I was originally set to announce with Texsin or is it Tex Sin? This bout the San Antonio’s Charmed Forces were playing against Rocket City @ home. I was looking forward to doing so.
I’ll keep this one short since I recently moved and it’s my birthday week.
Sadly one of SARD’s refs couldn’t make it so I got tapped to put on my stripes. In part because of Tex Sin’s comedic background I think the banter I between plays wouldve been enjoyable for the crowd. Also because this was a neck & neck bout for most of both periods. Lead score changing every other jam and a few times the lead was held for about 5 jams and back again. One of those few bouts that are well matched and keeps you on the edge of your seat, vs the runaway blowouts that get boring after 50 points are well in the lead.
The game ended with a helluva jam with Rocket City beating out San Antonio 125 to 124. Talk about a heartbreaker
The officiating was fair, and most definitely impartial with 4 non league affiliated refs helping out. Though the captains and alternate may argue a call or twenty, the officials as a whole, myself included need some tightening up. But in the end it was a great game the fans got to enjoy.
Once I’m settled in I’ll be back to my usual lengthy posts
this week was supposed to be a double header either watching or participating in. Houston Roller derby has a double header today! Knockouts vs Ass City (Dallas) and HRD All Stars vs Arch Rival Rollergirls All Stars (somewhere in Missouri… I think) very few WFTDA leagues use their real city name and their city nickname isn’t as well known as say … Big Easy Roller Girls (Nawlin’s or New Orleans-for you yankees)
about 90 miles due east Spindletop (Beaumont) is booting against Acadiana RG (Lafayette) and Rocket City RG (Deer Park) is up against Bayou Outlaw RG. I’d been asked to NSO this double header and even got an invite to ref Gulf Coast (Lake Charles) hosting Twin City Knockers (Shreveport La)
and thanks to personal circumstances and plans that fell through I’m doing none of this. so I eeked out another Bye week.
In any case good luck to all the skaters playing and the officials who have to put up with them.
So you know the drill. Some time ago I was setup to help out with this bout and now we fast forward right? Well this one was a bit different than the uzh, Sk8-B8 didn’t reach out, since he only deals with refs and as of late a lot of league have an over abundance of refs. An NSO I work with asked me if I was working this bout just last Tuesday. I told him no, since the two leagues are pretty ref heavy now a days. So Geri Let me know that they still need NSOs. SWEET, I like both of these teams and their skaters AND officials. So I threw my name in the hat and I got pegged to do lineup tracker.
Now if I tried to explain how to do the job, you might get lost, but it’s pretty simple and you HAVE to watch the bout. What a chore right? especially if you love derby! In any case, It’s something I’ve gotten into the groove of doing. and it allows me the freedom to roam a bit. So about 15 mins before the Ref/ NSO head coin, I get a text from my friend “Sunnie with a chance of Pain” to see if I was gonna be at the Bayou Outlaws vs Rocket City bout. which I was, then she asked if I would mind announcing, HELL YEAH! so far I had announced 1 and a quarter bouts. I’ve told y’all about the Rocket City vs Cen-Tex bout I got to pop my cherry on. A few weeks ago, my post didn’t pop up on the Northside Fury vs Bayou Outlaws I got to announce for about 20 mins. One of the announcers had to leave and Sunnie was on her own, which without some banter make announcing a bit dry. So because we worked pretty well together she asked me to help her out since her co-announcer for THIS bout had car trouble and couldn’t make it.
Now I had to find a sucker to fill my spot. Which was made all the more daunting because explaining the job with the sheet that they’re going to work off of makes the job sound like a nightmare. But once I explained to Super Dave what the job entailed with the tracker sheet as a visual it went pretty smoothly.
So for this bout I got to announce the intros for Bayou Outlaws which I flubbed a bit, I got tongue twisted and said Bayou City Outlaws (I was thinking HRD for a sec) but got everything else out pretty clearly. With BORG struggling in the first half to get their wheels to stick to the floor. I think the first half ended with Rocket City 100 to Bayou 38, huge deficit to come back from but not at all outside the realm of possibility in a derby bout. Ax N 4 it and Stretch Her both had some injuries on track that had to have the jam called off. Sox Star and Eval Kinevil both did great as jammers and were like pinballs in the pack getting knocked around from blocker to blocker, and a few times with the floor. But they popped right back up and kept going. One or the other should’ve taken a variation of ‘timex’ as their derby name. Bayou’s Bootylicious was ever the B3 sweeper or front pack wall slowing down Rocket City in quite a few jams while making a hole for her jammer to get out of the pack. Bayou Outlaws Pulled through to to finish the game with 105 to Rocket City’s 191. A huge gain over their first half performance, many thanks to X Factor & Wild Cat for racking up some points for Bayou and Beep Beep, Cherry Chaser & the rest of the Outlaws making way for their jammers.
