Sunday, September 04, 2011

"The Next Level"

This week has been thoroughly entertaining and frustrating in online derbyland.

It started with a posting of this new documentary about the Old School Derby Association:

Where do I begin?

To put in a bunch of old footage of fake skating doesn't help OSDA's cause. And the new footage they included? Uhm...a little underwhelming. You can see skaters without writstguards on. In my mind, if you don't need wristguards or a helmet to skate derby, you're one step away from Couples Skate at the local rink listening to Journey and the Motels.

To say they're "pro" is ludicrous until their skaters can quit their day jobs and skate full time.  To put down the modern DIY banked leagues by calling them "amateur" reveals entitlement issues and a touch of jealousy. If you have to put down others in your promo material to try to look good, then you ain't lookin' good.

Oh, and it's not REQUIRED to have a skate name in modern DIY derby. I don't know where they got that idea from, but it humors me. 

And my new favorite phrase: "We're going to take it to the next level".  I've read that a LOT this week. You can hear it in the above clip. But I've also heard it from people who are supporting another organization that wants to take derby to some type of other level, the NRDA. As you can see by their fancy website that lists all their participating leagues with corresponding season schedules, they're definitely the next level. Here's some clips that take derby to the "next level":

THAT'S the next level of roller derby?!

That "next level" was invited to Battle on the Bank II in Austin under the "Las Vegas Renegade" name. They got their asses handed to them  in both games they played there, and they tried their "next level" gameplay of switching jerseys of ejected skaters to stay in the game, to boot. It didn't do any good.

A little reminder of what the pesky amateurs are doing:

So, yeah. If the "next level" of derby is coasting, minimal contact, and fake fighting, then no thanks, I'll stick to Amateur Hour.

The thing is, is that people's memories are painfully short. Why did derby die to begin with? Because it wasn't a sport, it was a sideshow. See the NRDA clips above. The modern DIY version of the game has elements of the ludicrous with skate names and team themes with a dash of unicorns and mustaches thrown in for good measure, but once the whistle blows to start the game it's allllll sport. Not that the modern game doesn't have its faults, but hey! it's not a staged circus act. 

For those who want to bring the sport back to where they say it should be? I wonder if it's about them reliving their younger days instead of realizing that their time was done. There's no doubt the old school skaters back in the day had skating talent, but it's too bad that talent wasn't used to best results.

Reminder to new skaters: do yourselves a favor and watch this doubleheader of derby documentaries:

Jam: The Movie is about the Old Schoolers in the Bay Area in the late 90's. It's sad yet fascinating. I first saw this at SXSW in Austin the first time the Derby Dolls played an interleague game. You'll learn that derby drama is nothing new, and so learn to avoid bullshit like this.

Hell on Wheels is about the start of modern DIY derby in Austin. It's basically a how-to on how NOT to start a league. EVERYONE should see this, because the problems that caused the Mutha of All League Splits are still prevalent in DIY derby today.

And the overall message on all of this is the old proverb of those not knowing the past are doomed to repeat it. Let's not repeat the past, shall we?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the video of "awesome futuristic roller derby". That cr@p makes me glad that it is the scary past we are trying to get away from, and not the future But it makes me sad amd angry that idiots are trying to revitalize it. Too much work has gone into "Modern Roller Derby" to let it slide back into that cespool. The skill, or lack thereof from the old school videos was horrendous. And to think that's current day?!?!

I leave just appalled, and glad that I am part of the "real" "sport" that we call Roller Derby. Not that cr@p.


Blogger Grrl said...

That second video? Makes me retch. Seriously--modern roller derby (flat or banked track) is a serious sport.

Nicole said...

Ugg that first video made me throw up a little in my mouth. Seriously, I don't even skate and that sort of snobbery makes my skin crawl, especially after watching the "game" play. Give me so-called amateur hour any time over that shite.

trickunicorn said...

Tara, I kind of want to see you putting the hurt on those NRDA skaters. Can we invite them to wReck League? LOL

Hell, let 'em come to Fresh Meat and do some real drills. They'd probably last all of ten minutes.


Nicole said...

So just watched "Hell on Wheels" and wow, you weren't kidding about the way NOT to run things. Thank god we don't run GDG that way...

Joe Nardone said...

I read your review of the OSDAPRO documentary and you were very unfair to compare that game skated on Halloween a couple years ago in Vegas to what we're attempting to do with OSDAPRO!

It doesn't matter if it's WORD or OSDAPRO rules, as long as it's full contact, legitimate skating, right?

I disagree with you about the term professional. A person who is paid to skate is professional, a person who isn't paid to skate is amateur. I didn't come up with the meaning of those words, they've been around for a very long time.

