WTF 2015 Tour: The first game. Read how the Turtles flew to Seattle, Nancy Drewed their way to their hotel, met a true Fennoman and had the weirdest last jam ever (refs and NSOs, you want to check this)!
Vancouver 25th of April 2015
Helsinki Roller Derby All-Stars vs Terminal City All-Stars
Our beloved Turtles flew to Seattle conveniently in the same plane. The car rental at the airport struggled to find us a car that could fit all the ten luggages and packages, and it was only the third car, a handsome black Impala, that managed to swallow all the bags. It was a dark and stormy night when we finally arrived to Vancouver. It was quite exciting to check into the hotel: the reception was closed so according to the instructions on the front door we first called to a phone number, after which we were able to get to a lobby. There we found a paper that had “Kimari” written on it. It contained a message: a series of numbers for a key box, inside of which we found yet another envelop and more instructions. Eventually we were however able to locate the key and get some sleep. The rest of the skaters arrived on the next day, some after a slight detour towards the Vancouver in Washington… People in the Vancity were extremely friendly, and we felt really welcomed.
After a few rainy days of rest we were finally ready to play! The venue was a curling-hall, there were no locker rooms but a nice atmosphere and sunshine made it a happy place. After the normal pre-game routine we helped the distressed announcer to pronounce our weird Finnish names – indeed, this was the first time that most of the team is playing be their real names! Another change to our previous trip was a more harmful one: our beloved coach AM could not come with us due to a really bad fever. Luckily we brought our secret weapon, Glory S. Bottoms, who bravely helped head coach Jori through the game.
It was a nice surprise to notice a friendly face in the audience: there was this Canadian-Finnish guy, who wanted all our autographs for a Finnish flag he had with him. He had heard that there will be Finns playing in his city, so he figured out what was this roller derby thing all about and came to root for us. We also heard that in the beginning of the whole event, a lady sang our national anthem very nicely in Finnish, and we were really sad that we missed it because we were warming up outside.
The game itself started with our lead, but soon a couple of power jams took Terminal to lead. We were holding in some twenty-thirty points behind. It was fast game, and Terminals clearly wanted to make our walls run, which made them break down more easily. This also caused more than usual amount of pack penalties to our blockers. There was a lot going on in each jam to keep the referees extremely busy. Even though the game at times seemed chaotic, we were able to have the situation under control and play our own game.
The half time started with points 86-118, our number one fan was running wildly with his flag, and we were really hungry for the next half. The Terminals kept on playing their tough game and good defence, and their jammers were really quick with their juking and strong in their pushing. The opponent also read our game well; as a jammer it felt that what worked well in one jam failed in the next one. I think us jammers were also still suffering a bit of the jet lag.
The atmosphere got really dense towards the end of the game as the penalty bench filled up with blockers over and over again -from time to time there was only one HRD blocker on the track, and soon after that there was this weird situation where all the Terminal blockers were in the box, and since there could not be pack, the jam had to be called off. To make it even weirder, the period clock had stopped, but the jam clock was still ticking… At this point the unofficial final scores appeared to the screen, players started celebrating and the crowd rushed to the track -it took some time from the officials to get everyone back to their places, since there was one more jam to be played. Because few Terminal players had escaped the penalty box, they were penalised for penalty box violation. The final jam was a good one for HRD, and the final score was 185-215.
The audience was just brilliant: we felt like winners even though we lost! What a start for our trip.
The next day our car headed back towards Seattle, towards the Rat City! Stay tuned!