It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since I finally sat down and starting writing about this sport. While it may have come after a long apprenticeship, I had no idea what to expect and have been overwhelmed by the support. I would like to thank the skaters and refs and volunteers at ToRD for their access, trust and support throughout this year. It has been amazing to watch this league thrive and continue to grow in every way possible. To be able to chronicle it so closely is not something I take for granted.
I would also like to thank all the other leagues that I covered this year: Montreal, where I first learned the sport and where I continue to learn so much; Tri-City for forcing everyone else’s game up another notch; and Hammer City for blazing such a clear trail. Also Rideau Valley Rollergirls, Forest City’s Thames Fatales, GTA Rollergirls, Terminal City and E-Ville thank you all for being amazing examples of what this sport can accomplish.
And finally, the photographers whose pictures have illustrated these articles. Kevin Konnyu, Derek Lang, Joe Mac and David Artemiw thanks for always being so quick, so open, and so awesome with your work; they are essential to what I do and wonderful for the sport. Also for their generosity with their images, thank you so much to Laine “Seen It All” White, Chrissie “Fresh Eyes” Wu and Nicolas “The Left Coast Legend” Charest. I’m indebted to you!
Slow Derby Sucks ROCKS!
Derby nerds love slow derby! Perhaps the great evolution of flat track roller derby took place in 2009 when Denver (among other Western Region teams) brought the “trap” to the sport. This kick started an era of strategic growth in 2010 that has changed the nature of the game: forcing rules refinement from the officials and a higher level of strategic play from the skaters. It was absolutely amazing to see this evolution play out at the 2010 WFTDA Championships. From ultra-fast defensive packs to dead-slow traps (and everything in between) Uproar on the Lakeshore had it all. But there were, of course, some nostalgia mongers who, afraid of change–or perhaps just their ability to keep up—decided to take it upon themselves to bring a negative attitude to what was a celebratory event. The “Slow Derby Sucks” brigade was in Windy City in full force booing teams who employed…well, strategy, or who did anything other than skate in a circle really fast (maybe they were
short track speed skating fans who took a wrong turn because I always thought the point of roller derby was to advance your jammer passed the opposing team’s pack). Along with wearing offensive t-shirts they also handed out misguided and insulting pamphlets that among other things urged people to boycott bouts featuring teams that employed slow-derby strategy: I have nothing but contempt for people who use “boycott” and “roller derby” in the same sentence.
That’s when two Canadian Crusaders stepped in and saved the day. ToRD’s very own Mega Bouche and Hammer City’s Lock And Roll managed to snag a couple of T-shirts (and even one of the signs) and turned them into wonderful pieces of subversive art. Thank you so much Lock and Bouche for creating such a beautiful moment!
Meeting the Original Derby Nerds
My personal off-track highlight of 2010 was getting to interview the original derby nerds, the voices of flat track roller derby, Dumptruck and Val Capone. The interviews were conducted for ToRD.TV at the 2010 WFTDA Championships, where one of my on-the-track highlights took place: Rocky Mountain’s championship victory over Oly, which may have been the best flat track roller derby bout ever played. It was a pleasure to interview these two figures (who have had a big influence on me); they are both extraordinarily gracious and welcoming and of course, monsters of roller derby knowledge.
Here are the interviews in their entirety!
Happy New Year! Till 2011.
(For a little teaser, check out ToRD’s 2011 schedule!)