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Detroit Derby Girls: The Grand Prix Madonnas vs. The Pistolwhippers

On December 17th, in the 2nd game of the Detroit Derby Girls' 2011-12 season, The Grand Prix Madonnas took on The Pistolwhippers at the Masonic Temple

The Grand Prix Madonnas beat out The Pistolwhippers last year in the bout for 3rd place, 112-77. It was their first season, as the league finally added another team to the original regular season four. Coming in third out of five isn't bad for their first season ever. The Pistolswhippers, while having two championships in the league history, was hard to size up coming into this bout. Half their team is made up of rookies, and transfers from other leagues.

The Pistolwhippers would take the lead in the first jam 10-5, with Lazer Beam outscoring Racer McChaseher, who was sent to the penalty box. The Pisolwhippers would extend that lead to 19-5, as rookie Meli Ali made her derby jamming debut. The Madonnas would hold the Whippers scoreless over the next two jams, as Yoko Crazy had a 12 point jame, and aNOMaly added another 4, to give the Madonnas a 21-19 lead. The Pistolwhippers immediatly took that lead back, with the score at 27-26 at the end of the 6th jam.

The seventh jam was a Pistolwhipper blowout. Yoko Razy, jamming for the Madonnas went to the penalty box early, and Meli Ali put 25 unanswered points on the board for her team. She had almost no resistance from the opposing blockers every time she made a pass. The Madonna's defense was almost non-existent, and Meli Ali had only to race the clock to score as much as possible. The Pistolwhippers' score was nearly doubled, increasing their lead to 52-26.

I don't know what was said on the Madonna's sideline to get them to snap out of their daze, but it worked and they started playing defense again.  At the end of the 10th jam, the score was at 57-33.

Over the next 7 bouts, the Madonna's defense not only woke up, they dominated, and stopped the Pistolwhippers from scoring a single point. By the 15th jam, they took the lead back, 59-57, and their shut-out continued for two more jams, making the score 66-57. Now forgive me for this disregard of chronological order, but the 13th jam saw the use a tactic I've never seen before. The blockers' startling line is about 10-15 feet ahead of the jammers, and they're allowed to start rolling a few seconds before the jammers can. This time they all decided to plant themselves right in front of the jammers' starting line. The jam starting as a big cluster of small movements, and stayed that way until both jammers finally broke through.

The Pistolwhipper's offense revived themselves, and over the last 2 jams of the first half, was able to take the lead back, 74-68 before heading off to the locker rooms. The last jam saw another big play from Meli Ali. After the opposing jammer Lily I. Monster went to the penalty box, Meli Ali scored an unanswered 14 points. Is it too early to predict that Meli Ali will be the rookie of the year?

Halftime entertainment was by Michael Cole, a Michael Jackson impersonator. He nailed the look Jackson had from his Dangerous (1991) album. The first two songs he danced (and lip-synched to), were Jam, and Black or White, from that album. The last was Beat It (from the 1987's Bad). My preference would have been for Billie Jean, or just about anything from Thriller, or even Off the Wall, but that would be like asking the mutton-chops in Vegas Elvis impersonator to do some Sun Records material.

The first two jams of the second half saw the Madonna's scoreless, while the Whippers increased their lead to 80-68. In the third jam, the Whippers' jammer Tara To Pieces went to the penalty box for making her fourth minor penalty, as Yoko Razy chipped away at the point deficit, giving her team another 5 points. This would be the beginning of the Pistolwhippers' big penalty problems. Going into the 5th jam, with the Whippers barely ahead 87-83, their jammer Meli Ali got sent to the penalty box, and she would be joined by 3 blockers from her team. Pistolwhipper blockers Cool Whip, and Vera Toss tried their best against larger numbers, but they couldn't fight the inevitable. Even with Cool Whip laying a huge knockdown on the Madonna's jammer aNOMaly, she would skate for a 19 point jam, and give the Madonnas' a 102-87 lead. Will aNOMaly still be contender for rookie of the year if she transferred from another league?

The crowd got to see a hypothetical question answered in the seventh jam. Jammer Meli Ali went to the penalty box, and soon after the Madonnas jammer Yoko Razy would go there herself. When both jammers go to the penalty box, the first jammer to go there gets to come out early instead of serving the full 2 minute sentence. The second jammer to enter the penalty box then only has to stay there for as long as the first jammer was imprisoned. The penalty box swapping allowed both teams to score, making it 107-98 Madonnas.

The Pistolwhippers again hurt themselves with penalties in the eigth jam, losing a jammer and 3 blockers to the box, and aNOMaly would make the score 117-98 before she committed a penalty herself.

Jam number ten would see another offensive domination by the Pistolwhippers. Yoko Razy went to the box, and Tara To Pieces, aided by some great counter-blocking by Cool Whip, would give her team 19 points, and a 122-117 lead.

