DF Sells Out: LA Derby Dolls Championship Bout @ the Doll Factory, 12/5/09
Prologue. Marina Del Rey CourtYard Marriott, Sandalwood Conference Room. We start in the midst of a heated tete-a-tete between Losanjealous jefe LaVerne Casagrande and mercurial writer DF.
DF: Jesus God, do I have to, LaVerne?
LC: Look, DF, our readership among the youth demographic is plummeting. All the research shows that young people want fantasy—Larry Potter, or the Middle Ages crap acne-ridden teenage misfits go for, or that unfathomably creepy vampire thing aimed at oversexed tweeny girls. We need to address this market, so we want you to write this month’s derby coverage in the style of one of those teen-fantasy genres.
DF: No way, LaVerne. That sounds retarded, and I’m not going to compromise my authorial integrity for a cheap commercial ploy.
LC: Well, what if we sweetened the deal by offering you a coupon for thirty-five cents off a Tommy’s chiliburger?
Yea, Lords and Ladies of the merrie village of Los Angeles! Let the Bard DF tell you a tale! Tis a tale of brave wheeled damsels who wage battle at yon Doll Factory. Hardy of spirit and fleet of skate, these ladies circumnavigate ye olde banked track, laughing the face of Dame Fortune (and her irascible cousin, Lady Brokenleg, who DF found to be a real bitch) in search of glory, fame, and sweet, sweet victory. Read on, and you shall hear the story of a bout so scintillating that ‘twould cause even the stoutest knight to defecate in his suit of armor, and the veil of the daintiest maiden to burst into flames and reduce her to a naught but a heap of ash.
This eve’s combatants are the Tough Cookies and the Swarm, two hordes of lusty lasses who joined battle on this field not but a fortnight ago, when the ladies from faire San Diego ventured north to vanquish their Cookie foes. The Swarm haven’t tasted the bitter herb of defeat in all their time, but the TCs still wear the crown of LADD champs from their famous defeat of the Sirens in the land of the Filipinos last year. The rematch beckons and the crowd bays lustily—harken forth, for ‘tis about to begin!
DF chugs a tankard of mead as the contest is joined. Huzzah! Several jams in, DF espies the brave warriors Sarkastika (or, tis Steely Jan? the distinction confounds DF) and Kiki Diazz as they burst forth and draw first blood for the Swarm, accruing eight points apiece despite brutal blows from Krash, Maul’r and other TC defensewomen. The Cookie jammers prove the stronger foe, helped by stout blocking to a 34-18 lead at first quarter’s end, with e’en Sniperella’s much-heralded nine-point jam eclipsed by Laguna Beyatch’s hearty ten-spot.
And lo, the piper’s whistle leads DF to exit in order to celebrate the Feast of Hot Dog on a Stick, which is typically followed by the Mortification of the GI System and the—
LC: Good mother of crap, DF, what the hell is this?
DF: I’m getting all medieval on your ass—as requested.
LC: Well, it’s terrible and makes no sense. Go with the other, the Barry Potter one.
DF: Fine. Um… Let’s see…
All right, listen good, you fucking muggles. In the workaday world of Los Angeles few people have any clue that there’s an alternate mystical universe so radical that it makes normal life look as mundane as a pile of puerile piglet poop. It’s the House of LADD, and the magic portal is right off Temple Blvd. in an old ice cream factory. Want a piece of this otherworldly shit? Well, check out the wizardry that was the second quarter:
DF hereby prophesies that this Swarm will get out of the gates fast to obliviate the Cookies’ 16-point lead, and he prophesied the shit out of that one because Kiki, Bonnie, and Steely/Sark rip off fifteen poins early on to shave the defending champs’ lead to a mere five. Then Stefcon and Gori Spelling are all like “Abracadabra, here’s ten points for the Cookies, so suck on that!” But a major penalty on the TCs sets up a pivotal moment: Sarkastika skating solo, Swarm losing but within striking distance. The Steely one escapes the pack and appears to be gearing up for another game-defining jam when Krash bludgers her into the rail, limiting the jam to four and preserving a substantial TC advantage. Then Laguna caps off the Cookies’ counteroffensive by lapping the Swarm pack twice, and when the smoke clears and the refs whistle the end of the first half, the Cookies remain in command, 55-37. And now DF will adjourn to continue chugging butterbeer.
LC: Wow, I don’t think children’s literature typically includes that much obscenity, but regardless, that was unfathomably awful. Just go with the other, the pervy teenage-vampire one.
DF: [sighs heavily]
Okay, so DF wanders outside the Factory for halftime, and sees this vampire dancing with a werewolf, and then there are like four Frankensteins all doing the twist—
LC: Wait DF, is that motif based on “Twilight” or the song “Monster Mash”?
