There's that old saying "when life deals you lemons, make lemonade". Two weeks ago in Portland, I had a rock thrown off an overpass and land on my windshield, thus shattering the thing. And over the next few days, the (stupid) ordeal of me getting a new windshield for a 2002 Mustang caused me to miss so much work up in Seattle, that I couldn't possibly take anymore time off work to make it to Houston for the WFTDA Western Regional tournament.
That was the lemon. In fact, that lemon may very well still be sitting there off to the side of the road on eastbound Powell underneath the 17th street overpass.
But the lemonade created out of all that was a tall, tasty, cold pitcher that was poured in Boise on Saturday night with a bout between the hometown Treasure Valley Rollergirls and the visiting Jet City Rollergirls out of Everett. The bout had drama, suspense, controversy and…most importantly of all…a GREAT finish!
Since there was only the one game in this bout, the teams played three 20 minute periods (really, I think this is a great idea for anyone playing an interleague bout all by itself on any given night. I think the extra intermission helps keep the skaters a little fresher during the later stages of the game).
Honestly…going into it I thought that Jet City would win this game comfortably. And even before the bout when I learned that (arguably) their two best jammers…Sierra Fist (separated shoulder) and Re-Animate Her (don't know why she wasn't there) weren't playing for the Jet City Bombers, I still thought they would win by a comfortable margin. And early on in the first period, it certainly looked like it was going to turn out that way. After Treasure Valley's star jammer, Jilldozer, ran off with a 7-3 victory in the first jam, the next five jams were all Jet City. The jamming combination of Connie Torturous (twice), Ivanna Hercha, Swede Hurt and Precious N' Metal along with solid, hard-hitting blocking by the Bombers pack resulted in a 33-4 run. However in the 7th jam of the first period, Jilldozer came through once again and got TVRG back on track with a 7-0 run over Swede Hurt. And beginning at that point, Treasure Valley went on to outscore Jet City 21-15 to end the period. After one period of play, the Jet City Bombers held a 51-32 lead.
If there was one sticky point of the night, it had to do with all the penalties being called on both teams. Of course, during and after the bout both sides (players and refs) were coming up to me and complaining about each other. From my point of view, it was one of those situations where I think both sides had an argument. On one hand, the game was pretty chippy and I thought the refs were doing everything to keep it under control. But on the other hand, I also witnessed some awful calls that shouldn't have been made in the first place by the refs. I definitely saw two instances where the jammer was called for cutting the track that shouldn't have been called (correct me if I'm wrong here, but if a jammer is knocked out of bounds and the opposing blocker who put her there also winds up out of bounds along with her, isn't it legal at that point for the jammer to re-enter the pack immediately before the blocker in question gets back in bounds? Because I saw that happen twice right in front of me and the jammer was still sent to the penalty box. And this was well within the pack…not a "last line of defense" maneuver. And the jammer…outside of passing the blocker who took her there…didn't improve her position at all. In fact, she lost position in the pack both times).
I also have to say that the first 10 minutes or so weren't exactly the jam refs shining moment in this one. In the third jam, even though both jammers (TVRG's Cybill Dizorder and Jet City's Trixxxie's Trash'n Em) were eventually sent to the penalty box, they weren't credited with scoring any points even though each one of them clearly made a scoring pass (although this could also have been attributed to the scorekeepers or the scoreboard operator). Then in the 5th jam of the second period, Jilldozer made a scoring pass before being sent off to the penalty box. Jet City's Swede Hurt took advantage of that and racked up 14 points of her own before being called off for a penalty herself. Both jammers were in the box for at least 5 seconds together. But with no whistle blowing, Jilldozer came screaming out of the box and picked up an easy 4 more points against a pack of confused blockers who all thought the jam was over. Add to that one other jam in which one of the jammers was given credit for 4 points on the initial pass, and it equaled a bad period for everyone involved.
Amidst all the chaos and confusion on the track (and off it with a guy sitting there trying to take notes and wondering what all was going so wrong out there), Jet City was continuing to build a sizable lead. In the jam right after the aforementioned one with Swede Hurt picking up her 14 points and Jilldozer coming back to score 4 more questionable points, the tall jammer from Stockholm re-entered the fray and promptly reeled-off another 14-0 run to make the score 83-50 in favor of Jet City. In jams 7 & 8, the TVRG duo of The Last Jammurai and Jilldozer picked up a point over Molly Python and Precious N' Metal by a 12-11 margin. But as the period was coming to a close over the last two jams, TVRG jammers B-Header (12 points in jam 9) and The Last Jammurai (10 points in the 10th and final jam of the period) along with both Bomber jammers Precious N' Metal and Ivanna Hercha being shut-out and serving time in the box gave the Boise squad a much needed boost going into the third period. After 40 minutes of play, Jet City still led Treasure Valley 94-84.
