Sunday, June 14, 2009
Nap v Ohio Bout Recap or These Bittersweet Emotions
Bittersweet. Thats how it felt to me last Saturday nite. I have come to really dread the last NRG home bout of the season. Seeing Derby becomes a "road trip" situation after that and the juggling and expense that comes with said road trips. Hey, I'm always lookin for a feeble excuse to ride somewhere on 2 wheels so Derby provides more than an excuse. But its a hit n miss situation at best, know what I mean? So yeah...the last home game of the season. *Sigh*. What I really miss most when the game is over is the sense of community and comraderie that exists here in the Town of the Nap. And then theres the loss of veteran players that is an inevitability this year. Have we seen the last home game of Touretta? J Roller? Sweet C? ACE??! It has become abundantly clear that the Chosen One, Jane Ire is now retiring. Now that's enough to cause some pause right there right? No more Jane??! Can you imagine that? Like I said...*sigh*. And theres other changes going on that are still to come that cause me bittersweet emotions. I wanna say this tho...Jane, you are one of a kind and we are all SO gonna miss seeing you out on that rink scoring points and handling pressure with poise and class. And thats to say nothing of the instantly recognizable and unique skating style of the one and only Jane Ire! Yeah...you will be missed out on that track but I'm sure we'll catch you at the games sitting in the suicides. Or perhaps serving the league in some support role? I just KNOW how much Jane loves Derby and and theres no way that she wont be at bouts all over the place.
Now on to the Bout:
My day started with attending a motorcycle swap meet. And I got an awesome deal on some much-needed fresh tires for Elvira and had them on the rims in about 45 minutes. What a freakin difference new rubber makes! Anyway I headed over to the Fairgrounds and saw the NapFan gang out front partying and getting pumped up for some Race City Derby. I had a quick drink offa that "Busty Sanchez" flask (thanx Nay!) and headed in. I noticed straight away that there was no Ohio merch table set up and indeed it wasnt going to happen. So no Ohio XL tee for me...bummer. And then I went right over to the Ohio Rollergirl bench and began chatting with Foxy Force. You all know what my first question would be by now: "Where in the hell is Kitty??". Ummmm...she couldnt make it. See my previous post for more on that crushing blow. That sucked. After I asked, Foxy was like, "Are you HIM?". Wow, my reputation precedes me. *Blush* Yes, I am the resident Kitty Liquorbottom supporter here in Race City! Oh well.
I started off sitting in the suicides for the Gang Green v Belles bout but moved over to the side of the NRG bench so I could just stand up and spare myself the suicide seat yoga position for a full 2 bouts. Its cool to be by the bench because I catch some interesting minutia that I usually wouldnt get to see otherwise. Got some fairly nice pix from that location also. By the way the program this time out was a litle...off. Both the Nap and Ohio rosters were a mystery. Like...no Jane Ire listed for the Sirens? Oooookay.
The Belles bout was close early on but then Gang Greens offense took over and our Blockers seemed a bit disjointed. GG's experience started paying off and with Jayden Blaze able to score very consistently it was out of hand into the 2nd half. GG's Blockers were tough but Blue and Katya were scoring well. Katya is one helluva Rollergirl if you dont already know. Pure fire and passion from her all season long. The continuing development of Racer at Jammer was apparent also. I was surprised to see a skater named Devil Woman on the Belles roster. Uhhh...WHO?I have to say that I've not really heard of her. On the Ohio side of things Jayden Blaze was great. With no Kitty in town Jayden quickly became my OH fave. Weird thing was when I caught her later and told her how good I thought she did she said that she wasnt really crazy about Jamming. What?! Believe me Jayden...you are a JAMMER. For real! I was disappointed to see that she spent no time Jamming at all in the 2nd game. The officiating seemed sketchy at times with too many elbows going uncalled. Usually its the other way around. Weird. Blue took a really tuff blow to the face at one point and still no call! One Ref in particular got the ire of the NapFans stoked for inconsistant calls. The Belles have been so damn impressive all season that the way that the Gang Green skaters took over the game was a bit of a shock. Which reminds me...where was Psyche?? JenX got called up to the Sirens when Sin went down so we expected that loss on the Belles roster. But I'm taking nothing away from the GG's. They played very well and won convincingly.
