Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Final Champs post: Goodbye

Hours after my alcohol-soaked reunion with my old friend, I once again awoke before dawn. My body was still on East Coast time and I needed to get up. I called Dread, recapped my weekend while tossing in enough repetitions of "I love you" to make me sound like an Amy Grant song. After hanging up, I was exhausted, but in love. But I had no energy. I needed release from this foggy haze. A walk to the local strip mall offered me options:

They weren't good ones.

Rainman and I walked around this strip mall in horror. It had a theme. There was a store named "Karma," followed by a Doctor's Office (in a strip mall?!), and finally the Cremation depot. People don't want to waste time in Colorado. The only other thing of note in the parking lot: A Wendy's. Red pigtails = death?

The venue was turbo-charged with energy. KCRW vs TX and Gotham vs. Oly was on the agenda. Behind the scenes, officials were bracing up for the high profile games, announcers were researching every aspects of these teams before we did our parts, and skaters geared up for the truly titanic games they were about to play.

Spydr, Draggin Lady, Plastik Patrik, and Double H looking "teh s3x."

DNN, the archives, Derby Deeds, and RDIT already covered this stuff better than I can. I'm also a month or so out. Thus, I implore you to go to their sites and read up if you're curious.

Gotham was damn gracious with their victory.

AFTDA got a mention in the awards ceremony, which brought us to an emotional overload unseen from the rave days of the 1990s. In the picture below, we're screaming to Papa Razzo for our glow-sticks and pacifiers.

2011, I'm a love you, I'm a miss you.
Success came unto us. A few of the announcers ate with each other before going to the Grizzly Rose, a line dancing bar. Eating with my buds, feeling a big sense of community made me homesick for another one. One that I left in June. My Bennington friends, scattered throughout the world, don't have a regular excuse to see one another. I decided to carry you, my fellow alumnae, with me to this bar. Don't believe me?

The bar was gigantic. It boasted a maximum capacity of 2000. Four hundred of them were derby folk, Twelve hundred, however, were cowboys and girls who were regulars. This bothered some of the people we came with, which was strange to me.  We were in a major city, coming into someone else's "house." Complaining in said house is only playing into mutual discomfort. But within an hour, the regulars ceded territory on the dance floor and the music went from Toby Keith to Lil John...with no sudden war. The regulars were pretty cool, and the staff seemed to love the amount of liquor and beer a derby crowd can ingest.

Three drinks for every derby person made us the majority.
After dancing the night away with Philly, we left early to go to bed and prepare for our respective morning flights. Draggin Lady was kind enough to get up early to drive me to Denver International where I met up with CMRD and Belle and dined on Pizza Hut before making my way home.

Since I returned, it's been nonstop activity. I have had job interviews, writing groups, and family obligations that have pushed back any time to reflect. This makes these posts more like records of what I did than joke-fueled missives to the masses. Sorry about that.

In the past three weeks, I've been overjoyed to have spent time with NHRD, my beloved home league, Dread, and PRD. I even got to call with my announcin' spouse, Lady O, for the first time in months. Let's hope that everything evens out in 2012.

Be well.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Part Three: High Gear is shifted into, not kicked...

Within the Denver area, outside of obscene names for their Chinese restaurants, things differ from my native New England. Colorado has a different set of priorities. The Comfort Suites understand the needs of the Southwest. When you wake up in Denver, coffee is essential. But did you know what goes best with coffee? Not a doughnut, buddy. You were close. A bag of popcorn.


I make popcorn for Dread every day. It's a nice, low-calorie snack that we both love. Discovering this on the second morning made me think of home and the lady I had at home. Maybe Dread and I should move to Denver. Popcorn in every hotel and eating at Pho China. That sounds heavenly. Almost as heavenly as Joe Mama's flight suit. Ah well. Wait, we're talking about Champs. Okay...