I gotta mention that I’m proud and surprised the Frisky Bidness & Cute Butt Psycho made it through the bout with as few penalties as they did. They’ve improved their game quit a bit over the past few months and have either gotten sneakier or in my opinion better.
So as usual a few weeks ago Quicksilver asked me if I was available to ref for Cen-Tex on March 18. A quick calendar check and I realized that I was in fact free so I quickly replied to quicksilver to let her know that I was free. She had me get in touch with Nero, Head ref for Cen-Tex, which I promptly did and let him know that I was willing and able to ref the bout that day. They’re scheduled to play Rocket City Roller girls and I’m quite familiar with that league, they’re just across town from my home league and from time to time I make it down to practice with them. I also know that their refs hadn’t gone out on the road much last season, so I messaged Sk8-B8 Rocket City’s head ref to jam ref for them. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how a ref crew works, generally the visiting team brings 2 refs and one of the 2 is the jam ref to adequately represent the visiting team. I know sk8-b8 doesn’t have jam ref experience and had assumed he’d let me, assuming no one else from his ref crew was going. Since I hadn’t heard back from him (no news is good news right?) and we had spoken about him getting in touch with Nero I thought all was kosher.
Long story short with alot of presumptions on all parties the air was finally cleared and sk8 b8 and chongo blanco were going to represent Rocket City, and if I was still available I could NSO. Hellz YEAH I wanna NSO. Now in case you didn’t know, Cen-Tex is Legend-wait for it—- DAIRY when it comes to hospitality. Of course all this is all hearsay about Cen-Tex and it could be a lie, just like the cake. However 18 different people from 6 different leagues can’t all be brainwashed… can they? However leagues are run as a business, after all and you don’t just give money away. Thats not to say other leagues’ mamas didn’t raise ‘em right we (I mean me) are still in the South after all, and where it can be spared, host leagues do ‘hook it up’. Be it a night in a hotel, a couch to crash on, drinks at the after party or just down right not letting me sit in a corner by myself at the after party. AND they go out of their way to make you feel at home and make you want to come back. I won’t go into details about Cen-Tex, it is their own personal touch but I’m glad to finally see what its about.
Of course derby is ALL about <3, granted on the track to me the skaters are just a color and a number (and what ever penalty I send them out for), and to the opposing team they are out to win and knock a bish down. But at after party’s both teams will congratulate each other on great plays, or a hit thats gonna be a bruise (derby girls are quite proud of these) or even to apologize for accidentally popping up to hard/fast and hitting the other girls face with their helmet. However comma this bout is different, why do you ask? Because this bout instead of reffing or being an NSO (both quite important jobs) I got to announce. I’m gonna let you in a little secret, I’ve wanted to announce for a while. But thats a story for another day, like in the off season… if i remember to tell it. Also I got to pop my cherry with PBJ aka Pretty Boo—er Private Been Jammin’ a skater-trainer-announcer who helped me learn to turnaround while skating and do tomahawk/turnaround toe stops.
So it’s game day and you would think I’d be nervous about announcing for the first time, Pfft my first bout as a ref was in a crowd of about 800 in a SANCTIONED bout with virtual strangers (refs) that stats of which were reported to WFTDA and my biggest concern was how slick the skate court was. I’m quite the opposite of normal, so of course I fit right in. Now PBJ has a season’s worth of announcing for Houston Roller Derby also guest announcing here and there. And knew to ask for the information regarding the sponsors and what information the sponsors wanted to relay to the crowd. Now I spent the previous night watching and cheering for a bout. Generally after a derby bout that I either spectate or officiate I get what I call ‘sexy voice’ it gets a gravelly rasp from all the yelling that, well, some women find sexy.. or at least exes have lied and told me so. Also I must say that thanks to Mr. Elton Carroll who taught me how to E-Nun-See-Ate my words and to PRO-JECT from my diaphragm my voice carried well. So with a lack of nervousness and a generally clear voice I was able to call some play by plays, banter with PBJ, follow her lead and segue into announcing and mentioning Cen-Tex’s sponsors.
A highlight of the night, for me, was Bill Smotrilla mentioning to PBJ that we were doing a good job. Hearsay from PBJ ,maybe he said she was doing a good job and she lied to me saying Bill say “y’all” or Bill was just being nice and including me, true or not I’ll take it. Especially since my cherry was getting popped and all.
