East Coast/West Coast Throwdown: LA Ri-ettes v. Gotham Girls All-stars @ the Doll Factory, 2/26/2011
June 12, 1972
A young, optimistic DF arrives, bright-eyed and hopeful, for his first visit to New York City. But immediately after alighting at Port Authority, he inadvertently jaywalks across Fifth Avenue and is retaliatorily kneed in the crotch by an outraged Bella Abzug. Hoping to dull the pain with a local delicacy, he purchases pepperoni pizza from a street vendor, only to have aforementioned piping-hot pizza permanently scorch off 78% of his taste buds. DF then seeks respite and/or succor on a peaceful bench in Central Park, but is set upon by a gang of rogue pigeons, who mug him and torment him with ceaseless coo-ing. These attempts to panhandle for bus fare the hell out of NYC cause DF to get arrested (and, astonishingly, re-kneed in the crotch by Bella Abzug), and eventually land him in Rikers Island for a solid three weeks.
Yeah, it didn’t go well. Since his ill-fated journey, a broken and morose DF has stayed far away from the NYC, but has long hoped to get revenge on his nemesis city. And tonight, the LA Derby Dolls have taken it upon themselves to avenge DF’s ill-treatment by the Big Apple by taking on New York’s Gotham Girls in a DF-inspired grudge match–
[DF, remember our discussion about utterly making shit up? And our little chat about libel? —ed.] Oh, all right, here’s the real story: the LA Derby Dolls have, in fact, thrown down the gauntlet vis-à-vis New York’s Gotham Girls in a cross-country battle royale, ’tis true. But the connection with DF’s dismal history with NY is a mere coincidence. Rather, ’twill be a contest for derby supremacy on many levels: East Coast v. West Coast. Flat track v. banked track. Biggie v. Tupac. Son of Sam v. Night Stalker. Jay-Z v. Katy Perry. Gritty realism v. sunny optimism. False dichotomies versus … ah, shit, let’s just check the bout.
Well, you probably think that because the Gotham Gals are a flat-track squad getting their first taste of the banked track, they’re going to start off slow. WELL HOW THE FUCK IGNORANT CAN YOU GODDAMN BE!?!?!? Ahem, sorry, that’s the olde Tourette’s talking. DF should have said, “Any such doubts are immediately about the Gotham Girls’ capacity to transition smoothly to a challenging new surface are put to rest in the first few jams.” Viz., Bonnie Thunders busts out like she was born at a 15% angle, and it’s immediately clear that Cheap Skate’s no slouch on the bank either. After the first handful of jams, it appears that the GGs might actually have the edge.
But to intimations of a Nuyorican rout, Raven Seaward’s all like “fuhgetaboutit,” and regains LA supremacy with a momentum- and lead-grabbing 10-point jam. And for the rest of the quarter, the Ri-ette pack does its best imitation of a bouncer at Studio 54, shutting down the GG jammers without too much damage. NY’s Fisti Cuffs closes the gap a bit in the stanza’s final jam, but at the first interval, LA’s looking like the ’27 Yankees, well ahead of Gotham by 35-15.
In the second quarter, LA hits their stride. A little Chargin’ Tina over here, a little Long Island Lolita over there, a dash of Laguna Beyatch, and bada bing bada boom, the Ri-ettes are ahead by 24 midway through the second stanza. As the half winds down, Mickispeedia racks a seven-pointer and it appears that LA’s well in command. But Cheap Skate has other ideas, taking advantage of a last-second power jam to rack a bout-high fifteen points and erase LA’s hard-earned margin in a mere sixty seconds. Her monster jam changes the complexion of the bout more than Giuliani’s implementation of the broken-windows approach to crime control in the ’90s changed perceptions of New York’s liveability and … well, point being, LA’s up by only 63-56 going into the half.
You know, despite my bad associations with the Big Apple, I must say, it’s been such a lovely bout so far, and those Gotham Girls seem all right. Maybe DF wrote off New York too quickly. After all, there are so many things to see and do and have done to you. Governor’s Island. Fourth Avenue. The Weehauken Expressway. “Hell’s Kitchen” sounds as inviting as “Seecaucus” does hilarious. And it’s all just a stone’s throw from Newark! New York, perhaps I prematurely dismissed you based only on one series of hideous scarring traumas.
