Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The blue-hued Babes run through the Paulas in the season’s first of three mixer bouts.
With the competition for the Golden Skate trophy decided, the players of the MNRG took their team colors off…and replaced them with flannel and blue for last Saturday’s mixer between the “Paula Bunyans” and the “Babes”. Those not directly involved in the All-Star game against the Tucson Saddletramps played their first of three mixer bouts in this fantastic homage to our friends in Northern Minnesota.
Here’s how that bout went down.
First half:
The Introduction of the Paula Bunyans:  Well, if you’re going to honor the spirit of the legend of Paul Bunyan, you might as well pick your mascot well. The Twin Cities Terrors’ own man-beast, the Killsbury Doughboy, leads a pack of women in cutoffs and plaid flannel onto the track of the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium. The Paulas are being captained tonight by Rumblebee and Scootaloo.
The Introduction of the Babes: After the Paulas’ boutfits, the Babes are something of a letdown. They’ve all got sky-blue shirts with the ad-hoc team’s logo (as well as Manny Shovitz of the TC Terrors as their cowbell-ringing mascot). At least, that looked like all. Speaking with co-captain Lizzy the Axe before the bout, I learned that the t-shirts were bought by the players sight unseen with Smurf-tastic names developed by “Lizzy the Ox”. The announcers are calling the players by their Ox names - Betty LaOx, Sintripetal Ox, Ox-ie Rotten - I wonder how long they’ll be able to keep the naming scheme without giggling. Ova Ox-chieva is co-captaining with Lizzy.
The Countdown: I’m not precisely sure how we got polar explorer Ann Bancroft to count down to the start of our mixer bout (I suspect it’s due to her foundation being this year’s charity that we’ve chosen to sponsor) but it’s an honor to have her begin our February bout in style. She appears to be wearing some sort of jersey as well.
...and we’re off! AND A BABE POWER JAM ALREADY. Lizzy the Ox busts past Madame de Stompadour to get the first lead of the game. The Paulas’ jammer Lydia Punch goes to the box after getting messed with by the Babes’ Shiva in the back. Stompy also heads to the Gram’s Kitchen for a minute, and Lizzy scores ten quick points.
19:00 Babes 10 - Paulas 0: The Babes’ other co-captain Ova Ox-chieva gets nine as her teammate Wonder-Ox (you’ll excuse me if I revert back to their normal names for the remainder of the bout) holds back Lydia Punch as the Paula returns from the penalty box.
16:30 Babes 19 - Paulas 0: In a nice bit of blocking artistry, Icepack kept Ova from scoring more in that last jam by matching her stride for stride and sitting on her for about half a lap.
16:00 Babes 19 - Paulas 0: Nice. Lizzy the Axe jams against Scootaloo and takes the fourth straight lead for the Babes. The jammer rotation in blue has untangled themselves from the pack nicely so far, but Scootaloo still sneaks in for four points before Lizzy can call the jam
14:00 Babes 23 - Paulas 4: There was a little discussion between the refs and the Paulas about who should be in the box. Unfortunately, that screwed up the lineup and the Paula Bunyans are playing a blocker short.
13:30: Babes 23 - Paulas 4: That loss of a blocker probably fed this BABE POWER JAM! Ova gets the fifth lead in a row for the Babes as Cookies n’ Scream gets sent to the box. Ova gets bounced off the track by Lydia Punch, comes back in to score five, and calls off the jam before Cookies can re-emerge from the box. All in a jam’s work.
12:00: Babes 28 - Paulas 4: That might have been a miscalculation. Cookie sprints out of the box as the next jam begins and gets the lead. Flora Flipabitch escorts Cookies through the pack for four. Trippy (SIntripetal Force) steals two before the jam is called.
10:00: Babes 30 - Paulas 8:  Madame de Stompadour looks like she’s going to get the lead as she passes turn 4, beating Lizzy the Axe to the front, then WHAM. Babe (and Rockit) rookie Salvador Brawlie gets under Stompy’s center of gravity and drops a calculated low-block to hold off the Paula. Salvador happily goes to the box for that professional-looking penalty, and Lizzy scores three.
