Monday, January 23

Back in Black

In the immortal words of AC/DC:

'Cause I'm back on the track
And I'm leadin' the pack
Nobody's gonna get me on another rap
So look at me now
I'm just makin' my play
Don't try to push your luck, just get out of my way
'Cause I'm back!

Ok rockers, let me explain something to you all. This is my third season as a die-hard fan of the Guns N Rollers. They were my favorite team from the moment I stepped into the hangar, and I haven't wavered once. Not during a lackluster Season 5 when nothing went spectacularly wrong, but GNR just couldn't get a win. Not even in Season 6 (last season) when five of GNR's best skaters hung up their GNR jerseys to play exclusively for the Wheels of Justice, leaving a gaping hole that no amount of hard work or Aqua Net seemed to be able to fill. I didn't turn my back on my favorite ladies in black, nor did I denounce them as a team or ever stop supporting them. Ok geez. You know where this is going, so I'll cut it short so I can move on to the important stuff. Blah blah, I never lost faith, blah dee blah blah. And then... GNR freaking won! Not only did they win, they absolutely destroyed the Heartless Heathers by a 108pt spread! Final score: 164-56. Rock. F***ing. On.

There is simply too much awesome from Saturday's bout for me to cover without this post becoming one giant GNR love letter (which I'm sure loyal GNR fans would be fine with, but I have a short attention span). So I picked out what I felt were the most important stories of the night. They are as follows:

New Uniforms

GNR looked super-snazzy in their new threads, which arrived literally the day before the big opener. GNR's uniform has always been "no uniform", mixing it up with band tees and denim, jerseys and whatever-bottoms, occasionally throwing in some coordination. Their lack of uniformity certainly lent itself well to GNR's motley, misfit vibe. But GNR wanted to be taken more seriously this season, and those fancy duds were certainly a good start. Of course, a commanding win over a higher-ranked team would help too. Oh wait. That happened.

GNR Defense

The jammers get all the attention. It makes sense- they score the points. It's easier to count points earned than, say, sternum-busts (if I had to guess, I'd say Havana Goodtime had about a million of those). And jammers do have to be agile, sneaky little things to juke out blockers who are perpetually trying to knock them on their ass. But the unsung heroes are the blockers, who booty-block skaters out of their jammer's way, creating holes while keeping the opposing jammer stuck in the back of the pack. For example, Untamed Shrew (I'll talk more about her later) had a 25pt jam in the second half of the bout. Five grand slams is already a hell of a big deal. But the other amazing story about that jam was that it was not a power jam. Va Va BOOM, Havana Goodtime, and Scald Eagle managed to keep Heartless Heathers jammer Toxic Haste from ever completing her intial pass, while still clearing three Heathers blockers out of the way for Shrew to make five trips through the pack for her 25pt jam. Lots of Heathers jammers were held scoreless thanks to the solid efforts of GNR's blockers. Speaking of which- I am so digging the Havana Goodtime/Frank N Hurter combo. Smart, effective blocking times two. Ain't no one gettin' by those ladies. And now, let's break from the words and look at some defensive numbers:

1.44- the average points per jam scored by the Heathers. I prefer to think of it as "points allowed by GNR blockers", cuz it makes this super-low number much more impressive (and we are talking about defense, after all).

>10 (less than 10)- the points allowed by GNR blockers in a single jam. A fluke 9pt jam happened when the Heathers jammer (my notes say Baccha Nailya, but the stats folks seem to think it was Effy Stone 'Em), came out of the penalty box and snuck through while GNR blockers were otherwise occupied (helping their jammer get unstuck from the back of the pack). Otherwise, it was a lot of 1-and-done jams, with a few random 4-pointers here and there.

25- the number of total jams the GNR blockers kept the Heathers jammer from scoring even one single point. That's out of 39 jams.

9- this one is my favorite. It's the number of jams in a row GNR blockers kept the Heathers scoreless. As in, no points scored. Was it because the Heathers jammers were always in the box? Nope. Was it because the GNR blockers controlled the pack and stymied the Heathers jammers? Absolutely.

GNR Offense

Oh Untamed Shrew. You're so good. Your 25pt jam had the crowd on its collective feet, and your victorious yell as you tore off your jammer cap electrified the very air in the Coliseum. You humbly give credit to your amazing teammates who blocked for you, and rightly so. But you're a derby goddess, through and through. Own it. You scored 47 points, more than the three top Heathers jammers combined. You earned lead jammer status in all of the 8 jams you skated in (I know I told you 7 of 8 but yeah, my notes were wrong...). You're just...just... *shakes head in disbelief*'re just the sh**. And now I'm sensing that you're feeling uncomfortable with all this attention, so I'll move on. Also the sh**: Braidy Punch. Braidy started her adult derby career with a 15pt power jam. She racked up 30 total points for GNR in her 7 trips to the jam line. Scald Eagle continued to soar her way into our hearts (yes, the analogy is corny and trite, I know- sue me) by putting 42 points on the board. And who could forget the stadium-wide Eagle cheer during the first-half official time-out? I haven't seen such unified flapping of arms in a sports arena since the end of Angels In the Outfield (yeah that's right, I dusted off that little gem of a reference and threw it out there).


Oh man, I really don't want to talk about this. But I have to, just for a second. GNR racked up a whopping 31 major penalties and spend a combined total (between all skaters) of 39 in the penalty box. Only 6 of those trips to the box were GNR jammers, which isn't so bad. And I'm not one to complain about a 164-56 final score. But oh my gosh you guys, GNR left a lot of points on the track by having the penalty trouble they did. That being said, it's not unusual in any sport for the officiating crew to get a bee in their bonnet and decide to spend the entire game watching for one specific penalty. That definitely happened on Saturday- a lot of back blocks got missed, but I"ve never seen so many Illegal Procedure penalties called! Who knows, next time they might miss even more egregious back blocks because they'e decided to be on the lookout for oh, I don't know, multi-player blocks. But that's all the more reason to play a tight, clean game, so they can't call you on the random little things you usually wouldn't think about. Stay out of the box, GNR!

To sum up: GNR played awesome, looked awesome, and is awesome. Thet controlled the pack, made smart decisions on the track, and forced the Heathers to play their game, their way. All the blood, sweat, and tears are finally paying off- GNR has arrived on the scene as a real contender in the league.

ALSO! (I told you there was too much awesome to fit in one post) A huge shout-out to Coach Bexter Morgan and new-comer Bleed 'Em And Reap (of Portland Men's Roller Derby) for coaching GNR to their well-deserved, long-overdue victory!

ALSO ALSO! (Seriously, too much awesome) GNR4Life (and all-around classy lady) November Pain had this to say about the bout, which was so well-put and awesome that I have to share it:

"I was on the edge of my seat, and never because it was close, just because I couldn't wait to see more and more pink & black domination!"

Rock on, GNR! Rock on.

***The Guns N Rollers play their next bout at the hangar on Saturday, Feb. 18, against the #1-ranked High Rollers***

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