Thursday, April 14, 2011

In Control.

Going into Saturday’s bout I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t confident either. In fact I hadn’t really thought much about the bout all week, nor had much feeling about it either way. That made me nervous. After our month of March madness I went through a fit of uncertainty and doubt but felt I had overcome it. The bout on April 9th    against the Kansas City Roller Warriors Plan B Team was going to be a test to see if I had recovered completely.
Ophelia Fracture was a rockstar jammer Saturday and scored almost half our points.
I’ve started to build up a routine come bout day, and it took me most of last season to figure it out. I wake up and have my favorite breakfast egg sandwich, complete with imagination, and enhale some version of caffeine. Then I finish up whatever errands I put off to bout day, whether it is cleaning my bearings (oops) or finding the last bits of my boutfit. Then I get to the Marriott at noon (1 or 2pm) to help setup whatever still needs done. Around 3 I start getting my boutfit on and doing my make up. The drippy black eyes were born out of the Malice in Derbyland bout from last April and went through different variations until I just stuck with the original incarnation. I’ve done a few bouts without any at all and it just looks wrong, so now they are a must.

Then I get my ipod and take the track for a bit. I like to skate around, stretch and groove out to Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals album and pretend I can jam skate. Before I know it, the other team rolls in, we go through warm ups and we’re to equipment check. The audience is filing in and the announcers are warming up their vocal chords. Game on.
Twinkletoeing my way down the line.

Warming up as a team felt pretty good Saturday, so that reassured my non-nervous nerves a bit. I had know clue what to expect, so my goal was to give it my all and see what happens.

Ophelia jammed first, and although failed to get lead, followed their jammer out of the pack, forcing her to call it off. I was up next. Slicing through the pack the first time was fairly easy and as I made my way around for the scoring pass, their jammer still hadn’t gotten out of the pack. I made four grand slams before I called it off, and she never saw the front of the pack.

It was 20 to 0 and I was in this 100%.

After the sixth jam it was our lead, 41 to 7 and I was feeling pretty good about the bout. In the following jam, Glad took the star to the box and I took a deep breath hoping this wouldn’t throw off our game. We gave them 20 points, cutting our lead in half and forcing us to scramble. For a few jams we saw a steady rotation of our blockers through the penalty box but the closest their score got was within 9 points;  we never gave up the lead. Despite constantly having the disadvantage on the track, our jammers fought hard to still make scoring passes and our blockers introduced their jammers to floor repeatedly. It wasn’t pretty, but we maintained and finished the half 115 to 102.

Half time. Refresh, re-energize, repeat. I was frustrated because the biggest thing hurting us was that we kept losing control of the pack. Control is hard to come by when there are only two blockers on the track, so our goal was to remedy this in the second half. Returning to the track we knew that Bat R Up and Jane Bang were standing in the box with only a few seconds left. I took the line as pivot, my one of only three times blocking that night, with A Few Screws Lucy at my side. The whistle blew and we didn’t budge. Kansas took off but lingered just close enough that the pack maintained behind the line. Bat R and Bang rejoined us and we took off, got Glad through as lead and she hit and quit it for one point.

Bat R Up leaves a jammer in the dust.
Emily Sherman Photography
The second half seemed to switch, and we were feeling more confident on the track as more of their skaters made it to the box. Halfway through the second half, we widened our lead to 56 points with the score of 176 to 120. By keeping more blockers on the track, we had more control and the game was ours again. They seem to get tired and frustrated but we were still going strong. I jammed a total of 13 times that night totaling 62 points. I didn't feel jittery or tired and felt like I could still take on the world.

Blocking in the last jam, I watched Ophelia Fracture score 9 points, call it, and the bout was over. I looked around and realized we had just won our fourth bout in a row! It felt as unreal as Madison, but a much more confident win. In our third season I finally have found my feet and my routine and I think the team has as well. By investing in an emphasis on teamwork, endurance and excellent sportsmanship, we are dominating on the track. So far our home bouts have been a big success and its obvious lots of new fans are finding us. It’s the year of OCCRG.


Emily Sherman Photography albums 1, and 2.

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