Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another GREAT Derby Daze under our belt!

I am still reeling from the great time that I had this year at Derby Daze! I did not fall once during the Friday night Jam Skate!!! That’s a personal best for me! But I guess I’m here to talk about the bouts, not about my personal achievements, so on to the recaps...

The first bout of the night featured the Lava City Roller Dolls vs. the Atomic City Rollergirls. Having only seen either of these teams play a handful of times, I had no idea what to expect going into this bout. It turned out to be a pretty exciting bout with a number of lead changes. Atomic City started off strong in jam #1 with a 15 – 0 lead. Sukie Smackhouse then grabbed another seven points for Atomic City in jam #2, but two jams later Lava City was making a comeback. The first lead change of the bout came in jam #13 when Dame Deviant managed to gain a one point lead for Lava City. They managed to increase that lead, and went into halftime with a 68 to 52 point advantage over Atomic City.

In jam #23, Atomic City staged a comeback during a power jam situation, coming to within one point of tying the game. They gained the lead during the following jam and held that lead for seven more jams, until Screamin’ Meanie had a power jam for Lava City and again brought the game to within one point of being tied. Dame Deviant got lead jammer and three points in the following jam to gain the lead once again for Lava City. Jam #29 saw the final lead change of the night, which was in favor of Atomic City. There were a lot of timeouts in this bout. More timeouts than a Rainy City bout, believe it or not! That only served to heighten the suspense of this match-up. In the end, Atomic City managed to pull ahead to see a 131 to 100 victory over Lava City.

On to the second bout of the evening…

I’d like to take a moment here to send out a special, albeit sarcastic, thanks to Texine for aiding greatly in getting me cut off from buying alcohol before the start of the second bout, thereby causing me to go the entire bout with no booze. As I was bellying up to the bar before the bout to purchase yet another glass of that Barefoot Vineyard pinot grigio, she skated between me and the bar. I wished her good luck in the bout, and her reply of “man, you look WASTED!” didn’t register too well with the bartender. Add to that the fact that I was seated next to Harmacist, which renders guilt by association, and BAM - no more alcohol for George! Just like that. Really, I wasn’t that wasted! But I digress…

The main featured bout of the night was our Axels of Annihilation vs. Derby Revolution of Bakersfield. I didn’t know too much about Bakersfield, so I was curious to see how this bout was going to turn out and didn’t know what to expect. Jam #1 saw Minstrel Psycho pitted against Ima Blowbya at the jammer line, and also a major penalty by Texine (which I racked up to karma over her getting me cut off from alcohol). The first couple of jams saw a 10 – 0 lead for Bakersfeild, but in jam #4 Viagrrra Falls gave us our lead. That lead would not be compromised for the rest of the evening. Minstrel Psycho and Viagrrra were on fire for our first half! Joyride was amazing and seemed at ease with the fast paced pack that was indicative of this bout. At halftime, AoA had a strong led of 92 to 26.

The second half saw Deva Destruxion, Frisky Sour, and Twat Rocket start off strong. They added immensely to our already hefty point lead. Viagrrra was still on fire in the second half and adding to our point tally also!

Puke on the Flat Track!

Then, in jam #34 I saw something that I haven’t seen since Houston 2008. Derby Revolution’s Tonka Toy took a hit, doubled over, and puked on the flat track! This was a real crowd pleaser, to say the least. Not only did this garnish a collective “oooooooooh” from the crowd, but it served as a conversation topic for the remainder of Derby Daze. It was amazing, and I am advocating Tonka Toy as MVP of this bout based solely upon this incident. After the clean-up, we were just two more jams away from our 186 to 53 AoA victory.

I was lucky enough to get a post-bout comment from Texine regarding the performance of her team. This is what she had to say:

I am immensely proud of the way our team played last night. The majority of us have only been skating together for the last month or two, and finding cohesion with a new group of skaters can be really hard. Last night we came out with our game faces on, ready to have fun, and build on ourselves as a well-oiled machine. I thought it was beautiful how our skaters built and held walls, held the inside line, and were able to adapt strategically to whatever was happening on the track. Next weekend is a two-day tournament in Boise, ID called the Spudtown Knockdown, and our bout last night gave us the confidence to move forward and we have every intention of owning the track from here on out. F'n A, AoA!

