It’s a fine, warm night for Derby, and tonight the Gainesville Roller Rebels host their sister team, the Ocala Cannibals, in a bout sure to break records. It’s Grizzly Madams’s (#2nd Amendment) first bout back from an injury and the GRR ladies are thrilled to have one of their pivotal blockers back in action. Also, it’s clear from the outset that OCRD is a new organization this year because they are no match for the tenacious GRR blockers and their agile jammers. But OCRD’s heart and determination during the bout were as good (or better) than their more experienced hosts.
In the opening jams, GRR managed to snag the lead jammer position 7 out of 10 times, bringing the score quickly to 90-4. Big hits by Grizzly Madams and outstanding blocks by Stocky Balboa (#TK0) and Dr. PopHer (#P450) allow for big scores by the GRR jammers. Patsy Clothesline (#63) scored 20 points while Lil’ Looney (#73) was in the OCRD penalty box. But then with some good blocking by OCRD’s Sweden Sour (#7909) and some nice moves by Yoshi Bettamove (#357), Ocala scores another 16 points, bringing the score to 93-20. GRR takes lead jammer for all of the remaining jams in the half with consistent blocking by Eh-nihilator (#49th Parallel) and company. Suzie Bonebreaker (#13) and the Jamburglar (#15) put up some major points to end the half at 148-22 despite OCRD’s Megronomikon (#63) fighting for every jam.
Here we are at a crossroads: a brief respite separating one half from another. It’s meant to give us a chance to stretch or get a beverage, and to give the players a breather and a chance to talk strategy and encouragement. The score in the second half maintains its diverse course, with Gainesville besting Ocala 345 to 50. (A new home record for GRR) But that only tells the simplest part of the story. To get the rest of it, you have to see the faces of the players as they relentlessly pursue each other around the track. Blockers struggling to subdue their rival jammers, or the jammers tearing through the pack unimpeded. Jam after jam, each player skating with gusto if not grace; and loving every hard-fought minute of it.
To end the night, or the bout anyway, (the after party is still to come) the players elect each other’s MVPs. For the blockers, GRR elects Wretched Ruby (#7 kt) for Ocala, and the OCRD crew elects Gainesville’s Eh-nihilator. In the jammer top spots, OCRD elects The Jamburglar for Gainesville, and GRR elects Yoshi Bettamove for Ocala. Thank you Gainesville for continuing to support your local roller derby, and thanks for welcoming our new sister league the Ocala Cannibals! See you next time!