Sunday, June 20, 2010

CRG's Last 2010 Home Bout

Saturday was a great day in Cincinnati for a couple reasons. Cincinnati mayor Mark Mallory declared Saturday Cincinnati Rollergirls Day! It also was a CRG bout day – the last home bout of the season for the Cincinnati Rollergirls. It was a typical double header with the CRG Silent Lambs taking on the Demolition City Roller Derby team from Evansville, Indiana in a 40 minute bout and the CRG Black Sheep taking on the Brew City Bruisers from Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a WFTDA bout. There were over 2800 fans in attendance at the Gardens, braving the heat and humidity to cheer on the CRG skaters.

Unlike all the previous CRG home bouts where I was a fan on the floor, I had a job this time. I tried my hand helping to text cast the bout for DNN along with candyKICKass, Moriarty’s Moll, and Mr. Fuchsia (a.k.a. the Kman). Candy has been doing the CRG text casts most of the season and she gave guidance to the rest of us first timers (thanks for your help!). You can read the archive of the text boutcast here as well as see the video. I had a little bit of a rocky start with some connectivity issues, but got in to the swing of things after a bit. We divided up commenting responsibilities during the evening. In both bouts I was providing comments on the pack skaters of the opposing teams. That focus really put the blinders on as far as the overall action was concerned, but it did give me a different perspective on the bout and a new appreciation for the work in the pack.

In the first bout of the evening the Silent Lambs took on the Dynamite Dolls from Demolition City. DCRD just obtained WFTDA status last week – congratulations! The teams seemed to be feeling each other out the first few jams. The defense was tough on both sides and the score was relatively low and close. After a few jams, CRG was up 22 to 16 and they held that margin through the first half where they ended up in the lead with a score of 34 to 28. There were two keys to Demolition City’s defense. Much of the time the DCRD skaters stayed together in a tight group that could often double team the CRG jammer or occasionally trap a CRG pack skater behind them to control the pack. Even a great skater has trouble advancing when being double or triple teamed. The other key was some great individual DCRD skater efforts. Probably the most impressive was Bangs McCoy, who somewhat reminded me of Blu with her stature and ability to single handedly use a wide stance and cuts to hold up an opposing jammer. In the second half things were the same until about mid way through the period. The Lambs had some penalty troubles and with the Lambs jammer in the box DCRD slowed the pack and racked up a 20 point jam to put them ahead 54 to 48. A few jams later, even with only three pack skaters at the start of the jam, they coordinated their defense and held back Bex Pistol as the DCRD jammer Lillith of the Valley put up a grand slam to jump further ahead. The DCRD pack coordination of defense was disturbed in some instances by CRG blockers (Celia Graves and Kitten Kicker had some nice hits to help), but not enough of the time. DCRD ended up on top at the final whistle with a score of 79 to 52. However, take away those couple of high point DCRD jams and the game was a toss up. The Lambs should be proud of their effort!

The second bout showcased the CRG Black Sheep (DNN rank #19) and the Brew City Bruisers (DNN rank #25) in what could be a preview to one of the final matchups at the North Central regional tournament. The Black Sheep controlled the match and held the lead the entire way. In this bout the Brew City Bruiser pack effectiveness was almost the exact opposite of DCRD in the first bout. While there are several talented Brew City blockers (notably Rejected Seoul, Killy, Moby Nipps and Cookie Ciano) that exhibited some wonderful individual efforts throughout the bout, they weren’t able to consistently coordinate their pack. They weren’t able to hang together like the DCRD pack and double team the Black Sheep jammers. The main reason for that was the disruption caused by constant attacks from the CRG pack skaters. While ALL the CRG blockers contributed to this constant barrage of Brew City pack disruption, I have to say that June with a Cleaver, Buckhead Betty, Ruff’n the Passer, and Nuk’em were especially effective at blocking to keep Brew City off balance. Without a consistent, collective blocking effort, Brew City couldn't put together a defense to slow or stop the Black Sheep scoring. All the skaters were getting a tough workout as the pack was generally skating pretty quickly. That made it rough for the jammers. The Black Sheep jammers were speedy and posted quite a few points each jam to lead by 46 at the half. Brew City wasn’t able to adjust much in the second half. The bout finished with a score of CRG 139 and Brew City 71. Congrats to the Black Sheep for posting another win!