I'm proud that the former owner of the International Roller Derby League supports our efforts and saw, first hand, the quality of skaters we have.

The purpose of using the old Roller Games video was to show the worst of the game. I can see your point, but please listen carefully to David Block's narration. He spells it out clearly.

I hope you'll reconsider your stand and show some Derby Love!

"Jersey" Joe Nardone
OSDAPRO Publicity Director

Roller Derby said...

Occasionally some guys don't like wearing all their pads during non-contact drills. Most skaters wear their full gear as they skate in flat track leagues like PJRD, SJ, Man's Ruin and NY Shock Exchange.

The only time I ever see people get hurt on the flat track in practice is when they are fooling around or when a rookie trips them.

The OSDA Pro skaters are all skating in DIY amateur leagues in NJ/NY/PA. All wear full protective gear. I am not a fan of the NRDA nonsense. OSDA Pro has no fake fighting, regular full blocking and is for real.

RedDiabla said...

Joe: I have tons of derby love for those who don't feel the need to put down others to pump themselves up. Your stance on "pro" is different than mine in that as I stated, unless your skaters can quit their day jobs to skate derby as their main source of income, you're using smoke and mirrors in your pro-"pro" advertising.

And if you don't like my stance on how OSDA and NRDA both say they're taking derby "to the next level" and that next level isn't comparable in skill to what modern DIY leagues such as Oly, Gotham, LA and SD Derby Dolls, Arizona Derby Dames are doing, then you'd best up your training. Don't put on me your job of reaching your goals of making your organization look good. This is a blog run by a loudmouth with opinions, not a news outlet or shill site for any organization.

Jersey Joe said...

Tara - I'm just using the definition used for decades that an athlete that is paid is a professional and an athlete that isn't paid is an amateur, but not in the sense of amateur hour or anything derogatory.

I didn't put anyone down in my interview, did I?

Jersey Joe said...

One more thing...what you showed were two set games - which have NOTHING AT ALL to do with OSDAPRO.

But then, I know why you did it.

You've never had anything nice to say about OSDA, NRDA, or co-ed Derby.
At least, I've never seen it!

RedDiabla said...

Joe: your reading comprehension is on the fritz. I didn't say the two other clips were OSDA. I clearly have a link to NRDA just above said clips, so take a deep breath and read what I'm saying, not what you think I'm saying. BUUUUT, NRDA DOES use the same phrasing as OSDA about taking derby "to the next level". Not a very impressive level, is it? That's what you're going to be compared to when you use the same phrasing. If that's not what you're about, then show something that isn't even close to that level of ridiculousness.

Damn right I'm going to critique OSDA and NRDA on "professionalism" and "taking derby to the next level" when your output to this point is inferior to the amateur level that you do indeed subtly slam. And yet again, unless the skater can skate AS THEIR PROFESSION and not as a side gig, I think saying you have professional skaters is misleading.

As for coed derby, what makes you think I don't like it? I skate on a coed team called the Gramercy Refs, for fuck's sake. I love coed teams where the mens and the womens skate TOGETHER, none of the old school men-take-a-turn/women-take-a-turn stuff. The similarities and differences of skating styles within the same pack is fascinating to watch and to work with. So there goes that argument.

I'm not saying what WFTDA and WORD is doing is absolutely perfect, but I'm free to express MY opinion about your marketing and what you put out there on my own blog. This blog isn't for forwarding your agenda, it's to express mine.

Jersey Joe said...

Tara - I didn't say you labeled those videos as OSDAPRO, but you did lump them in together, which would infer that we are skating a fixed or set game. When I say they have nothing to do with OSDAPRO, I mean their style is totally different.

OSDAPRO, OSDA, MADE, WORD and WFTDA have some things in common, we all skate a legit game. The rules may be different, but we all love Roller Derby too.

To say our product is inferior to yours is foolish. You've never seen full scrimmages or a game. You can't make that comparison.

Again, your description of old school Derby is wrong. To dismiss it as you do simply displays your lack of knowledge.

I get a kick out of today's skaters who can even compare themselves to the skaters of the past when the old PRO's (set game or legit -- late 50's - check it out) skated 4-6 games A WEEK!

Also, OSDAPRO was NOT the director, producer or marketer of the documentary. That was solely David Block's project and he based it on OSDAPRO.

I won't bother to discuss this anymore with you because I can see there's no way you'll accept the fact that we are going to achieve a professional, legitimate product.

RedDiabla said...

Thank goodness. You were getting tiresome. I don't hate your game, I hate the claims of professionalism when derby is not near to that yet.