Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hell on Wheels: Gent Cuberdonnas Vs. Paris A

Paris RollerGirls All-Stars (132-182) Gent Cuberdonnas
October 27th, 2012 / Gent (BEL)

"Trick or Treat." -- This is a subjective report on how I experienced the event. In no case what I say below should be taken as a general truth.


It has been two weeks and I already have the feeling that it is a faraway memory. As explained in a previous post, it was my very first bout for almost a year (11 months... dude, there is a thing going on with that number)! And it was the rematch of last year's Opération Tonnerre which happened at (almost) the same date in Paris.

The game took place in a remote sports hall in the suburbs of Gent, Belgium. There were not that many people in the public but the ground was perfect and some motivated French rollergirls had made the trip from Lille and Reims to support us. So that when the MC would say:
"When I say 'Go-Go' you say 'Gent': Go-Go...?"
"PARIS!! *clap-clap-clap* PARIS!! *clap-clap-clap*" 
-- I have the video to prove it!



At the beginning of the season, the coaching committee decided that the two first bouts, happening around the same time in October, would be the last games played by our last season's selections of the A and B teams. Our B Team met Kaiserslautern, Germany, two weeks before and the A team did the rematch vs. Gent.

Due to lots of departures and a couple of injuries (here and there) our roster was kind of a new combination, gathering the permanent players, the alternates, a couple of former injured players and promissing B-team players upgraded for the occasion. Although we are used to share practices, it was our first real-life experiment altogether. Bouting implies a couple more parameters than scrimmaging, including pressure.

Our coach benching was carried out (for the first time too) by the effective pair made of injured Meryl Strip-Her and Mouflette, who joined the ranks of benching this season. Our bench remained calm, organized, disciplined and clear, a performance that is a little victory in itself.

The opposing team was the Cuberdonnas, a mix between the A and B players of the Go-Go Gent RollerGirls. Their name comes from typical Belgium sweets which we were kindly offered at the end of the game!


No need to be super smart to understand that "Hell on Wheels" would be based on the theme of Halloween. But still, we had decided to choose Call Me Maybe (Bully's fault) for our runout presentation. We unfortunately had to change for a more suitable music, finally selecting Marilyn Manson's cover of This is Halloween. It was a big mess although Meryl had tried to show us the choreography -- which she knows by heart.

As for Gent, they had worked a little harder on theirs and I was glad we did ours first, it would have been even more shameful to go after them: imagine a mash-up alternating between Ghostbusters and Gangnam Style...

I found the reffering clear and fair. The jammer refs were quite slow to call off the jams, but it was the same handicap on both sides. Adapt to your reffering team and anticipate the call... We had some questions as for backblocking and whether some majors were called unjustly or not, but after vewing videos of some of the jams, let's admit they were quite deserved (yeah...) You do not always realize how rough you are during the action...


The Paris RollerGirls across the border could enjoy live news thanks to Wonka who was filming with her camera with one hand and texting on her mobile with the other hand! The texts were relayed by Princess Bitch on our private facebook group. Unfortunately the camera lacked memory and we do not have the full recording of the game...


At first, I wanted to write a short chronological report, especially because I had all the texts relating the evolution of the scores jam after jam. But after a first unsuccessful attempt, I gave up. I lived the game from within, and at the special place of "jammer only" from which you do not see much of what is going on... except for what happens to you. 
And I miraculously found the complete footage of the game on youtube with double-angles, scores and jam numbers displayed! Big up to Jonas Vereecke of!

First Period

Let's make it short. We handled pressure far better than for our first meeting last year. A brief wind of panick blew on our packs for a couple of jams during the second period but we did not lose ground totally.

We were leading the first part of the first period, "widening" the gap up to 40-28, but Gent seized the opportunity to catch up in a couple of powerjams to our disadvantage... they finish the first period with a flourish, leading 100 to 66!

The game is not lost. All we need is a couple of powerjams. And we have to do something with the players we trap, like hitting them or pushing them out, anything rather than trap-n-wait. And stop backblocking (note to self).

Second Period

The second period started quietly and we were focused... until a couple more powerjams happened... for Gent. Bully Bunker does a cutting major versus Pussy Pit who does not lose time to score. Our pack is disturbed and we can feel the pressure increasing from the bench. Kozmic Bruise (yay that's me!) goes to the box for the second time because of a tripping. Cat Cholera does not manage to take the lead against Fall Wafall. Same thing for Joan Get against Pussy Pit... 68-159.

This is when we become aware of the score, of the gap... and we realize that it is almost lost. It has the positive effect to calm us down and help us re-focus. The fate of the game may be sealed but we still have not skated our last jam! We are back in the game. We take leads, we trap, we make holes, we powerjam, we tease, we get more organized... and we reduce the gap down to 132-167.
Hardly more than 5 minutes left! We lose time, having to call off a couple of jams, during which Gent's jammers are too hot on our heels to take the risk to score. We lose steam, we lose efficiency, we even give a few points to Gent. 132-182.

Credit: Sebastien Lahaye

And this is when the bout ends.
Just like that.
Leaving a taste of unfinished business.

We were close(r), and we did some clever and groovy and smooth things. A victory would have been the cherry on top. But we baked a nice cake. The topping will come later. Once we will have perfected the recipe! And we need to bake more cakes for that. Yummy!

Future aim: Beating Gent 3-2 (talking about game wins, of course).
Still three to go!


The after party took place downtown on the river side in a rock'n roll bar called the Vintage. A marvellous setting. A Wonderful architecture perfectly highlighted by the city lights. The bar was nice too. Not in the same 'nice' way, but I liked the music and the restrooms handmade decoration!

loos mirror awesomeness


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