Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"I Will Skate Through You."

This time we noticed more interplay. Blockers reached back to haul forward their own jammers, human batons making their own way in the relay. Jammers grabbed the hips of their blockers and pulled them into opponents’ paths, boosting themselves in the process. It’s all relative motion, rotating reference frames, celestial mechanics -- Saturn slinging the Cassini; or asteroids in their orbital belt, curving to the left always, colliding and tumbling. It’s our solar system against theirs, and only the heartiest can prevail in these ravages of Space.

Holly Wanna Crack-Ya always heads straight for the densest cluster. As with last time, I couldn’t see what she was doing. She’d go in the back, come out the front, and go back around for more, practically running on the straightaways, pausing with feet spread in fighting stance to round the corners, then running again.

This bout was rougher, with Roxy Rockett in particular (in the green helmet), spreading her arms wide in indignation over uncalled fouls. It seems to be part of the game, though, that the multiple refs monitoring that short track don’t see everything. The lab-coated scorers look like they’re out of B-grade sci-fi, conducting a taste test, noting reactions, tallying results.

Right in front of us, one of the opposing Naptown Tornado Sirens, on her way to the penalty box, crouched like a speed skater and stuck her arm between a ref’s legs as she went by. The ref went down. Surely, in a more mainstream sport, this would have lead to a major penalty. But not here. The ref got up, shrugged it off, and said something I could not make out to the spectators behind her. Maybe she and that player go way back, with a long history of such take-outs.

There was an interesting situation, if I understood it correctly, where a Carolina jammer was sent to the penalty box. The jam was completed without her, meaning Carolina lost points. Then the next jam started with that one jammer still in the penalty box -- Carolina could not field another. This could have lead to a bunch of free points for the Sirens, but the Carolina blockers held the Siren’s jammer back for several laps, and once Carolina’s jammer could leave the penalty box she tore through the pack to the front and became the lead jammer. I wish I knew who exactly this Carolina jammer was that did this.

After the bout, Svetx and I had to go and meet Holly, who jams the most and earns the team the bulk of its 100-point leads. She was out on the floor greeting fans. I told her I was that blogger who wrote about her back in December, and commented that she seems to always go straight into the storm, never around it.

“I will skate through you,” she said, and it sounded like her mantra, maybe even a rallying statement for the whole team. She stepped back and did a little lunge, leading with a shoulder and twisting, to show how she digs her way past opposing blockers. “A jammer really is a blocker,” she said.

But when she’s out there doing it, it hardly seems to disturb the general flow. Yes, in the course of play, skaters go down routinely, tucking in their arms to shield themselves and keep their fingers from being skated-over. But I don’t think I see this happening as a result of Holly’s work. She’s gets her points, and that’s all she needs.

She signed my program. Svetx said she had noticed the teamwork this time, the blockers’ positioning, the reaching out to pull a teammate along.

“We know each other really well,” Holly said.

Saturn photo from NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


bart said...

You guys met Holly after? How did I miss out on that? :(

I'd like to also note for the record that she was a fantastic ring dancer during the between-bout-intermission.

I wonder what her speed is when she's tearing down the straight-aways?

Holly Eden said...

we've got derby this weekend? you gonna make it?

holly wanna crackya