Pounding and Pathology (Franky Panky Pt. II)

Next up on Franky Panky’s docket was the Florida state champions Tampa Tantrums trying to end their losing streak against the Dallas Derby Devils. Tampa’s first loss can be read about here, and I believe they’ve lost twice in Texas since then. Adding to the stakes was the not inconsiderable fact that Tampa was hosting the tournament, and no one wants to lose on their own turf.

[Inexplicably, the Tantrums would field the “visitor” position on the scoreboard, even though they’re clearly the “home” team!]

Since then, Tampa’s effected some big changes to the Tantrums. The first being their shiny, new uniforms. Finally, having a color palette larger than the basic primaries pays off big time! Decked out in their new duds they look like an real, professional team!

(Readers take note: I’m an unabashed fan of all things uniform-y. The only known man working at the Red Planet to be reprimanded for willingly wearing a tie. So it’s sort of a given that I’d love the new uniforms.)

Another big addition the Tantrums have acquired since last we saw them is Sixgun Susie. You’ll remember Susie from her amazing Sunshine Skate 2009 display for the Sintral Florida Derby Demons. Her refusal to stop skating nabbed her kudos as the tournament’s top jammer, and she wasn’t even on the winning team!

Sixgun’s exploits last year were on everyone’s mind today, as she started her Tantrum tenure with a bang! Though Dallas’ rear defensive wall did slow her down initially, once she made it through Susie had no problem scoring. No problem because Tampa started off by splitting the pack practically on call; disarming Dallas’ defense so that Sixgun could score seven.

Next to get her licks in on the Hell Razors was Tampa’s all-star jammer, Little A. Now Little A has become noticeably assertive this year as a jammer; throwing blows where before she’d just skate around. Here she tops even her new self as she literally throws a blocker (teammate Lunch Lady) into the opposition (9-0)! Two jams in and Tampa’s already skating full-bore!

Unfortunately Tampa’s strong start would soon come to an uncompromising end. Having sized up their opponents, the Hell Razors now set up the counter attack. Leading the way was the team of Juicy J and Roll’er Over, who successfully trapped Rojo Grande within the confines of the pack. As Grande struggled to break loose, Hot 4 Teacher was sliding through with no problems. “No problems,” of course, until she ran into a “Disaster” who promptly ended her run (9-4).

Dallas’ offense would, for the majority of this bout, be an extension of their defense. Keltic Kamaikaze and Harazzis Mine pestering Sixgun Susie with knocks to the outside; causing Sixgun to foul out, leaving Miley Virus in a power jam. It was facilitating costly mistakes like these that allowed Dallas to turn the match around.

Factor in Tampa’s reputation (here at least) as a hyperphysical team, and you have all the reason you’d need for Dallas’ quick upswing. Joining the errant Sixgun in the penalty box was Punkin and Anita Bopabitch; both penalized for going too far defense-wise. Leaving Tampa’s pack severely depleted in trying to hold back the Hell Razors’ onslaught.

And what an onslaught it was, as Dallas came prepared with combat ready (and willing) jammers. Upon her return from the penalty box, Sixgun Susie’s speed quickly nabbed her lead, and raised the ire of one Anita Riot. Riot would pull double jamming duty throughout the tournament; pushing (obviously) for lead jammer, and, in failing that, intercepting Tampa’s. Focusing here on nothing but dropping Susie; which she would do in record time (9-23).

Fed up with Dallas’ roughshod running, the Tantrums fight back the only way they know how: with their brawn. Flirtin W. Disaster starting the jam off with a blow this time; dropping Hot 4 Teacher down for the count. Such ferocity was soon followed by additional beating coming from Spank Sinatra and Eliza Lot. Eliza going so far as to take down 2-3 Dallas defenders in a shot (15-27)!

Again, the downside to Tampa’s rampant physicality are the penalties you’ll accrue as you pummel your opponents. Penalties which were plaguing the Tantrums throughout the match. Within hitting distance of tying it up when the scores were (15-27), two jammer-less jams later and Dallas is well ahead (18-46).

