My super long Northstar Roller Girls blog!
Alrighty... this will probably be an all day, off and on, in between customers kind of blog! Or I will get frustrated and it will only end up 2 paragraphs long and with a ton of pictures. We'll see what happens!
To start with, let me explain that when you own your own business, it's not like you can just take a vacation for three days! Getting the time off to actually go to MN, was a long, complicated process that had to be planned months in advance! When we only have three employees, it can get a bit tricky! Especially since certain parts of the weekend we get absolutely swamped with customers!
Anyway, we arranged a ride to the practice space Friday morning, where we met the bus. We didn't want to leave our car there the entire weekend. Another friend agreed to babysit the dogs and cats for us. We piled onto this AWESOME bus, complete with DVD players, comfy seats, and a secret "VIP" lounge which Dill and Brownie found in the back. There was only one problem. It was quickly apparent that the heat wasn't working in the back of the bus. In fact, while the front of the bus was getting some heat, the back of the bus was getting blasted with, what felt like, AIR CONDITIONING! In 30 degree weather! Aaaahhhh! The bus driver made several phone calls and attempts to repair the problem, but to no avail! So when I wasn't knitting, watching movies, or listening to my ipod, I was curled up on my 2 seats under Dan's coat, wearing a hat, a sweatshirt, and arm warmers!
We made a couple of brief stops to grab lunch and stretch our legs, and finally arrived in MN!
Where I discovered that my nose was all stopped up and my throat was sore from the frigid cold bus. Fantastic! Showered, changed clothes, and met downstairs to go to the North Star meet and greet.
Despite my stuffy nose, I had a fantastic time! We hung at their warehouse practice space, where they provided us with drinks and tons, and tons of food! Seriously, more food than any one roller derby team could possibly eat! And sooo good! The gals were all friendly, and I talked knitting with a ton of them! Pouge even came up and said hi, and asked if I was going to punch her shoulder on or off the track. I promised her that it could wait until the after party! We only hung out for an hour. We were just wrecked after the bus ride, and ready for a long sleep!
Woke up at 8am to... BAGELS! Those North Star gals brought us BAGELS! Yay! They also brought some Caribou coffee, for which I was grateful. I've always wanted to try it. It wasn't bad at all. Not the most fantastic stuff in the world, but not bad!
We headed back up to our rooms for more showering, and got ready to hit the local skating rink! I wish I could remember the name of the place, but it was pretty fantastic. The floor was the best thing I've ever skating on! Really grippy! The dj was... odd. First we heard Souja boy. Then Girls, Girls, Girls. Then Rhianna. Then... Barney? Totally strange.
Sin got put to work. A young girl hurt her ankle, which put Sin into "work mode". She spent about 40 minutes calming the kid down, getting her ice, getting her in a wheelchair and off for x-rays. I love Sin. A lot.
After skating it was decided that we had to get our chow on. Hungry roller girls trapped in a bus together? Baddddd! We hit the good ol' Golden Corral, after calling management and warning them that they had a bus on the way! We hit that buffet like it was our damn job, and Cozy the bus driver enjoyed a free meal on the manager for bringing so many pretty girls into his biz!
Jen X, being Jen X, did this with her ice cream:
And of course.. you can see the manager in a blue shirt and tie behind her. He commented that no one had ever used his ice cream in that manner before... heh.
Then of course, came the game. We got to the convention center at 4pm, and headed to our dressing room. As soon as we hit the track for our practice time, we knew there was some trouble. That floor was SLICK! We were sliding all over the damn place. I've never in my life felt anything like it. I said it before, but I thought the Nashville Roller Girls had the slickest floor on the planet. Nuh-uh. Nashville was like skating in sand compared to this one!
Those of us who brought extra wheels made some changes, and others took a little sandpaper to their wheels, per Northstar girls suggestion.
We couldn't really use our locker room once the game started, since you aren't allowed to skate in the hallway of the convention center. They got a decent crowd, and the merch set up was totally pro. Their track looked good, but the whole place was just a teensy bit dark.
