The Madonnas might have breathed a little after watching the Pistoffs lose their season debut to D-Funk, but they knew that the Pistoffs could recover from a bad opener and dominate the rest of the season.
There was no cannibalistic frenzy for frontrow seats. People showing up 45 minutes after doors opened were still able to get a seat up front. Not where Mama Dent and her clan had camped out in prime spectating position, naturally, but there was still a lot of room available.
While I failed to charm the captains of the Pistoffs into participating in an interview, Captains Peaches N. CreamYa and Racer McChaseHer of the Grand Prix Madonnas gave me a few minutes of their time:
Detroit Area Dork: What are you thinking right now about that bout?
Racer McChaseHer: I think that it was way too close. I don't like the closes ones. Hopefully the 300 fans that made the drive were entertained.
Peaches N. CreamYa: It was worth the money.
D: You had four players out tonight. What was going on?
P: We've kind of been plagued with injuries this year. We've had a few girls that had some unfortunate injuries that are not playing with us, and we look forward to them coming back.
R: Also every team in the league this year has beyond what you're allowed for roster. The team can have up to twenty girls, but for home teams, we're only allowed to roster 16. So you'll see girls sitting out regardless if they're actually injured or not. All of our's are injured, unfortunately, but we have others that are sitting out. There are only 16 that are eligible to play.
P: We have a 19 person roster, so 3 can't play anyway.
D: Were you surprised last month when the Pistoffs lost to D-Funk?
R: Nothing surprises me in derby. Usually in your mind you have like an idea of maybe who would win, or at least whether it'll be a good game. Hometeams get new recruits every year, and sometimes in midseason. Our rosters can be changed significantly from adding different people. When we have people out on injuries the rosters fluctuate a little bit more nowadays. So you never know what's going to happen.
P: At the beginning of the season you never know what to expect. You come to the games, and you're "Oh, this is going to be good", and you don't know the outcome. You can't predict what's going to happen with our hometeams.
D: Seeing the Pistoffs play last month, were you analyzing them?
R: Absolutely. We watch bout footage at least the night before our game. The managers will also watch and come up with some tips on what we should be focusing on. We'll try to focus some of our drills towards the team we're going to play.
D: The Pistoffs started to catch up to you in the second half. Did their gameplay change at all?
P: I don't think their gameplay changed any. I think we just had to take a second to reel ourselves back in, slow down, and get back to playing our game. When we're playing our game, I feel like we're unstoppable. I think the momentum changed, got ahead of us a little bit. We had to reel it back in, sink back in, get low, stay slow, and play our game.
D: How worried were you before that very last jam?
R: Unfortunately I've had the pleasure of being put in that scenario where you're down by a few in the last jam, and you have to make sure you get lead jam. I've personally have dealt with it. I guess I do okay under pressure. Other people seem to buckle, but I've been playing for 8 seasons, and I've had to be in that position. You learn to analyze all the things that are significantly important in the last jam; lead jammer, how many players are out there, what the penalty times are like, how much time you have to burn, what the score is, how many points they've scored. There's all these factors that are contributing to the outcome of the game, and you need to know all of those. Not just before the jam starts, but as the jam is going on. Was I nervous? Hell yeah. Did I think we could do it? Absolutely. Did we? Yes.
D: How relieved were you when Combat Cat got that penalty?
R: It makes it a hell of a lot easier. That's the easier route to go. Kudos to, I believe it was Rocky Brawlboa who dropped her out of bounds, and got her a [track] cut [penalty]. That was fantastic. Takes the pressure off. You can just focus on what you need to do. If you noticed, when she went to the box, the points she already scored were not reflected on the board, so that's one thing that's a little bit tricky, and can throw people off in games and tournaments. It's something you have to keep in mind.
D: What can you tell me about the new lineup?
P: We've got lots of new girls with the team this season. Tattoozz, Fish, Hottimus Prime, Motown Philly, and Zom B. Itch. Some of them have come from back from retirement. Sista Slit'chya returned. She was with us our first season when we were the new expansion team. A lot of them are coming from other leagues with experience. We've got two brand new girls, and we've just been working with them really hard. They've come so far since they joined the team back in September, and I think they're going to be great for us this season. I really do.
D: Any retirements during the offseason?
R: Cinda Railya, who just got engaged. She's doing real life things, so that's good.
P: Do we have anybody else? Detroit Knock Ya Silly.
R: She's also doing real life. We have somebody on leave. She's coming back, at least for part of the season. We have a few people on temporary hiatus, but they'll be back with us for the rest of the season.
P: Cali'Ente was not here tonight, but she will be joining us sometime this season.
R: And one of our other girls sitting out is coming back next season. Rock'em Shock'em.
All photos by Dan Bachorik