But enough apostrophe!* Tis time to revisit this ongoing geographic tussle extraordinaire. First second-half blood goes to the West Coast, as Long Island Lolita (someone ironically, given her, and her name’s, East-Coast provenance) nets a leadoff five-point jam. Bonnie Thunders counters back convincingly, lapping the pack twice to rack seven and place things in a dead heat. For a few tantalizing bouts, the visitors manage to eke out a five-point lead, and the tables appear to have turned as do the neap tides on Staten Island’s southeasterly shore (look it up, y’all). But every bout has a turning point, and this time it’s brought to you by Chargin’ Tina who strides through the opposing pack like a Wall Street investment bank through securities and ethics regulations, accumulating nine big ones, and putting the Ri-ettes back in the lead by a slim 82-78 and—equally important—squelching Gotham’s nascent momentum.
At the outset of the final quartile, ‘tis still anyone’s bout to play for, with LA holding a 94-83 advantage, but the Ri-ettes dig deeper than the transcendentalist lyrics of NY fave son Walt Whitman. In rapid succession, Tina, Lolita, Laguna and Raven each rack monster jams, extending the LA lead to an 112-83 that Gotham will prove unable to surmount. Late on, the refs ding Iron Maiven for penalty accumulation, but by then the full-figured dame’s singing a Wagner aria at the Metropolitan Opera. When the bout’s final jam rolls around, the result is a foregone conclusion, but this doesn’t stop Bonnie Thunders from wowing the throng with a typically gutsy jam, as matters come to a conclusion with LA on top, 132-103.
It’s said, dear readers, that the west coast is the best coast. And like any sentence that rhymes, this is indubitably true. The LA Ri-ettes prove the point tonight, vanquishing Gotham, albeit at their home venue, on their native surface. But even DF’s longstanding (and you have to admit, kinda well-justified) resistance to all things Nuyorican cannot overcome real admiration for the Gotham Gals, who had just about twenty-four hours to practice on the banked track and still managed to put Angeleno hearts in throats after grabbing a late lead and forcing the Ri-ettes to skate their asses off to earn the win. But the important thing was that we all got to witness in person this historic event in the history of national roller derby. Right? Right.
Wait, what? No, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Say that again. SAY THAT ONE MORE GOD-DAMNED TIME. You missed the bout? You missed the East Coast/West Coast throwdown extraordinaire for all the ages? What the hell?!?! Just what the– OK, I’m calm now, and you know what? You got lucky, homie. Because there’s actually a way to make up for it this very weekend, you see. There’s more all-star action and regional rivalry (albeit of the North/South variety) as the LA Derby Doll All-Stars (“Doll-stars,” perhaps? Oh wait, totally not) face off against the San Diego Derby Dolls for intraleague bragging rights this very forthcoming weekend, Sat March 5. Rumor has it that each side will be sprinkled with a liberal dose of all-star skaters from around the derby nation to add spice to the proceedings. Tixes available here, y’all. See you at the Doll Fac. Now DF’s got a flight to catch to LaGuardia, and a score to settle with Bella Abzug.**
*Apostrophe is a literary term referring to addressing an inanimate object, whether it’s a city like NY or a portrait of James Buchanan with which you have an ongoing, robust debate about the wisdom of the Gadsden Purchase.
**This may not be possible since I’ve just been informed by the internets that Ms. Abzug is no longer with us. Looks like DF will have to wait til the afterlife to avenge all those groin-kickings.
Comments and commendations, execration and exaltation welcome at df at losanjealous dot com. On the increasingly rare occasions that DF remembers to do so, he tweets. Don’t believe? ARE YOU CALLING ME A FUCKIN’ LIAR??? Well if so, tell me: @theDF.
Photos and credits:
1. This photo is in black and white, hence it’s classy. It’s also confusing, as Maiven and Hyper Lynx appear to be skating in opposite directions.
2. Bonnie Thunders, calm and poised before the jam, much as tropical climes are often at their most peaceful right before a hurricane strikes with great vengeance and furious anger.
3. Cheap Skate is a derby polyglot, speaking banked and flat track with equivalent fluency.
4. Mickispeedia battles in the pack, and presumably also manages to tweet about it simultaneously somehow.
5. Raven odalisque: you can afford to recline with insouciance on the banked track when you’ve skated like a mo-fo and secured sure victory for your team.
Photos #1 & 5 by Snap Shock; photo #2 by Mia More; photos #3-4 by Sir Clicks-a-Lot. (C) 2011 by LA Derby Dolls. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission.