Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Very Own Derby Revolution

Crude City Roller Derby's last home bout of the 2010 season has been cancelled.  The team we were scheduled to play is having issues, reorganizing, or something of the like that befalls most fledging derby leagues, and we couldn't scrounge up enough girls to get a mixed scrimmage going.  Bummer.

So that brings me around to some thoughts I've had since My Day One in derby...why can't derby actually be a sport?  When I say sport, I mean a game that has been organized, specifically with a defined season and predetermined competitors.  (I'm not even going to get into rules here; that is a can of worms I will never open.)  Yes, WFTDA has done a fine job of organizing and defining on a very high level with regional tournaments leading up to a national tournament and the member leagues that have the opportunity to compete at these tournaments, but something is missing.  The ranking system that precedes these tournaments is completely arbitrary (with not all the teams ever having played each other, or even half of the teams ahead of them in the rankings). You might be a team in the Eastern Region that can kick everybody's ass in the South Central, but for some reason, you don't even make it to the national tournament. (And I know that can happen in any sport, but it's more apt to happen when there is no cross-regional competition outside of a tournament.)  I can ramble on and on and never make any sense about this, and hell, maybe nobody will ever make any sense about derby as a sport, but I've got to get my idea out of my head.

There are many, many derby leagues that will never be able to compete in WFTDA as it now stands, my current league being one of them.  I really don't want to have to worry if I'm actually going to get to skate in a bout once a month; hell, I would love to bout every freaking weekend (believe me, it is much easier on your body than putting it through four grueling practices a week).  What I want is a set schedule that comes out at the beginning of the season and sets my team and any other team on the schedule up for having a win-loss record that will determine standings going into playoffs.  To make this happen, maybe we need to start thinking small.  Maybe all these Texas teams that either aren't in WFTDA or will never make it to a regional tournament can organize a season?  Crude (Corpus) has played teams from Central Texas, Amarillo, East Texas, even one from Louisiana, this year.  Why not get all these teams and anybody we missed and say, "Hey, could we all decide to play each other twice this year, one home and one away, and then have a playoff tournament in October/November where we all get together and compete for FLAT-TRACK ROLLER DERBY CHAMPION OF TEXAS/LOUISIANA."?  Sounds like a great idea to me.  Would anybody else out there want to get behind an idea like that, where you could actually identify as a fan to your city's roller derby team and want them to knock the socks off that other city you hate?

Well, I could certainly relate to that and feel like I'm actually playing a sport again, just like I did when I played basketball in college or women's professional football or even when I went down to the sand volleyball courts for some co-ed action and we beat every other team in our league over a six-week period to win a shirt and some free beer.  Maybe I should just quit there, keep living in the glory days, and just be thankful I have the opportunities I do.  Nah, I'm going to keep thinking about how to make the flat-track revolution actually happen.

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