Wednesday, December 2, 2009

PiG BiTs & A-o-Eh?

We all knew it was only a matter of time before I chirped off and blogged some crap. Don't believe the rumors that I have been sitting in the corner crying after watching my chosen WCR fall apart at Nationals. I actually needed at least two of my four remaining brain cells to sober up enough to say something other than "Another round please...".

Yes, being at Nationals was a blast and I would like to thank all the Rose City Irregulars for letting me tag along during the event. It was a learning experience and just plain fun to watch derby with some of my favorite derby people. Since WFTDA has announced the 2010 tournament schedule, I would encourage anyone that loves the sport to make plans to be in the lovely WIndy City next November.

Blogging about the F@#k off long line on day one, the annoyance of "Derby Standard Time" and the $5 cans of PBR (which gives you 7/8th of a cup once poured) would really be bitchy and self serving. I won't go there, I'm better than that. Philly was really a great host, though I would say Rose City rocked it better in '08 (in my not so humble opinion).

Nationals was not the twelve best teams in WFTDA battling it out. It was the Top 3 in each division and all divisions are not created equal. At times it felt like the West versus the rest, In the end, three of the top four spots belonged to the Western division.

The two big topics in the smokers pit during the event were "The Stop Game" and "How Oly Changes Everything", both of which are standard reading on all the other derby blogs. I'll try to not labor on these too long...

The Stop Game: Haven't we already had this discussion? Yes, almost everyone at Nationals did it or attempted it. NO, it doesn't get you past good teams that know exactly what to do. This was a huge part of Denver's game plan and also favored by RMRG. Philly took sometime to figure it out and almost pulled out of an upset against RMRG. Windy elected to bash their way out of it, which created costly penalty situations they could not pull out of, against Denver. But Oly and Texas knew what to do and powered their way passed it. It's safe to say it can only get you so far.

In the aftermath, most of the roller derby discussion groups I troll are yapping about how the rules committee will be making changes. Of course no one has said "Wasn't it a rule change that made this strategy possible?", "Do you think a COMMITTEE is capable of plugging the hole without making a new one?". Maybe it's just the cynic in me that prefers the devil he knows over the new one that will be created. Frankly, I enjoy watching the smart teams juke right out of the Stop Game over a mindless game of chase.

(This post sat in Drafts for a few days...WFTDA has released some changes to the rules sans numerical coding so we can't "hate a number". I haven't read them yet, but suspect more might be coming in '10)

OLY: YES, they do change things. You don't have to like it, but you damn sure better accept it. They make National play more sport than show, and though they skate like monsters, they will NEVER win the after party.

All sports have various division of skills, minor leagues feed major leagues. Minor league games tend to be more entertainment. Major league games with arguably greater skills but tend to be full of Prima Donna's and Corporate coercion. So Oly, the Roller Derby Queens of Product Placement and a group of damn nice players, bring a new evolution to the sport of roller derby. They bring some different skill sets into a familiar format and do it better than anyone else. I do think they have a couple years of domination in them and they are an amazing team to watch.

Guess what? It's not done evolving! We have just begun to see the influences of small town leagues, their players and the Junior leagues and their players, further changing the game.

Say you are some leg whipping hot shot in a little league that is not WFTDA but within driving distance to a ranked league like...say, Rose City. If you decided that you wanted more from your "pay to play" derby career, wouldn't you think seriously about making that commute and joining that league? Wouldn't expanding the talent pool impact the game? Now how many leagues do you think are within a reasonable driving distance? Can you not see the impact the I-5 leagues can have on us?

Down the road, imagine what a Bud could do? Maybe a Braidy Punch, Elektra Cute or Heff'her Up? If their bodies survive the abuse and they reach the tender age of 21, still skating. Just think about what the years of experience and developed skills will bring...Damn that will change the game!

Now realize this scenario is playing out all over the country. Everything will change again. The Flat Track rEvolution has only just begun...

Based on some "victim" comments I saw in another venue, it is safe to say there are some local derby fans that won't have the stomach for the National game as it evolves. They will always have, the always entertaining Intra League bouts to watch. They just don't realize that even that has changed...single bouts, less pomp more sport and the sweet, sweet Hangar. I think we are slowly being conditioned to expect sport over show....but what do I know?

