“I Saw Elvis with Your Mother…” (Bradentucky Vs. Molly Roger)


It’s amazing that if you show up to a bout fifteen minutes early, how many things will change.  You’ll have time enough to check your equipment, find a decent seat, even figure out a way to not lose your (future) notes!  Everything’s covered!

T-minus 15 minutes – Tonight’s crowd is noticeably smaller than the last bout’s.  Perhaps there was a reason behind the “crazy” idea of opening your season with your B-team.  “Crazy” like a fox; a very profitable fox at that!  So either the Bombshells have greater pull in Bradentucky proper, or Fort Myers is actually closer to Bradenton then experience or maps would have me believe.

Of course, if the past earthquake in Chile was strong enough to shorten the length of days, then perhaps it was also strong enough to shorten distances.  So strong that the alleged shortening happens before the quake itself!  Someone call Martin Gardner, I think I’m onto something!

I’ve been to the Florida Wheels Center numerous times now and have never before noticed the rules.  Just what kind of “school dress code” are they running here if both Shitz and Giddles and Dick E. Normus get in?  No, “We’re sorry ma’am, tonight you’re gonna have to be Hitz and Giggles, and you, sir, you’ll now be Richard Normus if either of you want to skate here” warning?  What about those of us with impressionable minds?

T-minus 10 minutes – I’m watching the skaters warm up when I get hit with a bolt of epiphany-charged lightning from Charlie Brown’s ever-ready hand.  I have figured out the significance of another skater’s chosen numbers!  Blaque Jac is number 21.  Get it?  If not, don’t fret.  Give it some time, after all, this riddle only took me a year to decipher.

(Please note that while I’ve never claimed to be “smart,” “dumb” is also a label I vigorously deny.  I prefer to think that my mind works sort of like the web browser you’re currently using does.  If you open up 47 different pages at once, even Google’s will load a little slower.  So just think that the Blaque Jac question has been running, minimized, in the back of my mind for the past season before everything clicked.

Or, to use Blaque Jac’s own chosen theme, my mind is akin to a slot machine.  Most of the time all you’ll get in return is blahblahblahviciousblahblahblahreallyfastblahblahblahmonkeystickingitsfingerupitsblahblahblah.”  But sometimes you’ll hit the jackpot and I’ll have an epiphany!  Not fair, you say?  Think of it as the mob’s cut.

T-minus 5 minutes – Yet another long running derby mystery is solved.  Chiefly why, way back when, I mistook Strawberry Shortsk8 for Wild Cherri at Tropicana Field.  I chalked it up to youthful inexperience, I was still learning the derby ropes, etc. but tonight I see that both skaters leap around the track while warming up.  Finally vindicated after all these years!

T-minus 1 minute – the free beer arrives.  Ha!  It was late this time!

And we’re off!  Tonight we had the Bradentucky Bomb Squad defending their home turf against the Molly Rogers Rollergirls.  Now I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not that.  Despite the popular campaign that’s been waged for years to reunite Hank Shocklee with any Bomb Squad, Bradentucky’s new coach is actually ex-Bomber Vixen Da CrusHer.  Still good news and all, even if the new name already holds a spot in my heart for different reasons.

(Just imagine watching Bradentucky’s finest skating to a cacophony of wiggly J.B. horn blasts masquerading as police sirens!  Next year, folks, we’ll hold out ’til next year!)

Once everyone (read: I) was calmed down over the name change excitement/confusion, the match started with a bang.  Neither team wasting any time hitting each other with everything in their arsenal.  Molly Rogers opening up the bout with a quick Bash N Cari grand slam.  Up to the challenge, Bradentucky’s Gigi RaMoan met Cari’s achievement, then nearly doubled it with the help of Tenacious C.  These ladies came to play!  Scoring nine points in under two minutes is not something to scoff at folks (5-9).

Scoff they didn’t, as Gigi’s run set the entire Molly Rogers squad off on a tear.  Everyone, including their jammers, began throwing shoulders at anyone wearing red and skates!  A great combination of that viciousness I like to see in teams along with a willful sloppiness ‘cuz you’re so fired up you just don’t care anymore.  And we’re only four to five minutes into the match!

Amazingly enough, Molly’s own offense seems to feed off the chaos their defense brews within the pack.  Using complicated whip routines any-, and everywhere, making the already dangerous pack more fearsome; a bubbling mixture of shoulders and slashing, whipping arms.  Beautiful whips, to be sure, ‘cuz they’ve been practiced so much, but then again, I’m also not the one accidentally running into them at full speed.