Sadly, this was the last event of the home season for CRG. It was another great production in a fantastic venue (although some ac wouldn’t hurt). Thanks to all the CRG skaters for making this another fun season for us fans – the best yet as far as excitement and production value goes. It is thrilling to see the CRG fan base grow exponentially and feel the crowd getting into the sport. I didn’t get any photos this bout since I was text casting, but the CRG photomonkeys were both there and will undoubtedly have their usual fantastic photos on Flickr.

The Cincinnati Rollergirls still have quite a few away games ahead of them. Watch their website and catch some boutcasts on DNN if you can’t make the trips. Good luck to the Black Sheep on their road through the North Central Tournament!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

CRG vs. Gem City and the North Star Supernovas

It was a warm night in the Cincinnati Gardens on Saturday – made all that much more so by a heated bout between geographical neighbors and another by neighbors in the DNN power rankings. I didn’t hear the attendance number, but it must have been over 2000. In the first bout of the evening, the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ Silent Lambs took on the Gem City Roller Girls from Dayton in a 40 minute match. In the second bout, CRG’s Black Sheep took on the North Star Roller Girls from Minneapolis. Congratulations to CRG for coming away with two wins!

Silent Lambs vs Gem City-15The first bout between the Silent Lambs and Gem City pitted some old teammates against each other because of transfers between the Cincinnati and Dayton teams. That seemed to add a little extra tension to the bout and it translated into a lot of hard blocking in the pack. That kept the score relatively low. Notables in the blocking department were Ruff’n the Passer (her first bout coming off maternity leave) and Celia Graves (shown at right blocking Gem City Jammer Racey Rocker) for the Silent Lambs and Juwana Hurt for Gem City – but everyone in both packs was getting a workout and giving it their all. The first photo below shows Wheezy flying to the inside after taking a hit from Juwana Hurt. There was a lot of jammer rotation for the Lambs that included Pistol Whippin’ Wendy, Wheezy, Bombtrack, Hop Devil, Miss Print (second photo below), and Bex Pistol (third photo below). CRG played smart during the match – varying the pack speed, catching babies, etc. The blocking, speedy and experienced jammers, and smart play were all factors that kept the Silent Lambs in control from the start. Gem City’s Racey Rocker must have posted most of the Gem City points, but it wasn’t enough. At the half the Lambs were up 45 to 24 and after 40 minutes they won easily with a score of 112 to 53. Congrats to the Silent Lambs on another big win that was achieved by using many different skaters in a variety of different packs.

Silent Lambs vs Gem City-28

Silent Lambs vs Gem City-32

Silent Lambs vs Gem City-13

Black Sheep vs Supernovas-5In the second bout, the Black Sheep (DNN rank 19) took on the North Star Supernovas (DNN rank 24) in a WFTDA bout. CRG started out slow and the score was low and within a few points after the first few jams. That changed when Hannah Ouchocinco (skating in her first home bout following her finger injury) posted a 20 point jam to create a gap that North Star could never close. From that point on, CRG controlled the bout with hard work and smart play that was interesting to watch. It was obvious that both teams knew each other the way they were pairing jammers on the line and assigning blockers to double team where necessary to slow or stop jammers in the pack. Although the pack speed varied according to strategy, it was a pretty fast pack for most of the bout. However, with K. Lethal and Hannah back in the jammer rotation so Nuk’em could focus on blocking, the Supernovas had their hands full. The photo above and right shows Sadistic Sadie zipping around the track to score on her birthday.

By the half the Black Sheep were ahead with a score of 67 to 21. The second half was very similar to the first. It was the Black Sheep in control most of the time. That’s not to say that the Supernovas gave in by any means. They continued dishing out some hard blocks and use double teaming to make Cincinnati’s jammers work hard. But work they did to keep up about the same scoring pace as they did in the first half of the bout. The first photo below shows Hannah going around turn 4 with the Supernova skaters Roller Vixen in front and Katarina Hit behind. The second photo below shows Sk8 Crime holding the inside line to slow down Supernova jammer Medusa enough so Sk8r-Kinney could come in to give a hard block. In the end, the Black Sheep won handily with a score of 119 to 50. Congrats on a solid victory!

