31 October 2012


In Sandy's wake, we at Pack Is Here would like to send our best wishes to everyone who felt the effects of the storm, and especially to leagues that lost practice/bout spaces and/or equipment in this disaster. Our thanks go out to all of the first responders, emergency workers, linemen, and good neighbors who have been working tirelessly to repair the damage and keep us safe.

We'll be heading up to Vermont for our last bout of the season this weekend, and we'll tell you all about it when we get home.

08 October 2012

Bout Recap: Shoreline Home Team Championship

After a series of logistical issues, Pack Is Here finally kept a promise to Betty Schnockered that we'd make it down to Groton for a Shoreline home bout. It happened just in the nick of time, too, since last night was their last home bout of the season! We're normally not keen on intraleague bouts, but this home team championship between the Steam Queens and the Underskated Knockouts proved to be exciting, entertaining, and seriously good derby.

The Knockouts started things off with a 4-2 jam, but the Queens tied things up in the next jam and then ran away with a power jam after that, taking a comfortable 25-6 lead. The next few power jams went to the Knockouts, who got within two points of the Queens' score, but then the Queens got lead jammer in four consecutive jams and controlled the track. They controlled it so well, in fact, that there was a separate four-jam streak where the score sat at 32-23, even though the Knockouts had lead jammer for one of those jams. Once the score got moving again, the Knockouts nibbled away at the Queens' lead and finally took over with 8 minutes left on the period clock. That seemed to inspire a change of gears for the Queens, who then took back the lead two jams later and held it for the rest of the period. The halftime score was 75-54, Queens over Knockouts.

The Queens came into the second half with determination. They built up their lead little by little, and with about ten minutes to go they were sitting on a pretty comfortable 58-point cushion. If the Knockouts had found a new gear a few jams earlier, the game might've ended differently, but their comeback started a little too late to get them the win. In what was supposed to be the last jam, a ref was fooled by a jammer who wasn't lead jammer trying to call off the jam, so an extra jam was played, allowing the Knockouts to only lose by 31 points instead of 43. Final score was 165-134, with the Steam Queens taking home the trophy.

While we're still a bit skeptical of intraleague bouts in general, this bout showed us that we will always be up for a Shoreline home team bout. These girls skate their hearts out, their fans love them, and the bout was a lot of fun to watch. We'll definitely be back to see them next season!

Name of the Bout: Bitta Pill #500mg (Knockouts)

07 October 2012

Bout Recap: HARD October Double-Header

HARD finished off their 2012 season last night with a high-energy double-header that left our heads spinning. Both of these bouts had some technical issues, most of which were forgivable (and we realize that we've been spoiled by the level of derby excellence at Regionals), but they were also extremely entertaining. Flocci exposed two derby virgins to the game, and both got into the spirit in short order, so we call that a success.

Bout 1: Wailers vs Elm City Derby Damez

Hartford's A team, the Wailers, started things off by taking on Elm City from New Hampshire. Elm City handed Hartford a power jam right off the bat, allowing for a 14-4 first jam. They tried to fix the situation by taking a 29-26 lead two jams later, but were quickly bumped back into second place when the Wailers brought the score to 58-47 in jam 5. It took Hartford a few more jams to really get into the swing of things, but by the time the halftime whistle blew, they were ahead 203-117.

Despite Elm City snagging 5 power jams in the second half and having lead jammer status in 12 of the 18 jams, they still couldn't manage to pull the score close enough to have a fighting chance. The Wailers took the win 314-268. We thought we saw one of Elm City's skaters foul out of the game in the second half, and we weren't surprised.

Name of the Bout: Poison Ivers #9929 (HARD)

Bout 2: Bedrockers vs Upper Valley Vixens

Hartford's B team, the Beat City Bedrockers, rounded out the evening with the Upper Valley Vixens. This bout was a nail-biter from start to finish. The well-matched teams kept the score so close that after the final whistle, the refs had to re-tabulate the numbers to determine who won.

The Vixens took a narrow lead for the first half of the first period while the Bedrockers got into their groove, and then the fun began. Two lead changes and three tie scores peppered the remainder of the first period, and the Vixens wrapped up the half with a tenuous 117-95 lead.

It seemed like the refs and scorekeepers had some trouble with the second half, calling 7 official time outs to sort out various issues. Hartford briefly took the lead, but only held it for a few jams before Upper Valley took it back. When the last jam was over, it looked like the Vixens had won by a point, but after some quick double-checking of the math, it was determined that the Bedrockers had actually eked out a 225-222 win.

