July 21, 2007

Big wheels keep on rolling...

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls of all ages there was only one red-hot ticket for one must-see show and you know you possessed said ticket if it proclaimed on its front the impending conflagration between the “Gem City Roller Girls“ and the Smokin’ Guns of the “Fort Wayne Derby Girls”. Billed as “Red, White and Bruisedthis event promised to be a veritable cornucopia of pain on wheels. Yours truly was fortunate to be in possession of two ring side seats. Now, a sporting event of this magnitude needs to be shared with a special friend and that’s why I wasted no time in getting on the horn, calling up my good buddy, Mad Max and letting him know what time I’d be swinging by to pick him up.

It was all sweetness and light at first.

When we arrived at the Nutter Center, located on the pastoral grounds of Wright State University, the parking lot was quickly filling with raucous fans already elevated to a frenzied state of excitement. This was going to be good. When we entered the arena and found our way to the souvenir booth I was a little surprised to be greeted by the cute and smiling face of a skater who rolls by the handle of, T. F. XIII. Now, I was sure the T.F. stood for Too Fine or something equally sweet and pure but she quickly assured me it stood for Trip Flare. (Judging from I saw I can only assume a Trip Flare to be some sort of delightful booby trap.

(Course, what do I know about "military hardware"?)

Whirling, twirling wheels of destruction.

Well good folks, the evening may have started out all sweetness and light as Max and I collected our souvenir shirts, buttons and bumper stickers but it didn’t take long to turn nasty with these hot-wheeled babes of bashing. No sooner had we taken our seats when the pack began forming up for the first jam of the night. When the buzzer sounded it was high speed rumbling tumbling black and blue hell on wheels action. I nearly got whip lashed trying to follow the girls flashing around the oval track! By the time I got settled into my seat the first quarter had come to a close with the score a mighty close one between the two combative teams of cat-fighting girls on hot neoprene wheels of death.

Well now, sometimes ringside seats can prove to be a little too close the action and such proved to be the case when an enraged skater by the name of “Poisonous butterfly” rolled over and started screaming something about an ex-husband, unfinished trailer repairs and child support while holding me in a choke hold and thumping on my cranial dome like she was playing “Wipe Out” on a set of bongo drums. Thankfully, the crew of quick thinking zebras was able to race to my rescue and pull the maniacal madam of mayhem off of me before too much permanent damage had been inflicted upon my person. After emotions had cooled a bit she rolled over later and apologized for the incident and after showing me a picture of her ex I did have to admit how much the two of resembled each other.

That is her real eye color. I swear to God!

After that the evening was pretty much a symphony of ringing ears underneath a sky of swirling stars around my head. I do know there were lots of brutal hits, someone named, “Hannah Barbaric” was scoring points like Michael Jordon in his prime and someone called “Bang- Bang Ladesh” from Fort Wayne was spending a lot more time on her "bum bum" than she was shooting her mouth off. Why, at times it seemed there were more girls sitting in the penalty box than there were in the stands.

When the smoke finally cleared...

When the final buzzer sounded and the fog had lifted from my battered brain, the good, or at least the better, girls had prevailed and the crowd was going wild. All in all it was an enjoyable evening and as the medical crews wheeled me out to my car I lay basking in warm glow of my head concussion. If the truth be told, I had a really good time with the Gem City Roller Girls and what the hell, if they’re willing to pick up the tab on any of my future hospital bills I’d surely go and see them again. If you’re going to be in the Dayton area anytime soon I recommend making a side trip to go see these girls. Now, I may not know much about the sport of Roller Derby but this one thing I do know; like any group of bad girls on a Friday night these ladies will not disappoint you. I guarantee you'll see lots of action..

Oh, one last thing. Once Max got to the car he couldn’t stop talking about his good fortune in actually scoring a little beaver...

Lucky guy, all I got was beat up by a girl.

July 15, 2007

You think Cleveland rocks?

Then Toledo must be slamming heavy metal
steel chords of
thundering goodness!

Did you ever have one of those days where you didn’t realize the story you were getting, until you sat down at home afterwards with all of the pieces, and it was right there where you didn’t even realize you’d captured it until it all came together on the computer screen?

This weekend was the big P.T. Cruiser show at Young’s Dairy Farm in Yellow Springs, Ohio. As a new member of The Gem City Cruisers I was quite excited about my second event with my new found fellow P.T. Cruiser club members. Now, after the Fourth of July Parade event, (my first ever organized P.T. function) I’d ordered my club tee-shirt and mailed in my check and registration form for the three day Cruiser extravaganza.

Friday couldn’t roll around fast enough but at last the big day did indeed arrive and with baited breath and the raucous sounds of Jimi Hendrix screaming out the open windows of my Plum Purple P.T. Beauty I drove the forty-five minute journey to Yellow Springs in twenty-two minutes flat. Yeah, I was as they say on the east side, haulin ass, dude.