Black Sheep vs Supernovas-12

Black Sheep vs Supernovas-26

Black Sheep vs Supernovas-80 The bout production was very good as usual. Some friends who brought kids for their first bout of this season were impressed with the improvements compared to past years. The kids loved the chance to meet the skaters and get autographs after the bout. It’s nice that the CRG skaters take time to talk with the young kids – and the older kids like me too. After the bout we talked a bit with the Librarian. She was notably absent from the Silent Lambs lineup due to a knee injury. She was hobbling around with a sturdy brace on her knee, but she always has time to say hi and give a shush pose. Thanks, Librarian!

Black Sheep vs Supernovas-82I also had the opportunity to meet Hop Devil, one of the CRG rookies and a jammer for the Silent Lambs. She also posed for a photo with me. Finally, Dianne and I posed with Buckhead Betty and Nuk’em in this photo below taken by the Kman. Thanks to both of them!

Black Sheep vs Supernovas-89

Black Sheep vs Supernovas-84In a Rabid Derby Fan blog first, Dianne got a photo of me with one of the CRG zebras, Captain Gorgeous. You can see a more traditional photo of me and Capt. G here. All the photos I posted from the Lambs’ bout are in a Flickr set here and all the photos from the Sheep bout are in a set here.

If you haven’t been to a CRG bout, what's the matter with you!?! You better mark June 19th on your calendar as that is their last home bout of the 2010 season. After that you can follow them on the road for several bouts around the country before the North Central Regional tournament in September. Check out the CRG website for more information about their schedule as well as lots of info on upcoming matchups, events, and blog posts by skaters. The recent post by Bombtrack that gives a rookie’s perspective was very interesting. Check it out and see you at the last home bout!

Black Sheep vs Supernovas-1

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mother May I?

Last night we went to watch the 2010 home opener bout of the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls that was held at the Florence Fundome. The place was packed with fans and friends that came to watch the BBRG double header event dubbed “Mother May I?” In the first bout the BBRG Blue Lightnin’ team took on the Vette City Vixens and in the second bout the Black Thunder team took on the Quad Skate Terrors. Congratulations to the BBRG skaters on two wins for their home opener!

BBRG Mother May I?-40The first bout was a see-saw battle the whole way. Both teams were struggling to pull together a consistent, coordinated blocking effort. There were some good individual efforts, but the teams weren’t able to bottle-up the opposing jammers consistently. Both teams were getting their share of lead jammer status based primarily on speed. As a result, there were quite a few lead changes during the bout that kept the fans of both teams on edge. BBRG jammers included Beka Rekanize (shown at right), Scary Garcia, Kris P. Cream, and Honey Bunny. At the half, BBRG was up by two points.

During the second half of the first bout the scoring pace kept up, but with several minutes left in the bout BBRG was down by around 20 or so points. With a never-say-die attitude, the BBRG skaters buckled down and had a couple good jams that left them closer, but still behind the Vixens going into the last jam. The first photo below shows Kris P. Cream getting a whip to help her get around the turn and score. In the last jam the Vette City jammer was sent to the penalty box and the outcome of the bout was on BBRG jammer Honey Bunny and her teammates. BBRG slowed the pack and Honey Bunny kept up her speed to post a couple grand slams that in the end put BBRG ahead by one point when the whistle blew. The second photo below shows Honey Bunny wearing the jammer star in an earlier jam. What an exciting finish to the bout! BBRG won with a score of 164 to 163.

BBRG Mother May I?-58

BBRG Mother May I?-63

BBRG Mother May I?-106In the second bout of the evening the BBRG Black Thunder skaters took control of the bout from the start and held the lead over the Quad Skate Terror skaters (that included some BBRG Blue Lightnin’ skaters) for the entire time. It’s no secret from past posts that I’m a QST fan, but this wasn’t the iron fisted QST team we’ve seen in the past. They were struggling against the BBRG squad. The Black Thunder jammers included Pinup Pussycat (first photo below), EMolition (at right being blocked by a QST skater), Petal to the Metal (second photo below), Shelter Skelter, and Aine Ass. They were able to consistently get through the QST blockers to score and the BBRG blockers were able to slow the QST jammers and on occasion double team them to block their progress. There was a lot more blocking in this bout, but because the score gap was so wide it didn’t have the nail-biter appeal of the first bout. At the half BBRG was ahead with a score of 95 to 30 and at the end of the bout the Black Thunder won easily with a score of 167 to 64. Congrats to BBRG on the win and kudos for QST for skating hard the entire bout!

