Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dismembered December

Evansville Veterans Memorial ColiseumOn Saturday, Dianne and I drove to Evansville to watch the Dismembered December tournament put on by the Demolition City Roller Derby group and held in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum that was built in 1916. Four teams (Demolition City Roller Derby (DCRD) Dynamite Dolls, Naptown Rollergirls, Slay Belles, and Quad State Terrors) participated in 4 bouts. Congratulations to the Quad State Terrors for winning the tournament! It topped off the day to see them win the championship bout.

Evansville's Memorial Coliseum is quite the historic venue as seen in the fisheye photo above (click on the image to see a larger view). It reminded me a bit of a venue you might see in the movie Hoosiers. The track itself was laid out on masonite panels pieced together to protect the underlying floor. The panels seemed well placed and except for an occasional stumble getting on and off the layer, I didn’t see many skaters having issues with the seams between the panels. The jammers were pretty speedy when out in the open.

First boutThe first bout was between DCRD and the Naptown Rollergirls team – a team that was a mix of all their skaters. It was a good bout, but the DCRD team had the edge at the half with a lead of 28 to 18 that they increased in the second period to finish with a score of 58 to 22. The photo at right, such as it is with the natural light, shows some of the action between the teams. I wasn’t keeping a tally, but it seemed Naptown was hurt a lot by penalties. There was one point in the second period where one of the Naptown jammers, Ivanna B. Naughty, had several trips to the box including back-to-back penalties that really slowed the Naptown scoring.

Just After the WhistleThe second bout had the Slay Belles (a pick-up team composed of DCRD skaters and skaters from several teams including Naptown, Radioactive City, and Lafayetter Brawlin' Dolls) pitted against the Quad State Terrors (made up of mostly Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls with a few additional skaters like Nastee from R.O.C.K. and Envy Myoni and Celia Graves from DCRG). To say the least, the Slay Belles struggled the entire bout. The Belles were trying hard, but their lack of experience and limited coordination/communication during the jams really hurt them. Quad State got a couple skaters at the front of the pack in every jam to control the pack and effectively shut down any offense. That, combined with solid Quad State trailing blockers that nudged Slay Belle jammers to stop their progress, made things rough for the Belles. In one jam with a skater in the penalty box, Nuk‘em held three Belle skaters back for a few laps by herself (see photo below). Jamming duty was shared by Roseanne Scarr, EMolition, Pistol Whippin' Wendy, and Envy MiYoni. Making WayThe photo at the right shows Juwana Hurt clearing the way for jammer Envy MiYoni. There were a lot of grand slams and at the half Quad State was ahead with a score of 54 to 0. Near the end of the second 20 minute period, one of the Slay Belle jammers finally got lead jammer status and the place erupted with applause. On that jam the Belles managed to get three points on the board. The match ended with Quad State dominating with a score of 115 to 3. Unfortunately at one point in the match Arche Enemy and Rockscar took a tumble together in turn four and Rockscar was hurt and carried off by the EMTs. The announcers later mentioned that Rockstar broke her tibia and fibula. The DCRD page today says her surgery the following day went well. I hope she gets well quickly.

Nuk'em Stops the Belles

The third bout was the consolation match between the Naptown Rollergirls and the Slay Belles. It was another struggle for the Belles as Naptown came out strong and dominated the less experienced skaters. Unfortunately, skater I Teazem went down hard in turn 2 during one jam. I was coming down from the mezzanine after taking the fisheye photo above, so I didn’t see the spill. The EMTs took extra precautions with her neck and she was carried out to an ambulance on a stretcher. Today the DCRD homepage indicated she is doing well with some head pain. I certainly hope the EMT measures were precautionary and that she gets well soon. At the half Naptown led with a score of 93 to 6 and sadly the trend continued in the second full period so Naptown ended up winning with a score of 177 to 6.

As one would expect in a tournament, the last bout between the DCRD Dynamite Dolls and the Quad State Terrors was the best of the day. However, it was a long day of derby and a lot of spectators left after the Naptown consolation match. Perhaps they were Naptown fans wanting to get back to Indy before it got too late? Quad State continued their recipe for success using jammer speed, pack coordination, and tough blocking to establish an early lead and hold it throughout the match. Controlling The PackThe photo at right shows a typical Quad State configuration with Nuk'em, Nastee, and Juwana Hurt controlling the front of the pack. Considering the group hasn’t been skating together long, it was impressive to see how well they came together and used each others’ strengths to make an effective team. But the DCRD skaters were tough and made the Terrors work for the victory. In the initial jam, one of the DCRD blockers gave Juwana Hurt a solid shoulder in the pack to perhaps send a message – Juwana wasn’t hitting hard in the initial Slay Belles match. Juwana caught up with the pack and sent a tough shoulder block message right back to the DCRD skater. Just After the HitYou can see the result of another one of Juwana’s blocks in the photo to the right. All the Quad State blockers contributed and really worked hard to control the front of the pack and the inside lines (see the photo below). At the half Quad State was ahead with a score of 46 to 17. In the second period, DCRD did make some adjustments and the scoring was about equal. However the Quad State victory was never in jeopardy and they won the bout with a score of 74 to 43.

Couples Skate

You can see more photos I took at the bout in my Flickr set here. Also, Jack King took photos at the event for Quad State and will undoubtedly have some excellent shots despite the lighting.

Overall it was an interesting day of derby that helped fill the off-season dry spell for this crazed roller derby fan. Thanks to the Demolition City Roller Derby group for making the effort to organize and host the event during a busy time of the year. It was a long day, but I found it instructive to see teams with varying skill levels battling back-to-back. It helps me appreciate the skill, techniques, and strategies of the game and how skaters and teams adjust (or not) to changing situations. It really is an interesting (as well as entertaining) sport to watch once you get the hang of what to look for. If you haven’t been to a flat track roller derby match, you have to check out a team near you next season!

Finally, a special thanks to the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls for the invitation to the tournament and to all the Quad State Terror skaters (see the photo below) that made us feel welcome. Congrats on winning the tournament! Look for big things from that group in the 2009 season.
Quad State Terrors