The great thing about how the third period unfolded was how slowly, yet steadily, the drama built to it's climax. The crowd in Boise went nuts after the first jam when Jilldozer was able to take advantage of Bomber jammer Ivanna Hecha's time in the sin bin by racking up a 6-0 run to pull Treasure Valley back to within 4 points. But Precious N' Metal seemed to douse that flame awfully quick with a 12-0 answer in the second jam. The next four jams were hard fought runs. The Treasure Valley blockers shutout the JCRG jammers, while Bar Scar Sally (4 points in the fourth jam) and Skid N Nancy (4 more points in the 6th) once again pulled the home team back to within striking distance at 106-98. However, with TVRG looking like they were about to make another comeback and Jet City in gobs of penalty trouble going into the 7th jam (they had two blockers in the box and the penalty board was littered with the numbers of Bombers who had three minors on them), the team from Everett weathered a potentially devastating storm when Swede Hurt eeked out a 4-3 decision over lead jammer Jilldozer. Then after a scoreless jam in the 8th, Treasure Valley made their move. With Jet City jammer Precious N' Metal sitting in the penalty box to start the 9th jam, The Last Jammurai hit the track and picked up both lead jammer and a grand slam run to pull Treasure Valley back to within 4.
Then with just a little over two minutes to go in regulation, the crowd erupted when Jilldozer broke out of the pack first and claimed lead jammer. However, Precious N' Metal was hot on her heels. Then after her scoring pass, Jilldozer quickly called it off after picking up the four points to tie it and before Precious could pick up any points of her own. With time running out on the clock, Treasure Valley had fought their way back from a 33 point second period deficit to tie the game at 110-110.
With time running out, Treasure Valley put B-Header out on the jammers line opposite of Jet City's Molly Python. As both jammers entered the pack, Bomber blocker Trixxxie's Trash'n Em was there to stymie the Treasure Valley jammer at every turn almost throughout the entire jam. Python did break out of the pack first, but she didn't have lead jammer status. But with B-Header being bounced around by the tight Jet City defense, Python had no problem scoring points during her first pass. Then as she came around after that pass, she blew a kiss towards her bench before picking up a couple more points for a 6-0 decision that won the game for Jet City, 116-110.
3. Swede Hurt. She was the third leading scorer in the game, but she did have the highest average per jam out of everyone with 36 points in 5 runs.
2. Bar Scar Sally. For me, the most impressive stat was her 5 hole opening blocks. I'm pretty picky about handing those out. So when you get 5 in one game, that's a pretty awesome number. I also had her down with 7 blocked jammers. All this while only serving 2 minutes in the penalty box (a very low number in this game).
1. Nasty Nikki Nightstick. Ordinarily, she would have been eliminated from this discussion with her 6 minutes in penalty time. But not only did that not lead the game, there were so many penalty minutes in this game that I decided to throw that part of the criteria out. Her 13 jammer blocks and 8 big hits will come through for her in this one. I thought the coolest thing about her game on Saturday night was how…even though I'm sure most of them had never seen her before…the crowd in Boise pretty much pegged her as the villain. Every time she would knock a Treasure Valley skater to the ground, they would boo her. And later on in the game when she would go to the penalty box, they would cheer it. And you know…if you are in the other teams barn and the gallery is reacting to you like that, then you must be doing something right out there!
Key Jam of the Game
Of course, it has to be the final jam of the game when Molly Python picked up the winning points for Jet City. Games this close make this decision an easy one for me.
Bad Girl of the Game
There were plenty who would have gotten this award on most nights. But Jet City's Trixxxie's Trash'n Em was the rabbit everyone was chasing into the penalty box with a total of 7 minutes. I will also give a (perhaps not so special) shout-out to both Salma Highkick and another Treasure Valley skater (who it was, I can't remember. Someone told me at the bar afterwards) for each getting ejected from the game at one point or another. According to my stats, there were 64 minutes worth of penalty time in this one. I originally told people there were 63, but I realized I hadn't given Jilldozer credit for the penalty she served. That's how crazy it was. So there very well may have been even MORE than that which I didn't catch. No spotter + lot's of penalties = a very hard night for Elwood.
If you want to read more of Elwoods recaps of Amazing derby bouts in the Northwest read his Myspace blog and here is the link... CLICK HERE!