What more can I say about Strawberry Shortsk8?  We’ve already seen that she is a jumper, so the only other revelation left is explaining that she’s now skating with Bradentucky instead of Molly Rogers.  And what better way to say good-bye then by skating against your old team during your first match with your new one?  Still as fast as she ever was, scoring for the Bomb Squad some much needed points (48-14).

In fact this bout would mark the slowest build I think I’ve ever seen Bradentucky suffer through.  Sure, every once in a while you’d get Yakuza Girl and Julia Seize Her stalling Snap Happy, and giving their team a chance to score (53-20).  Still, these defensive bursts would only come in random spurts.

And said spurts often wouldn’t have enough “umph” behind them to finish the job.  When Molly Rogers’ What A Mess was floored by one of Wild Cherri’s “how low can a skater possibly go?” rising shoulders, she still managed to score four points that jam.  These girls didn’t come to win, they came to destroy.

A hallmark of any good bout, is the appearance of the vengeance jam.  A vengeance jam is any jam that displays quickly a team responds to pack pressures.  So when Shortsk8 takes out Molly’s Tic Tactics, it thus stands that Esther Gin N Juice would have to be paid back with a nasty Pistola Lola hit.

Molly Rogers’ Garbage Pail Kid stepped up at this point, visibly/vocally guiding the pack’s action.  Choking up Yakuza Girl’s jam while teammate Bash N Cari brought in nine (60-32).

Garbage Pail Kid wasn’t alone in her orchestrations though, as Bradentucky’s Blaque Jac was overseeing her team’s defensive endeavors.  Jac’s attention was focused mainly on protecting Tenacious C; as neither C or What A Mess nabbed “lead.”  Making for the most physically draining span of just two minutes the crowd had seen yet.

Leading us perfectly into the next jam, which was the night’s most penalty-prone.  Taking its cue from Bradentucky’s season opener two weeks ago[link],  M.F. on Wheels scored lead jammer status only to lose it to Molly moments later.  Bradentucky fans worrying about their slow crawl up the scoreboard shouldn’t worry though, as M.F. was freed again a couple laps later due to the Rogers’ jammer’s indiscretion.

If anything, all this back and forth panty passing helped to focus Gigi RaMoan.  Gigi started the bout with a beautiful grand slam jam, and now she would end the first half with another.  Total domination throughout on her part; nothing but speed and points (79-43).

If you squint really hard at this picture, you’ll see a retired roller queen from the 50’s holding court.  (Apparently once you retire from derby you become a “queen;” due to your willingness to off people’s heads.)

Despite the queen’s added support, Bradentucky couldn’t maintain Gigi’s rallying run’s intensity.  The tireless Garbage Pail Kid , with assistance from MC Jammer, locked M.F. on Wheels up in the pack for most of her power jam.  Yakuza Girl, coming to her teammate’s aid, popped Pail Kid with a little too much force, starting a domino effect that wiped out friend and foe alike.

Gigi RaMoan and Tic Tactics both proved to be extremely fast during their successive jams for their respective teams.  Though Tic’s success would be somewhat mitigated by her questionable use of elbows.  This oversight gave the Bomb Squad’s Nikki Stric 9 the chance she needed to catch up (83-59).

Stric 9’s success forced a Molly timeout.  With only twenty points separating the two teams, a strategy change was in order.  A perfect chance for you at home readers to reflect on how we now have a reliable measure to gauge how close is “too close” in derby.  Twenty points it is!  The timeout was followed by three jams of relentlessly reckless blocking, which might be the only way the Molly Rogers know how to block.

The next jam had one unidentifiable Molly leaping across the track in her attempt to stop Bradentucky’s jammer.  Damn their indecipherable jerseys!  This skater really had moxie; it’s no wonder the Bomb Squad’s jammer took refuge in the only safe spot left: the penalty box.

Leaving Tic Tactics in a power jam.  Yet the Molly Rogers’ defensive line still wouldn’t let up, even as they had a, ahem, tactical advantage.  Some beautiful blocking by Pistola Lola kept Strawberry Shortsk8 boxed out of the action (86-67).