LC: Screw it, just write the rest in DF-style.
DF: Woo hoo!
Let us now praise star blockers who can also jam their asses off. The third quarter begins with Krissy Krash, and soon after, Trish the Dish, showing off their derby polymathery, as each rack points in jamming roles. And when S.J. Sarkastika nails a nine-pointer early on, the once-substantial Cookie lead has evaporated like a polar bear’s pad in an increasingly toasty Arctic Ocean. That’s right, fellow derby lovers, it’s all even at 61 with a quarter and a half left to determine the LADD champeenship.
After two-plus years of watching derby, DF has come to a realization (which is both vanishingly rare and likely just a bunch of horseshit): it seems however much individual efforts like wicked-fast speed, or bloodthirsty hitting, or even vampy cleavage-exposure may make a flashy impact, the thing that makes a derby team successful is more a product of something much harder to identi-/quantify: team organization. The latter half of the third quarter illustrates the point, as Cookie and Swarm blocker packs alike engage in intricate, highly organized interplay that stymies—for a while at least—the nuclear point accrual that’s characterized the bout thus far. Yes, perhaps derby girls have more in common with ants and accounting firms than one would suspect: the success of each turns on fastidious, thoughtful group organization. Oh, and then Titty Titty Bang Bang flattens Sarkastika, single-handedly stopping the prolific Swarm jammer from gaining even a solitary point during a power jam, and there’s another spurious DF theory blown all to flinders.
Bullshit supposition about collective organization be damned. The facts are these: First, DF again failed to emerge victorious during the goddamned raffle (LADD ticket salesladies please note that I requested winning tickets ONLY and will be seeking a full refund next bout). And second, the Cookies lead the Swarm by ten for all the marbles with only a quarter to go. The final stanza starts with Trish and SarkastiJan continuing to rack up points for SDDD, but the Cookies keep things close, thanks to a blocker pack that prevents the Swarm from ripping off any game-breaking jams, and also to a delectable seven-pointer contributed by Sniperella.
As the quarter draws to a close, the tension nears the breaking point. Competing chants from the Swarm and Cookie faithful rock the Factory rafters. DF sways unsteadily from his perch in the media box (not leg-injury-related; just drunk as hail). Time for only a handful of jams remains, and the TCs lead by a mere eight, 92-84. And then the momentus maximus de la bout takes place. Following a major on Bo Toxic, Stefcon 1 takes full advantage of the power jam opportunity to lap the pack a lusty, non-crusty, straight-out-of-Sandusky three times. Stefcon amasses what must be a record-challenging thirteen points on her jammus mirabilis, but far more importantly for posterity’s sake, her artful dodging stretches the TC lead to a practically insurmountable 105-84. The bout is not officially over, but with only a couple minutes to go, the jello be jiggling, and soon the result becomes official: the Tough Cookies are 2009 LADD Champions, 107-91 over the heretofore undefeated Swarm.
DF departs the Doll Factory, limping (yes, still, though far less noticeably) past the track where ebullient Cookies celebrate their repeat championship, and grave Swarm skaters swallow the bitter pill of first defeat after a year of admirable domination. Please also note that this is, dear readers, the final DF adieu of this decade. One might say that ‘twas not a marvelous decade, what with the terrorism early on, and the broken leggery at the end there, and the G.W. Bush America-screwing all throughout. But neither were the ‘00s a complete loss, for they saw the re-ascendancy of roller derby throughout the U.S., and most especially in DF’s beloved Losanjealous, in the form of the unremittingly delicious and wonderful L.A. Derby Dolls. And now DF is off to celebrate the Holy Nativity in the onliest way he knows: by going on a Cointreau bender to the point of hallucination, chasing apparitions of figgy pudding through the wilds of Griffith Park, and celebrating the birth of Our Savior with a reverent alcoholic near-coma in the East Hollywood pokey. And with that, dear readers, I’ll see you in the ano nuevo, when the Sirens duke it out with the Varsity Brawlers on January 23. Pax vobiscum, mother effers.
Photos and credits:
1. This photo put DF in the mind of a cross betwixt the Bird Girl and LADD
2. Cookies studiously avoid menacing Swarm skate-out
3. Dahmer Natrix, Skatum O’Neal, and Krissy Krash reveal an endearing human side
4. Laguna Beyatch, viewed through a forest of skate-clad feet
5. KaBoom, typically understated in her expression of enthusiasm
6. Swarm fans bring it loud and proud
7. Cookies express jubilation at finally having DF present to witness their winning a championship
All photos (C) 2009 by their respective authors. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission.