Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ups, Downs and All Arounds.

No two bouts are alike. While there are basic rules and regulations that everyone (should) follow, little things can change from bout to bout, but have big affects. When we played the Des Moines Derby Dames back on April 3rd, it was in Iowa City, on our turf, and the Dames' very first bout; we had swept them 192 to 81.
On May 22nd, we traveled to Des Moines to play them again. We also brought a very different team to play them. Ophelia Fracture, GLADi8HER, Shelby Flyin, and Zom B Blockr had opted out of this bout for travel, family, or half marathons, and Hitzy was out due to a knee injury (which she just had surgery on! yay fixed knee), and came as a co-bench coach with Tynamite. This put in more of our fresh meat or skaters who had skated less bouts. A very different line up.

For the Dames I didn't notice to much difference besides EM-80 being out, and of course Show Stopper suffering and recovering from a knee injury in the time between the these two bouts. There may have been a few others, but faces get lost in the action when you're out there skating in a whirlwind of action.

Another big difference was the floor. At home we have polished cement, which on a good day has the right amount of grip and smoothness. As a jammer I like it because my sugars (wheels) give me enough power to sprint around, but the floor has enough give to let me skid, slide, stop and dart.

The floor at the 7 flags venue was a little different than I remembered (from attending a concert way back when) and may not have been as smooth as ours but could have been comparable, if you nix the sprite mixture it was coated with. With that it did remind me of the stickyness of a wood floor but with the added joy of layering gunk on your wheels. Again, as a jammer, it did add force to your strides and gave a bit more stability on your feet, but it made plow stops hard and hockey stops impossible.

The Ref lineup was also very fresh, and the layout of things like the penalty box were different, but when it comes down to it, all these variables are meaningless. If you have a team that can work well together with an understanding of good offense and defense skills you can overcome any of these changes.

Right away I noticed the Dames were definitely not as timid as the first time we played them. They were engaging more often and accurately and were working well together while Stella was still doing her awe-inspiring, anger-enducing jamming. So the first half they showed us that we were definitely going to have to work for our win, and it wasn't going to be a sweep like last time. To me this is perfect. I want to be challenged and forced to jam harder, block more decisively and work better as a team. I could definitely see changes in other people, like Triple D. Zaster whose jamming skills just skyrocketed during this bout.

At half time, after some score flip-flopping, we finally pulled ahead 83-53. I think mentally, we finally pulled ourselves together and were working better as a team. We were doing good at staying out of the box but I think we were exhausting jammers quickly. At some point, Bat R Up was finally re-introduced as a jammer. I hadn't seen that since last October during Monster's Brawl, but as the announcer said, "RELEASE THE KRAKEN!"

At one point, when I was heading to the box, I turned around to see Furyis Jorge laying on the track in a fetal position. Then she yelped like the time she sprained her glute and I knew it wasn't good. She had taken a bad fall and broke her fibula. My heart sank as she got taken away, but the bout must go on. I think all our spirits dropped a bit as we lost a bit of our lead, but then it came to a (sudden) end at 151 to 122.

I was exhausted, and have some pretty nasty bruises after this bout, but it was exhilarating and it's great to play a quickly developing team. Without strong competition around we would have nothing to do. There are nearly ten teams in Iowa now..and teams that are already established can constantly change. This sport is on a volunteer basis only, no one is getting paid to do this, so it's through our own skill, determination and ambition that we push ourselves to get bigger, better, stronger.

It's kind of a big deal.

Deadwards -the original- out.

(Thanks Laura Foster for the great pictures.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eat, Sleep, Live Derby.

(note: sorry to change the format of my blog, but it was really bothering me that the text was very confined so you could never fully see pictures or video. hope this works better!)

So, my screening is in like four days and... I'm still not done. I'm making good progress, I think it would have been done a week ago if I didn't have other obligations like classes... sleeping... eating.. taking showers. I knew editing would take lots of time, but I did not anticipate exactly how much time that would be. Perhaps I'm just trying to put in more than I should ..but there's so much to derby it's hard to leave stuff out. The past few days I was feeling rather iffy about the direction of some stuff but I think tonight I smoothed it out. Now I just need to tie it all together.. and as soon as I got home 20 minutes ago I wrote out exactly how it should go.. I wish I could go back now but I have to open so I should probably get some sleep and then just bust it out tomorrow. I'll HAVE to bust it out tomorrow. That's cutting it super close.
 (these awesome pictures were taken by Ofer Sivan for Yale Cohn's story on us for the Little Village. Check out the article!)

Oh yeah, and we have a bout on Saturday. I have had no time at all to think about it. I barely even have a boutfit together! ..but seriously. I feel like I'm going to do poorly because I haven't been able to completely focus at practice, and haven't gotten a lot of sleep.. at least I've been staring at derby footage for the past month so I've subconsciously been analyzing stuff.. hopefully it kicks into gear come Saturday...

And then I can relax! oh wait.. no. I still have three classes to pass! All three projects for each have been shoved to the side so I can finish this video. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to bust those out..but it'll happen and I'm sure they'll be shitty but at this point, I just wanna graduate and then pass out for a week. (which won't really happen either)

ok, sorry. A bit of a bitch fest. I'm just trying to unload my mind so I can go to sleep!

At practice the other night we had a team meeting and it was a conversation that I think made us all realize that ..we are kinda a big deal now. The things we talked about made us sound all professional and like we're moving into a very bright future. It's funny how much coordination and structure we have to apply to everything (and everyone) now that we've grown so much. In the beginning we were all on the same level and all just trying to figure it out. I just go to practice now and don't think twice about it. That first month I was terrified and had no clue that it would become 80% of my life. I never even intended on becoming a jammer..  It seems like we all just fell into place and just so naturally became this awesome beast.

Oh, and we also re-instated derby wives. :) The fresh meat who fell into my grasp was Trauma Queen. She plainly stated to me at practice one night that she wants to skate like me. ... This is a very bizarre thing to hear, and I'm probably an awful teacher but it's exciting to see people so eager.

Hope to see you friday AND saturday.