Actually, I know what I know. I know I am starting to Jones for some Pack Monster Mash and some Jammer on Jammer action. AoA to the rescue!

That's right derby fans, AoA versus Terminal City this Saturday! More proof that Season Tickets are a hella wicked good deal. I just can't wait! Though I have seen the Terminal City players skate on the Intra League teams this is my first chance to see their All Star Squad. From what I remember of the Terminal City '09 City Championships; they have some great skaters, smart coaching and some big ol'bruisers too. Of course seeing them stack up against the brutal AoA squad is a perfect way to end the '09 season. It's Derby Night in the Rose City, eh? (cue theme song)


Kendra Blood said...

Derby is exploding like mad, and I do think we will have to separate into (for lack of better terms) "major" and "minor" leagues. Roller derby is both sport and entertainment, and I don't think one has to completely fade away to make room for the other.

At last count, Colorado has:
Denver Roller Dolls (WFTDA, Denver)
Rocky Mountain Roller Girls (WFTDA, Denver)
Pikes Peak (WFTDA, Co Springs)
Slaughterhouse Derby Girls (WFTDA, Greeley)
Ft Collins (WFTDA, Ft Collins)
Pueblo (WFTDA-Apprentice, Pueblo)
Castle Rock n Rollers (Castle Rock)
High City (brand new, Denver)
Choice City (also new, Ft Collins)
Durango (also new, Durango)
Wreckin Rebels Rec league (Denver)

Literally, 6 or 7 of those leagues are within an hour's drive of one another. So why are there so many? Because they have different visions, requirements, levels of play. I think that just makes the sport better: you can choose the league that best fits what you can give and what you want from the sport.

Oh yeah, and I appreciate your pointing out that it's WFTDA rules that allowed the slow game to work. Whatever the next ruleset is, people will look to figure out how best it works for their team. As it stands now, teams can practice how to overcome the 'slow game'. With a new rulesset, we'll have to develop new strategies that will come as a surprise NEXT year!

Kendra Blood
Denver Roller Dolls

JeLLyPiG said...

Here's a link I found this morning. It's great example of the Stop Start.

mercyful said...

Ah, good ol' A o Eh. Very nice.

DancingScott said...

JellyPiG, thanks for the thoughtful comments. I hope that this evolving sport of derby has room for "serious" as well as "fun". I've been watching the balance tip toward "serious" for the past 4 years, especially at the national level, yet it has also trickled down into the intra-league bouts, at least in Portland. Does anyone remember the first season, with the penalty mistress and "score whore"? Also, a few mock fights and at least one wedding proposal. I hope derby continues to have room for such craziness.

George said...

Who else here thinks that those foam crash barriers suck? Those things are lame. I don’t like it when I go to bouts in other cities and they have those barriers set up. Now we have them at the hangar. They’re ridiculous. They really serve no purpose other than to further separate the fans from the action. They’re only about a foot tall, so I don’t see how they can help prevent an injury. They seem like they’d only be something for a skater to trip over. Fans can scoot out of the way if a skater goes out of bounds and into the crowd, but the barriers just sit there like a foot-tall trip wall. I wonder if anybody has any statistics that prove either way if foam barriers do/don’t prevent injuries. It has been my experience that I see skaters go over the barriers, not into them. What’s the point?

The Coroner said...

George, I very much enjoyed your raging against the foam barriers.

I fail to see the point of them as well.

JeLLyPiG said...

I'm not a fan of the "Trippy ThingZ" either George. I was wondering when I saw them if they were cheating the WFTDA crash zone rules...track just didn't look right.

DancingScott said...

Somebody (I can't remember who) told me the barriers are "for insurance purposes." Kinda stupid IMO since it's debatable whether they make it safer or more dangerous.

Kanna said...

Barriers sucked ass. I totally stand by my man and everything he says about the stupid flipping barriers.
We look like a bunch of pussys sitting behind that "thing." I too heard the insurance excuse but I really don't care. I still hate them!!! Booooooooo

BOOOOO BARRIERS until death!!!