16 April 2012

Powerful Prancers

It would be just like me to write a rare post and make a mistake in it.

I had mentioned our regret at not noticing Brokeback Jac's performance in the Dames' February bout. As Jac informed us in person at the recent Lumber Jills vs. Riot match, she didn't skate in the February bout. She did, in fact, skate last November as Jac the Whipper. Consider me corrected. And only slightly intimidated. Ok, a lot intimidated.

We recently encountered our beloved Dames in Plattsburgh and were lucky enough to meet a few new skaters, including Track Infection and Jac herself.

It never surprises me to discover derby skaters are seriously cool cats off the track. It does rattle me now and then when they turn out to be ridiculously nice people. We're so used to seeing them girded for battle and knocking the shit out of women far tougher than I that a double-take is in order when we find out they're not so scary off-track. Except Star Slayer. She scares the shit outta me with or without pads, pregnant or not.

We've seen the Dames work on some risky strategies this year and do quite well implementing them. During this weekend's matches, we saw both the Brawlers and Fancy jammers get very physical right off the line. I've never seen this strategy employed outside a few extraordinary circumstances. The Dames made it work fairly well.

One of my favorite derby memories was seeing Slayer flatten an opposing jammer at the first whistle of the game. It was several years ago and I believe the Dames ultimately lost that match, but that jammer was gun shy for the next hour.

...Johnny Bash

15 April 2012

Bout Recap - GMDD April Double Header

Bout 1: Black Ice Brawlers vs. Granite State Legislashers

These two leagues have something of a rivalry going. After losing catastrophically to the Grade A Fancy last fall, the Legislashers decided to try their luck against the Brawlers. Between the difference in opponents and making progress on their blocking and jamming skills, the Legislashers had a much better time of it last night.

Granite State jammers Tazslamian Devil, Emily Deck'erson, and Quasi Wicked dominated the first half, only allowing Green Mountain to get lead jammer in five jams. Despite that, Green Mountain kept the score tight, bringing a 20-point deficit at 15 minutes down to only 3 points with 7 minutes left in the half. Then, with just 4 minutes to go, Green Mountain's Beethoven's Fist incurred a major penalty, giving Granite State's Emily Deck'erson a power jam, which she used to pick up a solid 22-point lead, and increased that to 24 points in the last jam. Halftime saw the score at 65-41, and the teams hit the locker rooms for a breather and a pep talk.

The pep talk obviously worked for the Brawlers, who grabbed lead jammer status almost twice as much in the second half as they had in the first. They overtook the Legislashers in jam 4 and proceeded to build up a decent lead, but it was not to last. Granite State's Tazslamian Devil used her skillful footwork to shrink Green Mountain's lead to a mere 5 points by jam 14, and then Emily Deck'erson put the Legislashers back in the lead in the next jam. With 5 minutes to go, the Brawlers made a valiant effort, but weren't able to turn the tables, and the game ended with Granite State winning 125-118.

It's a testament to both teams' blocking skills that there were more natural grand slams in this bout than we've seen since the World Cup. There were also relatively few power jams, meaning both teams were focused on skating clean. That's the kind of sportsmanship we like to see. When the teams are so well-balanced and so classy, loyalty takes a back seat and we just cheer for everyone.

Bout 2: Grade A Fancy vs. Western Mass Destruction

This was one of those bouts that, despite a huge point gap, was still a lot of fun to watch. When these teams met last May, Pioneer Valley put up a good fight but lost to Green Mountain by 46 points. History repeated last night, but by an even bigger margin.

Green Mountain's Nancy Nightmare set the tone for the game by taking an easy 4-point lead in the first jam. It took Pioneer Valley 'til jam 7 to put anything on the board, by which point Green Mountain held a 35-1 lead. They spent the next 13 jams holding Pioneer Valley to 1 point, while racking up an additional 52 points for themselves. In one jam, Green Mountain's Terminate Her wowed the crowd by leaping over a downed Pink Panzer, showing that sometimes the path of least resistance is a vertical one. The Fancy finally let the Destruction pick up 3 more points with 2 minutes left on the clock, but by the time the whistle blew for halftime, they had secured a comfortable 105-4 point gap.

Pioneer Valley came screaming into the second half, doubling their points right off the bat, but allowing Green Mountain to pick up 18 of their own. They kept picking up points, slow and steady, throughout the rest of the half, but they just couldn't match the speed and agility of Green Mountain's skaters. When it was all said and done (after a post-game score correction), Green Mountain clobbered Pioneer Valley 217-39.

This bout saw the triumphant return to skates of the fabulous Annie Cockledoux, who spent most of the last year nursing a knee injury and being an excellent coach. She was clearly thrilled to be blocking again, and dished out some impressive hits. Welcome back, Annie!

Name of the Bout: Bats Hit Crazy #95 (PVRD)