le moustache de mirambo
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all photos courtesy of Jen Wilson at www.jenr8.com/
Preamble: After the wrap-up of the ToRD season at The Hangar with the festive Clam Slam leading into the Canada Day weekend, July turned into the jampacked Derby month as we ventured into the realm of the 2 Fresh 2 Furious tournament, then the longest weekend afterwards which started by heading out to Tri City and ending up in the Hammer, then the next week back to Royal City and finishing the week amongst the Rollergettes. The following takes place between July 23rd and July 24th.
this piece is written with notes contributed from Andi Slamberg and Lightning Slim
Another journey up to Tri-City on another hot July day, this time to see the Fatales and the Tramps – not in New Hamburg – but in the downtown Waterloo Rec Centre. A quick visit to the Mike’s Fries across from the bus station and a very strange poutine. Then smilin’ Suzy Slam showed across the street and we were off after a quick Tim Hortons visit, and did we ever need it.
Thames Fatales and Venus Fly Tramps clashed in an old rivalry from days before Derby was on the boutcast map. The Fatales had never lost to the Tri-City league team, but it had been too close for comfort at this year’s Beast of the East. Surprises were in store for the evening. Events had started earlier in the doubleheader with the ascending Luscious Lunch Ladies squaring off again against the new Total Knockouts, the third team in Tri-City Rollergirls’s league.
Who knew what manner of mayhem would happen on the track? With captain for the night #69 Mirambo around would anyone wonder otherwise? Although the programme promised a dozen Thames Fatales on the roster, they could have truly used the missing #234 Anya Face, #25 PiepShow and #187 Killson. were carrying a team of 9 black and forest green [nine!] against a very tall looking team of Venus Fly Tramps in their green and pink.
#234 Anya-Face was cheering her team on from the sidelines after her injury at CWRDA. #25 Piepshow was out with other endeavours in life. That #187 Killson was also a no-show was probably a fatal blow to the Forest City Derbygirls. This is not to detract from the Tramps who sported the likes of new transplant #314 Perky Set which was a strange sight, given the last time we saw her in action was against the Fatales while sporting the red and black of the Hamilton Harlots.
Venus Fly Tramps took the lead from the start and never let it go. However, Thames tirelessly tried to fight back sending in a mainly three jammer rotation with #5446 Slacker Smacker, #317 Sufferjet and #69 Mirambo. After having seen Perky Set in action representing the Harlots in Forest City against Thames Fatales, it took some getting used to wrapping your head around the concept of π Perky Set playing in Tri-City. But she was a dominant player that night for the Venus Fly Tramps. Although her height made her a conspicuous target for the Fatales to zero in on the track, at the same time it gave her a blocking and jammer advantage and allowed her to mess around amongst the Thames. One might think it may be more advantageous for the jammer to be smaller, but having the lay of the land, Perky Set became part of the jammer rotation in the second half for the Tramps and created another problem for Thames with which to contend. Perky Set found the holes that she was helping to create in the first half. This is the first time we had actually seen the Venus Fly Tramps crew of #3 Kitty Krasher, #37 Lilith No-Fair, #22 Freudian Whip, #40 Leigh-zzie Borden, #80 Gunmoll Mindy play outside of the Thunder. Everybody was just hitting everybody in sight and giving it their all. No guts, no glory? My highlight shot of the night was seeing Mirambo jump the track to get herself some jamming space.
So the outmanned crew from Thames in the end couldn’t fill in the gap and fell 176 to 89. But as it is kept being said the score hardly mattered in the long haul as it is always exhilarating to watch Derby being played at its highest peak of the spectrum, seeing spectacular attempts at passes and take-outs, jammers skating at the edges of the track looking for tiny slivers of space and trying to avoid the track cuts and blockers achieving air as takeouts land, strategies being implemented on the fly.
Two hours earlier, the evening’s excitement had started off with the highly anticipated rematch between the Total Knock-Outs and the Luscious Lunch Ladies. It was indeed a black and blue battle against the yellow and blue. Captain Andi Slamberg of the Luscious Lunch Ladies provides the analysis:
“We LOVE playing the TKO’s, those girls are nothing but fun, and fire! They bring such a great attitude and hard work to the track! We played them last year, and won, but they had a pretty good run in the second half so we knew we had to play our best.
