Thursday, May 31

The Final Countdown (aka Season 7 Championships)

Hey rockers! Can you believe Season 7 is almost over?! It's been quite a ride, full of cheers and tears and all that good stuff in between.  Since Season 6 ended we've bid farewell to some lovely ladies (Itzo EZ, Guts N Bolts, Bella Massacre, Slaughtra, and Squid Vicious) and welcomed new talent to the Jungle (Braidy Punch, Va Va BOOM, Frank N Hurter, Scouts OnHer, Mel Mangles, Scarlene, and Yoga Nabi Sari). We got to see our beloved Guns N Rollers annihilate the Heartless Heathers in the season opener.  We watched, amazed, as GNR put up an epic fight against the Breck Neck Betties and the High Rollers.  We witnessed a season plagued by penalty trouble, but rich with triumphant moments and a helluva lot of fun.  We wrap up Season 7 this Saturday, June 2nd, much like we began, versus the Heartless Heathers at Memorial Coliseum. 

Keys to the Game

#1: Can you guess what my #1 is?  That's right: stay out of the box! GNR can do wonderful things when they've got a full contingent of blockers.  They can trap, they can form impenetrable walls, they can control the pace of the pack.  But as soon as the penalties start to pile up and they're down a blocker or two the magic is gone, and they are led by their opponent like spandex-clad sheep to the slaughter.

#2: Keep calm and rock on! Did you know that GNR beat the Betties in scrimmage yesterday?! I was there! I totally saw it happen! GNR kept their cool and played with precision and agility, and did an amazing job of controlling the Betties.  There were some great moments at scrimmage last night that I wish you all could have seen.  Supa Sixpack managed to knock over SoulFearic ACID while jamming against her- and she did it legally! Oh my god it was awesome. Havana Goodtime was like a whirling dervish in the pack, hitting a Bettie in the back of the pack and in the next instant flying up front to hit someone else.  Untamed Shrew unleashed the power of the 'toma to wreak havoc as a blocker.  It was a great scrimmage.  And a big reason was that everyone was nice and calm, focusing on what they needed to do and actually doing it.  There was no pressure, no cheering, no distractions, just smart skating and skilled execution. GNR, you play so well when you calm the f*** down.  So take a cue from Foreigner, and be as cold as ice.  Break it up. Tooth and nail.  Say you will. Yes, those are all songs by Foreigner. And yes, I've been listening to quite a bit of Foreigner lately.

#3: Don't let up! Unless you're at least 100 points on top, resist the urge to put in those throwaway line-ups.  Keep putting in your best skaters until the last four whistles blow, or at least until the game reaches there's-no-way-in-hell-this-will-be-anything-but-a-blow-out status.  Then maybe you can let off the gas a little. But until then, stick with your power line-ups. Do not experiment. Call an audible if you have to, if someone is just having an off night.  Don't try to force performance if it's just not there. But for the most part, stick with what's working, and change what needs changing.

#4: Have fun! Remember why we all fell in love with GNR? They may not win the most games, but they look like they're having the most fun out on the track. So GNR, keep that butt-rocking good humor and skate your hearts out! Go out in a blaze of glory.  Ok, that was Bon Jovi, not Foreigner.  But you get the idea.

So come to Memorial Coliseum this Saturday, June 2nd, to see your favorite ladies in animal print close out the season in style.  Rock on! \m/ \m/

Wednesday, May 16

Semi-finals recap: GNR vs BNB

Hello rockers.  Your humble blogger comes to you with despondent horns thrown.  Our beloved Guns N Rollers lost the rematch against the Break Neck Betties last week, missing out on the chance to battle the #1 High Rollers for the Season 7 Championships.  They will instead meet the #4-ranked Heartless Heathers on the track- in all likelyhood ending the season in the same #3 spot they were at after the Season 7 Opener.

At the risk of sounding like a broked record, penalty trouble killed GNR's chances at victory yet again.  GNR skaters were in the box for minutes that sometimes spanned three consecutive jams (in one case, even four jams).  Line-ups were constantly a skater or more short due to penalties, which left gaping holes on the track for the Betties to take full advantage.

It wasn't all GNR's fault.  The Betties are, well, the Betties.  There's a reason why they won the Season 6 Championships.  They are really really freaking good.  They have lightening quick jammers like SoulFearic ACID.  They have sneaky jammers like D Konstructor.  And they have solid, hard-hitting blockers like Scylla Devourer and Scrappy Go Lucky.  All in all, they are a formidable opponent.  The only way to beat them is to throw them off their game.  This is not impossible.  GNR did it a little over a month ago, in those glorious first minutes of the bout.  But they couldn't keep up with the well-oiled machine that is the Break Neck Betties. 

In addition to the penalty trouble, which I've discussed ad nauseum, here are a few things I noticed:

GNR got tired.  Really quickly.  Jammers had to work so hard to get through the pack that they had nothing left to go the distance and keep fighting for points.  Blockers got fatigued and stopped paying attention to finishing their hits.  Multiple times I saw a blocker hit a Betties jammer but not make sure she actually pushed her all the way out of bounds.  Result: the Betties jammer simply passed her and skated on.  I saw in-play positional blocking abandoned for no good reason.  Pack awareness suffered under decreased stamina.  In a word, GNR looked slow.

Something else I realized (ok, I came to this conclusion a while ago, but I am voicing it again with renewed vigor): GNR is in dire need of another jammer.  Scald Eagle is amazing.  Supa Sixpack is tenacious.  Untamed Shrew is inspiring.  But Shrew has been blocking instead of jamming (with the exception of the semi-final).  And Sixpack doesn't always get the help she needs from her blockers.  I started writing this post before last Thursday's draft, and was hoping to see GNR pick up a ready-made jammer like Mutch Mayhem or Feliz Brutality, who look to be exactly what GNR needs.  Alas, it was not in the cards.  I'm excited to see what GNR's draft picks (Scarlene and Yoga Nabi Sari) will contribute to the team.  But I have a feeling I'm going to be continuing to wish for a solid jammer for GNR's rotation.

