Sunday, March 20, 2011

I should go into the ice pack business

Well. I don't think anyone could have predicted that bout. Let me put it in context...
Last year was an interesting season for Adelaide Roller Derby. It was the first year we had a grand final, and the first year for the fourth team, The Wild Hearses. As could be expected, the dynamics of teams changed when people moved around. I can't remember the scores from all the games, but I know our bouts were always close, which made me think that the teams were each reasonably close in ability. As it were, after the final whistle of the grand final, each team had had wins and losses. Now, this year we have a title to defend and everyone wants to take us down. I would be the exact same if I were on any other team. Mile Die had a bit of a rough season last year, so they had even more reason to lust after our blood.
For the first time ever, I woke up and felt nervous. I've never felt that before derby, ever. I train with all of these girls, love them all and have always treated bouts like a training so as to avoid the nervous poos. I had no doubt in my mind that the Mile Die were going to come at us like a tornado. A team of hard ass blockers and lightning jammers, they have a kit bag bursting with goodies. We had a terrible night's sleep - at 3am we were woken by a loony on Semaphore road arguing with himself and I had to call the cops AGAIN, so upon arrival to the show grounds I was not only nervous, but tired as well and acutely aware that I am at present nowhere near as fit as I was for any of our bouts last year. The super fans were lined up already at midday, and the ball got rolling. I hate the wait to start, it's just more time to think, and the more I tried to focus, the more I felt fatigued before I even started. I was mostly a jammer last year, but I already knew that I'd be blocking more than jamming this game and I was worried about whether I had the goods to deliver. Thankfully, I wasn't in the first jam, I never have been once and I'm cool as a cucumber with that. The bout was in full swing straight away and the Dies had about 20 points on us within minutes. No doubt, we were frazzled, and barely using any of the things we had been practicing lately. The packs were fast, the hits were booming and the jammers were skating like the wind. The Dies took advantage of every opportunity and played smart. Midway through the first half we were trailing 50-35, and I was put out for my first jam as jammer. I barely remember this but I think I got a grand slam that closed it to 50-40. That felt great but the Dies JUST WOULD NOT LET UP and half time saw us behind still, but at 65-46. We needed to get razzed up. We channelled the Honey Badger (if you don't know what it is, look here ) and decided to try to settle down and play our game. Although at first we took a bit to close the gap, we slowly started chipping away, and felt our mojo seeping back in. With just under ten minutes left, we closed their lead to ten once more. Then back out to 20 points with 5 minutes left, then down to 7 with 4 minutes, 2:40 left on the clock saw the board with 95 to 91, and that stayed the same into the last jam. I was in the pack with Krumbs at the front, Kit Cat was jamming against Disco and it was all or nothing. Krumbs and I teamed up and I lost all track of everything else but us two and our job, to keep Disco there. I can only assume that we did, because in that very last jam, she scored nothing and Kit Cat got 5. The crowd erupted and I remember thinking 'either the Dies just won and that's their fans, or...' And I looked at the clock and saw 95-96. We had done it. One point. I was incredulous, I think we all were - there was that second where you look at everyone, anyone for clarification that it actually happened. 
So, that's the breakdown of how it went with regards to the points. Now, for an account of the physical nature of the game. Like I said, I used to mostly jam. I consider that my main asset as a jammer is agility. Thus, for me, having a very constant and sordid affair with concrete is a ratity. Not anymore. The last time I spent that much time on the floor I was drunk and 'breakdancing'. When I said the Dies had hard ass blockers, I was understating. Champion Ruby, Bones, Roller Junky, Gatey... I could go on. I literally feel like I have been in a fight. With a honey badger. On crack. I was in so many pile ups. On the bottom. Behold, this...

which looks pretty normal, over the course of about 5 photos becomes this:

Yes, and there's me sprawled on the ground (white socks).  And what about this little gem:

Now I'm getting ridden like a pony.
So, yes.  It seems that being a blocker is going to mean more bruises for me, which is ok.  The cool thing is, that ADRD wants to go back to grass roots this year, good old fashioned derby for the loyal fans.  Last year after the grand final I heard people say that it was good to see some big blocks again, and I reckon that yesterday's bout gave them a great show.  Old school big hits, girls leaving it all on the track to get even just one point.
The after party, despite being on a Sunday, was pretty sweet.  Although I had planned to get mildly drunk, I again channelled Honey Badger and didn't give a shit so I got wasted.  We ended up at La Sing, oddly enough, and again there were trannies, bad music selection and a dripping ceiling air con grate.  I told Krumbs I'd sing with her, as it was her first time.  Then I just kept on singing.  I was demanding that girls come up to dance and calling them 'dance bitches' and inserting swear words into songs at appropriate times.  I was pointing fiercely at people as I was singing and then I took advantage of a strange guy there who was cracking onto everyone and boasting about his karate ability and made him do some on the dance floor.  It all ended rather abruptly when we got a text that the dogs were acting up and the next thing we were in a taxi home.  Sadly, I'm not sure if we won the after party this time.  Usually Roadies are the last ones there, but when I left there were still others, so I guess we have some party conditioning to do.
Well, that's it.  I am stiff, sore, hungover and have a vocal chord injury most likely, so it's time for dinner and a movie.  Wait, it's 4pm.  I am old.