“Both teams are a little different from last year: the TKO’s seem to have a lot of new faces and, the Lunch Ladies have some players off on injuries. We lost some girls to the real world (outside derby) along the way, but we also took on a lot of new girls ready to give their all! I have to say Anne Tastic looked amazing for only being in her second game she had some good jammer take outs and big hits on the TKO blockers, as well as some crazy good blocking from Bloodlust Barbie who’s just returned the to track from a few months off, she really was a key blocker for positional blocking in this game, and the Lunch Ladies vets were stellar all game! Grisly Blaire was a huge part of this game, blocking and jamming for us when needed, she has this magical way of taking up the whole track with her legs, so lucky for us she was able to keep the jammer behind her most of time, and when she wasn’t blocking she was racking up some much needed points for us!
“Boxkick Betty And Mighty Thor really took their game up a notch this game, they had a few power jams to work off of in the first half and really put us up jam after jam. I also have to give a mention to Elle Boes, she’s been a great influence and hard worker on our team this year jamming and blocking for us! That’s not to say we were too far ahead though in the points, history seemed to want to repeat it’s self, and the TKO’s really made a move in the second half, they put Pandemic Pearl out to jam a bit more, and with some great blocking by TKO pivot Fox Smoulder and Annaslaysia Killsemov we weren’t able to contain her, this allowed them to claw back and gain some much needed points. Final score was 180 to 114 for us, and I’m sure we’ll be meeting these ladies on the track again!”
The Derby gods must have been smiling down on us after the night was over at the arena because the night never ended at the arena. It kept going and going and going and we were fabulously hosted and entertained by fabled stories of Derby adventures and woke up somehow the next day on the hottest Sunday of the year and then we were in the Hammer for a league practice at their rink. If it was hot outdoors, the heat that was trapped was even worse. But they prevailed and if the Derby players on the floor could take it, then so should we. Practice was still continuing while we hit the road by 3. One more GO Bus back to Toronto and finally saw the driveway of home Sunday evening. The first words we heard were: “Was it worth it?” Hell yeah.
And there was one more little scrimmage to come with the Rollergettes and the Belles of the Brawl from Brantford.
all content copyright © midnight matinee
Over in the land of Forest City in Goderich:
Hammer City Harlots take on Roc City [from Rochester, New York] at Dave Andreychuk Arena with doors opening at 6, have you seen the bout poster?
Meanwhile, closer to Toronto itself comes the revival of last year’s Fresh & Furious with this year’s Freshie tournament 2 Fresh 2 Furious. The sequel is even longer this year expanded to 16 teams from last year’s four which featured the debut of the GTA Rollergirls’s own Chrome Mollys. This season’s Chrome Mollys sees even fresher Mollys as they keep their eye on the prize against an invasion of leagues, some of whom have brought in their own teams of players who meet the maximum requirement of five bouts
or less experience or there has been a blending of leagues to form the sixteen teams who engage in a Beast of the East tournament format. All the games will be held concurrently at the two rinks of Ted Reeve Arena – with the semi-finals being played in the main arena. Twenty minutes playing time, double elimination knockout, 28 games in all. Starts at 11 a.m. Last game scheduled for 9 p.m. How much more fun can you have? This photographer will be one tired puppy at the end of it all.
[On another note, many apologies to all the players and teams who have provided background for some stories that are still in the creation stage. Life is getting in the way but we’re doing our best, but keep your eyes tuned here! Cheers for now!]
Well, we could not be at the Beast of the East, but going to Hammer City to their season opener doubleheader was not second best to say the least.
By admission within their programme for the night, the Hammer City Rollergirls were going through rebuilding and “some realignment. Under the new HCRG structure we have two fierce teams”, the regional Hammer City Harlots and the WFTDA Hammer City Eh! Team.
The rematch between HCRG and Forest City brought back to mind the two matches from last year, both won by the Hammer, and one of which we were privy to watch at Thames Fatales’s Western Fair stage. The vaunted run and gun and take no prisoner style of Hammer City Eh! team at Quad City Chaos’s first year in 2010 was in full evidence against Thames, rekindling the memorable hits and memorable names at the Battle of the Waterfront (which took place on the hottest day of the year between Death Row Dames in blue and Harlots in red that with the most sudden of sunshowers brought the bout to a skidding stop). The battle with the Thames was the last we were to see of HCRG in 2010 where Perky Set and VicaDoom led the red of the Harlots over the Thames Fatales in forest green and black.
