Thursday, October 21, 2010

Giving Windy City the Full Shniz

For anyone not in the know, I'll give you the back story. On Sept. 20th, 2008, my schedule allowed me to blow off the Rose City home bout and be in Chicago where the Windy City Rollers were facing the Kansas City Roller Warriors, the WFTDA Champions at the time. They pummeled the big bruisers from Kansas City for a 155/39 win. This experience spawned three key changes in my life; I became obsessed with the All Star/National level of the sport and travelling to see more, I wrote my first derbyesque blog post and I became a WCR fan.

That being said, when you combine my personal frustrations with the current WFTDA Divisional system, with that "BAD day in SucKro", I was not a Windy fan in the crowd. In fact during the Half Time break at the AoA bout, the night before, I told Nepalm Beth & Layla F#@king Smackdown to kick some Windy @$$. "Send a message. Our Number 4 can kick your Number 1's ass."

When that first whistle blew with Rhea Deranged on the line against Shocka Conduit and I was all about "Do it!".

Okay, so that jam yielded no points and was sort of a quick "feeling things out" kind of jam, but you could see that the magic was all in the pack. So when Soulfearic Acid took the lead in the next jam against Beth Amphetamine and hit for 14/1, Wheels had their first points on the board, the lead and some positive momentum. Cadillac's next five point jam just fed that momentum and Sully's 16 point jam that followed seemed to seal the deal. WoJ was sitting with a 30/1 lead and had every lead jammer after four jams which took us to the top of the jammer rotation. Rhea popped out of the pack quickly but was not the lead jammer. JK put a sweet hit on Windy's Shocka Conduit and despite being drawn into a game of chase, the WoJ pack tied her up for over a minute before she got the lead and called the jam. Even without lead status, Rhea stuck it for five and it was 35/2 WoJ.

The WoJ's blocking is what got them through the next few point drought jams. They limited Windy's jammers to small single digit jams, but Windy was also making some blocking adjustments that hampered the success of the "Wall of Justice" and the game seemed to be speeding up. The ninth jam and top of the rotation again had Rhea facing off against Shocka, who popped through in under 30 sec but did not have lead jammer and was able to make two passes before Rhea got out. No lead jammer and after two minutes it was a 13/4 jam for Shocka bringing the score to 39/18 WoJ. The game was definitely speeding up, the blocking became Wheels in a front wall and Windy in a back wall. The next several jams were quick hit, single digits jams and WoJ changed up rotation and maintained their lead. In the 15th jam with Sully and Athena DeCrime on the line, WoJ forced a slow start to kill time for Mangles who was serving time for her low block penalty when Smacks did an awesome job drawing a back block on Athena giving Sully a powerjam. Unfortunately, Windy did an awesome job of tieing Sully up for over a minute and it was 57/20 WoJ after 15 jams.

The next jam was a 3/3 jam between Rhea and Shocka with the score 60/23. It really marked a shift in play. The packs had been getting faster, more strung out and that really plays more towards Windy's style of play. Though WoJ would fail to put up points over the next four quick jams and fail to get lead, they did limit productivity. Jackie Daniels first jam of the night against Soulfearic Acid was Windy's biggest jam of that series and she hit for five bring it to 60/38 Wheels, at the half.

Windy left that first half with momentum and certainly did a good job of shifting the style of play to their comfort zone. They were hard fought quick blast jams. They were setting up in the rear and keeping the WoJ jammers from popping through. They were driving the bout even though they were down.

The second half started with WoJ down in the pack 2x4 and Rhea on the line against Shocka, who popped through and picked up 3. Soulfearic Acid followed in rotation, WoJ starting to feel penalties and still short in the pack as Beth Amphetamine popped through, quickly taking lead jammer. Beth stuck for five before being called out for Track Cut major, leaving Acid with a powerjam and a tough Windy pack.She did manage to even things up with 5/5 jam. Cadillac brought her "We're Not Going To Take It" attitude to the next jam, which began as a powerjam and for the first time in several jams, Windy was down in the pack 4on3. With some excellent blocking Cadi popped through on her initial pass quickly and despite Windy's jammer coming out of the box she managed a second full pass and another two passes to bring it to 72/46 Wheels. Sully was up next against Jackie Daniels and again the pack numbers were not on our side. Jackie got lead and racked up 7 as Sully struggled against the Windy blockers.

Back to the top of the jammer rotation, so Rhea was on the line against Shocka. Rhea made it through for lead and Shocka took a pummeling from the WoJ pack monsters. Rhea got two clean passes before a battered Shocka even cleared the pack for a 13/0 jam and 85/53 lead for Wheels. Again penalties took their toll with 2on4 pack for Sully against Windy's Ruth Enasia. Ruth got lead and a 12/0 run for Windy, bringing them back to a 20 point differential. Over the next several jams, Shocka, Jackie and Beth would hit for points for Windy while our heroes struggled. Ten jams into the second half, Windy had eroded the lead down to 10, then 7. It was 90/83 with about 12 minutes on the clock.

Rhea took the line against Jackie Daniels with a 2on4 pack. Windy elects to drop knee start for a no pack whistle. (STUPID is the note I have written down). Despite some monster Mobi blocking, Jackie made it through but with out lead jammer, only to then back block and hit the box. Rhea was finally through as Windy skated quicker and quicker, finally racking up three points. Soulfearic then faced Shocka, with a full compliment of blockers for both teams. Shocka came up quick on the Wall of Justice in the front as Acid struggled with the Windy back wall. That darned Smacks had this great push out block on Shocka which somehow became a major low block for Shocka. WoJ Powerjam! After Acid's first five points, Smacks got a Windy goat, turned around and did that things she does so well. Despite Shocka reentering the pack, Acid had maxed the powerjam out for a 19/0 jam. Wheels had regained a more commanding 112/83 lead.

Blood made her first jammer appearance next against Beth Amphetamine with a scant 2on2 pack and with a 15 second pop out time, she took lead jammer for our Wheels as Beth was called to the box and yes, Powerjam! With the 2on2 pack and a patient, calculating Blood Clottia with the star, she took her time to take Windy apart.

As blockers came out of the box, eventually WoJ had trapped a Windy blocker, stopping the pack long enough for even Chuck Norris or his superior to swallow these bitter words "That is why it is perplexing to me that a team of such seemingly inteligent (sic) and talented skaters would resort to such a demeaning tactic in order to win.". Mmm, a PiG never forgets.

Blood had gained 15 points and it was 127/83 Wheels of Justice with 2:30 left in the game. At this point, I had seen nothing from Windy that would over come that point gap with that kind of time. The next jam yielded 2 for Windy followed by a quick 0/0 jam. Now in last jam with Rhea and Shocka on the line. They would get a 4/4 jam bring it to 131/89 Wheels of Justice. (Until the point correction anyway...)

So there you go kids, our last big bout of the season.Not a perfect ending but the best we could hope for given the parameters. There is no shame in being 4th the Western division and though I will miss seeing my purple pals in Chicago this year, I can't think of a more fitting season ender. Not to sounds like my Cubs Fan friends, but there is always next year. Next year might just be the perfect storm, you can pitch in to help Rose City get a nice fresh track and who knows, maybe WooF ta-Duh will let us host Regionals.

If you can't wait, you can always check out Sicktown this weekend as they host Cherry City .

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