It was four thirty and very sunny when Nico Warrior and I arrived at the venue for the Team England vs USA bout, but the queue was already immense. The four hundred odd tickets sold out within two minutes and the game was squeezed in on an inconvenient Monday evening, so the people that ignored work to get tickets and ignored work again to travel down, were pretty diehard.
We managed to get in the second row of suicide seats and the small size of the hall gave an intimate atmosphere. London Brawling were warming up as we trailed in and there was an air of ‘I can’t believe we’re here!’ as we watched them juke around and stretch it out.
THEN team USA arrived and I lost it.
I just want to point out that I’ve never actually been to a bout before. I’ve travelled to BBD away bouts, and I watch a lot online, but I hadn’t ACTUALLY been to a bout, or a bootcamp, so I was dazzled enough by seeing LRG in the flesh. I freaked out when Team USA skated past.
It’s just, I have watched them all so many times on my computer screen, analyzing their stance and strides and eating up information about their regime and attitude and then they were RIGHT THERE. RIGHT. THERE.
I was so overwhelmed that I clawed chunks out of Izzy’s thigh and it actually took me ten minutes to realise my beloved Cherry Fury was refereeing. (The first time I’d seen her since Tattoo Freeze!) Towards the end of the second game she took a nasty fall but is thankfully okay and will live to enchant me another day.
Both games were incredible. Stephanie Mainey’s backwards blocking, Juicy Lucy’s unerring determination, and Sexy Slaydie’s powerful hits were all mind-blowing. I also liked how Raw Heidi kept belly sliding onto the jam line like a sea lion. And honestly, Cherry Fury’s graceful ‘not lead jammer’ arms distracted me once or twice. Or five times.
Overall it was a show of amazing precision and control. I’d say LRG had better cohesion but Team England had a better defence. Jukeboxx had better hair. The skating was fast, the hits were hard and Bonnie Thunders must cover herself in butter to slip through walls so easily.
Aside from the athletic feats, there was a lot of interesting off-track activity to note. Team USA did a ‘Who are we? USA!’ chant to power up, LRG seemed to be talking tactics on the bench so they could adapt from one jam to the next and intriguingly, a handful of skaters from both the UK and US took half-time as an opportunity to listen to their i-pods as they did a few laps.
What were they listening to? Answers on a postcard.