But before we go too much further into the nitty gritty details, one really begins to appreciate the massive organizational efforts made by leagues everywhere to get their events up and running. Original Tankgirl Miss Carriage amongst everyone at HCRG fielding questions from the volunteers and marshalling the media and the musicians and the scoreboard and the NSOs and zebras and merchandise tables and food options and setting up change rooms and kids friendly areas and all the family types and balloons and drawing materials and announcers and the areas for beer [no beeramids in Hamilton] the track and the benches and the chairs with the big J on them for Mirambo and company and the ticket handlers and sellers and suicide line wavers and waivers and keeping everything friendly. And did we mention that Dave Andreychuk Arena with the sunlight streaming in through the end doors was so reminiscent of George Bell Arena and the lighting which is amazing for photo types. If only The Hangar could be as good. [Happy Mothers Day too!]
HCRG, once the champions of Beast of the East in 2008, were missing at this year’s Beast and Quad City Chaos as HCRG as a league underwent a massive organizational change. HCRG carry their Derby history through the Steeltown Tank Girls, Hamilton Harlots, Eh! Team, Death Row Dames. But for now it’s down to the two teams in the Hammer.
This piece is not intended to be another history of HCRG or Thames, but another chapter is being written, so to add to that story is our valued contributor: Lee Way Wreck’Em [incidentally the lead jammer with GTA Rollergirls Derby Debutantes] who witnessed the weekend. The first thing noticed was the massive changes in rosters. Forest City’s Thames Fatales were already without Sufferjet on the jammer line [although playing at Beast] in Hamilton and Piepshow was taking time off since November, but looking forward to a return at the end of May. As well, missing in action in more ways than one was CommieKaze.
These were not the HCRG Eh! Team or Hamilton Harlots of days yore. This was a HCRG without the likes of Dicey or Dangermouse, Vicadoom or Carla Coma, ChainSaw Mary or Jett-Girl, Perky Set. Longtime vets Eduskating Rita and Bitchslap Barbie, Hawkeye Fierce and Miss Carriage are still on the Eh! Team, yet the league as a whole incorporated newer talents presenting new challenges in defending the name of the Hammer.
It was probably Thames being battle toughened already in the season and Hammer playing in their first games of the season that gave Forest City an advantage. Thames Fatales had already launched their season by travelling down to Mid Michigan in a rematch of their bout from 2010. Then came two very tough losses at Beast of the East 2011 against eventual finalists Gore Gore Rollergirls and ultimate champions Slaughter Daughters.
From the get-go in Hamilton, Thames showed themselves to be a high speed team in warm-up that continued onto the game. Thames Fatales have been around longer as an experienced unit, with their roster of ten led by the able veterans including C of 234 Anya Face and A of Mirambo #69 along with 420 Backalley Sally, 13 Dollface Massacre, 5678 Annie Takers amongst others pulled ahead. Both sides dealing with penalties and attendant problems, power jams and Thames trapping walls allowed points to accumulate. Without Piepshow or Tamahawk, the jamming core revelation of the Fatales was Slacker Smacker who practically rotated 1-2 with speedster Killson. Eventually, Jemecide got thrown into the action, too getting two jams, including last jam!
There was no lack of will however on the track, the trademark Hammer style on display, Eduskating Rita still laying the big bombs on the track, captain Bitchslap Barbie, JJ Bladez and Miss Carriage on the jam and Lock N Roll’s go for broke takeout play.
Down 39-63 at the start of the second half, Eh! Team woke up, playing more effectively in the second half, coming up with plays to stop the jamming invasion. Thames’ speed on the jam though negated that, with the presence of Killson. It was a toss-up between Killson and Slacker Smacker as to who was more effective from the jammer position.
“London played solid, they dominated the pack,” says Lee Way. Though it was thought the score was going to be closer, “Hamilton tried to execute plays [to deter the scorer], but they had to pay attention to who was the jammer. London knew what plays to run at the right time. The jammers skated incredibly.”
The first game of the night was the newlook Harlots wearing the Hammer black and white and gold.
The Hammer City Harlots wearing the Hammer City Rollergirls logo tops of black [sans Harlots symbol or red!] squared off against the bright yellow and blue of Luscious Lunch Ladies, the more rookie laden team of the Forest City Derby Girls.
The Luscious Lunch Ladies already had a handful of bouts to their name. But added to their roster was the presence of 666 Elle Boes which gave the Ladies a major, almost unfair advantage because of her Derby background with the original London Thrashers, then the Thames Fatales. Coming out of inaction, it was decided to put her on the Luscious Lunch Ladies for the night to get some gametime in.
