Leturgey Musings and Goings On

These are some of my writings...from events going on in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance and elsewhere, to observations from the rest of my decidely unformulaic life.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Steel City Derby Demons Destroy Cleveland's Burning River Gals

I've been promising my pal "Mel Practice" that I would show up to see the Steel City Derby Demons in action all season. You see, "Mel" has been a tremendous supporter of the KSWA for as long as I've known her, and all she's ever asked from me was to watch her and the rest of her gang.

A couple of months ago the Demons concluded the last match of their inaugural, intramural season and she worked hard to get me some comp tickets. I ended up bagging, as I wasn't "in a good place" at the time. Luckily my ability to do more adventurous things has returned.

Saturday the All-Stars of the Steel City Derby Demons took on the Burning River Roller Girls, straight from Cleveland in the "Big Stink On The Rink" extravaganza.

Friday after work, I met Mel at her superbly eclectic place of employment on the South Side. She saved me a few bucks by selling a ticket early. She also informed me that one of the All Stars broke her ankle in practice and was in the hospital. It turns out the injured athlete was Busty Brawler, a dark-haired Demon I met when she visited the KSWA. We've since talked about the fact that "Busty," or Natalie as her birth certificate reads, is from Lancaster County, around the same place where my father and his family resides.

I've met a handful of the Demons and believe Busty and Mel would be among the only ones to remember me. As it turns out, neither was going to play Saturday, as Mel was a "stand-by" skater who probably wouldn't be allowed to play in the weekend game on such short notice.

Friday I spent some time with Mel, bought a trinket from the store in which she works, and talked a variety of issues in an hour. I'll gladly note that the happily and newly-married Mel is an incredible beauty inside and out. Her care for friends and impressive intellect make her a winner. I'm happy that she seems to have a tight-knit family. I also stopped to get Natalie a Get Well card, which I later found out she enjoyed.

Fast forward to Saturday night, where it first looked like Mel was going to get to participate. Bad news was, she didn't. However, she cheered on and retrieved towels for her teammates during breaks.

The glossy program featured the history of Roller Derby and included a picture of the mustached sport founder, eyes wide open, mouth agape in true 1970's hyped fashion. Individual pictures from both teams could also be found. This isn't your grandfather's Derby, with female behemoths and Farrah Fawcett look-alikes. Today's Roller Derby embraces athletic women of all shapes and sizes, many like Mel with tattoos galore. The good news is there isn't a dog in the entire Steel City Roller Derby Demon All-Star roster.

Regardless of what type of girl you like, there's someone for you to embrace as a fan. From the aptly named Betty Bonecrusher to the sprite-like Cheeseburger, the Demons come in all shapes and sizes. But they are all exciting athletes in their own right. They also come with colorful names like The Crippler (in the picture, she's as "girl next door as you can ever imagine), Snot Rocket (who could be your best friend's adorable sister), Ally McKill (the girl you should have asked to the Prom) and the still "un- P.C." Scary Schiavo (there's an enchanting, yet nefarious look in those eyes) that would make any professional wrestling promoter proud.

The home team announcer was the spitting image of 80's TV icon Harry Anderson, flush with fedora and snazzy suit. Who knows if he had suspenders and string bean arms like Anderson's "Harry the Hat" character from Cheers that served as a spring board to Night Court. He didn't dazzle throughout the night and the crowd didn't really seem to respond to his timing.

There was an announcer from Cleveland who did a better job capitalizing on the role of the "hip" modern derby announcer. The bad part was, no one really taught him how to use the microphone, so he gave it the "fist on the top" technique which only made him sound like a human beat box all night long. Late in the contest—fearing my hearing was going—I asked a couple of younger guys standing around me if they understood anything the "cool guy" was saying and they just shrugged in agreement.

A third announcer, a Pittsburgh skater named "Sharon Fluids" happened to wear Cleveland's colors. She started strong but by the end of the evening she was overshadowed by Mr. Over Modulation.

The event was well put together. The match resembled professional hockey with three periods. For 20 minutes, the teams went at it tooth and nail. The Steel City Derby Demons took an early lead and never looked back.

During the first break in the action, two youngsters performed break dancing routines for the remarkable crowd. Break Dancing! The "kids" today may call it Hip Hop, and it may be featured in a Nick Cannon, Nickelodeon-produced movie, but it is still break dancing.

The second intermission included a well-done performance by a Rock-A-Billy trio. Their short set was just about right time-wise.

The fan base was astoundingly familiar with a lot of the Derby Demons and the rules. When a "Jammer," most notably "Hurricane Heather" was able to break free and score points, men and women alike took note and cheered. In the last period, Heather dominated by racing around the pack over and over again. Toward the end of the run, she hooted it up with the fans between spurts of point accumulation.

The crowd, which was quiet for much of the night, sprang to its feet as Heather pulled the Derby Demons further away from their Cleveland counterparts. The match ended in a blowout, with the Pittsburgh gals collecting the victory.

Afterwards, Demons posed for pictures, signed autographs and met with friends and fans. The plan was for the Demons to have an after party of the South Side. By that time, my lower back was in agony from standing on the hard track. It was time to head on out and see how bad I looked in the pictures with the striking Mel Practice. As usual, I looked like a dunce.

When you get a chance, check out the Steel City Derby Demons. Learn more by going to http://www.steelcityderbydemons.com/. You won't be disappointed.



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