07 November 2011

Bout Recap: GMDD vs. NHRD

One afternoon in September, we piled into the car and drove to a part of the state we rarely think about and never visit: the Northeast Kingdom. The Dames were hosting New Hampshire Roller Derby and splitting the distance by holding the bout at the Lyndon College hockey rink.

One of these days, we'll see a good bout that's in a good venue with good seating, good sound, good lighting, and a good scoreboard. Not yet, though. The rink had good lighting and good sound, but was apparently designed for fewer than 100 spectators who didn't care what the score was.

That said, it was a pretty good game. It was something of a rematch for these teams -- they had scrimmaged back in May, with NH beating GM by only 15 points despite having nearly twice the skaters and injuring one of GM's best blockers in the first half. So this time around, with the Dames sporting a full roster, things went a bit better.

The teams seemed pretty well-matched until halftime, when the Dames led by a mere 13 points. The first few jams of the second half made it seem like NH had gotten one heck of a pep talk during the break, but then the Dames found a new gear and went all-out. By the time the last whistle blew, the Dames had pulled out a well-deserved 120-55 win over New Hampshire.

We'd like to mention two refs who impressed us in this bout. The first is awesome because of his name, which is our unanimous Name of the Bout: 2 Pack Shock-her. The second ref is awesome because he's a stickler for the rules: the Dames' own Ref Doomsday. We think his favorite rule must be the one about how a lead jammer calls off the jam, because we see him insisting that it's done correctly on a regular basis.

The rule states: [The lead jammer] calls off the jam by repeatedly placing her hands on her hips until the referee whistles the end of the jam. (WFTDA Rulebook sec. 3.4.6)

The Dames skaters, who work with Doomsday all the time, know exactly how to call off the jam. The NHRD skaters, on the other hand, missed it once or twice, thinking that either gesturing in the direction of the hips or tapping the ribcage would suffice. Doomsday refused to blow the whistle to end the jam in those cases. Some of the other spectators thought it was annoying, but we thought it was great. The rules, after all, exist to keep play consistent so everybody can tell what's going on. If skaters start altering the way they communicate with the refs, people get confused, and the sport suffers.

So thank you, Ref Doomsday, for enforcing the rules, even the little ones. We superfans appreciate it.