Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ace of Skates

If anyone has followed my blog long enough, my very first entry was recapping a mixer I participated in last year put on by the Quad City Rollers, and last Saturday they put it on again for the third year in a row. For those who don’t know, a mixer is hosted by a team (QCR) who invites skaters from multiple leagues (Old Capitol City Roller Girls, Des Moines Derby Dames, Eastern Iowa Outlaws, Circle City Derby Girls, Mad Rollin’ Dolls, Chicago Outfit, Rockford Rage, Stateline Derby Divas) and then mixes them up into new teams and has them bout in a shortened tournament style event. This year it was dubbed the Ace of Skates and the teams were the Bleeding Hearts (red), the Spiteful Spades (white), the Diamond Destroyers (green), and the Killer Clubs (black). The first two bouts were 20 minutes each, followed by a semi final bout that was 30 minutes long and a championship bout that was two 20 minute periods.

OCCRG's GLADi8HER on the jam line vs Sal Paralyze
from EIO. Standard impatient jammer pose.
In the first bout the Diamond Destroyers took on the Killer Clubs in what seemed like a pretty good match up. On the jam line first was OCCRG’s own GLADi8HER (Diamonds) and Ophelia Fracture (Clubs) who both got through multiple times during the full two minute jam, but Ophelia pushed the Clubs slightly further ahead. Sal Paralyze helped maintain this lead for awhile, but their walls quickly started to crumble as Glad, Lady Gotcha and Malice Munro rallied the Diamonds into a comfortable lead. 20 minutes went by quick, and as I was lining up for the second bout, I returned in time to see Glad break her toe stop off (for the second year in a row at this mixer) and skate about three or four grandslams with the damaged skate planted for fear of tripping without the usual support under her toe. It was quite the image to see her pushing along like she was on a skateboard, toe stop in hand, showing that derby girls don’t quit. Diamonds won 87 to 51.

Bloody Elle is a relentless force.
My team, the Spiteful Spades were up next against the Bleeding Hearts, who I so lovingly call Team Douchebag. I’m not quite sure what the logic behind choosing teams for mixers is, but Team Douchebag was quite obviously stacked with some of the best skaters from the area. They had the quick feet of Pink Taco and Stella Italiana combined with the blocking force of Bat R Up, Jen Detta, Animal Mother, Dead Lee Danni, Bloody Elle, QC Banshee and more. We had two skaters from our roster drop out which put our alternate in, Sugar and Slice, but she has been recovering from a sore knee and her jamming was kept minimal.

Crazy Legs vs the Kraken. Legs win.
Seeing what we were up against, our only point of strategy was to try and play together as well as we could. Teamwork is the challenge of a mixer because you are playing with skaters of various skill levels and experience, which reminds you how important it is when you’re skating with your own league. I found that I often ended up at the back, blocking alone and would turn into one of my own players as I watched Stella fly around the outside. The Douchebags worked together a little better than I anticipated as they totally shut us down by trapping a skater from our team when our jammer was in the box. It was frustrating so I tried to do my best while jamming which usually meant getting lead and calling it off before they could score more points. Graves tried to score more for us as well, but she was spending too much time in the box. A Few Screws Lucy, with her sparkly leg warmers, reluctantly took the jamline and gave it all she had, but we just could not keep it together against such a heavy hitting team. I should note however, once while I was jamming, Bat R Up tried her best to take me out, but I threw my hip back at her and she ate my dust as I sped away from the pack. It’s the small victories that you have to be proud of.

After losing 71 to 20, we went on to the semifinal for our 30 minute bout against the Killer Clubs. I was glad we were playing right away since I was still pumped up and looking to skate harder and faster. I felt we would have had more of a chance against them, but instead we decided to play a lovely game of musical chairs in the penalty box, which I somehow stayed out of all night. Mixers result in a little bit messier play since the skaters are out of their element, so there were lots of pile ups and accidental tripping. It’s just not as pretty. I don’t remember much from this bout as we quickly slid into a funk and lost 139 to 35.
Few Screws Lucy vs the world. The rest of white in the box, but she still knocks Ophelia out on her own.

That left the final bout, Team Douchebag versus the Diamond Destroyers. I spent most of this bout booing and explaining things to our fresh meat, so I didn’t pay attention to much of the action. The Diamonds gave it all they had but the Douchebags undoubtedly smashed their way to the top, 149 to 59.

It was a frustrating experience, but by the end of the night I had met interesting skaters and had people I didn’t know telling me I was awesome. The after party was a blast, and some of our fresh meat even joined us on the dance floor, proving they were real OCCRGs. Derby, dancing, and pizza; what more could you ask for?
Pictures by Joy Doehrmann.

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