They had one bout before us, between two of their home teams. It was showy and cute. The crowd seemed to really like it.
Our first period was next, and I will say that the MN crowd is like the Indy crowd, they respect the visiting team. No booing. That was very, very nice, and much appreciated from a group of girls that spent 10-12 hours on a bus to get there!
The first period was just... brutal. We got killed. We owned the first two jams, then after that, our defense went to crap, and their defense came together. Jammers for NSRG were sliding through our pack, racking up grand slam after grand slam while we just looked on and watched! The score after the first period was like, 80something to 19. PATHETIC!
We went off to the side and started trying to pull it together, figure out what the hell was wrong! There was a brief interjection from a couple of the NSRG skaters, letting us know they were trying to get some of our missing points put up on the score board. Which was good, they were aware of that problem.
The period break was way, way too long. First there was a 10 minute mens game of Queen of the Rink. Then ANOTHER BOUT!
Right. A bout, in between our bout. Granted, it was a short 20 minute bout.. but still. That is a long time when you're waiting for your second period. If I have one big complaint about bout production, that would be it!
Finally we got our butts back out there. But at this point we were down to just three jammers. Shady was hurt, JRoller had hurt her shoulder, of course Slammy had broken her leg earlier in the week, Ivanna we were using as a blocker... we were just running low!
The good news is, we went back out there.. and started playing our damn game... finally! We held their jammer, didn't let her go, and our jammers started getting through on their own, the way we know how. It was way too little, way too late, but we came together. After not having jammed at all at the end of last year due to my jacked knee, I was a little nervous about being one of only 3 jammers this time! For the most part, I was my old self again. Lead, get some points, call it. Over and over. At one point, I took off on the line, and FELL, but still got ahead in the pack, and got one grand slam. I called it and looked at the board, which is set up kind of like this:
NSRG POINTS= NRG POINTS=
Each jam, the jammer points would go up for that jam, and the total points would change. This is a little different than the way we do it, which is to have one person with the score card show the audience, benches, and announcers the points for that jam, then just have the total change.
So for this jam, I got 5 points. Yay me! BUT, while it went up on the jammer portion of the board, the total score didn't change! Um. What???? I was pissed, and we were out of time outs!
Then, Ace was out. She and the other jammer both got hung up. Ace got through, squeaked out 1 point with the other jammer hot on her ass, and called it. We looked.. no points. Um. Again. WHATTT??? And no time outs, so we couldn't ask what the heck was up. Arrgh!
Can't get too pissy about it because really, at that point, it didn't matter. We were too far behind to ever catch up. If we were still playing under the 3 period set up.. maybe. I honestly think that we could have gotten much closer.
Anyway. Here comes my major, major fuck up of the night. Me and the other jammer. Lined up, hit the pack, she gets through before me and gets lead, but I'm right behind her. She would have either had to call it, or we both would have gotten points. Sweet right? Um no. I break the pack, on her ass.. and bite it. I slipped, and hit the floor. Causing me to get right to the back of the freaking pack again, and basically hand the other jammer a grand slam. Crap. Crap. Crap. That was my biggest let down of the night. I still feel awful about it. Yea, in the grand scheme, it didn't win or lose the game, but personally it hurt to do that to my team.
Anyway, I went out for the last jam of the night, and got a couple of points, mainly because Tin Lizzy got sent to the penalty box for the previously mentioned face hit. I honest to gosh, had blood in my damn mouth. Girl hits HARD! She and Black Sunshine are probably the two biggest threats on their team. They manage to get in front of you, stop on a dime, and jab their shoulder into your chest. It's truly a talent on their part.
Game is over, I've got a cup of ice on my mouth and wiggling my bottom teeth with my tongue. Ugh. We hit the dressing room, very upset with ourselves as a team over all. I'm glad that we figured it out in the second period, and it really was a wake up call for what needs to happen in our home season. And granted, going into this with some of our main players unable to make the trip, or out for injury was a definite handicap.