 The twelth jam was a tradgedy. A big hit was taken by aNOMaly, and a second later she fell straight forward. She wasn't able to get up on her own, and paramedics had to take her out on a stretcher (word is, she made a full recovery). It's league policy to always have two paramedics on standby, and when they have to leave to take a skater to the hospital, the bout is put on hold until those paramedics can return. It wasn't all boredeom, malaise, and anxoius anticipation of the prognosis. The kids were given hula-hoops, and the skaters kept themselves in motion. A bunch of people even did the Cupid Shuffle in the center of the floor. (Video link)

When the bout finally got back under way again, the Pistolwhippers were leading 124-119, but they had still had a jammer that had to serve out the remainder of her penalty time. Several Pistolwhipper blockers would join her, and Racer McChaser capitalized on the vacancies, and score 20 points, giving the Madonnas the lead again, 139-124.

The Grand Prix Madonnas' jammer Hooligal went to the penalty box early in the fourteenth jam, but their defensive blocking preventing the Pistolwhippers from advantage of it, and kept the lead at 144-128. For the last 2:30 of the game, Racer was lead jammer for the last two jams (they usually don't jam back to back like that), and met little resistance as she added a combined 18 points to the board, while her team's defense shut out the opposition. The lead through-out the whole bout changed hands several times, but the Grand Prix Madonnas came out victorious, 162-128. aNOMaly was named the official MVP of the bout.

Postbout analysis from the Captains: 
Detroit Area Dork: What's your initial reaction to the bout?
The Pistolwhippers' Captain, Lazer Beam: Well...I want to be politically correct about it. I felt that some of the know...I don't think all of the calls were made. You've got to overcome that. I think overall we did well as a team. We have a lot of rookies, and we tried to skate them. My own reaction, I'm bummed that we didn't win. Other than that, we just have to work harder, and skate harder.
Detroit Area Dork: How do you think the other team was able to pull ahead?
Lazer Beam: Well, they had great defense. A lot of their skaters have skated together longer than ours have, just because we have a lot of new girls on our team, we lost a lot of skaters, so we don't have as much time commited to each other as they have. Last season they were in the same boat that we're in this year. They had really good defense and their jammers pulled through.
Detroit Area Dork: Based on this bout, what do you think your team has to work on?
Lazer Beam: We definitely have to work on the walls and holding the inside lines. We got a lot of penalties. We need to work on that. It's no secret that last season the Whippers were the most penalized team in the league, so we have to work on not going to the box.
Detroit Area Dork: Do you mean playing cleaner, or playing sneakier?
Lazer Beam: Playing cleaner for sure, and playing better defense.
Detroit Area Dork: What did you think of the halftime show?
Lazer Beam: I didn't get to see it because I was in the locker room, but I heard it was phenomenal. I wish I could have seen Michael Jackson.
Detroit Area Dork: I don't know if it was as good as the wrestling clowns
Lazer Beam: I've seen the wrestling clowns as a fan. They were pretty good.

Detroit Area Dork: What's your first reaction to the bout?
The Grand Prix Madonnas' Captain, Spanish Ass'assin: We were hoping that it would be really good for the fans, and we absolutely gave them that. We weren't really sure what we were coming into because the Pistolwhippers are so new. I would say that half their team is transfers, new girls, people we knew nothing about, so it's kind of hard to strategize when you don't know what's coming. We kind of prepared for everything, made our own plan, and did what we wanted to do. We threw it out there, hoped it would work, and it worked really well. I'm really pleased with the team.
Detroit Area Dork: What do you think put you ahead?
Spanish Ass'assin: Penalties, keeping our cool, keeping our walls together, and playing our game. Instead of letting them break up what we wanted to do, break up our walls, and what we're used to doing out there. It takes a lot when it gets so energized, and the frustration that they're applying, and people are complaining. I think usually the team that can compose themselves and not lose their cool and lose their focus can come out on top, and the other team goes to the penalty box more. So we had some penalty trouble in the beginning, and we adjusted, we got it out of our system. In the second half we really pulled back, and the other team seemed to go the box more, so I think that helped a lot.
Detroit Area Dork: What do you think you team has to work on the most in the next practice based on tonight's performance?
Spanish Ass'assin: We're going to have to work on offense. We really focused on our defense coming into this bout, and getting all the new girls up to speed, and working on our 3-man walls. I think we saw how well that worked today, and we got it down. Now we've got to focus on our jammers, getting them through, as well as stopping the other jammer like we're used to. Doing a little more transitioning. It's hard. I think it's the only sport where you have to play offense and defense at the same time. Sometimes it's hard to stop one to do the other, and knowing when the right time is.
Detroit Area Dork: Do you think the Michael Jackson impersonator was more or less entertaining than wrestling clowns who throw trash cans?
Spanish Ass'assin: I'm so upset because I missed him. We came out from halftime, and I came up the ramp and saw him out there, and it was done. I was down in the locker room, doing the captain thing, and with the refs, I really didn't get to see him much, but I heard good things about him. I heard good things about the other guys too. I'm thinking Michael Jackson probably won this one.

All photos by Lawrence Creative

This post written by:
I'm a dork, I live in the Detroit area, and sometimes I take blurry photos on an outdated camera