So there you have it folks, another great Derby Daze under our belt. I don’t know about you, but I need a vacation to recover!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Derby Daze are here again!

I love Derby Daze! Plain and simple. It was during the very first Derby Daze where my lovely derby wife, Kanna, and I first decided to become derby husband and derby wife. So it holds a special place in my derby heart. Every year the event gets bigger and better, and this year is no exception. I enjoy hanging out and watching the scrimmages, riding the rides at Oaks Park, attending the Friday night jam skate, and of course the bouts!

This year we are treated to a Saturday night double header featuring Atomic City vs. Lava City, and our very own Axles of Annihilation vs. Derby Revolution (hailing from Bakersfield, CA). I sat down with Texine, new captain of AoA, for a brief pre-bout interview. This is what she had to say:

George: Tell me about some of the new faces that you have on AoA, and who we should be watching for.

Texine: Our roster currently has a great mix of new and old AoA team members. Some of our newer members are Bella Massacre, Deva Destrruxion, Frisky Sour, Joyride, Push La Tush, Skintastic, Slim Sheety, and The Blast Unicorn. As far as the new outstanding talent goes, watch out for Deva and The Blast Unicorn. All of the new members are great though! We’ve been practicing all summer and we’re looking really good! Of course, the AoA stalwarts are still here and going strong. We have Butcher Block, Goodie Two Skates, Minstrel Psycho, Twat Rocket, Viagrrra Falls, and myself rounding out the roster for this Saturday. We also have Speed Bump and Frenchie coaching for us!

George: What do you know about your competition, Derby Revolution?

Texine: Well, they’ve been a WFTDA apprentice league since last December. Being an apprentice league, they haven’t had the opportunity to be ranked at our level, hence it’s difficult to size them up based upon their rankings. They formed back in 2006, so they’ve been skating for a few years now. They didn’t have the best showing at the Battle for the Coast this past year. They lost to OC 89 to 51, and lost to San Diego 114 to 2.

George: So during the Hometown Throwdown, AoA was serving up some fine food. Will we be treated to some of the same delicious grub this weekend too?

Texine: Of course! Heidi Go Seek is making up another batch of her delicious pulled pork for pulled pork sandwiches, and I’ll be baking up another batch of my famous cookies! So bring your appetite. Remember, all of the proceeds go to help AoA, so don’t forget to grab a sandwich or cookie (or two) for a good cause! See you on Saturday!

So there you have it, derby fans. An action-packed fun-filled derby weekend right here in our hometown. It all kicks off with a Friday night opening barbecue at Oaks Park at 6:00 PM, so don’t be late. The open scrimmages start at 1:30 PM on Saturday and at noon on Sunday. The doors open at 5:00PM Saturday for the 6:00 PM double header bouts. A more detailed look at the weekend’s schedule can be found here. See you at the Friday night jam skate! (And don't laugh too hard at my skating ability…I'm no Dancing Scott by any means!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

All Down and Derby

Though I should be editing my very tardy Hometown Throwdown Day 3 post, I did want to get this little info nugget up on the blog. This Thursday at Powell’s there is a reading and book sign by Jennifer “Kasey Bomber” Barbee and Alex “Axles of Evil” Cohen, L.A. Derby Dolls and authors of the latest modern roller derby book Down and Derby: The Insiders Guide to Roller Derby.

It was a late add to my vacation reading list and I have to admit I really enjoyed it. It provides some great history of the sport from its conception to the second coming. The reader gets a complete glimpse at the process of becoming a skater, the complexity of league politics, along with insights into the birth of the new traditions and some great profiles.

As one of the Heartless Heathers Hardcore my favourite quote from the book, in the section about the pitfalls of announcing, was:

There is a huge potential to get things wrong. You might say “That was a fantastic block by Viagra Falls”, when it was in fact Ruby Bruiseday who made the hit.

Funny to me because I can remember confusing Via with Ginger Binger during the heat of battle…back in the day and shit.