Going into the Championships against the Heathers, what can I say?  GNR will probably beat them just like they did in the Season Opener.  It will be a nice way to book-end the season.  It's been an interesting ride, but I can't say I'm disappointed.  This season inspired GNR fans to hope, which is certainly more than anyone could say last season.  And I, for one, remain loyal to my favorite bad-ass ladies in black spandex.  I'll be at the Memorial Coliseum on June 2nd at 6pm, cheering GNR on like I always have.  I hope you'll be there too, rockers!  GNR deserves our horn-throwing, butt-rocking support!!

In Other News...

Welcome to the Jungle, Scarlene and Yoga Nabi Sari!!  Also, I swear I'm working on that video blog of the GNR Party forever ago.  There's a lot of pictures and footage to compile, and I'm not so much with the fancy iVideo stuff...  Soon, I promise!!

Rock on!! \m/ \m/

Monday, April 30

It's Time For the Semis!!

Hold on to your butts, rockers!  Are you ready for a rematch?  This weekend is the Season 7 Semi-Finals, and Saturday night sees our radical Guns N Rollers pitted once more against the lipstick-wearing Break Neck Betties.  These two teams are ranked 3rd and 2nd respectively and will be battling for a shot in the Championship game against the winner of Friday night's bout (either the High Rollers or the Heartless Heathers).  As you may recall, last month the Betties dealt GNR a crushing blow in the form of a 172-107 routing.  With the exception of a few awe-inspiring first minutes, the Betties held the upper hand the entire game.  But let's not open up that wound.  Let's look ahead to what's in store for us loyal GNR fans this weekend...

Mel Mangles is back!  Oh my god, you guys!  After retiring from GNR to skate exclusively for the Wheels of Justice, Mangles is back in black and ready to kick some ass!  \m/ \m/  I am so excited to see her back on the track for our butt-rocking ladies in spandex.  Adding her to the list of formidable GNR blockers like Havana Good Time and Frank N Hurter means that sneaky little Betties jammers like D Konstructor and SoulFearic ACID will have a slightly harder time getting through the pack.  This also means that GNR jammers will have a little more help on offense and may manage to rack up some serious points.  This will be an absolute necessity if GNR has any hopes of neutralizing those Betties jammers.  Supa Sixpack will need to put some major points up, and Scald Eagle will probably be pulling double-duty as a jammer and a blocker.  Now that Squid Vicious has left Rose City for the untamed excitement of Utah, GNR has a gaping hole in their jammer rotation.  Who will step up and fill it?  As much as I love to watch Untamed Shrew out on the track blocking (she really is quite effective), I am crossing my fingers that we will see her reprise her role as the amazing jammer from earlier in the season.  I'll also be watching for Harajuke A Girl and Juvie Hall to continue their proud tradition of solid positional blocking.

All the pieces are there, people.  The key will be for GNR to stay calm and not fall apart in the face of chaos.  Don't get flustered and commit stupid penalties!  For god's sake, stay out of the box!  And if you can, GNR, please please try to crush the spirits of those Betties jammers.  DK may be an unflappable machine, but we have all seen the photographic evidence that Acid is at least capable of being flustered. ;)

Come to the hangar at Oaks Park this Saturday, May 5th at 6pm to see the Guns N Rollers take on the Break Neck Betties.  I have a feeling it's gonna be a nail-biter!

In Other News...

The Guns N Rollers fundraising party on April 20th was a wild success!  Guests and GNR alike piled into the Blitz party bus for some cruising and boozing, stopping first at Nectar in Sellwood (a GNR sponsor) to sample the GNR-inspired flavor High Voltage Chocolate.  Holy crap, GNR has their own flavor!  And boy was that stuff spicy! After burning our mouths out with deliciousness we climbed back on board the party bus and headed downtown to Ground Kontrol.  At the door Va Va BOOM gave us each a little pink bag of quarters and unleashed us on the video games.  Addams Family Pinball!  Mortal Kombat!  4-Person PacMan!  While drinking!  We all wandered around and indulged our nostalgia, stopping at the fancy-pants tables reserved exclusively for GNR to hang when our quarters ran out.  There we sat, snapping pictures, playing quarters, and laughing our butt-rocking butts off until it was time to climb aboard the party bus once more.  This time we were headed back to Blitz Ladd, where GNR was being eagerly awaited by their adoring fans.  As the live karaoke band set up on stage, guests ordered food and more drinks and started to settle in for a night of rowdiness and shenanigans. 

Mel Mangles, purveyor of jello shots, mingled with the crowd.  Raffle girls wandered through the masses.  Inebriated guests started piling into the free photo booth to document their... shall we say... revelry?  Everyone looks fantastic and good times were had by all.  Untamed Shrew had the crowd eating out of her hand with a rousing rendition of Sweet Child of Mine, and many brave souls took the stage to sing their hearts out with a live band behind them.  A sweet snowboard was raffled off along with other awesome prizes.  When I left just after midnight the crowd had thinned but the party was still rockin'.  As promised, I dutifully took video recordings whenever possible, and will be posting said footage on this very blog just as soon as I figure out how to do so!  Look forward to skater interviews, footage from the party bus and Ground Kontrol, and even Shrew rocking the mic!  It was an epic night of rock and roll with your favorite ladies in black.  If you missed it, you missed out!!

See you on Saturday!  Rock on! \m/ \m/