Think Globally, Bout Locally: LADD Aftershockers v. Arizona Derby Dames @ the Doll Factory, 5/12/10
As a man of wisdom and years, DF is asked a lot of questions. Some are philosophical: “If God is everywhere, is he in the toilet?” Others are worshipful and sycophantic: “How does it feel to be the world record holder for most public urination arrests?” Of late, though, the number one question posed to DF—primarily by flummoxed parole officers and various alimony-seeking ex-spouses—is “Where the hell have you been?”
Well, the answer to this is simple: DF has joined the jet set, dear readers. This is an elite crowd of moneyed folk who need not get their hands dirty in the workaday world. We jet-setters travel to far-off destinations so exotic and delicious it would make the head of an average Joe explode, final-scene-in-Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-style, just to look at them. Snowboarding in Fiji. Hitting the beach in Turkmenistan. Inhaling volcano dust in Iceland. Flipping off those America-hating Limeys in France. It’s nice.
So why has DF interrupted his world travels to come back to Losanjealous? What could be compelling enough to cause him to pull out of that haggis-eating contest in Aberdeen? Sheeit, you-all know the answer: It’s roller derby, of course, and in specific the bout twixt the LA Derby Dolls’ Aftershockers and the Arizona Derby Dames. For those of you not in the know, the Aftershockers are LADD’s second-line all-star squad, and their opponents from the Grand Canyon State are one of a small but growing number of banked-track specialists. To wit, AZDD was founded in 2005, but this season represents their first foray into banked-track competition. Will the upstarts be able to topple the banked-track vets? Will LA’s experience carry the day? Will Arizona manage to pull a dramatic upset? Yikes, take a valium, rhetorical questions. All answers will be revealed below the fold.
DF settles in for the match with appropriately cosmopolitan beverage (Tecate beer imported all the way from Long Beach!) and chow (hot dog made with macerated lips and anuses of Canadian pigs!). Countless whistles sound, and the jammers are off. Early action is spirited but tentative, as the two relatively unfamiliar foes get a feel for the bout and for each other. The first quarter breakthrough comes in the fifth jam, thanks to Raven Seaward, who laps the pack twice to tally nine points and open up a 20-4 lead for the Aftershockers. This opens the floodgates, and Vik Timizer, Judy “June” Gloom, Raven again, and then Mickispeedia all deliver scoring jams while the Aftershocker pack holds AZDD scoreless. As the quarter ends, Vulvarine gets into the action with a six-pointer, and the rout is on at the early interval, 48-10 LA.
The 38-point deficit is substantial but not insurmountable, but things only get steeper for Arizona when Raven Seaward continues her blistering run of form with another ten-point jam to open the second quarter. AZDD’s Ellie Mayhem and Goody Goody Blooddrop contribute four-point jams each to get their side on the board, but LA’s blocker pack, led by veterans and co-captains Trixie Biscuit and Suzy Snakeeyes, put a lid on the Derby Dames’ comeback attempts. LA’s momentum is well-nigh unstoppable, and the Aftershockers crank up the lead throughout the second stanza, stretching their margin to 85-24 by the end of the half. Raven Seaward, eventually to emerge as the bout’s top jammer, has 37 of LA’s total at the halfway mark.
Woof. It was a fast and furious first half, with more points at the halfway mark than we’ve seen in entire bouts. Hey, readers, here’s a fun way to pass the halftime break. DF needs a theme song for his travels this summer. Something that epitomizes his devil-may-care rootless insouciance, something that …. Okay, yes, there’s a suggestion over there. What!?!?! “It’s Raining Men”? Very funny. Let’s take another suggestion, a serious one preferably. Yes? What’s that? Sir, “It’s Raining Men” has already been suggested. Oh, nice. Real mature. Anyone want to suggest a song other than “It’s Raining Men”? No? No one? All right, fine. Suggestion box is closed. Let’s just focus on the second half.
