Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back in Black: An Audience Perspective

Deadwards vs Gotcha
The Back in Black bout saw the return of the Old Capitol City Roller Girls to the Marriott to begin their third season with their first bout against some familiar opponents in the Quad City Rollers. The track and bench arrangement had changed from last year with the first straightaway and benches along the outside wall. Scoreboard projection was one the wall behind turn 1 and the sound board off turn 4. The audience showed up reasonably early and additional chairs were obtained to accommodate the growing crowd. Announcers E-rock and Your Dad covered the action while KRNA's Shark provided music.

The OCCRG were wearing their home black uniforms and the QCR were in red. The usual suspects were wearing zebra stripes (except for Lukan D'Otha Way, who was still mending a broken ankle) with Body Bag from EIO serving as head referee. The OCCRG had were playing their veteran jammer crew, splitting the duty between GLADi8HER, Ophelia Fracture, and Left 4 Deadwards, although half their bench wore the star including Animal Mother and Gigahurtz. The Quad City Rollers leaned heavily on Lady Gotcha and Pink Taco as jammers, with Sugar N' Slice wearing the star about one jam in six and a few other skaters taking a turn. I should point out that my writeups are deeply flawed in that I only mention jammers; the blockers are doing most of the work but I'm overwhelmed between taking notes and photos (I averaged 1 photo every 5 seconds of play), so I can only keep track of jammers. Blockers, you're awesome, and I acknowledge that I'm not giving you your due.

The first jam began the bout with Ophelia Fracture facing off against Sugar N' Slice. Ophelia Fracture gained lead jammer status as the OCCRG blockers made life hard for Sugar N' Slice, allowing OFX to score a grand slam and shut down QCR to post a score of 9-0. Jam 2 saw the renewal of the rivalry between Left 4 Deadwards and Lady Gotcha with some jammer-on-jammer action before reaching the pack, and Deadwards hit her 4 points and quit it. GLADi8HER got the L over Pink Taco in the third jam but called it before any points were scored. Play continued with the ladies in black claiming lead jammer (including a grand slam by Left 4 Deadwards) so the OCCRG blockers were earning their pay (err, beer?) through the sixth jam when I think I saw Jane Bang take the Lap of Shame for missing the penalty box and Lady Gotcha finally got the QCR on the board to make the score 30-2. Jam seven saw Pink Taco take the (non-Soviet) red star to the penalty box and Fracture racked up another 9 to expand the OCCRG lead to 39-8. Things got grim for the QCR in jam 9 when Mexican Monster took their star to the sin bin again and GLADi8HER scored 24 to do the Rasputin treatment on last year's post-injury retirement rumors, cranking the score up to 72-8. Jam 11 saw Pink Taco finally gain lead jammer status for the Quad City Rollers although GLADi8HER was able to snatch 3 more points to make it 85-8. The Quad City defense started to gel and three jams later it was 94-15 even though (according to my notes) they skated jam 14 short one blocker. Jam 15 had Triple D Zaster coming out with a positive point differential against Lady Gotcha although Ophelia Fracture took the long extra lap after entering the penalty box incorrectly (and sliding the seats about two feet).
Gigahurtz takes lead.

Jam 16 saw Zom B Blokr serving as jammer for the OCCRG against the aptly named Banzai Bombshell, but the undead representative slipped before reaching the pack and earned a low block major so she headed off to the box. A minute later she came out, earned lead jammer, and another trip to the box at the end of the jam. Lady Gotcha came out and scored her 5 in the next jam to make it 103-28. The towering Gigahurtz nabbed lead jammer in jam 18 over Pink Taco, but had to call it off before any points were scored. Triple D Zaster and Lady Gotcha showed us some jammer-on-jammer action in jam 19 but the score remained unchanged even though Gotcha was lead jammer. Triple D came back to face Pink Taco but ended up in the box and Taco scored 5 to take us into the half 103-33 for OCCRG.

Half time gave us the charity presentation to The Arc of Southeast Iowa, refills at the concession stand, and a pleasant encounter with the ever-glamorous Glitter Mafia and the loquacious Yale Cohn of PATV's Talking With. The photographers relocated, the fans stretched their legs, the skaters had their pep talks and we were ready for skating to resume.

The ladies in red came out and earned lead jammer status the first three chances in the second period although the score didn't change much, with the third jam ending at 104-35 and Gigahurtz taking the star to the box for the OCCRG. An official time out ensued, but after play resumed Lady Gotcha got the QCR a fourth lead jammer status in a row. The 4-town blockers knelt to prevent the slow start although they did it after the start whistle so they may have gotten a few tick marks on the wrong board while Gotcha brought 9 points home. Pink Taco jammed against Ophelia Fracture in the fifth go of the period, but confusion reigned when they both ended up in the penalty box after Fracture lost her jammer helmet cover. A long official time out ensued (with the announcers speculating on bicep cramps in the jam timer's arms) and play resumed with the score 108-48 and the pack showing two blockers for each team. GLADi8HER raced against Lady Gotcha to snag lead jammer status in spite of the Iowa City penalty box overflowing and the score ratcheted up to 115-55. We were treated to another of the foreshadowed official timeouts, and then Deadwards eventually grabbed lead jammer status over Pink Taco although Taco racked up two points to leave it 115-57. Fracture came out and traded penalties with Lady Gotcha in jam 8, and ended the jam with another trip to the box after Gotcha earned 8 to make it 116-65.

Ho and Trip with the two wall.
An official timeout gave the fans a chance to snag more snacks and visit the merchandise tables, and then the action resumed. Pink Taco grabbed lead jammer status while Fracture cooled her skates in the box and the QCR pack knelt to prevent the Denver-style stall at the whistle. GLADi8HER squashed any hopes of a QCR rally when she scored 19 in jam 10 after Lady Gotcha's penalty to make the score 136-70. Left 4 Deadwards came out to follow up with lead jammer status and another 6 points against Sugar N' Slice. Fearing some sort of undead revival on the Quad City's part, GLAD came out and tallied up twenty-three points in an awesome display of jammer chutzpah that saw her waving goodbye as she passed the pack while Pink Taco sat in the penalty box, and the score was 165 -70. We endured a long official time out, and then a line formed at the concession stand when Quad City called a time out.

Someone poked me and I woke up to see Lady Gotcha grab lead jammer against Deadwards as play resumed in jam 14, although not much scoring followed. Triple D Zaster came out to grab lead jammer over Pink Taco in jam 14 and black outscored red 8-2 to fix the lead at the century mark 174-74. Left 4 Deadwards racked up another 15 points with a slow pack and Lady Gotcha's trip to the box but got nailed for a back block at the end of jam 15 with the score 191-77. Pink Taco got lead jammer in jam 16 but could only score 3 in spite of blocker Gigahurtz joining L4D in the penalty box. Zom B Blokr bore the star for the OCCRG and gave us some jammer v. jammer action against Lady Gotcha in jam 17 but Lady G got the lead and three points. Zom B stuck it out into jam 18 and scored the lead over Pink Taco but called the jam before any points were scored to end the bout with a victory for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls 191 - 83.

The first half saw the OCCRG dominating, earning lead jammer 12 times to QCR's 5, include a stunning streak of 10 at the start of the period. The second period saw a more even balance of 8 to 9 leads, and a correspondingly better showing on the scoreboard for Quad Cities. Jammer penalties were about even, OCCRG 3 to QCR 2 in the first period and 5 each in the second. If the Quad City Rollers could have prevented four big jams (24, 23, 19, and 15 points) this would have been a close bout. No one got ejected although a few skaters accumulated five or more turns in the box.

Photos & Words by KORfan. 

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