9:00: Babes 33 - Paulas 8: Rumblebee walks through a pack short of Babes - there’s been no lack of blockers going to the box - and gets the lead. She scores two, but sneaky Ova steals one point.
8:30: Babes 34 - Paulas 10: The Paulas have only gotten two lead jams this half thus far and neither lead kept the Babes from scoring. That could spell trouble. It’s very difficult for a team to succeed if they don’t deny the opposing jammers.
8:00: Babes 34 - Paulas 10: BABE POWER JAM #3! Paula jammer Lydia Punch gets sent to the box for a major track cut, and Patently Offensive springs into action. With Glam Slam making space, “Leo” scores fifteen unanswered points. Lydia stands at the end of the jam as the whistle blows and head backs to the bench.
OFFICIAL TIMEOUT AND ANOTHER BABE POWER JAM! Oh dear. Lydia apparently left the box too early (you have to serve your entire minute in the box, so you can’t leave even a few seconds before your time is up), and is being sent back to serve another minute of penalty. Paulas will go jammer-less when the game resumes.
4:00: Babes 54 - Paulas 10: Lizzy just scored five points and called the jam, stranding Lydia in the box to start yet another jam. Ova gets the lead after getting stalked through the pack by Skullateral Damage. When Lydia returns to the track, the Babes’ Wonderbroad delays her for most of the jam. Neither player scores; great work in terms of blocking from both teams.
2:00 Babes 54 - Paulas 10: BABE PJ #5? This time, it’s Freeze Baby for the Paulas that get caught on a back block. Sintripetal speeds through the front of the pack, and the Paulas try to accelerate so that she can’t come back around. Nothing doing; Glam Slam moves up the pack and knocks CleoSPLATra out of the advancing Paula phalanx. That forces the Paulas to slow down, and Trippy scores nine.
HALFTIME: Babes 63 - Paulas 10: Right now, it’s simple mathematics. This half had twelve jams. That’s about five minutes of the clock taken up by players coming on and off the track. Of the remaining fifteen minutes, the Paula jammers spent another five minutes in the box. It’s hard to score when you’re only eligible to put up points for half of the jam.  That said, both teams are working like it was still the home team season to stop opposing jammers. The Babes are just a little bit better thus far. They’ve also taken full advantage of the power jams. 53 of the Babes’ 63 points in the first half have been scored while a Paula jammer was entering, within, or exiting the penalty box.
Second half:
We’re back! Babes 63 - Paulas 10: Hurtrude Stein leads off for the Paulas. It’s ‘Trudy’s second jam of the game; she nabs her first lead. However, it’s opposing jammer Ova Achieva that scores a point amidst the chaos on the track.
19:00: Babes 64 - Paulas 10: That’s more like it. Freeze gets the lead for the Paulas, careens around the track, gets around the Babes’ Shiva Shank’n’, and scores four unanswered points. That’s the first time that the Paulas have scored unanswered points on a lead jam.
17:30: Babes 64 - Paulas 14: Madame de Stompadour misses grabbing the lead against Lizzy the Axe for a second time by inches. This time, it’s Betty LaRude that cuts into Stompy’s forward advance. That’s five straight lead jams for Lizzy, but only scores one due to Hurtude Stein’s stopping her on the lapping pass.
15:00: Babes 66 - Paulas 14: PAULA POWER JAM! After another one-point jam by the Babes, Kit Shinkicker comes to the line for the Paulas against long-time MNRG pivot Pain Gretzky. Pain knocks her down just as she was about to leave the pack, but Kit recovers and takes the lead. Seconds later, Pain Gretzky goes to the box, and Kit streaks past the pack for five. Shiva Shank’n drops her to the floor on the second lapping run, but Kit gets back up AGAIN and finishes a second lapping run.
12:30: Babes 66 - Paulas 24: That’s the first multislam and first power jam for the Paulas all game. Kit had a couple of good jams earlier this season; hope to see more in the next couple of months.
