Friday, April 16

Blood "Slaps" Mick? EZ Answers.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one at Saturday's bout who was a little shocked to hear that Blood Clottia had received a major penalty for "slapping" Heathers skater (and Wheels of Justice team mate) Mick U Cry in the face. And I certainly didn't remember Blood slapping Mick in the face and couldn't imagine Blood doing that.

What had apparently happened was that Mick knocked Blood down with a forearm, and as Blood fell, her arms flew up, and one of her hands landed in Mick's face. (Which is, admittedly, less exciting.)

Former GnR and current RCR referee Itzo EZ explained that under the WFTDA rules (section 6.3, I think), any contact between one skater's hand or forearm and another skater anywhere above her shoulders is a major penalty (for the skater with the hand or forearm, of course).

Also, a skater isn't absolved from penalties herself after she's been fouled: just like it's the skater's responsibility to "fall small" to avoid tripping or obstructing other skaters, it was Blood's responsibility to keep her hands away from Mick's head.

So because Blood's hand made contact with Mick's face, she picked up a major. And that makes much more sense than the idea of Blood smacking Mick for knocking her down, which is what it sounded like to me when the penalty was explained at the bout.

Thanks to GnR-for-life EZ for the explanation, though I'm still disappointed that I haven't seen her throwing some calls for GnR, and I'd like my twenty bucks back.

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[Post edited 04-16-2010 because Itzo EZ is an excellent official and wanted to make sure that it was clear that she was only explaining the rules and not offering any judgment on a call that had made against a GnR skater. Which also makes it clear that I completely wasted my twenty bucks.]

Wednesday, April 14

World Domination Tour, Third Stop: Heartless Heathers

Ok. So I've cried enough over the Guns N Rollers losing to the Heartless Heathers on Saturday.

From the comments I've overheard since the bout, I do think it's safe to say that the Heathers paid for their victory. In pain. Which I like.

The bout was tough and physical right from the start. Scratcher In The Eye complained a little after the bout that she doesn't usually get hit so much (but doesn't she wear that target star on her head a lot?), and on the facebook page she says that "Mangles gave me whip lash. [...] It was the hardest hit I've ever received!" And Mick U Cry adds, "I also had my ribs crunched for the first time ever." On the other hand, Mercyful Kate went to the hospital with a concussion.

(You are our fan on facebook, so you'd seen that, right? If not, get over there! And while you're there, you should probably make friends with the Heathers too.)

After a handful of low-scoring jams early in the first period, the Heathers began jamming captain Mobi-Wan Kenobi. Mobi's strong and fast and has a well deserved reputation as one of the best blockers in the league, but she doesn't often jam. Instead of moving up to engage the pack and begin her first pass, however, Mobi instead focused her formidable skills on the GnR jammer. It seemed pretty clear, in fact, that the Heathers were giving up all but the pretense of scoring and choosing to use their jammer entirely as a "fifth blocker" but staying outside the engagement zone where the GnR blockers couldn't assist their jammer.

(If I were a Heathers fan, I'd call that sort of thing "smart." But I'm not, so instead I curse them for it.)

The Heathers strategy was clear if risky: they could rest their star jammers like Scratcher while punishing the GnR jammers and tiring them out. I wasn't paying close enough attention at the time to have seen if that strategy extended beyond the jammers, so I don't remember if they also lined up blockers during that first period whose job was primarily to lay hits on the GnRs and who could then skate less during the second period while other, fresher skaters took to the track. If any of you were paying attention, let us know in the comments.

The risk in their strategy was that the Heathers fell well behind the GnR by the end of that first period. But the strategy paid off because from the start of the second period, the Heathers were able to tear away at the GnR lead, finally overtake them, and finish ten points in front for a 96 - 86 final score.

Despite what seemed like lots of penalties (for both teams, though GnR seemed to be skating short more often in the second half), the GnR blockers put up the excellent defense that we've come to expect. In another one of her bits of routine excellence, Blood Clottia earned 49 of the GnR's 86 points (per Andrew's Blood Clottia facebook page—hey, be a fan of her too!), which I think, shows just how effective the Mobi-wan beat-down was. Blood scored more than half of GnR's points over just 13 jams, and that left lots of work for the rest of the GnR jammers. While GnR's jammer selection has grown in number and skill—former Montreal skater Boxcar Bethy and Axles of Annihilation's Punchkin both skated solidly, and Cher The Pain, Fist O' Fury, and (former Axle) Hard Knox all showed that they own the star they wear and aren't just borrowing for a jam—the punishment that the Heathers laid on the GnR jammers in the first period was a lot to try to spread among them, especially with Cadillac absent (bad, bad rollergirl—only physical brokenness and hurt should keep her from derby, not love!).

To the GnR's credit, they stayed focused and fought hard through to the end. I can imagine a GnR team from a season or two ago collapsing in frustration and adopting a "hit the skater closest to you" approach, but this team made sure that the Heathers didn't take an easy win.

Satan, on the other hand, has proven to be completely unreliable.

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Saturday, April 3

Hard Knox = Awesome

GnR skater Hard Knox deserves more credit than she often gets, I think.

This season, GnR has lots of strong blockers: Mel Mangles, Napalm Beth, and Mercyful Kate, for example. But while Knox doesn't call attention to herself with big hits ("hits"—that's "hits," with an "h") or spend a lot of time sitting on the other jammer. she was, at last record, one of the top three skaters in the league whose opponents score the fewest points while she's on the track. Apparently, just her presence on the track hinders her opponents.

And now she jams too. And not in the "we're ahead by a hundred points, so here's something silly" way either.

Now I'm not the biggest fan of sports statistics, so let me translate her contribution into terms I can better relate to. To make Hard Knox out of characters from Star Wars, you'd have to throw Princess Leia (for the feisty confidence), Han Solo (for rogueish charm), and Boba Fett (just plain badassery) into that garbage smasher thing on the Death Star and squish them all up together.

And then you'd have to add Scarlett Johansson because Star Wars simply doesn't have enough sexy to equal Knox. (And, no, Princess Leia in the metal bikini top and even a barely legal Natalie Portman don't cut it.)

For those of you who prefer not to read, consider the following illustration:

Or, I dunno, maybe I'm the only one who hasn't been giving her enough credit?

And please, if you're inclined to do a Google search for "princess leia," don't. Even with SafeSearch on. Because ewwwwwwww.

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