When a Skating Siren gives you a sack filled with snacks, a condom and a lighter, what would you think? I was expecting to get carbed up, banged and then set on fire, but, alas, we just played some wacky-smackin’, awesome roller derby. The La Crosse Skating Sirens, playing as Planet Revels in memory of local author and derby diehard, Andy Revels, hosted the Dames at the swanky, lumpy and bumpy La Crosse Center. The duct-taped divots on the track were not the trip-traps that we expected, which was just perfect, since our very own Mo Payne tripped enough people without any additional help from the floor.
The Sirens came out swingin’, putting up 9 unanswered points in the first jam. We were like: “What?!”, and they were all: “Oh yeah! That just happened!” Dames hardly made any headway in the first three jams, then PBR reminded us all how to play roller derby, putting up 21 points in a single jam, while the Sirens’ jammer was held to one point. This gave us our first (and last and only) lead of the bout.
Make no mistake, Dames played our little hearts out, but with only 9 players and jammers who had just skated across South Dakota only seven days before, we felt like we were pushing a boulder up a hill. But push we did; we made Sisyphus look like a punk. T-vicious laid a monster hit on Siren, Tor Tor U Up. The Annihiatrix (or Anal Tricks, as some announcers call her) got a little too excited and kablammed a Siren blocker with her elbow, getting herself sent to the box. We lost the lead as quickly as we had snatched it up and soon were 16 points down.
Then within a few minutes of halftime, Dames blocker/pivot Spanky Bottoms took an awkward fall and didn’t get back up for a few really long minutes. We crossed all of our fingers and toes, hoping she was alright; we’ve never been so relieved to see someone drag themselves up off the concrete and limp away. Spanky is tougher to crack than a turtle shell, so we knew that if she could stand up, she would be back out on the track in the second half.
The score was 74-64, Sirens at the half, still well within reach. During halftime the Sirens shared a really heartfelt tribute to their late friend, author Andy Revels. We all stopped thinking about winning, losing, scoring and blocking for a while. The Roller Dames felt honored to be a part of the Andy Revels memorial bout.
After a halftime regroup in the locker room, we came back out and, with the Sirens’ jammer in the box, we brought the score back to within 5 points. But, alas, our three road-weary jammers were getting fatigued. Blocker Felony Convixxen was layin’ down the law on the track, punching holes in the Sirens’ 3-wide front wall.
By the second half, we had figured out the Sirens’ game: take the frontline and keep it fast when our jammer is on the floor; hang back, goat and keep it slow when our jammer is in the box. We unlocked the great mystery, just like Dan Brown! There was just one problem that even Jesus and Mary couldn’t remedy: we were 5 girls short of a full roster.
Sirens stretched their lead to 46 points. Luckily, we didn’t notice and just kept grinning and skating. Sirens’ triple threat, GNutz, was, like all of my Star Wars collectible figurines, never out of the box; and after seven trips to the naughty chair, she was ejected from the game.
With less than three minutes left in the bout, Dames were within 11 points of the lead. With 1:40 left on the clock, PBR takes lead jammer and calls it with enough time for at least one more jam. In the next jam, Dubbs takes the lead, and then calls it off quickly before the Sirens get a chance to score. With 27 seconds on the clock and the score at 154-135, we all know that the next jam will be our last chance. Mo Payne is our jammer and she takes the lead while Sirens’ jammer Giggity Giggity goes to the box. We could all see the sunshine peeking through the clouds. We held our breath. Then the great unicorn in the sky peed all over our sunshine and stabbed our hope with her great, sharpened horn. Mo Payne, bless her big ol’ heart, could only manage to eek out 11 points, which is a great jam, but just not quite enough to give us the win.
The final score was 154-146, Sirens. It was a competitive and exciting bout from start to finish. We were all impressed with the Sirens’ sportsmanship, athleticism and generosity, both on and off the track. Win or lose, we had a blast before, during and, as far as any of us can remember, after the bout. Thanks, Skating Sirens!