The OCRG: Traffic Jammers v. Orange Whips @ Anaheim Convention Ctr Arena, 5/7/2011


6.13pm. May 7, 2011. Along the 5, just south of the Losanjealous/OC border. DF may be a denizen of Losanjealous, but this does not mean he does not also love its feisty little brother to the south, good old Orange County. Why, OC has the perfect political climate for my radical conservative views; I once made Ayn Rand cry by calling her an “effeminate pinko” at a meeting of the John Birch Society down in Tustin. Way back in the ‘60s, the Laguna Beach “Greeter” beat me in 376 consecutive games of tic-tac-toe. When I get hungry, nothing quells my macho appetite like eating pound after pound of healthful sand straight off the Huntington Beach dunes. And what better way to show of my new, ultra-sexy breast implants and collagen-distended lips than strolling among the quality down at Fashion Island or South Coast Plaza?

But despite the beachy vibe and opulent splendor, something’s always seemed to be missing in OC. Let’s see… It’s not gated communities, or ersatz versions of Swiss Alpine peaks, or Humvees… I know! It’s banked-track roller derby. Indeed, it’s been nigh-on thirty years since derbyists contested a banked bout behind the Orange Curtain, but that’s all going to change, because tonight, for the first time in however many decades “thirty” comprises, the OC Rollergirls are bringing the banked track back, live and in full-contact, no-holds-barred style.

6.37pm. Anaheim, CA. Well, there is only one first time for getting to view a new derby venue, and DF’s eyes are devirginized upon walking into the Anaheim Convention Center Arena (ACCA), for there beckons the promised banked track in all its glory. When I first entered the Doll Factory, I wept. Tonight, upon first entering the ACCA and regarding the track in all its bankedness, I wept—in my pants. Damned incontinence. Should have worn those adult Depends undergarments (excuse: the local Rite-Aid was out of Depends in size XXXXXXXXXL).

6.56pm. Ahem. Some time later, DF re-enters the arena wearing one of his new pairs of pants (NB: I always include many backups). After this unfortunate delay, first jam’s nearly at hand, so let’s set the scene. The OC Rollergirls have subdivided themselves into two squads for their big banked-track debut: the Orange Whips (which reminds DF of unfathomably delicious Orange Julius—whatever happened to those?), and the Traffic Jammers (which reminds DF of unfathomably tedious traffic, obv.). Each side features a familiar face from the LA Derby Dolls—the Whips have former Tough Cookie Krissy Krash on their side, while the Jammers are anchored by former Siren PITA. Enough stage-settery. Let’s do this!

7.16pm. The first jam is off amid the lights and din of the ACCA, which really has a classic 70s concrete-spaceship vibe, and first blood goes to the TJs (idea for Traffic Jammers: in light of this abbreviation, it’s a cinch to get Trader Joe’s to sponsor you—just sayin’). The first early and way-impactful jam comes thanks to the fleet quad-skates of the Traffic Jammer’s Jabberwocky, who rocks a ten-pointer early on, and adds another eight points in a late-quarter jam. By the end of the high-as-hell-scoring first stanza, the Traffic Jammers lead the Orange Whips, 40-28.

7.40pm. Q: what’s better, being beaten mercilessly with an orange-colored bullwhip or sitting in the legendary “Orange Crush” traffic jam where where the 5/57/91 meet? Ponder that later, folks, the second quarter’s on, and the Orange Whips’ offense kicks into high gear right from the outset. Miss Vicious Applelicious starts matters with a fierce and fast five-point jam to open the quarter, and soon after, Indian Burn slips through the Jammers’ blockers (confusing but accurate, trust me), and the Orange Whips are within just a scant couple points of the TJs. PITA and the hilariously named Skatie Gaga fight back for the Jammers, earning a narrow 56-54 lead late in the half, but then the Orange Whips find a higher gear. Miss Vicious racks eight points in a single jam, and Krissy Krash follows soon after with four. By half’s end, the OWs (possible sponsor, ladies, given your abbreviation—Band-Aids?) have regained the momentum and, more importantly, the lead, 69-60.

