Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Minnesota RollerGirls – Roy Wilkins Auditorium - St. Paul, MN

This is going to be a long post, since it was such an awesome night. We sent out eVites to like 50 people trying to get people fired up about this sport. We got a couple of positive responses, so we were thrilled. Gerd and I LOVE roller derby, so we’re trying to spread the word.

We fought the Minnesota Wild traffic (NHL hockey team was playing the same night next door) and made it inside FAR earlier than we anticipated. I grabbed us some drinks and we hunkered down to wait for our group of people. We threw some coats on chairs around us, since the place was starting to fill up. There were SOOO many people that showed up in the auditorium. Waaaay more than the last bout we went to. Apparently Minnesotans love their roller derby!

The pre-show was the twin cities unicycle club. I missed a lot of it since I was in line for drinks, but what I caught was awesome. They did some jumping of bodies (live not corpses) which looks tough on a unicycle. They did some stair climbing and tight-rope cycling. They did some formations and stuff. Did I mention they had really young kids on tall unicycles? Like under 10 year olds!! Then they did a roller derby game called king/queen of the rink – last person on one wheel wins. It was hilarious and strangely cut-throat. They were just blasting each other and it came down to two guys and one little girl. The girl got taken out and the crowd started booing. IT was awesome. Great act before the bout, for sure!!!

It was another all-star game, so the first round was the rookies skating a punk vs disco theme. Lots of black clothes on one team, lots of sequence and hotpants on the other. I love watching the “green” skaters battle it out. They’ve got all the spirit, and much less of the talent. They fall at random sometimes and yet, they’re giving it their all. Go them.

The second round was the grudge match between the MN Rollergirls and the Madison Dairyland Dolls. Madison was won this competition four years in a row, so it was kind firing people up. This was serious action, complete with a little showboating which is always nice to see. These girls can really skate. I’m always impressed when I see them slingshot other skaters or jump over people or do some fancy contortion to get through the pack first. It’s awesome.

The halftime show was the Bratwurst Brothers, a local polka band. They got the crowd out onto the rink and polka dancing fast and furiously. Kind of impressive when there’s a thousand or so people dancing all spinny at the same time. The other 2000 people remained in the stands SINGING all the words to the songs. I didn’t even know there were words to songs other than roll out the barrel!

The third round (round two for the punk vs disco) was a solid round although pretty uneventful. I honestly don’t even remember who won – I think the punks?

The fourth round was the final round of the all-stars. Minnesota was trailing 95% of the round. The girls were getting more aggressive though. The ref started calling penalties left and right. At one point, there were more girls in the penalty box than on the rink. These penalties started to matter because MN started making a serious comeback. Down like 30 points, the girls were playing hard (aka dirty). A couple of times with Madison’s jammer in the penalty box allowed MN to make up serious points (like 14 in one jam!).

The crowd was going crazy! It was soooo loud in there. Time on the clock ran out, and most people thought it was over with Madison in the lead, but time ran out with both jammers in the penalty box, and according to the rules, you can’t finish a bout with a jammer-less jam. So they lined them back up for one last time. Suzie Smashbox, one of the best jammers I’ve ever seen, absolutely destroyed the pack. Lapped everyone and went back for more points!!! The crowd was on their feet screaming. The jam finished and we had to wait for the final point tally…. Minnesota won by TWO points!!! Insane. People were hugging and kissing babies and sloshing beer all over. It was the most intense sporting event I‘ve ever been to. Totally awesome.

All the people in our group were brand new to the sport and I was glad they got to see an awesome bout. It couldn’t have been any better.

We left and headed to Mancini’s Lounge for some after-bout drinks with most of our group. That place is straight outta Swingers. Red leather couches, mirrors everywhere, and a top 40 live band. Awesome. We ended up shutting the place down – it was a late night…

Top 5 things about roller derby
1. Girls on roller skates
2. Intense competition/skill
3. Crowd energy, close to 4000 fans
4. They serve mixed drinks…many mixed drinks…
5. Programs are an AWESOME touch

Bottom 5 things
1. Traffic from the Wild game
2. I didn’t know the words to the polka songs, so I felt like a loser
3. The lines for mixed drinks were long (like at most sporting events)
4. I missed most of the unicycle pre-show
5. I had to hold back a little since I was with work people



Matt said...

so, Bratwurst Brothers versus The Kabalas in a martini drinking polka-off. Who wins?

Chao said...