If the travel gods treat me right I should be home for this event but encourage you to go check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thrown down in the Hometown Day 2

Saturday was the second coming of that magical day I call Double Derby Day. It was an epic day of human endurance. A day when two of my passions in life merge to spawn the question, "How drunk was he? Was he Derby Drunk?".  I spent the first part of my day soaking up the sun, many beers and the fantastic jackass-ery that is the PDX Soapbox Derby, followed by a full evening of Roller Derby action.

Of course the recap would have to begin with...

When my cab pulled up to the Hangar, I was loaded for a full evening of All Star Roller Derby.

First up was B.A.D. vs Rat City. After the Friday bouts and my recollections of the Wild West Showdown, I sort of thought I had a good idea of how this would play out. I was of course wrong and treated to my favourite bout of the weekend.

B.A.D. jumped to a quick 3-0 lead on the back of an Astronaughty jam. Much to my surprise B.A.D. would prove they had the juice to carry and build on that lead through the first half. With the B.A.D. Pack Monsters in full effect, they were able to hold the Rats scoreless through a five jam run. After giving up 8 points, then 4, B.A.D. shut Rat down again for six jams building their lead to 63-14 after 16 jams. It was awesome! When I wasn't being mesmerized by Demanda Riot, I was being impressed by the play of Windingo Jones, Aunti Christ and Velveteen Savage of B.A.D.

Rat found a boost in their focus after Carmen Getsome hit for 14 during a Power Jam in the 17th jam, despite starting with a two on four pack situation. That was followed by a 10 point Primp Daddy jam which brought it to 63-38 Seattle. A scoreless jam brought us to half time with B.A.D. riding a 25 point lead.

I expected B.A.D. to run out of gas. I thought the Rats would come back with a fierce second half game plan. It took Rat three jams and some more Carmen Getsome magic to really gain any traction against B.A.D.  After four jams into the second half the score was 77 B.A.D./ Rat City 55. Little gains for both teams over the next few jams led to a monster Rat jam for 25 points. It was now 88-83 Rat. My cellphone was blowing up and I failed to note who the hell had the big jam. B.A.D. didn't let the Rats keep the lead for long, taking a 96-88 lead in the next jam. Four more jams and one goat later Rat was up again with a 102-99 lead.

Without any time outs left to calm the team, B.A.D. managed to came back with a quick five points as Demanda drew Carmen Getsome into a major back block for some Power Jam time. It was beautiful. After a scoreless jam, B.A.D. hits again for four and the 108-102 lead. Rat called for a time out, formed a plan, executed and added five to the board. Two fierce scoreless jams later we had our final,108-107. B.A.D. had picked up a hellarad one point win.

I was psyched and felt like the night was full of possibilities. And again, I was...

We all knew Gotham was going to be a tough bout. After the Rose City loss to Rat the night before, I expected to see a single minded, unified WoJ defend their home track like never before. When Bonnie Thunders faced Rhea and racked up a 7-0 lead for Gotham in the first jam, I was convinced that WoJ would overcome. The next jam Sully put the first WoJ point on the board after squeaking out past Suzy Hot Rod for the lead jammer. Two jams later Rhea would hit big against Hyper Lynx and WoJ was only down by two, bringing it to 13-15. Gotham held WoJ for the next few jams until Rhea hit again for four, but the Bonnie Thunders/Suzy Hotrod jammer rotation had left us with a 17-52 point differential.

For the next six jams, Gotham showed what great pack play, tight defense, coordinated transition strategies paired with creative jammers can do. Racking points and holding off our jammers, Gotham stretched the point margin to 72. It was 17-89, Gotham at the half.

I had to abandon my clipboard for the second half. I could no longer just sit and watch this bout. So from the Beer Garden, peering through the crowd and enjoying the summer breeze tainted with the lofting scent of the Honey Buckets, I watched the second half play out.

It was fast paced, hard hitting and Gotham looked like they were digging it. Want to play the slow game? They could play that too. Not to diminish the abilities of our hometown heroes, but Gotham seemed to have an answer to anything WoJ would throw at them. Though the Wheels would find more offense in the second half, so would Gotham, ultimately building their margin of victory to 127 points. The 190-67 loss to Gotham should serve as another wake up call to our ladies in purple. Hopefully they see some of their short comings, the things that must change and the corrections required before we get to Sacramento in October.