The MVP of the night for the Lunch Ladies was Grisly Baire as chosen by the Harlots. The final 210-64 score in favour of the LLL signalled to all on the outside that this was a new Harlots in the making. It was not a night without casualty as #K9 Scooby Doom left the bout leaving with a shoulder injury.
Hammer City coming on the short end of the score on both games does not belie the gritty efforts and hustle and heart of Luscious Lunch Ladies and Harlots, Thames Fatales and Eh! Team on the track and kudos to everyone who ran the show so the fans could see their favourite players in the Derby world.
Andi Slamberg with the Luscious Lunch Ladies knew they had to step up their game to face the Hammer.
“As soon as we knew the Lunch Ladies were going to be playing the Harlots we kicked our practices into overdrive! Regardless of the the shake up at HCRG we knew that the Harlots were a fierce team and we weren’t sure what to expect. We knew that they had some rookies and some more experienced players who weren’t ready to join the Eh Team, so we were lucky when Elle Boes was added to our roster! It was great to add some experience to our team as well since all of us only have 2 or 3 games under our belts.”
“We also had amazing leadership from our captain Mighty Thor and our bench coach Anya Face! Everyone took a a huge leap forward with their game play during this game, spotlight on Grisley Blaire who was a huge force with keeping the Harlots jammers on lock down, and then ended up being a super awesome jammer for us in the second pierod and won MVP voted by the Harlots. The entire Lunch Ladies team really came together, and pulled everything we’ve been learning onto that track. The Harlots were an amazing team, and you can see that they are working towards being the dominating force they once were, I can’t wait to see how they grow and continue to improve! As they do so will the Lunch Ladies and we will be there with open arms to challenge them on the track again! The FCDG Vs. HCRG games aren’t going away anytime soon! We have nothing but love for this league and all they’ve accomplished but it seems like this year is the year of FCDG this is the first time our league has every won against them and it was a huge honour but we’ve worked hard to earn it and boy did we ever!”
Thames Fatales and Luscious Lunch Ladies in their development have shown they are going to be teams to look out for as they represent the Forest City Derby Girls. Lots of savvy and coaching.
For Hamilton, it’s a process that’s going to take time, trying to make a cohesive whole again on both teams. Lee Way concurs herself there are no worries for HCRG: “They’ll be a force once again. I expect them to be dominant again.”
fter a trip down to the Mid-Michigan Derby Girls in a rematch, Thames Fatales scored a 169-71 victory to get their wheels in motion for the new year ahead.
Forest City’s #5678 Annie Takers delivers the state of the league address.
FCDG has worked really hard during our off season to strengthen all of the skills each of us bring to the track. Communication is the key to our success, and after spending the last few months polishing it up we are ready to lace up and skate hard. We are looking forward to meeting up with some new teams on the track as well as some good ol’ sibling rivalry to appear with the teams that just can’t seem to get enough of us FCDG gals. Looking forward to another successful Derby Season! Bring it on!
April 30-May 1st
(Luscious Lunch Ladies have been compelled to withdraw their team from Beast of the East 2011. Sorry, Debutantes).
June 17- 19
Annie Takers in closing:
“Wootwoot! should be good! We are focused on the BEAST and kickin’ it for those gals!”
We were totally prepared. Everything we tried worked.
Also speed kills. And that was essentially the key to the Gore Gore Rollergirls the champions from 2009 prevailing once again to win the Toronto Roller Derby finals for the year 2010 in the Battle for the Boot. Last year it was GGR triumphing over Smoke City Betties – this time the Chicks Ahoy! who claimed the boot in 2008 fell in a speedy and physical battle before the sold-out Hangar crowd. Not only were tickets sold out online in a matter of hours tickets throughout the city disappeared to eager fans and disappointing others who could not get theirs. Adding to the atmosphere of the anticipation was the presence of the Rogers Cable television camera crew who were on hand to film the bout for a December 4 broadcast at 8 p.m. Announcing in their booth in the stanchions was Monichrome and some nerdy Derby person. Everyone in and around the Hangar seemed to be dressed in their finest including a certain Skinned Knee Crosby with a certain uniform on finally! Leagues from all around were representing, a triumvirate of three from Tri-City, a Thames contingent to see Classic Joker in his so-called final ToRD bout, maybe Hammer City, GTAR kicks and all and definitely the large pack all the way from Kingston! [Even with the presence of Rogers, lighting was still pretty dark, something that would be nice for the ToRD ladies to work on]. The night also hailed the announcement in the game programme for the next Quad City Chaos on March 26 and 27 of 2011. Teams to be announced?
