Monday, August 23, 2010


Fire burning: Ophelia Fracture doing her thing

Fast Bettie (center) and Benzo Bang trap a Sirens jammer

Yours truly performing unparalleled acrobatics

Benzo Bang, Recyclopath, Fannysaurus and Animal Mother form a daunting wall

Left 4 Deadwards' jam, the final of the night, had the crowd on its feet

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Maybe down but never out

What does it take to win a roller derby bout?

Talent, passion, teamwork, a willingness to take risks and a little bit of luck.

That was all on display at tonight's bout; a nail-biter right down to the very end. In both a physically and mentally-trying endeavor, the Old Capitol City Roller Girls edged the La Crosse Skating Sirens in one of their very stiffest tests to date. It was a fraught match that had the crowd on their feet, as both teams traded the lead throughout.

OCCRG led early, with Ophelia Fracture and Left 4 Deadwards racking up a slew of points. But the Sirens were just getting warmed up, and countered with the most aggressive blocking our team had ever experienced. There was a bevy of big spills on the track as the Sirens utilized every trick in their arsenal: Trapping opposing blockers, high and effective hits, chasing our jammers past the pack...

The Sirens had forged ahead with a sizable lead going into the second half. There were several misfortunes befalling OCCRG that allowed them to close the gap. Bat R Up and Fannysaurus Wrex fouled out and were eliminated from play. A communications snafu handed the Sirens a power jam when no OCCRG jammer was sent to the track.

Meanwhile, I was having my own personal crisis of sorts. I got plenty of jamming action during the first half but failed to rack up the big points, a result that had me questioning my own abilities as a skater. My competition anxiety was getting the best of me and I was playing timidly and without focus. During half-time Bat R Up showed me my dismal point spread and matter-of-factly shrugged it off.

"You don't like it?" she asked nonchalantly. "Then go out there and change it."

It was simple advice, but sagely nonetheless. I went back out during the second half, took a deep breath at the jam line and just went. In my first outing back I scored a 15-point jam that pushed OCCRG back into the lead. Ophelia Fracture took off where I left off, adding to the tally in her turn as jammer. Zom B Blokr, Left 4 Deadwards, Benzo Bang and Animal Mother stymied the Siren jammers on several occasions.

And yet, the Sirens managed to cut into our lead, and eventually forged ahead with less than 15 minutes left to go. They maintained it going into the last jam of the night, which started with 1:31 left on the clock. But in an unexpected turn of events, the Sirens left the track to call a timeout which was not immediately recognized by the referees. The jam proceeded seconds later and, with three of their blockers off the track, the Sirens were left at a severe disadvantage at a critical junction. OCCRG skaters trapped the sole remaining Sirens blocker and managed to foul out the Sirens jammer early on; leaving Left 4 Deadwards to her own devices in a power jam. The latter was quick to capitalize on the circumstance and hustled to lap the pack several times before the jam ended.

Then the score was posted: 141-133.

To say we were thrilled was an understatement. It seemed at several intervals of the bout that we were going to be beaten; that we were outgunned and in over our heads. And yet, we pulled together when the bar was raised. On a personal level, I did contrive to pull my head out of my rear to have a vastly improved second half where I contributed several points to the team.

Still, I felt more exhausted emotionally than physically as I left the track. It's good to be pushed -- but also very stressful. There was also the matter of the Sirens, who were understandably upset about the turn of events that saw them lose the bout in literally the final [90] seconds, which resulted in a lengthy meeting between referees, non-skating officials and captains.

Ultimately the result was allowed to stand and we were all left remembering the importance of pertinacity and a never-say-die attitude.

Photo courtesy of Emily Sherman Photography

[On a side note, I had some coworkers attend their very first OCCRG bout (or any roller derby bout for that matter. Suzette, Michael and Christen, thanks for the support and I hope you are well on your way to become die-hard derby fans. Also sending out get well wishes to Quantum Bombshell who had to miss tonight's bout after suffering bruised ribs during Wednesday's practice.]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This is but a taste

Cirque du Slam promotional video by our very own Left 4 Deadwards, with footage from our Fullmetal Derby bout versus the Stateline Derby Divas back in June:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Feeling saucy

The Old Capitol City Roller Girls haven't bouted since their Scars 'n Stripes Forever mixer in early July, and everyone's getting a little hungry for some action. Fortunately for skaters and fans alike Cirque du Slam, Saturday's bout against the La Crosse Skating Sirens of La Crosse, Wisconsin is fast approaching. This equates to even more scrimmaging than usual, more inventive and spontaneous strategizing and pre-bout jitters.

I can get a little too excited for my own good and it spills out on the track; like the time two weeks ago when I accidentally sucker-punched Fast Bettie with an elbow to the gut in my attempt to stymie her progress as jammer. I do have a hard time playing nice but heck, that's why I play roller derby. I try to do a half-hour of core exercises and weight training before practice (and even before my afternoon runs on days I'm not skating) and that burns off a little bit of the edge. Front planks, side planks, push-ups, crunches, leg lifts... I'm not sure it centers me as much as I'd like but on the plus side I am sporting some sinewy arms and a more defined torso these days.

But enough about me. The roster for the 21st will have some fresh faces as OCCRG has suffered a barrage of skater injuries, some involving prominent skaters. Notable absentees include two of our best blockers, Hitzy Blonde and Toxic Sugar. The former is still out of action after having surgery on her knee; the latter will be on the sidelines the remainder of the season with a dislocated patella and an unlucky triumvirate of ligament tears: Posterior cruciate, anterior cruciate and medial collateral (which will also require surgery in the coming months).

The bantam but mighty GladI8Her had been away for several weeks with a sore back though she has already resumed scrimmaging). Fast Bettie also missed some time due to niggling minor ailments. Shelby Flyin is still recovering from a compound fracture of one of her fingers. And sometime after the Avoid the Stork-sponsored bout in May, Ima Golddiggah got knocked up.

Filling their positions will be Ho No U Didn, Quantum Bombshell (who returns to the roster for the first time in almost a year!), Old Yeller and Chemical Spill.