refs and non-skating officials, before the first bout, photos by Pablo Raw
I woke up Saturday when my alarm went off at 10:30, and I turned it off so it wouldn’t bug The Boy. And then I rolled over because I was tired because we were out until after 1 and up until 2 and I had a bit of a hard time falling asleep (so I set two alarms-one for 10:30, one for 11:30). I stayed in bed til 11 and then got moving for the big day. (The date and movie were both fun, btw, and we enjoyed ourselves.)
I always take the non-toll route to Dulles Sportsplex, even though it’s theoretically longer, which was born out as a good decision last bout, when I got a ride with Gummy Bear and we were stuck at the toll plaza for 30-40 minutes because the line was soooooo sloooooow. So I budget extra time for my trip, but I still managed to be later than I was aiming for; fortunately, though the track was mostly laid out, the rest of set up was still going on so I did some work and visited with friends. One of the official league photographers (we have two, and they’re both lovely) took the above shot of the ref and NSO crew before things got underway. First bout was to find out who would be third and who would be fourth place, between the Cherry Blossom Bombshells and the DC Demoncats. (Fun fact: most people think the Demoncats name is a play on the word “democrats” but it’s actually based on a local myth, of the DC demon cat!) When trying to sort out the 3-way tie for first place, one of the options was to just put then-second-place team, the Bombshells, in fourth place. I know a lot of people were confident of the outcome of this first game, but plenty of us who have been around the league a while knew better: third place could have gone to either team, easily.
The first bout was a very good, tight game, but it wasn’t the nailbiter the second game was. At the half, the score was 73-45 Bombshells, and though the Demoncats came close to tying things up a couple times, Bombshells held onto their lead. Final score was 134-102, putting the Bombshells in 3rd place and the Demoncats in 4th for the season. There was a bit of a kerfuffle not long past the middle of the second half; a skater was sent to the box and her toe-stop slipped when she stopped to sit. She hit a couple of chairs back into the penalty box officials (we were all fine, afaik-I wasn’t even touched by the chairs, personally.) Unfortunately, the rules call for this to be an expulsion, due to the potential danger for the officials. If it were up to me, when no one is injured this would be a misconduct and result in the skater serving a minute instead of 30 seconds, but it’s not up to me, and we had to ask her to gear down. Both because it was champs and because this might be her last game (depending on medical issues), she was in tears when she learned she’d be removed from play, and I don’t blame her. Her husband volunteers as an NSO, and they are both my friends, and we talked afterward about how hard it was to not get up and hug her. While I’m certain everyone would understand that we would be giving comfort and not showing bias, it’s important to remain as professional as we can. (Afterward, though, there were lots of hugs!) At the after party, I chatted with her and one of her teammates, and we re-wrote the story of her expulsion, where it was due to her badassery (and she IS a badass-she skates with an ostomy bag! And, you know, lives her life with one. Duh.) Our version is that she punched out three refs who, in tears, cried out “Why, Batty, we love you so?” and she replied “Because I’m just that badass.” So that’s the new official story of the season 8 champs expulsion. Learn it. Love it. Tell it.
Bout two was tense, not just because it was for first place. For the first 5 minutes, the Whips held Scare Force scoreless, racking up a score of 25-0. But from that point on, the lead yo-yoed back and forth between teams, never more than 10 points separating them. At the half, the Fright Attendants led the Whips 70-61. For the second half especially, the Whips fans were so loud I had to start tapping the skaters in the box to let them know when to stand, because they couldn’t hear me shouting their color and number from 6 or so inches away! They adjusted by making eye contact once they stood to be sure they didn’t spend extra time in the box waiting to be dismissed. The second half was just as close as the first, and it all came down to the last few jams. The Whips jammed Frightmare for the final 3 jams, and she tied things up, taking lead jammer for the first two of those three. In the final jam,
Sharp Shredder Marion Barrycuda got lead and ran the clock down, trusting her blockers to keep Fright from scoring while she ( Shredder Cuda) worked her way through. In the end, the score was SF1 147 to the Majority Whips’ 143.
Scare Force remained season champs for the 4th season in a row (and for the 6th time). When they were presented with the trophy, though, they in turn presented it to Funsized Jenn, our bout day manager and volunteer wrangler, as a thank you to all the volunteers who make roller derby happen on the regular. FSJ now has this work of art (courtesy of retired rollergirl WitchCrafty) in her home, until season 9 comes to a close and it’s time to award it to someone anew.
We quickly broke everything down and loaded it out (and had a quick officials meeting/party with booze in the closet, lol) and headed to the afterparty. Because of my financial status as Super Poor, I was planning on hanging out briefly and then heading home to grab dinner, but Potomac Ripper and his wife were kind enough to buy me dinner, allowing me to stay as long a I wanted. Since the champs after party is usually the most well-attended, this let me visit with a lot of people I don’t always get to see (especially since I don’t always go to the afterparty!) Also, former DCRG skaters came especially for champs, so I got to visit with Brutal Noodle (now with Gotham!) and Ms Judgement (who I believe is with the Monterey Bay Derby Dames now) as well. I didn’t stay as long as I might have liked, because I was wiped out, but I definitely stayed longer than I would have without the chance to eat, so thanks, Ripper!
I had driven myself to the bout and home, and my leg felt pretty great until around 3 AM when it started aching and keeping me up. But it was just muscle pain from using my leg more than I had in a while, and it is a-ok today. When I got in I updated my FB status, and truer words were never typed: “Such a good day. I love you, DCRG.” In 8 days, I’m gonna be skating again, and that is the only feeling better than the one I have spending my time with my league. (Spending it with them on skates!)