Don’t be mistaken though, penalties aside, Dallas’ defense was just as tough as it had been against Cincinnati. With a wall by the Shocker and Lickity Splittail proving to be nigh impenetrable. Further hurting Tampa, if and when a Tantrum did make it through, it was almost never cleanly. Either costing them the lead, or sending them back to the box.

Oh, Miley Virus. Hasn’t changed a bit during the break between her bouts. Still impossibly fast, while skating impossibly low, thus making her impossible to hit. The only believable thing about it is how well she was killing it.

Just about the only thing that hasn’t been covered yet is Dallas’ manic fan club. Doubly blessed, here I found myself sandwiched between them and the Cincinnati RollerGirls. Needless to say, both my ears were filled with contradictory advice aimed at the refs.

When Rink Panther, who, along with Roll’er Over, had been waylaying a power jamming Lunch Lady, throws a blow a little too far outside the pack, the Black Sheep get caustic:

“You suck ref!”

(Okay, okay, I guess “you suck” isn’t technically “advice.” More like an impromptu “review” or “character assessment.” Not even I, your hapless recapper would be safe from their barbs. “Shhh, quiet… what’s that guy writing over there?,” a cautious Buckhead Betty would wonder before Franky Panky concludes. Luckily my notes chronicling roller derby through the lens of pretzels and hobos would be deemed harmless enough.)

The Tantrums weren’t all new uniforms and new skaters, they had some new moves to show off too. My favorite, simplistically brilliant, one was the one where they run out a Hell Razor power jam by, well… running. Skating away as fast as their skates could carry them, the Hell Razors’ poor jammer had to make four revolutions around the track before she came anywhere close to the pack (30-62)!

Such ingenious defenses would be played all match, as Tampa was losing its jammers frequently. Giving up scoring opportunities and points every time one of their jammers was sent to the bin. Even worse, when the Tantrums did have a jammer, said jammer wouldn’t be able to get through the pack! Forcing Tampa to use the less glamorous strategy of taking lead jammer, then using it to call off the jam as Dallas passed them. A strategy which works if you’re in the lead, but isn’t very useful otherwise.

Even in the midst of all the team’s struggles, the Tantrums still managed to pull out some great hits. While there’s no proof that Frieda Killigan keeps an arsenal of hits ready to unleash on unsuspecting tournament goers, once such occurs every year. 2010’s celebratory knockdown going to Anita Riot; who’s jam was ended with just one mere hip of Killigan’s. A hip that reduced Riot to a pool of aching flesh on the track (32-84).

How was Dallas able to dominate so thoroughly? Hand signals, of course! In an amazing adaptation of smoke signals, here one taller Hell Razors would use their long arms to communicate any forth coming split packs, etc. An incredible use of one’s own natural resources!

At the half, Dallas had a solid lead (32-91).

Having learnt her lesson last time, when Eliza Lot reunited with a Dallas jammer, she does the deed (knocks them down) and then let’s Anita Riot pick up the pieces (take a penalty)! Which allowed Rojo Grande to have some space to lead a desperately needed comeback charge (39-92).

A charge that was soon off and running! I don’t know what Tampa’s coach told them during half time, but I hope they recorded the speech! ‘Cuz the Tantrums’ defense was now on fire. Bettie Kruger, Anita Bopabitch, and Punkin walling the pack’s front off from Roxie La Roo. Engaging Kruger individually offered no help either, as La Roo then ends up with a penalty. Tampa’s finally playing smart.

This defensive resurgence was mirrored by a more confident offense. Lunch Lady, while denied the lead due to various skating infractions, doesn’t let that stop her from causing damage. Turning on the speed and the acrobatics as she skirts the inside on one foot! A move, that when attempted, can only end up as amazing, or a disaster. Here it was amazing (60-97).

Lunch’s success was followed by Little A, and then by Sixgun Susie. Who showed that the easiest way around a Shocker/Harrazzis Mine wall is straight through it (66-109)!

