7/11/2010: GRR vs. BB-BS 1

July 11, 2010: “Roller Derby”

FINAL: Gainesville Roller Rebels’ Swamp City Sirens 140, Bradentucky Bombers’ Bomb Squad 136


Bout recap and other musings by Brian Ferguson aka Mr. Shagnasty

Last night I traveled to Bradenton, Fla., to watch the Gainesville Roller Rebels take on the Bradentucky Bombers’ Bomb Squad in a flat track roller derby matchup. My wife plays for the Gainesville team and when she first told me about it, I thought about what I used to watch on TV growing up. This was the Wrestlemania version of the sport, where there were villians and heroes, girls flying over railings, and sometimes, body slams in the middle of the track. The managers were outrageous, wearing pimp costumes and sometimes getting into brawls with the skaters. It was always completely scripted with the gorgeous blondes always winning and the “goth” looking brunettes losing, but always cheating. The outfits were very small, and it was obvious that the show was put together for a male demographic of 18-65.

This sport is not like this at all, except for the outfits, which are still very shapely. This is a brutal sport, where the only thing catching your fall is solid concrete or wood. There are women who are not only fast, but hard-hitting, and they will take you out if you have your head down. I found myself putting my hands to my head, when I saw a player go flying to the floor, and equally amazed when they got up. They work hard, practicing at least four nights a week, and strategizing the rest of the time. I should know, I am what’s known as a derby widow.

My wife is a blocker, and her job is to move people out of the way for the point scorer, and nail the opposing team’s scorer whenever possible. She is solid on her feet, and does a really good job of staying up. One bout, I watched my wife go down and have someone land on top of her, separating her shoulder. I was there when the medic put the shoulder back into place with a pop, and off she went, back into the fray. She ended up having very painful surgery, and was on the shelf for at least 6 months; I thought that might have been the end. Not a chance, she went on to work her way back into the lineup and throw two triathalons in there for good measure.

I have a feeling that all of these women are like is, and no matter what pain they may be feeling, they will always bounce back and give it their all. Case in point, the Bradentucky Bombers are a team that came into Gainesville and clobbered them by 100 points (give or take). The match was not even close, and had to have been really frustrating. But they practiced, strategized and practiced some more and drove 2.5 hours to Bradenton to face this powerhouse again. They took a quick lead, taking advantage of some mistakes and ended up leading by 25 points. Bradentucky was not to be denied however, and made a second half push that made it look as if GRR was going to go down in defeat again. But the Roller Rebels had one last trick up their sleeves (if they had them), and won the match on their last jam. When they found out they were victorious, they all jumped around like school girls and laughed and high-fived each other like they just won the World Cup. It was quite a match.

GRR has bouts here in Gainesville, and if you haven’t seen one, it’s totally worth it. They are competitive, good at what they do, and oh so entertaining. They have won two out of their last three matches and look to do it again — because winning is a state of mind (Where have I heard this out of context before?).

I will keep you all informed of the next bout, don’t miss it, or they might come after you.

On to the recipe: Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi with Apple Cider Cabbage. The mahi is pretty easy. In a bowl, take 1.5 tsp of honey, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar and pour it in. Then grate some fresh ginger, about a tsp, and crush one clove of garlic and throw that in there. Add a tbs of olive oil, mix it up and you have an Asian-infused marinate. Put the Mahi in the bowl, or use a plastic baggie, and let the fish soak in the goodness for at least 20 minutes. Heat a pan over medium high heat with a tbs of olive oil and add the Mahi, cooking it for 4.5 minutes a side. The leftover marinade can be put in a saucepan and simmered to make thicker, when the fish is done, pour it over the top.

The cabbage takes about 30 minutes all told, and I essentially had to doctor it a bit. The recipe calls for a 1/4 cup of apple cider. Now, I don’t drink it, and the only avalaible sizes I could find were a half a gallon and up. So, I replaced it with apple cider vinegar with a tbs of sugar added to that (it’s like chemistry). Cut up the cabbage, making sure you get plenty of it on the floor. Take 2 tbs of unsalted butter and put that into a medium-hot pan. When the butter stops foaming, add one granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks — cook that for about 5 minutes (it should start to brown a little, not a lot). Then add the apple cider (or my mad scientist experiment) and a tbs of thyme and caraway seed. Watch that reduce for about three minutes, then add the cut up cabbage. Cover and watch it wilt for about 7-8 minutes. Pretty darn tasty.

Until I get hungry again…

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