The NSRG girls provided us with tons more food in our locker room. Which we promptly nommed on. Then a very, very cool skater poured a little sprite and vodka down my throat. I shall not name names in case she wasn't allowed to have liquor, but bless that girl.. she knows who she is, and I needed it! By this point it was already 11pm, so we scurried our sore butts to the after party.
This bar was.... strange. Very, very strange. This crazy band was playing on stage, people were dancing, and these guys were tending bar:
Yep. Cosby sweaters and all! I ordered a sex on the beach. I got a drink with liquor and half and half in it. Whatever. Liquor was in it, and that was all that mattered! Everyone was mingling, and getting their dance on. NSRG are very, very gracious winners. Sometimes that is difficult to find. We lost to one team in particular that went to the after party, chanted at us, jeered, mooned us.. overall extremely nasty. So to find a team that can graciously win is nice.
Even the bus driver Cozy got in on the dancing action!
Everyone seemed to be having a great time. Like I said, there were a few frustrating things about this bout, but I don't blame NSRG for them one bit. This was their first time hosting, and they were just excellent to us. I would play them again in a heartbeat, I would recommend that anyone else play them as well. (especially if they are in the mood for a good ass whuppin') Once these gals get the WFTDA status set, they are going to climb the ranks very, very, quickly.
Oh, and I said it would happen. I went to the after party, got drunk... and punched Pouge in the shoulder.
Alright, alright, so she LET me punch her in the shoulder! That still counts as revenge right??? Heh. She was totally a good sport! Apparently her husband sent around my earlier blog about the shoulder injury as a myspace bulletin. Love it.
Now, little did we know, there was a horror convention going on that same weekend. Which meant that Dill and Brownie got to announce alongside John Kassir, the voice of the crypt keeper! It also meant that when we got to the bar, who should we spot but Richard Brooker! AKA, Jason from Friday the 13th! Eeek!
Then right as we were getting ready to leave, I passed James Duval. As in, Independence Day. As in, the rabbit from DONNIE FREAKING DARKO!!! I stood outside for about 30 seconds, then ran back in with my camera and BEGGED for a picture! I don't care if I was sweaty, no make up, hair in a bandanna, drunk and tired. It's the scary bunny!!!!
I am such a dork. But hot damn, that made my night!
Got back to the hotel, after a few more coke zeros and coconut rum, I was ready for a shower and bed. Brownie and Dill had other plans...
Ah, almost forgot to talk about another cool thing NSRG has going for them; their announcers! I only got to talk to Griz, but he was just awesome. Their announcers had a great back and forth, and were really fluid. To sweeten their awesomeness, they got our announcers Jameson.
Because Brownie and Dill need MORE Jameson. For those of you that were around for the great Irish Car Bomb night... you will understand why I am uneasy letting that stuff back in the house...
We headed back home early the next morning. Still no heat on the damn bus. Sin had a stroke of brilliance and hit a red box machine to rent a bunch of dvd's for us to watch. Finally saw the new Indiana Jones. After I poked my eyes out with sticks and tried to forget what I had seen, I invaded the boys VIP room, chugged some NyQuil, and passed out on one of the benches.
When I awoke, we were in Indiana! Yay!
Rusty picked us up, and we headed home to see the critters! I was worried about Ernie. He tends to not eat when I'm not home. Poor little guy gets worried. I opened the door and I swear, his eyes got as big as saucers when he saw me! After some crazy puppy licks we threw our bags down, made some food, and passed out!
That was it. Our big MN weekend. Love the NSRG girls. We will hopefully play them again, and hopefully beat them this time! Hopefully they continue their 2+ year undefeated streak until then!!!!
I'll post a knitting blog next. It's been crazy! Button hats? Gah. Can't make them as fast as I sell them! I've got 4 on order right now!