Name of the Bout: Felon of Troy #1000 (UVV)

01 October 2012

WFTDA East Region Playoffs

Holy Derby, Batman! Pack Is Here has just returned from a wild and wonderful weekend at WFTDA's East Region Playoffs, and here's Flocci (abandoning her professional detachment and going full-out fangirl) to tell you all about it!

When friends from the Green Mountain Derby Dames (East Region co-hosts with Montréal) started asking if anyone wanted to volunteer for the tournament, my hand was one of the first ones in the air. After all, how often does a superfan have the opportunity to help her home team put on an event of this size and importance? Of course I wanted to be part of it! I figured they'd stick me at the ticket table or the merch booth or something, but it was even better than that.

My assignment: Team Wrangler.

For Philly.


There are no words for how excited I was about all of this. I got in touch with "my" team ("Hi, Liberty Belles, crazy fangirl here..."), answered some questions, helped out as much as I could via email, and got psyched for the tournament.

The drive up on Thursday reminded me how much I miss Vermont, but the excitement of being back kept me in high spirits, so I wasn't a gloomy gus when I arrived at the home of the fabulous Miss Dairy Air (GMDD) who had generously offered me one of her kids' rooms for the weekend. We spent the evening catching up and talking derby, and went to bed early so we could be at the venue for the volunteer briefing at oh-cold-thirty the next morning.

As usually happens the first day of a major event, things were a little discombobulated Friday morning. We volunteers signed in, got our shirts, and helped get everything squared away. Things got smoother by the time the first bout started, and continued to improve over the course of the day. Because Philly wasn't due to bout until later in the day, I got to watch most of the morning lineup and do a lot of knitting.

I think I did a pretty good job of not going into crazy fangirl mode when I met the team. I mean, I didn't drool on Teflon Donna or throw myself at Mo Pain, so I count it as a job well done. It was a little awkward at first, being the random stranger tasked with gluing myself to this pantheon of derby goddesses and making sure that their weekend went smoothly, but everything worked out well, and I found myself dubbed an Honorary Belle by the end of the tournament.

I also found myself wrangling not just the team, but their fans, as well. And boy howdy, are Philly fans devoted. They have cowbells, they have pompoms, they have songs ("Mo Paaaaaain, Mo-o Paaaaaaain, Mo Paaaaaain, Mo Pain, Mo Pain, Mo Paaaaaaaaain..."), they have wrestling unitards (yowza!), and they have Bell Heads.

This is me as a Bell Head. (Pardon the stuck-under-a-hat-all-weekend icky hair.) I wore that thing for most of the first half of the championship (Philly-Gotham) bout on Sunday. Who needs dignity when you're supporting your team?

So yeah, there was a ton of derby. Seventeen games, three days, a couple of slaughters, and some very close scores, too. The biggest win was Gotham over Carolina 437-8 (Remember the World Cup? Yeah, it was like that.), and the closest one was DC over Steel City 239-223. The Gotham-Philly championship bout had the biggest turnout (a claim based solely on how full I thought the bleachers looked from where I was sitting), while most of the other Gotham bouts saw the bleachers mostly empty.

I won't betray the confidence of the team by telling you what went on in the Philly locker room, but I can tell you that the Belles are extremely positive and supportive women, they look out for each other, and they're hilarious. (Especially V. Diva, who is, naturally, Divalicious. To the nipple. *ahem*) They're also adorable, each and every one of them, and I'm trying to figure out how to manage this many derby crushes without going completely bonkers.

Sunday evening found me too exhausted to attend the afterparty, but Miss Dairy Air told me it was a rockin' good time, and I assume everyone enjoyed themselves. I know I had a ton of fun hanging out with Philly every afternoon, playing spot-the-celebrity (not that folks like Quadzilla or Double-H are hard to recognize, especially in a compact venue like the Expo, but their presence was so inexplicably startling that I didn't quite know how to handle it), and working on so much knitting that I had to stop for a while to let a swollen finger heal.

It was great getting to see so many friends and make so many new ones (I think I've doubled my Facebook friends list today). Now it's time to recover, do some laundry, and get ready for the next bouts on the calendar (HARD's final home bout of the season on Saturday, and Shoreline's league championship on Sunday).

Derby on!