The track at Cen-Tex is polished concrete, now generally some grippy wheels (84a-88a durometer rating) can keep the girls glued to the track. However Cen-Tex had the home field advantage and Rocket City is more accustomed to slick wood. Two very distinct surfaces. I had somewhat of a hard time staying up right and i was in tennis so a lot of the spills I saw Rocket City skaters take was quite understandable. Eventually in the 2nd half they got the hang of the floor but simply could not make a dent in the deficit from the first half. Ravoltin Rambo and Frisky Business were Rocket Citys star jammers being the most successful in gaining lead jammer status the times that RCRG was able to eek it out. Cen-Tex’s jammers Won-Drrty Woman, Annie Oops and Zee on the other hand readily sliced through the pack and got lead jammer status and fully took advantage of power jam situations each and every time. What I love about this sport the most is that no matter the score, skaters play like every jam matters. Rocket City didn’t roll over, they made Cen-Tex fight for every point they earned; Cen-Tex didn’t take it easy and coast on the point differential to win. I couldn’t be happier to get to announce under the wings and guidance of an experienced announcer for a bout that included some of the roughest girls on track whom are sweet hearts off track, hosted by none other than the TRULY legendary Cen-Tex Sirens for a Season Opener. Only thing that coulda made it better would be t have my derby sancha there or find a derby wife. All in all I’m glad for the opportunity and look for for the next time I get to announce AND/OR get to ref at Cen-Tex.
So Sunday Jan 22 in case you didn’t know was Rocket City Roller Girls’ first bout of the season. it was a mashup with their own skaters as well as some from Northside Fury Roller Derby. Krez Sez debuted as Bout Head ref, and i must say I didn’t notice a hitch. Note to self I kept meaning to congratulate him and I forgot, I’ll remedy that shortly. Sk8-B8 debuted as a ref on OPR and I think referential treatment debuted as a ref in Texas. Chongo Blanco (allegedly ‘Chango’ but til he spells it right I’m calling him white ponytail) Jammed reffed with me and I must say a big improvement from the last time I worked with him. His voice is clearer on making calls and he’s more sure of himself. Not cocky, I mean less nervous. Private Been Jammin has a really good eye and with her skater experience has parlayed it quite well into being a ref. occasionally second guessing herself and checking if a call she made was also seen by another ref, I think more as a self evaluating tool than a question of her ability. Locate-Her also has moved up a few rungs in calls and and eye for penalties. A bit of a showboat on skates and well I’m just hating (NOT just saying just hating)
So we’re at Skateworld of Deer Park that I’m quite sure is in Pasadena or maybe just BARELY inside of Deer Park. In any case we had our fans lined up around the parking lot just to get in… ok ok the skaters fans. From time to time RCRG and NRFD get together and scrimmage and quite often there are times I just get a headache from all the sloppiness. now for the non skater sloppy is unnecessary penalties from just not being focused. elbows, forearms, back blocks, low blocks, out of bounds blocks, in a quick succession that sometimes is just a chain reaction.
Now the Blue teams (Lunars) took an early lead from the Yellow team (Solars) and held it through halftime. i have seen serval of these skaters over the last 6 months or more. Some of which I was there at a practice their first night. Bashing Brownie #83 of NFRD, the poster child of ‘anyone can do this’ she’s not a superstar, yet. but this little nugget has the heart and drive like few other skaters. just a year ago she was a ‘wall-hugger’ meaning she’d be on skates hugging the wall and pushing off it to get momentum. she would go to open skate sessions to get down her turn around toestops (tomahawk stops in some places). SoxStar #8 of RCRG whom i recall her first night (as well as Sk8-B8’s) and she’s just the sweetest little thing on and off track. in practice I’ve seen her get clocked into a wall and she’ll hop up with a smile and race back to gain what ever track she lost. in a short time she’s picked up an astounding amount of ability. Red Waves of Pain #524 if I recalled started around late may or early June. She is a Beast on the track simply ferocious and if I had a heart I might feel sorry for her victims. But I live for the acute pain of others why else would I ref? Aside from being able to yell at girls. I could go on but I really don’t have the time to highlight all the skaters for their varied abilities that in the end make their team whole. Also I won’t call her out, so as to not be accused of preferential treatment, but she is quite capable and researches and studies teams for strengths and weaknesses like no other. If ESPN ever gets their act together she could be a commentator and wouldn’t need a stat sheet on any nationally ranked team or player.
Above all a thing to realize is that this is all volunteers. Refs, skaters and NSOs to this for the love of the game. Sure someone’ll buy another person a shirt a beer or a sticker, but everyone comes together for this sport on every level that it is played because it is simply an amazing thing to be a part of.