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/