OK, modern roller derby, you need to have a little heart-to-heart with yourself.
You say you want to be on tv. To sell out large arenas. To be in the Olympics. To be taken SERIOUSLY.
Considering some of the shady things that have happened in derby past, from scripted games to pillow fights to the worst acting EVAR when skaters try to throw punches for titillation, I can understand why the modern derby movement says it wants to be SERIOUS. Look at the changes in modern derby since its inception ten years ago: less fishnets, more dance tights. Less frilly skirts and elaborate skateouts, more aerodynamic hot pants and simple team introductions. Less team themes and skate names, more basic team motifs and more government names. So, SO SERIOUS.
All that change in a bid for "legitimacy" goes out the fucking window when the skaters take the "For the skaters, by the skaters" saying way too fucking SERIOUSLY and pull bullshit like this:
I had hoped that the above jam from this year's East Coast Extravaganza would be the exception to the loopholes in WFTDA rules about when/where teams line up at the start of a jam, and forward momentum after the whistle is blown. This happened with the pack lined up at the pivot line at last year's WFTDA Championals between Gotham and Philly. It was boo'd then. It was boo'd at ECDX this year. It was heavily boo'd when Rat City pulled it over and over again against Rocky Mountain on Saturday at Western Regionals.
How the fuck can you expect to be taken SERIOUSLY when you won't even fucking SKATE when the whistle is blown?! You're not playing a sport, you're jerking off and expecting people who PAY to see you SKATE to be pleased, impressed, and to take you SERIOUSLY with your athletic prowess that you're not showcasing by crowding the jammers at a standstill for two minutes at a time?! REAAAAAAAAAAALLY????????
Rethink that shit. Now. It's called roller derby, not noller derby. "Roll" is right in the name of the goddam sport, so try to, I dunno, ROLL when you're supposed to. I've heard some bullshit excuses for using "strategies" like this...Hey, we knew we couldn't outskate the other team, so we decided to mindfuck them. Well, now we know JUST HOW BROKEN the rules are! The other team is going to use it, so we should get used to it!
Uh, you have got to be fucking kidding me. Is this high school or SERIOUS ROLLER DERBY? If you want this sport to be taken SO GODDAM SERIOUSLY and eventually get paid to skate, then stop the shenanigans and JUST FUCKING SKATE when the whistle blows. You want new fans? SKATE. You want fellow skaters to stop booing you at tourneys? SKATE. You wanna be on tv for something other than a side human interest story for this cute little hobby of yours? SKATE.
I've talked to many skaters individually who say they'd rather skate than use noller derby. Yet it's still happening, so I have to ask what the hell is stopping the SKATERS in the "by the skaters, for the skaters" group from fixing these glaring loopholes? It's YOUR organization, YOUR rules, YOUR goal to grow the sport, so what are YOU doing to keep skating?
In other news, I actually had an otherwise grand time at Westerns this year, outside of the noller derby fuckery. Not only did I yell myself into a stupor, but I got to draw on NEW PEOPLE. Here, meet Tannibal Lector from the Oly Rollers(a league who likes to skate, and now they're getting more fans both inside and outside the derby community because they're not fucking around):
I won't lie, I was a bit star-struck with this one. I had also wanted to draw on Oly's Atomatrix, but at the afterparty she was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, and to be honest, she totally intimidates me. So I FIALED. At least I got to get hugged by Rocky Mountain's DeRanged and Psycho Babble, and Assaultin' Pepa keeps thinking I don't know who she is. Which is hilarious, because she's Kinda A Big Deal to me as much as her teammates. I think I talked to more people this tournament than ever before, and I have to say, I fucking LOVED every second of meeting new people and getting to hang out with an ever-wider array of derby awesomeness. Tara tatt photos will follow soonly.
And that awesomeness is why the noller derby pisses me off too much. Because we all work TOO FUCKING HARD to be dismissed for alleged strategery that is not only short-term, but short-sighted. I want to build a legacy, not be a footnote to the early millennium. I know too many other people involved in this that feel the same way; why else would we give so much to something that isn't financially paying off for us? Because we want to succeed, goddam it. So let's put aside ego and silliness and make sure the walk--er, skate stride matches the talk, eh?