11 January 2012

November Double Header: Green Mountain Derby Dames

November saw the final bout of the season for the Green Mountain Derby Dames, and it was an exciting double-header -- a great way to finish off 2011!

The Grade A Fancies' first home bout of 2011 was against South Jersey, a team that played by Old School rules instead of WFTDA, only nobody realized it until halfway through the first period, by which point South Jersey was down a lot of points and up a lot of penalties. The Black Ice Brawlers' final bout of the year felt similar, even though this time the opponents were, in theory anyway, using WFTDA rules.

The Poison Pixies, whether because they're a young team, half of their roster was pulled in from other leagues, or something else entirely, scored very few points and spent a lot of time in the box. Their skating was rough, their knowledge of the rules seemed shaky, and they played much more like an Old School team when it came to blocking.

The first half showed the Brawlers that they had nothing to worry about and could enjoy themselves, and showed the zebras that there was a lot of work to be done. Seven jams in, the Brawlers led 54-6, and the refs were running ragged trying to keep up with penalty calls against the Pixies. Doomsday got to enforce the rule about how a jammer calls off the jam (which seems to be a chronic issue with new teams), and Ethyl seemed frustrated at how many penalties she was calling. The first half ended with the Brawlers ahead 104-25, and we hoped the second half would be better.

It wasn't better, but it certainly was eventful. In the first jam, a Brawler pumping her arms for speed caught a Pixie in the eye, and the medics got to activate an ice pack (they do this by repeatedly throwing it on the floor -- we think they must live for the opportunity to throw things). Later on, one of the Pixies was ejected for excessive penalties. With just a few minutes left in the game, the Brawlers put an extra jammer on the track by accident, and we saw a rare 2-minute penalty as a result. When all was said and done, the Brawlers walked away with an easy 197-51 win over the Pixies, and we looked forward to the second bout of the evening.

In another bookend moment, the Fancies hosted a team for their final bout that was from the same state as their first opponents of the season. Jersey Shore brought their A game, and it was a nail-biter from start to finish. Jersey Shore grabbed 14 points right off the bat, and the Fancies answered with 15 points of their own in the next jam. The score stayed tight for the rest of the first half, and the halftime whistle found the Fancies barely holding a 65-63 lead over Jersey Shore.

Maybe there was a great locker room pep talk during halftime, or maybe the Fancies just needed a breather, but they came into the second half like a storm surge. Four jams in, they'd added 27 points to their score and kept Jersey Shore from scoring anything, and apparently this annoyed Jersey Shore enough to take action. It took them until the very last jam, but Jersey Shore chipped away at the Fancies' lead until they overtook by a scant five points, pulling off a 121-126 upset that was thrilling to watch.

We wrapped up the evening with a stop at Al's French Frys, one of our favorite post-derby hangouts, and called it a year. Flipping through the scrapbook, we found that, not counting the World Cup, we attended almost 30 bouts and saw teams from 21 different leagues. Not bad, considering where we live.

Now the challenge is to beat that record in 2012! Our other challenge will be to get recaps written and posted more quickly, since we've accepted an invitation to be the official bout recappers for the Green Mountain Derby Dames. No more waiting four months for recaps -- we'll try to have them up the day after the bout. That's as far as we're going with New Year's resolutions, though... wouldn't want to get in over our heads!