Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nightmare on 95: Day Three Am I salty? Because I ham up the camera all day long

So happy together!
The last day of the tournament started earlier than all of the others. Without my own car, Dread and I took a ride to the venue from Xena. If you know me well, punctuality is another of my spouses. And unlike Dread and Lady Oshun, I get all kinds of irrational if you come between me and being anywhere on time. Say what you will to me, or punch and old lady, and I am unfazed. Delay me... your funeral will be interrupted with a dance party put on by yours truly. Well, Xena not only got me there on time, she got me there early.

Teflon Donna, Me, and ....
Damn it, Crash. Always so damn smooth.
This ain't a dating web site, it's my blog.

My morning's cup of coffee never manifested itself. Instead, I was treated to two games of New England fun as Maine took on Carolina and then Dutchland took on my area code's ambassadors of derby, the Massacre. While Maine was defeated, Boston won the day and were overcome with the emotions that go hand-in-hand with a tough slog through a physical and mentally exhausting weekend. During this doubleheader of New England awesomeness, the Reverend Al interviewed Punchy O'Guts. For a man who is more comfortable in front of a camera wearing next to nothing, he was super fly in his paisley shirt, spitting out thoughtful analysis like no one else can.

Ever since Planet of the Apes, Rev. Al's really into grooming.
Bout after bout, our announcers brought their A games to live and broadcast audiences. One of my favorite pairs of announcers were calling the most dramatic bout of the day, Montreal vs. London on the PA. Plastik Patrik and Sashion Victim were magical. They managed their voices, energy and the crowd with such skill that I was learning something from them.  But it wasn't merely their calls. I had taken a page in fashion from our dear elf from Quebec:

You can't tell by the picture, but I got Patrik to laugh the moment I dropped my pants.
 I pray it's because of the design.
London and Montreal fought all the way to the last jam where Montreal took the last few seconds to claw up close to London's definitive lead, coming only two points shy of a tie. The Du Burns Arena was filled with the cheers and applause of everyone in attendance. London's place in our region was controversial due to their lack of wins in official play over the season. But their victories over the weekend were all that mattered, and they wound up going from 10th place to 5th. The excitement in the air was electric, but nothing prepared Double H and I for the enthusiasm of Raw Heidi when we pulled her in for an interview. Here's a clip of the last third of our talk:

Charm made short work of Steel City in the battle for third place, but Steel's rise to prominence in the East is indisputable now. During this last game, Dolly Rocket and the ladies of Baltimore played cleaner than their earlier outings, and came out far ahead. 

The last bout of the night, Gotham vs. Philly, was another hardcore battle where the score didn't reflect the strategy and action employed by both teams. While Gotham was dominant, I was floored by the never-say-die power of the Liberty Belles. Reverend Al and I called that game, but there were hiccups. My view of the game was obscured early on by overzealous fans and skaters that had Rev Al had to personally move. That's always a dicey affair, but who is really going to say no to that man? We rolled with a few other snafus, but we ultimately focused on the action. I was proud to have come so far from my days in an ape suit. 

Once we were done, we said goodbye to the folks at home and I then made my exit after a nearly tearful goodbye with my announcing team. The next eight hours were spent on the road with Crash Daily, Hayley, and Dread. At only one point did I suffer road hypnosis after I took over driving, and we were all thankfully spared from death by the straight roads of Rhode Island and Dread's snappy banter. 

Ultimately, the weekend belonged to so many others, and this reflection is merely on my own experiences. Still, my largest takeaway is that, for now, there is still a sense of community in derby that goes beyond a sports league. So long as that survives, there's no need to fret too much about the future. The biggest gem from that weekend is that we're all still necessary to the growth of the sport. The divisive voices, regardless of their cheesy stances, ultimately know in their hearts they have a good thing. Only the truly blind or stupid have become blind to the virtues of sport and spectacle continuing on this road together. Catty, high school era gibes are just so much hissing and self-loathing. Equanimity is key.

There is no one who can't tell me this isn't wonderful:


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