What A Mess ended this jam cycle by showing the crowd exactly what a pivot is responsible for doing.  Letting fly some crazy blows that made me reconsider whether or not she could be our mysterious leaping blocker from two paragraphs back.  Playing the pivot position to the hilt, always in the thick of the action.  Easily one of the busiest blockers out there.

Busy because she was on the front line fighting one of the greatest comeback charges seen in Florida’s roller derby history!  Maybe not “great” for the numerical distance covered, but certainly for odds overcome.  Even with all the superb action the Molly Rogers were providing, the Bomb Squad kept chopping away at the lead.  No dramatics, just solid skating was bridging the gap (90-87).

Less than one period left to go, and the scores are only three points apart!  Practically the definition of a great match.  Both teams trying their damnedest to build some momentum while stifling the competition’s.

Bradentucky had the earliest success late in the match, regaining the lead for the first time since the first jam!  That’s quite the comeback; the Bomb Squad backing on a strong start and equally strong finish to pull them through!  Despite the Molly Rogers’ Five Knuckle Bullet’s best attempts, Strawberry Shortsk8 was ultimately impossible to stop (90-95).

Unfortunately, after gaining this small lead Bradentucky’s control loosened considerably.  They began making easy mistakes which soon mushroomed into easier penalties.  This, coupled with a What A Mess defensive resurgence, paid immediate dividends to the Rogers.  The pack held strong, rendering a M.F. on Wheels’ power jam completely powerless.  Struggling to make headway in the pack, M.F. eventually fouled out, ceding free reign through the pack to Bash N Cari.  Who wasted no time in regaining the lead (108-103).

Unwilling to give up quite that easily, Cari had to watch in horror as Tic Tactics was positively destroyed by the triumvirate of Julia Seize Her, Snow Wipe U Out, and Wild Cherri.  With the opposition picked apart, Yakuza Girl had very little trouble turning in a grand slam.

Though this “little trouble” soon transformed into a big problem for the home team.  I don’t know what Yakuza did exactly, but its repercussions were deadly.  Starting the bout’s last jam sans jammer deadly.  Bringing about Bradentucky’s last timeout as both teams considered their best moves.

(Also marking yet another first!  Who, besides the refs, even knew that the timeouts were limited?  After three years of derby bouts, I always assumed the timeouts weren’t limitless.  But I never dreamed I’d ever learn what the magic number was.)
Clutch cargo decision time: Bash N Cari getting the nod from Molly Rogers to carry the fate of the team on her shoulders.  Sure, sure, everyone knows there’s no “I” in TEAM, but there is in WINNER, not to mention CARI.  So they had both sides covered here.

Cari had one minute to do all the damage that would need be done before Bradentucky would even get a chance to retaliate.  Meaning one minute to skate two laps, and score at least three points.

On the other side, Bradentucky’s position was just as stressful.  Hold the seemingly indefatigable Bash N Cari for the minute and some seconds it’ll take Yakuza Girl to escape the sin bin and get back into the jam.  I.e. play your best while hoping for a lead jammer eliminating foul.

Everyone in the Florida Wheels Center was on the edge of their seats.  The crowd, the teams, even the refs were unable to make any reliable predictions.  One team had lead all night, but their opponents had mounted an amazing comeback.

Cari left the line as anyone with the prospect of a sword swinging Yakuza Girl hot on their trail would.  Hella fast.  In between her frantic revolutions and the crowd’s screaming, it was hard to keep track of the points scored.  So no one was too certain who the victor was when Bash N Cari unexpectedly called off the jam upon Yakuza’s return.  Trusting the game to her mind’s internal count.

And coming up correct (113-111)!  With a point to spare!

Having spent a season’s worth of surprises in one bout, tonight’s superlatives luckily took a breather on the twists and turns.  With, who else, but match winner Bash N Cari and Gigi RaMoan being recognized for their countless grand slams.  Garbage Pail Kid and Wild Cherri taking the blocking honors for their boundless and relentless brutality.

But wait!  One last surprise?  Et tu ‘lative?  You just couldn’t resist, could you?  A newsuperlative was inaugurated tonight, “the Coach’s Pick.”  Going to none other than the skater who had brought her team back from the brink so many times, all within a short span of five minutes, Yakuza Girl.

The program had no information to share about any upcoming matches, but those so interested can surely check out www.bradentuckybombers.org for more information.  In the meantime, stay tuned here for a recap of the Sarasota Roller Girls’ Sling Forward, coming as soon as I finish looking up new segues!

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