All I could do was call for a ride home and wonder what day 3 of the Hometown Throwdown had in store for me and my hometown heroes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Some love for the Super fan!

Before I get cracking on a Hometown Throwdown post, I wanted to take a moment and give a Happy Birthday shout out to our very own...Handsome George! You are one of my favorite Roller Derby characters and I wish you the Happiest of Birthdays! (And no, I am not giving you my Mobi jersey as a present!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday the 13th

Ah, the first night of Hometown Throwdown. Now, I am not a superstitious man by any means, but it does give me a reason to pause for thought when a bout takes place on infamous Friday the 13th. But there are few things in this world that I enjoy more than weekend full of roller derby, especially when it involves a bunch of top-ranked teams and it takes place right here in Portland!

The first bout of the evening featured Bay Area vs. Gotham. This was a fast paced game that saw quite a few more penalties from Bay Area than from Gotham. Gotham pulled away early in jam #9 when Suzy Hotrod gave Gotham a nine point lead. The lead kept growing, and Bay Area never recovered after that. Suzy Hotrod definitely deserves MVP for her jamming performance. At halftime Gotham was leading 63 to 46. The second half saw more great performances from Suzy Hotrod and Bonnie Thunders, and by jam #21 Gotham had a 53 point lead. Bay Area’s Astronaughty put in a great effort at jamming, and she staged a minor comeback late in the game, but in the end it didn’t do much to save them from a 189 to 58 point loss at the hands of Gotham.

The second bout of the evening featured our Wheels of Justice versus Rat City. I went to the hangar last night quite complacent and fully expecting an easy Wheels victory. I was not prepared to see Rat City play so well. As early as jam #12 it was clear that I had a reason to be concerned. Primp Daddy had a nine point jam to give Rat City a 41 to 33 point lead over the Wheels. The following jam saw Ann R. Kissed pull out another nine points for Rat, and the lead kept growing from there. Rat City wasn’t only on top of their jamming game, they showed some stellar defense also. At halftime, they stood with a 77 to 34 point lead over our Wheels of Justice.

The second half saw that point gap grow even further. Rhea DeRange, Soulfearic Acid, and Scratcher in the Eye (who broke a plate on one of her skates!...Friday the 13th again?), put in valiant jamming efforts, but in the end Rat City’s defense combined with our penalty box time prevented any serious comeback by the Wheels. The last three jams of the night saw the Wheels gain more points than any other stretch of the bout, but it was too little too late, and Rat City stood with a 155 to 111 point victory when the final whistle blew. I can’t help but think that if the bout lasted another ten minutes or so, that we could have pulled out a victory. It seemed like we were really starting to make some headway, but the clock was against us at that point.

Tonight on the lineup we have Bay Area vs. Rat City, and Gotham vs. our Wheels of Justice. The doors open at 5:00 PM, but unfortunately I won’t be able to be there due to a prior engagement. So I’m a hopin’ and a prayin’ that JeLLyPiG will give us a Saturday and Sunday bout recap and tell me what I missed!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hometown Throwdown

Time to wake up from your summer slumber, derby fans! Because just in time to save us from this recent lull in derby action, we have the Hometown Throwdown, and it's shaping up to be one hell of a weekend! Four great teams over three action-packed days. On Friday the thirteenth we have Bay Area vs. Gotham, followed by our Wheels of Justice vs. Rat City. The following evening, Saturday August 14th, Bay Area takes on Rat City, followed by our Wheels of Justice vs. Gotham. Finishing up the weekend on Sunday we have Gotham vs. Rat City, followed by our Wheels of Justice vs. Bay Area. This is going to be one amazing weekend of derby at the hangar!

Sadly, I have to miss the Saturday night bouts, due to a conflicting engagement. So I'm hoping that JeLLyPiG is in attendance that evening and he gets the urge to give us a bout recap. I want to also take a moment to say that 5 seasons ago when I started following RCR, I only dared to dream of seeing a tournament with teams of this caliber playing at the little ol' hangar. I continue to be impressed with how far the league has come in a few relatively quick years, and I think that we as fans are lucky as hell to have derby of this quality in an awesome venue like the hangar!

So get your tickets if you don’t already have them (because they're almost sold out!), and get ready for some great derby action!