She then grabs the girl by the arm and pulls her down, FINALLY getting her foul. (keep in mind, all of this was over the course of 2 jams) I was seriously cracking up at her antics!
The final jam, I went in as a jammer against Cha Chee. In my opinion, she’s one of their best jammers. That goes for our first game against them and this past one. She’s aggressive, makes her own holes, and damn quick through the pack. She was also a really good sport. She slapped my hand on the line, laughing the whole time. My girls opened a wide hole on the inside for me, which I took, and Cha Chee was right behind me. I got lead jammer, and at this point the score was 164-25. The period clock was at zero, so the game was over whenever I called it off. Cha Chee was right next to me and for a second I thought, “do I want a little jammer on jammer action”? The answer was no. Not my usual answer, but I was already hurting, and frankly, ready to get my drink on at the after party! So I tapped my hands on my hips, right as Cha Chee was lining up for a hit. She laughed, made a “darn” face, and we skated off!
It felt good to win by such a wide lead. I was surprised, based on our previous game against them. Here is my humble opinion as to what happened.
They left their jammers on their own. That was the mistake we made in our first two seasons. Never, ever, ever, leave your jammer to fend for herself in the pack. Sure, against a rookie team, almost any jammer can get through. But the better teams you play, the harder and harder it gets. Your jammer scores your points. So HELP HER! Open the holes, skate her through, push her pull her, whatever it takes! GET. HER. THROUGH!
They played pick and stick through the entire game. You and me blocker. Girl on girl. One on one. Whatever you want to call it. There was no team. There were individual, totally bad ass hard hitting skaters. Distract them, let them hit you (ow) and your jammer has her holes. Meanwhile your back two are holding their jammer, while their back to blockers skate in front of them, useless. In the event that one of the Dixie blockers would fall back to help their jammer, we would rotate out, and be right back to wear we started, but this time with the Dixie blocker behind our blockers and their jammer! You play as a team, you will win as a team! We didn’t have to change up our plays a lot. One or two would work every single time.
The good parts about this team? They hit freaking hard. I’m talking Tin Lizzie or Pouge from North Star Roller Girls hard. Hits you tell your grandkids about years down the line. Hits your body will remember every time it rains. Those kind of hard hits. But once again, if they utilized team work (you hold her, lock her in place, I’ll hit her) the hits would have been more effective. Once you saw a hit coming, you leaned back, and “whoosh” no contact!
That was the other thing that made the fouling so hard to take. They were GOOD skaters and GREAT hitters. Once again though, I put that blame on the refs. Either we’re used to our refs, and our visiting refs calling it way tighter, or their refs are calling it way too loose.
They were good skaters too. The pack speed was decent. They weren’t crazy fast or anything, but it wasn’t a game where we were constantly slowing down because the other team couldn’t keep up!
Part 3 will be the after party, bus ride, liqour store run, and the big blank spaces, where i utilize the, “what happens on the bus/in the hotel room/hotel hallway/or bathroom stays in the, well, you get the point” rule. I will say this, because I might not have time tonight, and I don’t want hurt feelings if the other team reads this blog.
At the after party, the girls I talked to were great. We gave them advice, even told them drills that worked for us, that would hopefully work for them. Some of them even fetched us beers and bussed our tables, (while calling us fucking bitches in the nicest way possible..heehee) It was a drama free after party. Overall, this team has a lot going for it. If they start to utilize the talent they have, and work on their fouling (because it will absolutely cripple them off their home court)they’ll be a much better team. The talent is totally there. It just needs to be applied.
Okay, like I said, part 3 to come.