8.01pm. Halftime beckons amid the dulcet tones of Dub 8, and as a strapping young buck [DF, you are none of those things—ed.] in lovely downtown Anaheim, the pulsing center of OC, there are literally billions of tempting ways to spend the interim. Perhaps I’ll pop over to Yorba Linda to visit the Nixon Library? Nah, I get too emotional when I go there. Last time I went the security guards kicked me out when my nostalgic sobbing over the premature demise of Tricky Dick freaked out the other patrons. Or maybe I’ll head across the street to Disneyland to finish off my ongoing argument with Goofy? That doofus thinks that redistributionist subsidies to Ghanaian rice farmers have the capacity to spur long-term sustainable growth in the West African economy. What a jerk. I could also just cruise along the majestic toll roads of the inland OC, stopping to pay exorbitant fees every mile or so, and engaging tollbooth operators with my trademark witty banter and hilarious imitations of bodily noises.

8.15pm. So many OC-ian options to ruminate on, but which one to– Wait! While deep in the throes of rumination, I failed to ruminate about timing, because now the damned second half has started! I run back into the arena, panicked and sweating (which is, to be honest, pretty much par for the old course), and find Orange Whip in the midst of a four-point jam that pushes her team’s lead over the Traffic Jammers to a robust 84-63 (see what happens when you get lost in rumination? Lesson is—never ruminate!). And as the Whips’s jammers (not to be confused with the Traffic Jammers’ jammers) continue to steadily add to their lead, let us not forget to note the Whips’ blockers absolute lockdown performance in the third quarter—they limit the TJ jammers to a miserly eight points from first to final whistle. Near the end of the third, former LADD stars and current captains Krissy Krash and PITA face off in a classic jam, and after a slow, cagey start, Krissy bursts through the TJ pack to rack four points, leading her side to a 99-68 lead with only a quarter to go.

8.39pm. With the Orange Whips apparently well in control of the outcome, DF spends the outset of the fourth and final stanza downing bag after bag of the free, delicious PopChips that are continually thrown at the crowd, and washing it down with swig after swig of Sailor Jerry spiced rum. Truly, it’s an epic taste treat, though one that will later wreak such havoc on my poor overstressed GI system that it will threaten the structural integrity of the entire Orange County sewer system. And then, as the bout has almost breathed its last, Traffic Jammer jammer Hell Toro throws down a ten-point jam to cut the Whips’ lead to 124-103. Then Jabberwocky repeats the feat, and just like that the Jammers are within a non-totally-insurmountable 11 points of the Whips, 124-113 with a single jam to go. Could this mean a dramatic comeback is in the offing? Could the Traffic Jammers erase a 30+ point lead in a mere three jams? COULD THIS BE THE GREATEST END TO A BOUT IN THE HISTORY OF BANKED-TRACK ROLLER DERBY?!?!?!?!?

8.50pm. Well, long story short, no—the Traffic Jammer comeback falls just a bit short, and the Whips emerge victorious by 124-113. But still, twas a glorious moment of rebirth. Like Lazarus rising from the grave, or the time DF regained the title of Inland Empire Belching Champion after all those years of frustration, the OC Rollergirls have pulled off something miraculous. For where once there was no banked-track roller derby, now there is. Believe it, y’all, I’ve seen it and it is realer and radder than a mo-fo. And while you may be flagellating yourself for not taking the time to trek down to Anaheim to lay your own personal eyeballs on this phenomenon, there is still time to rectify this error. You can check OCRG in either their flat-track or banked-track incarnations in the very next month. Flat-track action goes down in Huntington Beach on May 21. And the banked track will next grace the ACCA on June 4. Get your tixes here, party people, and much em-effing roller derby love to all, whether ye be behind the Orange Curtain or not.

Laudatory and blasphemic comments welcome at df at losanjealous dot com. DF is on Twitter, though it’s not entirely clear why.

Photo (C) 2010 by Keith May. All rights reserved. Used with permission from OCRG.