BBRG Mother May I?-99

BBRG Mother May I?-64

BBRG Mother May I?-149I didn’t hear final attendance figures, but it seemed to me that the crowd was about twice the size of the crowds at BBRG bouts I attended last year. The crowd really taxed the capacity of the Florence Fundome – a good thing for BBRG. It was standing room only and the floor suicide seating was packed for the first bout. After the bout I got to meet and talk with Honey Bunny and Dianne got a picture of us. Besides the photos shown in this post, you can see all the other photos I took during the bout in a Flickr set here. The next BBRG home bout is on June 26th when they take on the Fort Wayne Derby Girls. Check out the BBRG website for more information about tickets, times, and other events around town where you can meet the skaters.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

CRG vs. The Chicago Outfit

Last night was a rough night for the Chicago Outfit as their two teams, the Shade Brigade and the Syndicate, took on the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ Silent Lambs and Black Sheep at the Cincinnati Gardens. The Outfit is a relatively new team organized in 2007 that became a WFTDA apprentice team last September. The Outfit was no match for CRG. As expected, CRG came away with two big wins in front of their home crowd.

CRG vs. Chicago Outfit-20In the first bout the Silent Lambs took on the Shade Brigade. The Lambs were in control of the bout from the start. The CRG pack was able to contain the Shade Brigade jammers and by the 20 minute half the Lambs were ahead with a score of 53 to 8. The photo at right shows Bex Pistol, one of the Silent Lamb jammers, in the open and looking ahead to the pack. The scoring picked up on both sides during the second half but the Lambs continued to outpace the Shade Brigade scoring by about double! The photo below shows The Librarian and Maime putting the squeeze on a Shade Brigade jammer to stop her from scoring. The final score was Lambs 140 and Shade Brigade 45. An excellent showing and quite a few of the CRG rookies got to see action. Congrats to the Lambs on another solid win!

CRG vs. Chicago Outfit-15

CRG vs. Chicago Outfit-75The second bout, a full hour, unfortunately was a repeat of the first bout for The Outfit. The Black Sheep were in control from the start and the solid CRG blocking and smart play slowed the Syndicate scoring. The Syndicate skaters Lola Blow and Sweet Mary Pain led the Syndicate jammers, but there wasn’t enough depth yet in their team to keep up the scoring. The CRG blocking was just too tough for the Syndicate to handle. There were occasions where Syndicate blockers double teamed the CRG jammers to slow them down a bit, but they couldn’t keep that up and the Black Sheep jammers were scoring easily. The depth of the CRG team was illustrated by having Trauma and Dr. McDerby step in to the jammer rotation. The photo at right shows Trauma wearing the star, smiling as she skates past the Trauma Center cheering section. At the end of the first period, the Black Sheep had opened up a sizeable lead and the bout ended with CRG winning 141 to 86. The first photo below shows Sadie rounding the turn at full speed. The second photo shows Nuk'em going shoulder to shoulder with Lola Blow.

CRG vs. Chicago Outfit-26

CRG vs. Chicago Outfit-64

CRG vs. Chicago Outfit-93Once again the Queen City Rainbow Band was there to play during the bout and the Wooly Bully was having a ball. During the bout I was up in the stands talking with some friends and I have to say the sound is much better in the stands. Caesar and The Tank are much easier to hear up there and they really do a great job explaining the action for folks new to derby bouts. After the bout Dianne got photos of me with Bombtrack (at right) and Captain Painway (below right) – both skaters for the Silent Lambs. Thanks to both of them for taking time for a photo. Check out the usual blogs and photo sources for other opinions on the bout. With the attendance explosion, there are a lot of things to read and photos to peruse. You can see the rest of my photos in my Flickr pool here.