Not long after I parked my trusty metallic steed, The Purple haze, in my assigned spot in one of the many rows of parked automobiles, I was out and about, flying my club colors and looking for my P.T partners in crime. Well, it wasn’t long before the ladies knew I’d arrived and I was greeted with a love festival of warm smiles and hugs. I was feeling pretty good and figured the best was still yet to come.

As the evening progressed I was informed, by what I believed to be trustworthy club brothers that we were all going to meet for breakfast at the Young’s Dairy Restaurant on Saturday morning and would then afterwards proceed into the P.T. Cruiser show area and park our vehicles as a group. That’s the way we roll, or so I thought...

Saturday morning I arrived fifteen minutes before the scheduled ten-o-clock rendezvous time and was not too overly concerned when I didn’t see any of my fellow Gem City cohorts gathered in the parking lot. I was early and maybe this was one of those where the cool kids tended to roll a bit late. By ten-twenty I was beginning to feel a bit like the Boy Scout who’d been sent out to hunt up some snipe for dinner.

After breakfast I drove my P.T Cruiser up the gravel road to the big show and was greeted by a parking attendant who informed me that my fellow club members had already been parked as a group but he’d do his very best to get me as close to them as humanly possible. Now, I’ll give the Gem City Cruisers this much, when they saw how much difficulty I was having getting my canopy up in the wind several of the guys did come over and provide some needed assistance. It wasn’t until a few hours later that I discovered that all the other club canopies had been pitched as a single pavilion.

Still, it was a beautiful day and I met some very nice people. They may not have been my fellow Gem City Cruiser brethren but still they were basically good natured folk. Yes, I know you’re wondering where the Toledo Club fits into all of this, but honestly, I didn’t even realize the part they were going to wind up playing in my afternoon adventure until the magic moment they swooped in on the wings of angels and saved me from a near fatal canopy disaster. That’s right, I said a near fatal canopy disaster.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, as the afternoon progressed I began to feel a bit excluded from the club I’d so naively thrown my lot in with. While the Gem City Cruisers sat together enjoying the special camaraderie that only matching shirts and colors can create, my wife and I sat alone under the green canvas of our canopy reading recipes aloud to each other from the Real Simple Magazine. Yes, I managed to hold back my tears of sadness, but just barely.

Now, the whole time I was sitting alone in a sea of P.T. Club people I couldn’t help but notice this group of people gathered behind me. They had the coolest group of Cruisers, there were P.T.s painted up in pretty flame motifs and there was even one copper painted vehicle that had autumn colored leaves emblazoned upon it that changed colors throughout the day as the sun changed position in the sky above. It was amazing.

This group stayed together all day laughing, sharing food, beverage and a whole lot of friendly camaraderie. It was magical. Good karma seemed to follow them around the whole day long and it seemed like they were winning door prizes every other five minutes or so. One woman not only won gourmet bottles of wine but a set of really nice Budweiser beer steins to drink it out of too. I’m not kidding you, it was incredible.

The big tent where Toledo kept taking the goodies home.

Ok, its late, I’m sunburned, tired and its way past my bedtime. I think you already get the gist of the suffering I endured, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just skip ahead to the "near fatal canopy disaster" and draw this sordid tale to an end.

Just minutes before the near fatal canopy disaster.

So, there I was at the end of the day, with most of my fellow Gem City Cruiser club buddies already packed up and headed back to the ranch, when I decided to end my afternoon of fun by packing up my tent and preparing to slink forlornly home. Felicia was sitting off to one side taking care of the baby as I began the task of pulling up stakes and dismantling the canvas shelter. Suddenly, the wind blew the canopy upon the ground and it caught the wind in the manner of a parasail and began dragging me through the cornfield of doom.

I was terrified; I could hear Felicia Screaming, “N-o-o-o-o-o!”

My poor baby was crying, “Please, somebody save my daddy!”

And that is when the Toledo Club sprang into action like a professional team of synchronized ninjas. Ten, twenty, thirty yards or more I was pulled through the cornfield of doom screaming and praying for my very life. Like angels wearing Red Ball Jets of greased lightening these brave souls closed the distance between us until just before I was about to sail over a fifty-foot cliff, to a sure and terrible death, they not only caught the deadly canvas sail but also collapsed it into a manageable mass and saved my very life.

(I know, if I hadn’t been there myself I wouldn’t believe it either.)

They wouldn’t accept a reward. That’s just the way they roll I guess. They wouldn’t give me their names so I could give them the proper due they deserve on this unworthy rag of a blog. They simply tipped their white cowboy hats and disappeared into the sunset. I will never forget the kindness they showed me today and neither will Felicia.

Toledo, you guys rock! See, I told you I’d mention you favorably on my blog.

I’ll bet those Gem City Cruisers are sorry now...

C'mon, you guys know I love you too.

See you next week on the short ride?

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