Friday, September 23, 2011

Nightmare on 95: Day One

We arrived in Baltimore at 12:30AM. The GPS on Hayley's phone drove us through some of the less wholesome neighborhoods of Charm City as we made our way to the home of Xena Paradox. Xena, a former Boston Derby Dame and teammate of Dread, had stayed up late to let us into our home to crash for six hours before I made my way to the Du Burns Arena. Xena has often been pretty accommodating. Perhaps it's because we have known each other longer than she and Dread have skated. She's always willing to bend over backwards to help us out, and it's appreciated.

Give your love to a cowboy, man!
I prefer she not bend over backwards in this instance.
Borrowing Hayley's car, I traveled around the back roads of Baltimore to the arena with a mixture of anxiety and sheer excitement. This trip was a bit different than last year's East Region Playoff's insanity. Instead of showing up to call broadcast games for the Boston Derby Dames, I was there to wrangle, schedule, and manage the broadcast and live talent along with my homegirl Hymen Heaven. Good ol, Double H and the Association of Flat Track Derby Announcers (AFTDA) were charged with the task of elevating the level of the call on house and broadcasts. No big deal. And as AFTDA's Eastern Rep, I was tasked with jumping in and getting my hands dirty wrangling my fellow mouths. And to call some sweet derby action.

Du Burns is a decent enough venue. It's the home of Charm City, and a team running a tournament that they're also in can be a real stress on their performance. However, the DC roller girls came in and helped us out. AFTDA's point of contact with the hosts was Pants De Leon, pictured here providing everything we needed:

A living Avatar of Shakti, that woman.
Giving the early morning pep-talk to the troops was surreal. The announcers' locker room was, in fact, a locker room. In order to talk to eighteen people and meet everyone's eyes, I had to step into the showers. I felt like I was giving a pep-talk to Oswald Prison's football team. After a rousing speech by Double H, we tapped each other on the bottom and made our way out to the arena to call us some games.

Pictured: Our magic staging area

My first game of the day was Steel City vs. Montreal. Steel City beat them, and I still felt like I won. I predicted a Montreal win, but only because their victories had been piling on each other like so much rugby scrum. But Steel City, for whom I cheered most of the season, won out. 

Most of the day was spent with Double H and the folks behind the scenes. We scheduled folks, did interviews on camera, and planned out our next day. We also fielded feedback from people all over the globe:

I will not transcribe the expletive-laden comments that were both full of praise and criticisms.
However, the word "fuck" is now meaningless to me.

I would detail how we handled the Dutchland forfeiture, but so many people have talked about it that this isn't news anymore. In between games, I stole away to kiss my wife and say hello to members of the derby nations that I hadn't seen in months. But the weekend didn't truly come alive for me until day two.

Coming up:  More bouts, Boston peeps step up their game, and Pelvis and Double H manage.

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