CRG vs. Chicago Outfit-95The next bout should be a bit more exciting as the North Star Roller Girls from Minneapolis make the trip to the Gardens on May 28th. In the latest DNN Power rankings, CRG is #19 and NSRG is #24. CRG will face a bit more competition from that match up, but I'm confident they'll come out on top. Catch the derby fever and cheer on CRG at the next bout!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cincinnati Versus Arch Rival

Last night we went to see two roller derby bouts at the Cincinnati Gardens where the Cincinnati Rollergirls hosted the Arch Rival Rollergirls from St. Louis. It was another great derby crowd that packed the Gardens – most of them cheering on Cincinnati, but a few St. Louis fans made the trip as well. In the first bout the CRG Silent Lambs lost to the Arch Rival St. Lunachix by a score of 39 to 89. In the second bout, the CRG Black Sheep took on the Arch Rival All Stars and beat them handily by a score of 134 to 68.

CRG vs. ARRG-2The Silent Lambs had a slow start against the Lunachix. The Lamb jammers struggled against the Lunachix blockers. The Lambs weren’t able to control the pack like they did in their first home bout. There was a lot of good blocking though – notably Mirderher and Celia Graves were on their game. Wheezy seemed to have the best luck jamming for CRG. However, she was no match for the Lunachix’s The Seige who posted quite a few points in the bout. The photo at right shows Pistol Whippin’ Wendy taking a hard block from one of the Lunachix. At the half, the Lambs were down with a score of 19 to 43. The battle continued the same way in the second period – each team scoring about the same. I really don’t think the final score reflected the effort put forth by the Lambs. The photo below shows Cherry Choke and Maime closing a hole to shut down the Lunachix jammer. Although a win would have been nice, all the Sheep have to be proud of their effort.

CRG vs. ARRG-8

CRG vs. ARRG-34Things really came together for the Black Sheep in their bout against the Arch Rival All Stars. They seemed like a different team than the one that skated against San Diego a few weeks ago. They took control of the bout from the beginning and really focused on getting points on the board. Everyone was working together very well and the Black Sheep blocking was tough! Did the team just get back from blocking school? There were a lot of hard hits, especially in the second period. Even better, there were very few major penalties in the first period and not many in the second. The solid blocking made it very hard for the Arch Rival jammers and their scoring was minimal. The photo below this paragraph shows Karma Krash and Dr. McDerby sending the Arch Rival jammer to the concrete. The usual CRG jammer rotation was very effective. The photo at right shows K. Lethal getting a little help from Sk8 Crime to zip around the turn. At the half, the Sheep were ahead with a score of 90 to 17! In the second period, Arch Rival did adjust to pick up the scoring pace (51 points) and the CRG scoring slowed a bit (44). Still, CRG was generally in control of the bout and there was no way Arch Rival could have stopped the Black Sheep team skating on Saturday. It was a pleasure to watch – except when Hannah Ouchocinco took a tumble that resulted in an injured finger and three stitches on the chin. Now Hannah and June will be chin twins.

CRG vs. ARRG-61

CRG vs. ARRG-68CRG continues their effort to keep the production quality of the bouts high too. Last Saturday the Queen City Rainbow Band was there to play during the bout and at the break. I enjoyed hearing them playing from the stands. This bout was also the debut of Wooly Bully – the CRG mascot. Dianne got a photo of me with Wooly Bully after the bout. Wooly was running around all night trying to perk up the crowd.

Dianne also got a photo of me with Celia Graves. Thanks to Celia for taking the time to chat and pose for a photo. You can see the rest of my bout photos in my Flickr pool here. CRG vs. ARRG-67

With the increase in attendance, there is also an increase in bout coverage. Besides the Roller Derby Diva Blog, check out the new CRG web site that has lots of news and blog type entries. Captain Painway, another CRG has a good blog called Like it Derby. Bob Schwartz was there and always has good entries about the CRG bouts. And don’t forget to check out Jason's and Jeff’s photos on Flickr. I know there are lots of others as my Google notifications for Cincinnati roller derby are prolific lately.

If you missed the bout (are you crazy?!?) you can catch it on ustream. Better yet, catch the next CRG home bout in person on May 8th. See you there!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

CRG's First 2010 Home Bout

Saturday night ended the off-season roller derby drought in the area when the Cincinnati Rollergirls hosted their first home event of 2010. It was an exciting night in the Cincinnati Gardens with a huge crowd of 3000+ derby fans cheering on the CRG skaters! In the first bout of the evening, the Silent Lambs took on the Circle City Socialites from Indianapolis. The Lambs won easily with a final score of 112 to 30. In the second bout, the Black Sheep lost to the San Diego Derby Dolls with a final score of 108 to 129.

