Naptown Roller Girls vs. Burning River Roller Girls (the bout, not the after party)
Saturday was our big bout against Burning River. We beat this team in our second season, but this is season four! Not the same team! And hell, back then we remembered it as not exactly being a cake walk of a victory!
Wednesday we got the news that our top point scoring jammer, Blazin Ace, was going to be out for the game. Oookkkaaayyy.
I let myself freak out, then I relaxed. We've scrimmaged without Ace, we've won games without Ace, yea she is an AMAZING skater, but I'm surrounded by amazing skaters at every practice. I felt strangely serene and confident that we were going to pull this out. (Well, sort of serene and confident. I had a freak out Saturday morning that caused me to drop an Octo Kitty in the mail. That's okay, I'm fine with being the crazy one).
My uniform Saturday was breaking a bit from my tradition. I was still wearing my lucky panties (well, manties. ie, boys boxer briefs) but decided that was ALL I would wear for the lower half. No shorts, no skirt. Reason being I forgot my pants at practice, wore the manties, and frankly, looked good in them! No droopy butt from my shorts that I'm now too small for and they were so comfortable to skate in! I highly recommend trying boys boxer briefs, even if you don't feel comfortable wearing them outside of practice. (Though wear them with tights, because if those suckers rip on your booty...)
Since this bout was one of our three double headers this season, we watched the first half of the Belles bout. It was nerve-wracking. They traded the lead back and forth a few times, and at the half they were within a couple points of each other. The Belles were doing a great job of getting their jammer through, but were also letting the BRRG jammer sneak through right behind her, forcing the Belles jammer to call it off, while only getting one or two points on the board.
We used the Belles half time to warm up and get used to the track. Sport court always takes me a few. It feels like when I first skate on it, my right calf gets really crampy on the outside.
The Belles second half we spent in our locker room, talking, getting ready, staring at each other.. At one point in our locker room, we could hear the crowd just start roaring, screaming, with excitement! Good sign for the Belles! When there were only a few minutes left, the HMIFC popped her head in and told us we needed to start getting ready, and that the Belles were ahead over 50 points. Cool... They had apparently corrected their early mistakes, and were locking down the BRRG jammer. Our confidence level for our bout shot through the roof!
When it was finally our turn to hit the track, I know I was feeling pretty good. BRRG looked good in their warm up, and I had skated against some of these girls in season 2. I knew them as great skaters, but I felt like our team was going to be better... and we were.
Same as the Belles, we had a little bit of a rougher start. But unlike the Belles, it wasn't our defense that was hurting us, it was our time in the penalty box. Some of them were absolutely deserved, I know I went in once for an elbow that was all me. Some others... not so much. BRRG has a technique called "daisy chaining". They spend a lot of time touch each other, taking up the front of the pack with their arms held out. Arms held out and touching = no foul. Arms held out and holding = foul/daisy chaining. TECHNICALLY, if you try to bust through the daisy chain, it should be a forearm block on the person who is holding, not on you for pushing through it. But, at least a couple times, we got calls for back blocking when we pushed through their linked arms.
At the half it was really close, and the refs were talked to about the daisy chaining. It turned out the Belles had the same issue during their bout, but since the refs changed over it was taking them some time to catch onto the issue. Looking at pics to, it would be really hard to distinguish from a refs point of view when there was merely touching contact, or when it was holding contact. It was smart on BRRG's part, because even when they weren't holding, it got in your head. You would see those arms crossed in front of you, in the space you wanted to be, and not want to bust through. Plus the constant touching helped their three in front really stay together.
This is an example of the holding:
Photos by Marc Lebryk
you can see that the hands are actually grasped.
Yet this one:
which "looks" more illegal, is actually legal, since they aren't grasping hands, they're just all touching. I would not have wanted to be a ref in this bout, and making those calls. It's also hard to judge from pictures. I want to see the video to see what it looks like there. By season 4, I've learned that sometimes what I think I see while skating a bout, isn't what I'm really seeing.
The second half we just started pulling away, gaining ground. Our fouls were much better, making everyone's job a lot easier, since we could skate with a full pack.
The last couple jams were bits of personal awesome for me. Sin and I tag teamed a girl on a block, and took her out, but we both went out as well! I went down first, with Sin on top of me. She tried to get up, and slipped, falling down on me again. From underneath her I was screeching, "what is going on????" to which she said, "I'm sorry Joan, I'm not trying to give you anal, I'm just trying to get up"! Which made me laugh! Not only that, but it was a really hard fall, and my knee didn't collapse on me! Bonus!
The second bit of awesome, very last jam, I forced their jammer to the outside. She went out, I slowed down, and she cut back in front of me, and was getting called out right as the clock ran down! Too bad it wasn't earlier in the bout, but it still made me happy!
Another highlight? We had a celebrity water boy, Logan Huffman. He plays Tyler on the ABC show "V". SUCH a freaking cutie! And it looked like he was really getting into the game! He went from, at the beginning, just sort of watching the bout, looking a bit confused, to by the end, screaming, clapping, and cheering for the good jams, just like any other fan. So all you roller girls should make sure to watch "V", and get little crushes on him since he's so dang adorable, and loves our sport just like we do!
It felt good to win, and the after party was an experience like always, which will have to be another post.
For now, pretty pictures for you!
Dora jamming, and you can see Logan watching in the background.
Logan hanging with Dill and Brownie (photo by greg the mayor)
Photo by Dr. X
I'M NOT MOVING!!!! -Tom KluBens