Then the Sirens v Ohio All Stars started and it was close the whole way. Barracuda did a rock solid job at Jammer for OH. Pippi and Dirty Grrl also contributed to Ohio's offense. NRG Jammers Ace and Jane put points on the board for Race City all game long. Fin and Slammy had some really good moments too in what was one helluva bout. But then there was the 13 point Jam that OH put together. And the odd refereeing that was going on did have a disconcerting effect on the psyche of the Nap skaters. I sure wish that the Naptown skaters would have had at least another week to heal up from the F Dubb bloodbath and prepare for OH. The illness of Ace and Jane leading up to the bout had surprisingly little obvious effect on their performances. As a matter of fact before the Belles bout started I ran into the Amazin Blazin Ace and she looked stunning! And of course the season had to go out on a Shadi Jam. She has become THE fan favorite right after the Amazin Ace. The chant rose from the crowd..."Shadi! Shadi! Shadi!". In the end it was anyones game and even tho NRG lost 66-62 for some reason it just didnt FEEL like a loss. I was once again talking with a very hoarse voice at the end of the bout.
I have to bring this up...where the hell was the big sell-out crowd that we had all become so accustomed too?? What reason could there be that the crowd was so comparatively small? Fans on vacation? Last year the crowd was consistently impressive to the last bout. Is the Double-Header too much for the casual fan? Hey, in my eyes its 2 for the price of 1. But you know me...I could watch a bout every night and STILL would want to see more. I'm...uhhhh...not a "casual" fan. I dont get it. Last bout against FW the crowd was a bit smaller than usual but this time it was a marked drop off in attendance. If the truth be told there are many, many leagues out there that would love to draw the crowd NRG did on an "off" night. But hey...we're used to 3-4000 crazy fans so it is weird to see half of that in attendance. Anyone have the official count? Just curious. The fans that DID show up are of the die-hard variety and were more than vocal enuff. Hey, didja see Joan of Dark catch a skate on the everpresent "God is a Naptown Fan" sign? Yes, it gaves its life in Derby battle and was torn by none other than the J.o.D.! Wow. Speaking of J.o.D., she was awesome this bout! Totally on fire and incredibly fierce. One of her best games this season. Naptown loves its Angel! And it sure was nice to finally see SJ in attendance again. She has only been able to catch one other Nap Home bout this season because of her paycheck gig. Really nice to see ya Strawberry. Also caught Megan, Fly and Poker Face from the Soc's out in the crowd.
Like the bout, the Afterparty wasnt quite as well attended as usual but it was definately still rockin'. The Ohio Rollergirls score high on my "likeability" gauge and they were a blast to hang out with. I got the chance to get a pic with Jayden so hey I was happy! I talked to Ohio announcer Caeser, who did a great job during the bout, and was surprised to hear whats been going on with Ohio this year. They are in something of a "restructuring" phase and are trying to save money for a strong push next season. As a result they are playing in a tiny venue that holds 300 people. Its mostly a friends and family scenario I guess. They WERE drawing crowds in the 1000-1500 range last year but I guess at this point in time they couldnt afford the larger venue. I really do wish OH all the best because they are an original member of WFTDA and are genuinly cool people. I got the "Why dont WE have a nickname" question and all I can really say is that it hasnt come to me yet. Its something of a slow-burner that Ohio nick. Along with F Dubb and Tricky Cincy, OH should be on the schedule at least every other year because of close proximity. And oh yeah Caeser...thanx for the shout out during the bout! It was cool to finally meet ya.
Ohio will be playing Cincy next Saturday and I have considered cruising to the Queen City to check it out but 2 things stand in my way: I may have to put in a full day at work and also there is a CC Socialites bout against Stateline going on at Hamilton Co Fairgrounds. We shall see. I may not get a better chance to catch Kitty Liquorbottom in action this year and I have a marketing contract for her to sign so...
Its gonna seem like forever until next seasons Home opener arrives. And theres gonna be a changing of the guard and that much is guaranteed. However, from what I have seen from the Belles this year and the young talent currently on the Sirens roster the future is in good hands. I mean, just LOOK at all that Jammer talent on the Belles squad. Yep. The future of NRG is in good hands and NapFans have much to look forward too. Still, a bittersweet feeling lingers. Because a changing of the guard means the loss of skaters that we've all come to know and admire. And that does hurt a little.