Silent Lambs vs. Circle City Socialites-18The Silent Lambs had a great 2010 debut against the Socialites. The Lambs clearly outclassed their opponents and were in control of the match after the first few minutes. The team was a mix of experienced CRG skaters, rookies, and experienced rookies that transferred to CRG. The Lambs obviously have been working hard as the group functioned very well as a team. They listened to each other and watched for input from the bench (Pale Rider and Ruff’n the Passer) to make some very smart plays throughout the bout. The Lambs effectively slowed the pace, made the pack fast, trapped opposing blockers, and shut down jammers at various times to keep the Socialites off balance. It was fun to watch. On the jamming side, Wheezy (see photo below) was on fire for the Lambs! She used her blockers effectively and was able to find her way through the pack easily. Bex Pistol, Miss Print, Pistol Whippin’ Wendy, Glamour Azz, and Celia Graves also wore the jammer star. On the blocking side, Geez Louise was in there as usual doing her thing. Other notables included Mirderher, Envy Miyoni, and rookie Kitten Kicker who dished out a couple hard blocks. Congrats to all the Lambs on a solid, well played bout. The downside to the bout was the injury to Shirley Temptya with less than a second to go in the bout – a bout that marked her return after being out last season with a leg injury. Get well soon, Shirley!

Silent Lambs vs. Circle City Socialites

Black Sheep vs. SD Derby Dolls-26The Black Sheep struggled a bit during their bout against the SD Derby Dolls. Near the end of the first half the Sheep were lagging behind a bit until Nuk’em came through with a 15 point jam to bring the score close. At the half CRG was ahead 72 to 61. Blocking was tough on both sides, but the Derby Dolls had clean, focused blocking that slowed the CRG jammers when their teammates couldn’t break up the coordinated blockers. K. Lethal, Hannah Ouchocinco, Sadistic Sadie (at right), and Nuk’em all wore the jammer star for the Black Sheep. The Derby Dolls also had some good jammers – especially Bonnie D. Stroir.

The second half was a see-saw battle except for the last few minutes when penalties, especially jammer penalties, really hurt the Black Sheep. Without that penalty trouble, I think the outcome would have been different. Blocking was tough on both sides. Black Sheep vs. SD Derby Dolls-3The photo at right shows a couple of the Derby Dolls about to hit Hannah. The photo below shows June With a Cleaver and Sk8 Crime blocking a Derby Doll jammer.

One thing I didn’t understand about the Black Sheep strategy was what I call the jammer/jammer cat and mouse game. I realize that jostling with the opposing jammer to get them to do something stupid may make the opposing jammer ineligible from becoming lead jammer. But if you can’t do that quickly, you eat up a lot of time when you should be scoring to regain the lead or solidify your lead. CRG has enough speedy jammers, and smart jammers, to outskate and outscore their opponents. To me that is just as exciting as the cat/mouse action.

Black Sheep vs. SD Derby Dolls-29

Black Sheep vs. SD Derby Dolls-40The event production was very good as usual. Unfortunately the sound in the Gardens isn’t good – at least the folks in the flock section were having a hard time understanding anything that Tank and Caesar were saying. That may have also been caused by the noise from the crowd. It was great to see the stands of the Gardens being filled almost to the roof with derby fans!! I hope the spectator growth continues.

As usual, the skaters took time to greet fans and sign autographs after the bout. Dianne got pictures of me with Wheezy (at right) and Pistol Whippin’ Wendy (below). Thanks to both of you for taking time for a photo. You can see all my photos from the Lambs bout here and from the Sheep bout here. Don't forget to check out the team photographers Flickr sites: Photomonkey Uno and Photomonkey Dos for some excellent photos. For more info on the team, check out the revamped Cincinnati Rollergirl website.

Black Sheep vs. SD Derby Dolls-39The next CRG home bout is only a few weeks away – April 17th when they take on the gals from St. Louis. This should be another exciting match up as Arch Rival will be looking for revenge following their loss to CRG in the North Central tournament last Fall in St. Paul. Be there to cheer on the Sheep and Lambs! Be a part of the Flock!