Dallas, who’s offense was now frustrated, took recourse in Tampa’s old safety blanket, brutality. Providing cover fire for Anita Riot, Juicy J sending Lunch Lady into DNN‘s computer tables. This situation was flipped topsy-turvy moments later when it was Riot laying on the track, and Lunch Lady skating free.

The final Tantrum secret weapon, so secret I had to keep it under wraps until this point: Bash’em Up Barbie. Now Barbie had made some hits prior to this point, but I don’t think anyone realized her true jamming potential until this jam.

As Leia Flat and Tara Fire traded shots with Barooksi and Rink Panther, Barbie quietly made revolution after revolution around the track. Scoring three grand slams, and changing the match’s forecast! Straight from: they could possibly do it to they’re actually doing it (81-112)!

This turn of events immediately brought Dallas’ loss to Cincinnati back to everyone watching. The similar circumstances: Dallas starts giving up easy penalties, taking themselves out of the game, while their opponent reaps the rewards.

After the Barbie run, the Hell Razors lose Hot 4 Teacher. Letting Little A jam unopposed, an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. Little A is known throughout Florida to being a terror on the track, and now she had the chance to prove it (96-112).

Realizing that Tampa was about to upset them the same way Cincinnati had done, the Hell Razors wisely start skating pro-actively. Roxie La Roo gets lead and immediately calls the jam off; having realized she had three penalties, she didn’t want to give the Tantrums another power jam. If Barbie’s jam was what clinched Tampa’s comeback run, then this, right here, is what cemented Dallas’ lead.

Keltic Kamaikaze and the Shocker then returned to what they do best: knocking jammers out. Little A feeling their wrath as the untouchable Miley Virus does damage in the background (97-127).

Tensions boiling too hot, the kettle finally explodes. As Punkin and Rink Panther take their difficulties out on the track! Finally, all my proclamations about Tampa being a physical town is proven! Sure, checks and hits are taken for granted in roller derby, but fights in a tournament? Those are unheard of. They’re doubly verboten; first, they’re against the rules (obviously), and second, they’re looked down upon since there’s 90,000 other leagues in the nation watching you. Everyone wants to look their best. So when Punkin and Panther went at it, it was trangressive gold! Just look at that man’s face!

Reasons behind the fight are vague at best. Both had been laying into each other extremely hard up to this point. Tempers flair, fists fly, and helmets get thrown into the stands after players get ejected. It’s like rain on a Sunday morning. It’s also pretty understandable considering this is a sport where checking your opponent is a fully sanctioned activity.

(While understandable, Dallas would end up losing any vestige of crowd support larger than their contingent of imported fans from this point on. Throwing your helmet into the stands is bad form, even for fighters. Throwing it into stands which are full of derby loving children? You’re done.)

The fight wasn’t all transgressive goodness though, as it brought the longest ref time-out in recorded history in its wake. One assumes fights are so rare WFTDA doesn’t have adequate instructions on how to handle the aftermath of one. All the fans amped up and ready to see some more bloodshed out on the track were instead entertained by watching all Franky Panky‘s photographers furiously search through their rolls to see if they caught the action.

Picking up a trick from the Black Sheep, the Hell Razors were the next team to have their jammers box the opposition out. Fittingly, for all my regular readers, Little A was Hot 4 Teacher’s victim here, though there’s no way Teacher could’ve known that Little A had caused a controversy weeks earlier using the same technique in the home league.

Sixgun Susie takes the lead on the match’s last jam, scoring a grand slam and then some (111-131). Even though they lost by 20 points, it’s the Tantrums that would receive a standing ovation. (Thanks, in no small part, to Rink Panther’s antics minutes prior.) At once a tough win for Dallas, and an impressive comeback drive for Tampa’s Tantrums.


One Response to “Pounding and Pathology (Franky Panky Pt. II)”

  1. looks so fun ^^! LOL

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