In the name of research for interviews and recaps, I decided to sit in the stands and watch Minnesota vs. Texas. This decision paid me back with interest. Across from my seats were Minnesota's collection of widows and family members, decked out in war paint. On their tummies. This is the future. Unlike many sports fans, however, many of these dudes have yet to grow the beer gut of wasted energy. Thus, I love it.

minnesota rebels

For my part, I wasn't alone. The ladies of CMRD, HARD, and Boston's very own Belle Air Bomber were there to keep me company. Texas won the bout, and that meant I'd be calling their game against Gotham that night. I skipped back to the Green Room to make sure my hair was sculpted and my breath fresh. By the mirror were all of Double H's toiletries and something that I cannot confirm was hers, but was pretty sweet to have out in a room full of jack asses.

You mean it's not communal? Whoops.

Nostrils clean, I met up with Mike Chexx to call a bout that was definitely one of my best and bar-none solid, solid derby. Mike's analysis and stats information were invaluable. We were tearing through sponsors, play-by-play and quips like they were a phone book in the Rev Al Mighty's hands. Better yet, we had unintentionally color-coordinated our outfits.

I bring this ladder with me to every bout. It makes it easier to pass for human.

Swimming the sea of a fantastic day, I went to the Announcer party at the Westin to have a celebratory drink with my mates before one my oldest friends in the world arrived to catch up on old times. Worlds collided as tales of a young, out of control Pelvis were told to an immortal, gorgeous Plastik Patrik. It was strange to have a beloved friend from back in the day hob-nobbing with the amazing present. When Penny and I rocked New England, I looked different than the hirsute fella y'all know.
I like me.
Not far back enough.

HA Haahahaha hahaha erm ha.
Too far back.

Yeah...the time.

We spent some time with AFTDA before we made our way to the Westin bar. There I learned about the dreaded Denver pour. You want a single? You get a double. You want a double? You're taking a cab home at three. Which is what we did, but not before a wonderful lady from Chicago told us the wonders of her type of dude. And then did show-girl kicks.

You are fantastic.

Tired, tipsy, and tremendously overjoyed, I crept into my room and slept the sleep of the just. Or just drunk. I don't know. Quit judging me.

Expect the final post on this Champs tomorrow. I got to get current.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Champs, Part Two: Getting it going

What was the delay this time? Thanksgiving. Sorry. Here's a picture of Goblin eating her Thanksgiving treat to pacify you:

"I love human ears."

We arrived at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield within fifteen minutes. The sun shone down on our pretty heads as we had to walk on gravel and make our way to the East gate where all volunteers, skaters, and officials needed to check in. The Denver Roller Dolls were friendly and patient with us as we interrupted their efficient process to hug our friends from around the world who were also waiting in line. It was only Friday, so people were still patient, calm, and had their voices.

Before we began to annoy and anger small pockets of dissent around the country (and make larger groups happy), we had a green room meeting with WFTDA, venue, and broadcast representatives in our super sweet greenroom.

1st day prep meeting
Chip is complaining that without dry ice, he can't project the "virtual Texecutioner" over every intro. Gert Derned Texas!

Pumped up speeches and lists of "dos and don'ts," we made our way out into the sports arena proper and prepared for the first game of the day. Minnesota vs. Charm City! Calling it live was super, but here's the part that was so amazing. From our perch, you could see everything right up close. This was almost as good as the HQ feed.

Charm Intro 2
Charm City coming out of those sweet curtains.
The first day's opening salvo of games made me as happy as they did exhausted. Philly's game against Naptown was a fine message from the East Coast team that so many people have slagged off in the press. They had a tough year, but they played everyone, utilized almost all of their team, and they still came into Champs strong. That is a team that pushed themselves to the limit and when they won the spot to face Oly, I am sure that many a viewing party back East turned into a Brazilian soccer riot.

Calling two games on Friday was fun, and invigorating. What I was not prepared for, however was the side-splitting headache that came with not drinking enough water for a high-altitude, dry locale. After going through the stroke checklist, I determined I was merely dehydrated. Draggin and I headed to Old Chicago for food, watched a drunk woman fall to the floor and get sent away in ambulance, and headed back to the hotel.

The next day would be a fun one. One that brought us matching outfits, dancing, high-octane action, and me learning the evils of the "Denver Pour."