12:00: Babes 66 - Paulas 24: Lizzy the Axe gets her sixth lead jam of the bout, but almost gets toppled as Ann E Briated, toppled by a Babe hit, grabs for Lizzy’s legs as she falls on Turn 4. Lizzy gets well ahead of that and scores two. Freeze Baby steals four for the Paulas.
11:00: Babes 68 - Paulas 28: Skullateral Damage is playing some sweet, smart All-Star derby in the midst of the mixer. Babe jammer Barbie Brawl grabs the lead, but Skully shoots in front of her and sucks her right back into the pack as Hurtrude Stein charges ahead for the Paulas. Barbie’s forced to call the jam.
8:00: Babes 71 - Paulas 30: AND BABE POWER JAM #6: Well, crap. The Paula Bunyans seemed like they might have a little bit of a comeback, but the Babes just took another power jam. Lizzy goes 7-for-7 on lead jams and takes three points before calling off the jam and stranding opposing jammer Cookies n’ Scream in the box.
7:00: Babes 74 - Paulas 30: Yup. This seems to be the go-ahead for the Babes. Sintripetal Force gets another lead and scores five as Babe blocker Bully Jean gives her jammer an assist. That’s five lead jams in a row for the women with crazy ox-names plastered on their back.
5:00: Babes 79 - Paulas 30: Hurtrude Stein breaks that lead jammer streak as she busts past the Babes (including an imposing Shiva Shank’n as opposing jammer) and scores three. Shiva nonetheless nabs four as well.
1:00: Babes 88 - Paulas 37: The late hunt for points continues. Rumblebee snared the lead and four points against Patently Offensive. With almost fifty point separating the two teams, the jammers are playing like it was a five-point game. Shiva scores two, and Freeze - only a stride or two behind - scores one.
PAULA TIMEOUT. The Paulas demand one more jam and stop the clock with seconds left to go. Looks like it’s Hurtrude Stein getting the honors for the Paulas, while Salvador Brawlie puts on the jammer star.
Seconds to go: Babes 90 - Paulas 38: It’s Trudy with the last lead, weaving in and out of danger while Brawlie absorbs a hard hit from Paula blocker Smoka Hontas.
FINAL: Babes 90 - Paulas 43.
The Paulas had a much better second half as they got the jammer penalties under control, but the Babes’ use of a concentrated jammer staff may have made the difference in this bout. Ova and Lizzy appear to have selected four strong scoring threats to build their offense around, then went to others as the game went more in their favor. 
The Paula blocker group had a very powerful core. Skullateral Damage, Icepack, Hurtrude Stein, and Scootaloo in particular all came up big for the women in flannel. However, that run of five power jams in the first half couldn’t be overcome. Next month, we’ll be seeing the Hunters taking on the Hipsters. It’s Embarrass, MN vs Northeast Minneapolis, people…be there.
90 Points
19 Lead Jams
6 Power jams
41 Lizzy the Axe (7-7) 28 pts
1.618 Sintripetal Force (4-5) 20 pts
281 Patently Offensive (3-5) 20 pts
711 Ova Achieva (3-5)16 pts
10-72 Shiva Shank’n (1-2) 6 pts
OO7 Barbie Brawl (1-1) 0 pts
1337 Pain Gretzky (0-1) 0 pts
5:00 Salvador Brawlie (0-1) 0 pts
Paula Bunyans
43 Points
8 Lead jams
1 Power jam
44 Kit Shinkicker (1-1) 10 pts
0054 Freeze Baby (1-4) 9 pts
727 Hurtrude Stein (3-5) 8 pts
4x4 Rumblebee (2-4) 8 pts
525 Cookies n’ Scream (1-4) 4 pts
FU Scootaloo (0-1) 4 pts
789 Lydia Punch (0-5) 0 pts
1764 Madame de Stompadour (0-2) 0 pts
18 Anita Spankston (0-1) 0 pts
Reporting from the exact geographical center of roller derby,
-Garrison Killer

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