Monday, August 22, 2011

Nuts out? Not quite

For fans of the Nutcrackers, the last two seasons have been tough. After winning the Fez Cup in their first undefeated season, veterans retired, others left town, and some made the march into Massacre-only competition. 2010 was a building season for the Nuts, where they took on far more new talent than ever before. With a sea of new folks, the ladies in pink took on a veteran-heavy Wicked Pissahs and a more evenly-mixed Cosmonaughties in a season where the Nutcrackers didn't gain a single win in home-team competition.

It was a hard time, but the fans began to multiply. A year of defeat showed the team who was a fair-weather fan and who really gave a damn. Thus, when 2011 began, the amount of people in pink and black in the stands was both surprising and mind-blowing. Just a year back, some asinine dude wanted to beat up my boy Jared because he was wearing pink pants. We know this because Johnny Deep, my best friend in the whole world, heard the man shrieking, "PINK PANTS," and accusing Jared of being in love with "man genitalia." Yikes.  This year, however, even my father had been wearing pink and black over his annoyingly chiseled physique as if to say, "yes, I love my daughter-in-law's team. I hope you are loud and stupid in my general direction."

Boston Derby Dames August Bouts-204
Her father-in-law will beat you up if you boo. Or wear feathers.

With the exception of a couple of blowouts this year, the Nuts maintained pretty close scores against the Cosmos and Pissahs half the time. Being a Nut fan is like being a diehard Sox and Bruins fans. You cheer them even when they're losing...and when they win, you are unprepared. So when they beat the Cosmonaughties 168-80... people went nuts. As well they should. A Nutcracker win, if it happened, should have only been twenty or so points ahead. But no, they brought every tactic to bear and neutralized the Cosmonaughties.

Given my history with the two teams before I was an announcer, I love when they face off. Because calling it down the middle only means I get super-excited for every great play that either team made. But in the end, I made a vow to love, honor, and cherish (wait, I think something about fightin' and vengeance and all that in my vows...Scott? What was it again?) only one skater. Dread. So, as she ends her tenure as captain of the Nuts with a big win at the playoffs, the emotions are high. Seeing Dread ecstatic and crying was overwhelming to fans who only see her from the stands.

How did I feel?

Boston Derby Dames August Bouts-264
Pretty good.

Photos here are by David Andrew Morris. I like him.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Roller Consolation happened

Post-grad, the amount of time I have to do things that matter little to you readers or me has increased. However, the routine that kept me writing has been in flux. It's only been in the past week that I've nailed down my routine. Just in time to make my way to Provincetown for a much appreciated vacation. This has thrown some of that routine out of whack, as I'm not about to join a gym for just a week and doing pushups in front of my father-in-law is more awkward than I thought it would be ("Who are you showing off for?").  Thus, my calendar looks rather anemic.

Not listed: Feeding gobling medicine-laced treats and dipping her paw into a blue solution twice a day. I do that when she lets me...Why schedule it?

With time on my side, I decided to finish my article for Roller Derby Inside Track and put something up here before turning to my novel in progress. Oh crap, I mentioned that in type. Rather than delete it, I will tempt fate here as though I'm an expectant mother who just couldn't wait three months to tell everyone she's going to have a baby. Fingers crossed!

Back to roller derby widowhood. At the end of July, I had the pleasure of calling Roller Consolation 2011 in Manchester, New Hampshire. New Hampshire Roller Derby is where I got my start on the microphone, and that means I go to NHRD's bouts in my least favorite city in New England regularly to call bouts for the awesome people that somehow don't realize that 03109 is awful. JFK Coliseum is a wonderful oasis of cool attitudes, kind folks, and eye-catching competition. I was not alone on the microphone. Kevin UP and Thundadome were with me. The three of us called six bouts. SIX in one day. Highlights include:
  1. The best game I've called to date with Kevin. The Boston B Party took on NHRD's Skate Free or Die. I've been traveling the east coast with the B Party, and NHRD games I rarely miss. Add that to Kevin's really sharp analysis, his knowledge of Boston's peeps, and letting down his hair, and we rocked it. 
  2. Banter with Thundy. When you get deaf old ladies to repeat your jokes and laugh a second time, you've done well. 
  3. Wearing hot shorts in the oven that is the announcer booth. It was important. Though the amount of questions Dread had to field about the contents of said shorts was both flattering and embarrassing (the former is my feeling, the latter is for my long-suffering wife). 
  4. Actual competition between teams. I hate blow-outs. We didn't really see many. Some contests were decided in one or two jams.
  5. Dread skated sick. Which foreshadowed the playoff bout in Boston (next post, be patient).
Dread is popping out of a sea of pink to stomp some stuff.

I got to see Dread play in three games that day. The fact that she was fighting what would later be diagnosed as viral strep throat made this skating both phenomenal and, well, kind of annoying. Now that we've been involved with the sport for over four seasons, I've gotten used to that mixture of emotions. As a widow, you have to be. Your woman (or man, I see you, Filthy) is going to want to play more than anything. She's not getting paid to do this, which makes the emotional rewards all the more important. You can chastise your skater for being stupid, but ultimately they're going to do what they're going to do. The best thing to do at the moment is be happy, cheer (if you're not on the mic) and hope that she doesn't need to go the hospital right after she gets off the track. Derby Widowhood makes you a worrying mother.

At the after party, Dread and I switched rides home. She was able to leave early, and I was able to hang out with Hayley, some Boston folks, and all of NHRD. A good night and a reminder that derby gives you a constant chance to redefine, improve, and express yourself.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


It's been age. Why? Where have you been, Pelvis Costello? Did you quit roller derby in silence? Nay, my friends. I am still part of the world of flat track competition, though I'd be lying if I told you that my involvement's been at the level last seen in March.

I graduated from Bennington College in June. What a fantastic, if bittersweet, thirteen days it was, dear readers. While many of you were making your way to Feasterville, PA for ECDX 2011, I was preparing my commencement speech, giving a lecture about amoral protagonists, and reading one of the stories from my Derby Widows collection. Writers are often reserved, quiet people for whom public speaking can be more terrifying than it is to the average person (certainly a drunk sorority girl). However, years of hamming it up, coupled with over two years of announcing made it pretty easy.

You were at ECDX, I was graduating. You know, in my own way.

I miss Bennington. I miss that sense of community centered around something I love. Derby, however, allows me a cushion. The fact I have Dread no matter what is the real thumbs up. Still, writing is what I feel I was always meant to do, so I've stayed in the loop when it comes to readings, keeping in touch with my classmates, and actually typing out ideas that my brain poops.

Last weekend was Roller Consolation. I have a special place in my heart for Roller Consolation, and the ladies of NHRD. Additionally, seeing people from around New England (and other places -- Michigan, WTF?) with whom I've had too few encounters this year was a gas. Annie Cockeldoux, Blitzkrieg Blondie, and so many others made my night. It was also great to call with Thundadome and KevinUP for six bouts. Six. That's a lot. And I kept my voice, which was brilliant. The afterparty was a subdued affair at Jillian's. I spent the last hour of the evening driving Hayley Contagious' car back to my house while she slept in the passenger seat. It was heaven.

This week, we're gearing up for Boston's playoff doubleheader where I get to call with the Reverend Al Mighty, the boys, and LADY O! I'm also able to watch the playoff game which means I get to watch Dreadnought from the comfort of the crash pads on the floor. Which isn't really comfortable, but it's a fine place to hide.