After warmups and waiting for the ticket crowd to finally make it through the doors while BDI put on an exhibition of her skills, the contest was on.
Speed on speed and power vs power – but maybe Gore Gore Rollergirls had a little more guile and pulled a few of the slow tactics to control the game. However, with the first jam that netted GGR two points Bambi versus Candy Crossbones on the line the Rollergirls never looked back.
Jammer on jammer hits and slowdowns – the Rollergirls rolling Bambi, Dust Bunny [who the sidetrack announcer kept on calling Caitlin for some reason], Lunchbox against the rotation of Mach Wheels, Candy Crossbones, Dyna Hurtcha, Kari Mia Bere for Chicks Ahoy! The bout was marred by Chicks Ahoy penalties – including a gross misconduct, maybe an illegal procedure – that got them into trouble in the box and allowed the GGR to slowly inch away. Chicks finally got onto the scoreboard with one point against 15 for GGR. Effective blocking by both sides kept the scoring runs down although the go for broke attitude resulted in big spills on the track. The score was remarkably low at 27 to single digit 9 in favour of the Gore Gore Rollergirls with four minutes left in the first half.
The thirty minute intermission was an opportunity to hear The Cowbell Choir again who were at the previous semi-final with the Death Track Dolls and the Chicks Ahoy!
Second half the margin was still only at thirty with a 46-16 lead at the 20 minute mark and counting down. The penalty troubles accrued for Chicks Ahoy! with them standing only with two players in the pack while they tried to fend off power jam situations that eventually sped up the Gore-Gore Rollergirls ascent up the scoreboard. With the Chicks Ahoy! held at 16, the Gore Gore-Rollergirls were at 65 then 80 after a 15 point jam. GGR reached the century mark at 105-27 with two minute left and a final jam or two. Missing in action was Crankypants who in his other position in the world was at the Gemini Awards. Well la-de-dah la-de-dah. Actually if there is anyone who supports the Canadian arts it is he. Not to say that Mr Whistler and that was Hot Roller? did an evil job but no one cranks the crowd to GET LOUDER! LOUDER! than Crankypants.
The inevitable last jam came and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls claimed the Boot amidst lots of hugs and cheers. Maybe the We Are The Champions music was missing.
Meanwhile up in Tri-City on the Saturday afternoon the Luscious Lunch Ladies from Forest City stormed into the New Hamburg arena of the Thunder to take on the Total Knock Outs in a battle of rookie teams. The Luscious Lunch Ladies in another incarnation who had taken on Rollergettes of WEWRA and then Nickel City’s Sister Slag as part of the double header with Thames Fatales and Hamilton Harlots. Although the TKOs lost 72-26 they did TCRG proud and it’s just one step in their quest to dominate the world. Forest City may have something to say about that.
And November 24 from Timmins Roller Derby arises with
Timmins Meet and Greet Come out to our First Skate and meet tonight Wednesday, November 24th 7:00-8:00 pm Mountjoy Arena. Please bring $3 for admission to the skate.
And that marks the end of a season and our second ToRD finals. When we stepped into the world that November ago those finals were only the beginning in the year in the life of this so-called photographer trying to figure out what was happening on the track and prying our cramped fingers off our poor Nikon and knowledge out of those in the know. And remembering the focus of it all should always be those ladies fresh meat, new leagues or veteran teams alike on the track who are giving it their all.
[[fair warning: this story is anecdotal and based on a few memories at a time that is now 3:34 a.m. or 2:34 a.m. now at the daylight or eastern standard time whatever – and more than subject to change once the players are back from the Canadian beers at the afterparty] – and photos or video to come may just prove us totally wrong as usual].
When the Mid Michigan Derby Girls’ coach was asked what team she was supporting at the WFTDA Championships her immediate response was “Detroit!”
The Motor City team may not be the force it once was but its influence has spread through the state. [Don’t forget that little movie shot around there in Grand Rapids]. And it has definitely hit Mid Michigan Derby Girls whose mission statement is just as bold as any other league in Derby, This organization, Mid Michigan Derby Girls is Eastern/Mid Michigan’s premier all-female, flat track; not for profit, skater owned and operated roller derby league. Our goal is to bring roller derby back to Mid Michigan. We will demonstrate that women of all walks of life can be strong and independent, while managing a career and a personal life, and can excel in an otherwise male dominated sports world.
Continue reading “Thames and Mid Michigan tango in season finale”