The third quarter starts, and at this point the bout’s outcome (boutcome?) is more or less a foregone conclusion. But to their credit, AZ does not throw in the towel. Ellie and Goody contribute five-point jams, as does Vanessa Velocity, and the Aftershockers more or less fight LA to a standstill in the quarter. LA still has a comfortable 114-50 lead by the end of the third, but Arizona has mostly stopped the bleeding, and the scoring in the quarter is relatively even (LA 29, AZ 26).
Hey, Paparazzi, get a load of this—there are celebs in the hiz-ouse (or, perhaps more accurately, Fiz-actory)! A rumor circulates that Elvis Costello has been sighted in the Factory, and that he even contributed to the cause by buying some goodies at the vendor village. I hope whatever he purchased causes him to get happy. Hey, at least he didn’t stay home and listen to the bout on the radio, radio. Warning: this information be independently confirmed because DF was so inebriated at this point in the evening that he could not stand up for falling down. But wait, there’s more! Beloved geek-chic icon and man-of-cyberletters Wil Wheaton also puts in an appearance at the bout, and afterward entertainingly described his first experience with derby here.
So the final quartile is upon us, and while it’s mostly pro forma, it still supplies lots of delicious derby action. Both teams still give 100% (and DF will not say “gave 110%” because it’s both theoretically impossible and an irritating sports cliché). Ryder Hard and Judy Gloom produce ten- and nine-point jams, respectively, as LA keeps the pressure on. Vanessa Velocity made a major impact for AZDD both as blocker and jammer, but finds herself on the dark side of the refs late in the quarter and is ejected to raucous cheers from the LA crowd. As matters wind to a close, Lucky D’Irish throws down a five-pointer to put a flourish on the Aftershockers’ emphatic 157-64 victory.
And with that, DF and LADD will scatter to the four winds, at least for now. DF will be departing for places known and unknown, from the lush, untrammeled wilds of industrial northern Poland to the skyscrapers and urban sophistication of the inner Amazon Basin. There may be a side-journey to Chad, because it’s named after both the little bitlets that hang off of voting ballots as well as the captain of a high-school swim team. And finally, DF may trek to Antarctica. That’s right, fuckin’ Antarctica, and if the penguins have a problem with that, they know where to find me.
For their part, the lovely and talented LA Derby Dolls will be on a much-awaited and richly deserved hiatus, and will not be reconvening for league action until August 28, when the Sirens will face off against the league leaders and two-time defending champeens, the Tough Cookies. And in the very likely event that the prospect of two-plus months without derby sends you into paroxysms of loss and despair, fear not (or at least, fear marginally less). One of the great annual derby events is coming up relatively soon. It’s the 3d Annual Battle on the Bank, and it’ll be going down June 25-27 in San Diego. As you may have read, it’s a truly awesome multi-day spectacular spectacular of derby with teams from around the country facing off for banked-track supremacy. And with that, DF hears a familiar sound: it’s the highway a-callin’ me. Gotta move on. Happy hiatus, y’all. Now it’s time to hit that old dusty trail.
Photos and credits:
1. Frankie Fitz’ helmet sends an important message about non-nonviolent resistance
2. Top-scoring jammer Raven Seaward passes yet another AZDD blocker
3. AZDD guest coach Tara Armov subtly and demurely comments on proceedings
4. Hey, this isn’t dangle derby! Oh wait, that’s Skatum O’Neal cleverly disguised as Snidely Whiplash
5. Range of reax written rather adorably on the faces of AZDD skaters
6. Post-bout, unity and goodwill reigns, and all was right with the banked-track world
Photos #1-3 and 5 by Charlie “Shutterthug” Chu; photos #4 and #6 by Stalkerazzi.
All photos (C) 2010 by their respective authors. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission.
Per usual, if you have a beef with any of the above or want to spread some love DF’s way, you can contact him at df at losanjealous dot com. And if you like irascible, incoherent idiolala, you’ve just got to follow DF on twitter too.