Saturday, July 2, 2011

French Connection


We spent the weekend in Toulouse for the FRENCH CONNECTION: the event included a derby tournament gathering the Petites Morts of Bordeaux, the Nothing Toulouse, and the Paris RollerGirls on Saturday, as well as a workshop led by Lola Vulkano and Sky Rockit of the LondonRollerGirls on Sunday.

I changed mode of transport twice before deciding how I would go to Toulouse. I was meant to go by bus from Paris with the 50 PRG going on Friday night. Then, in-between, I decided to spend the previous week in Bordeaux. Bordeaux being 2:30 far from Toulouse, it was a waste of time and money to go back to Paris to take the 10hr.bus. I changed my Bordeaux-Paris Train ticket into a Bordeaux-Toulouse… but then the Petites Morts told me that they had one place left in their cars to go together on Saturday morning. I cancelled my train ticket for good and I hit the road with them.

The venue was in the suburb of Toulouse, in a Leisure Base called La Ramée but nicknamed the Lung of Toulouse: it’s green everywhere and there’s a huge lake. We finally arrived after 22 humps on the Leisure Base Road.

Registering, lunching, getting dressed, warming up, meeting for the refs and captains (because I had been designated captain for the game against Bordeaux)…

This time we were playing in red, Toulouse being in cyan blue. We had new shirts printed, this time with a visible number. And we even had a new (red) flag for the occasion, but *someone* forgot it in the municipal bus…
Basically we had two “B-Teams” of 13, but some of the girls couldn’t make it and finally we had to make 8 girls play twice.

We were playing the first game, against Bordeaux. And it didn’t turn out quite like expected… The Petites Morts were in numerical inferiority and they grew tired quickly which is propitious for injuries. At the end of the first half-time, three of them were hurt – i.e. the three-quarters of their jammers: a broken wrist for Belle Zébuth, a twisted ankle for Alka Trace, and a bruised liver for Karla Karschër. The latter will recover quickly enough to play the last game against Toulouse and cause a stir! They were only 6 left for the second half-time, and rather than killing themselves one by one, they wisely gave up to regain their strengths for their second game.

The next game was the Paris RollerGirls against Nothing Toulouse. The organization of the Bench improved a lot compared to the bout against Malmö! The line-ups were efficient and we had a better comprehension of what happened in the Box, and of the counting of our players’ penalties. We were far better focused on the track too and we played together like a team is supposed to.
On the other hand, the Ref Team was extremely severe and we found their sentences a bit exaggerated from time to time. Like that time when Fifi Lafoe got a Major for having put her pivot panty on inside out – i.e. the white stripe was simply white instead of being glitter white… That’s all it changed. Or that other time when Pixie had a Misconduct for having showed she was surprised to get a Major. Or again that time when I got a Major for having cut the track with half a wheel on the fourth whistle blow… The sentences were a bit expansive in my opinion. Anyway, Refs’ words are golden… I went four times to the Box, including three times in three jams in-a-row while I was jamming, which is bad.

Now it was time for the Revenge game to start: exactly one year after their first game together, Bordeaux and Toulouse were meeting again! Bordeaux being only 9 (two other players had arrived in-between), the other teams clubbed together to offer them a couple of players to swell their number! Lara Von Rapt and High Wheels, two of our freshmeats who had played only the first half-game, joined them, as well as Crash Banditcroûte of Metz and Phoenix of the Malmö Crime City RollerGirls.
The game was super-tight and I really had a blast watching it and cheering Bordeaux – all my apologies for being biased but a bit of my heart and soul stayed in Bordeaux… [Actually this is funny because when we play against Bordeaux and when I hear people cheering “Go Bordeaux Go” I take it for me too, it’s just like having double-cheering! Haha!]
Toulouse led with a couple of points ahead most of the time. Bordeaux managed to tie around the middle of the second half, and from then on both teams kept on exchanging the lead. At one point, Bordeaux had a bad jam finding two of their blockers and their jammer in the Box: they lost a good bunch of points and I thought it was over. But then the Toulouse Jammer got sent to the box and Bordeaux was offered a power jam for the very last jam… and Karla Kärsher managed the amazing feat of scoring a dozen points and making her team win! Very emotional.

The afterparty took place in the center of Toulouse, at the Opéra Bouffe bar-club. Wheely Wonka was taking part in the workshop of the morrow so we didn’t stay very late, and we slept at a friend of mine's whom I hadn’t seen in four years. Super Great.

On Sunday a good bunch of players gathered in the Compans Gardens to have lunch, chill out and break the record of relays to McDonalds. Meanwhile, there was the Bootcamp going on. I heard that the courses were very well organized with progressive drills, but apparently a bit easy for some of the PRG attending…

They came back from the Bootcamp in the early evening and we drove back to Paris by bus. I slept non-stop lying in the center alley. Not bad. That’s one of the advantages of being a smurf: you can sleep anywhere and for real!

French Connection on the French TV News

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