Friday, June 17, 2011

No More 4 Ewe

I haven’t been blogging about all my derby activities this year.  One reason is I’m a slug.  Also, I’ve been volunteering as one of the textcasters for the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ home bouts this season.  You can read some comments from the bout in the DNN bout archives.  Because of that I haven’t been posting here on CRG bouts this year even though I’ve been to them all (in fact, all home bouts since the first Super Roll Sunday).

I want to get a quick post out before the last CRG home bout of the season tomorrow night.  If you haven’t caught a CRG event at the Cincinnati Gardens yet this year, be sure to attend tomorrow night.  CRG had an ambitious schedule this year that has brought some very good teams to the Gardens.  This has resulted in some exciting derby action for the home town fans!  Although CRG hasn’t won these events as judged by the final score, I think they have won in terms of their performance.  For the most part CRG has hung in there and kept things close against tough competition.  Even against the Windy City Rollers, who are #1 in the North Central region and undefeated against North Central opponents, the two teams were neck and neck for most all of the first period!  While some might not agree with DNN ranking criteria, it’s this type of effort that helped CRG move up the rankings a bit in the last update.

The main reason to post though is that tomorrow night will be the last home bout for four Cincinnati skaters: Hop Devil, Miss Print, Sk8 Crime, and Trauma.  Hop Devil has been a wonderful surprise for the team these last couple years.  She is a solid jammer with good speed and intuition.  I hope we’ll see her on the track in the future – although sadly not for CRG.  Miss Print is one of the original CRG skaters that has had an impact both on and off the track.  And when I say off the track, I’m thinking both for CRG and also for derby in general through her blog and media presence.  Fortunately, she’ll continue to be involved with CRG.  Sk8 Crime is another original CRG skater and one that I gave some pretty harsh comments early on.  Boy was I wrong!  She is a skater who is talented on the track and also someone who uses her passion and leadership to help the team a lot off the track as well.  Finally, Trauma has been a strong, versatile part of the team since she started (I think in 2008).  She can block with the best of them and has the speed to step in as a jammer.

I’ll miss seeing all of them skating regularly for CRG!  Thanks for giving us some great derby memories starting way back at Castle Skateland and carrying through to today at the Cincinnati Gardens.  I wish all of you all the best in the future!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gem City vs. Killamazoo -- 2011 Home Opener

Last Saturday night I went to Dayton along with Penal Eyes and Stabby McNeedles for the Gem City Rollergirls’ 2011 home opener at the Orbit Fun Center in Huber Heights.  Gem City was hosting the Killamazoo Derby Darlins for the bout.  I took photos for Gem City and Penal Eyes and Stabby were helping with NSO duties.  The venue was packed – standing room only off of the floor.
Gem City vs. Killamazoo-70
A little photo diversion -- This was my first big photo event using radio flash triggers (Pocketwizards) to control off camera flashes.  The new Pocketwizards were very easy to use.  The only watchout I discovered is that flash batteries that would be sufficient for many photos using Nikon’s CLS or on camera were not sufficient for the Pocketwizard Flex to establish a connection with the flash.  Other than that, they were reliable anywhere in the rink and the control of the light groups was simple using the SU-800 on the Pocketwizard Mini on the camera.  Kudos to LPA Design for putting out a fine product!  It took a while to get the Nikon version out, but it was well worth the wait to get it right.

Gem City vs. Killamazoo-80The Killamazoo Derby Darlins were in control of the bout from the start.  Ladyhawk, one of the Darlins, was doing a tremendous job as a jammer.  It seemed she posted a good share of the points for the Darlins.  The photo above is Ladyhawk at full speed and looking to catch the pack.  Click on the photo to see a larger version.  At the half the score was Killamazoo 113 and Gem City 29.

Gem City used several jammers in their rotation.  Some of the skaters taking a turn with the jammer star were Racey Rocker, Rage-L and Supersonic.  The photo at right is of Racey Rocker during one of her jams.  She has been skating with Gem City for a while now and is a solid anchor for their group of jammers.  The photo below shows Supersonic during one of her jams.  Gem City picked up the pace a bit in the second half and Killamazoo started making regular trips to the box that slowed their scoring just a bit.  The final score was Killamazoo 198 and Gem City 71.  Although Gem City was behind from the start, they all stayed focused and gave it their all the whole bout.

Gem City vs. Killamazoo-14

The best blocking photo I took during the bout is this photo showing Dizzy Queen trying to slow down the opposing jammer.

Gem City vs. Killamazoo-36
Gem City’s next home bout is April 16th when the NEO Roller Derby team drives down from Akron.  Check out their website for more information about this and future bouts.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Derby Hot Stove League

Although it has been quiet here for quite awhile, there has been a lot going on in the derby world.

We were fortunate to be able to attend the WFTDA nationals (yes, I’m still calling it nationals) last Fall in Chicago. The Windy City Rollers did a great job hosting the event at the UIC Pavilion. We got to see a lot of good derby during the event – with the highlight being the final bout where the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls beat the Oly Rollers by a single point to take the 2010 championship. Can’t ask for anything more exciting than that. It was a fun weekend and we got to connect with friends and make some new ones!

The last few months have been hot stove league derby time for us here in Cincinnati. Now with the increase in popularity of derby, you can find quite a bit of derby news and in depth derby discussions on the web. The Cincinnati Roller Derby Examiner has lots of derby news posts and skater interviews/profiles for Cincinnati local skaters. If you haven’t been there, check it out. A solid derby site that has come of age in the past several months is Roller Derby Inside Track. That site has lots of news, bout previews, and good discussion about the sport in general. For me the most interesting hot stove league post there was that written by Tank discussing minor penalties in derby. It is an interesting post that made a good case against minors and opened the door for some good commentary on whether minor penalties should be removed or not. If you haven’t read the post and the comments, check it out -- some good reading. I hope some leagues do start gathering data as Tank suggested and work toward simplifying the rules without sacrificing safety. Finally, the Roller Derby Diva blog written by Miss Print is always a good spot to check for local info, national news, and derby related tidbits.

While many teams have started their 2011 season, the closest women’s teams to me haven’t had bouts yet – but they will be starting their home seasons soon! (Thank goodness!!). Of course everyone is wondering what the rosters will be for the teams. Who retired? Who moved (the WFTDA version of being traded)? Who are the rookies? All these can have an influence on the teams.

First up are the Gem City Rollergirls that will have their first bout on March 19th against the Killamazoo Derby Darlins. That is followed by the Cincinnati Rollergirls home opener on March 26th when they take on Nashville. The CRG home bout schedule has some historically good teams (Nashville, Windy City, and Detroit) that promises to challenge them and bring some exciting derby action to the Cincinnati Gardens. Finally, the Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls have their home season opener on April 16th against Vette City at Midwest Hoops in Florence. Check each of their websites for their full schedules and ticket information.

It’s going to be an exciting Spring filled with roller derby action. Get out and catch some bouts!