Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Wednesday (Suzie Smashbox) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Behind the scenes Updated: January 6, 2010 - 9:16 AM

There are major life goals (things related to career, family, etc.). There are mid-range goals that are still fairly extensive (overseas trips, creative projects, etc.). And then there are fairly simple things that can be accomplished in no more than a day but still continue to sit in that pile of "why haven't we ever done that?" seemingly forever.

We would say that, for at least a year now, going to see the Minnesota RollerGirls was in that last category. But after this past weekend, we can proudly say we can check that off our list. Undeterred by sub-zero temperatures or a pregame meal plan gone awry thanks to a competing Wild game right next door to the LEGENDARY Roy Wilkins Auditorium, we gathered a crew Saturday night for some RollerGirls action.

Does anyone else remember watching roller derby on TV while growing up? We never intentionally sought it out, but sometimes it would just magically appear on one of the 12 or so channels that existed back then. The modern version bears quite a bit of resemblance, though we seem to remember some flying elbows back in the day. In the Minnesota RollerGirls version, it kind of looked like the use of hands was forbidden when blocking or checking an opponent (kind of like soccer, only on roller skates, and without goals or a ball, and without several injury complaints, and with massive amounts of scoring). Scoring is achieved when the "jammer" (one per team on the playing surface at any time) breaks ahead of the pack and then laps everyone (one point per opponent lapped ... we think ... it's still a little hazy). This can happen multiple times in a two-minute "jam," which are the mini-segments that make up 20-minute periods.

Forgive us if all that is review to you, the veteran RollerGirls attendee. What we really wanted to talk about is how every niche event needs a performer who transcends the rules and any other confusion -- someone who even a novice can clearly tell has a gift. And that person, at least Saturday night, was Suzie Smashbox of the Garda Belts (photo from the RollerGirls site). From what we can tell, being a jammer takes a combination of speed, balance, craftiness and violence. Suzie Smashbox possesses all four of those tools. With deft moves, she rallied the Garda Belts to victory and even enticed some in the fairly large crowd to start chanting "M-V-P! M-V-P!" Move over Joe Mauer. St. Paul has a new hero.

As for the rest: the halftime polka band was fun, though we would prefer a shorter break. The concessions options seemed better at ground level than in the balcony. And the most fun outside of watching a good jam is coming up with your own Roller Derby name. The RandBall Better Half -- who would be a pretty good RollerGirl, we imagine -- decided she would call herself Little Miss Fist. Go ahead and try and top that in the comments.

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