It’s more than the score

WFTDA just posted a bunch of games from a Division 1 tournament in Seattle.  We have a lot of new skaters that have recently joined the league, and provided links to the games on youtube so that parents (and kids) would have a place to see how the big girls play.

As I  was reviewing some of the games, it occurred to me that we need to explain to parents that the point differentials in derby can be extreme.   I’m a referee, and have been to several games with a point spread of more than 300 points.   This is important to know, because players need to know that sometimes you can lose really badly in derby, and that’s to be expected.

This is true in all of derby.  WFTDA is the “Women’s Flat Track Derby Association”, which is an international organization and responsible for the ruleset we play by.   (We are actually members of JRDA which has a partnership with WFTDA.   Men’s roller derby is governed by MRDA.   These three organizations all play by the same standard rule set)

I was surprised when watching Game 10 of the tournament that they talked about this quite a bit, and it’s a game that I think our parents may want to watch with their kids.

This game was played between Charlottesville and Jacksonville.  WFTDA is a large organization and has more than 300 leagues that are ranked, and the top 36 teams become part of D1 play (I won’t get into the details, but D1 teams can decline their earned positions in tournaments, and high ranking D2 teams may be invited to take their place).    In this particular tournament, teams from Madison and Charlottesville were D2 teams that were invited to participate in the tournament.

Jacksonville at the time of this tournament was ranked #9 in the world and Charlottesville was #39.       As you can imagine, the game was expected to be a blow-out in Jacksonville’s favor.

And it kind of was.  The final score of the game was 318-161.

And here is why I *love* roller derby.    The big story of this game was not that Jacksonville beat Charlottesville by 157 points.   The story was about how well Charlottesville did .   It was about how their performance was much better than everyone would have predicted.   It was about their fans on twitter all declaring how proud they were of their performance.

The post game interview with one of the players speaks volumes about this sport.  I want our parents and skaters to understand that roller derby is about so much more than the score.

If you can spare some time, this is actually a great game to watch and try to get a better understanding of the sport.


Rink Skating

One of the great things about roller derby is that you learn to roller skate, and after that you can have a great time skating at the local roller skating rink.   You also have a group of friends (your team mates) that you can skate with together.   Rink skating is a little bit different from derby practice (in that you generally aren’t allowed to hit other skaters).   But if you see more experienced derby skaters at a free skate, you’ll notice that they wear some gear.

Why is that?

In roller derby, skaters fall.   A lot.   Partly because derby skaters are pushing the envelope of what you can do.  Turning toe stops?   No problem.   Jumping cones?  Sure.  Grabbing a rope and playing a game of tug of war on roller skates?   Been there done that.    These are all great activities that help skaters gain confidence, and we end up falling a lot.

You know what keeps us from getting hurt?   Our pads.   We wear a helmet, use a mouth guard, elbow pads, wrist pads and knee pads.   And as a result of all of our practices and all of our falling, we learn to depend on them.  And we instinctively learn how to fall on them and get right back up so that you can get back to the game.

If you fall the way that you’re used to falling in derby, but don’t have your pads on… well, you can get hurt.

Wearing all of our pads to a free skate is probably overkill.   (But if you or your parents feel more comfortable or safer wearing safety gear, there is *nothing* wrong with that.   Be safe and be comfortable).

Most derby skaters that I know wear the same gear for free skate:   wrist guards and knee pads.   As you are not making contact with anyone on the rink, you’re not expecting to fall, and you probably don’t need a helmet, mouth guard and elbow pads… but if you get off balance and take a spill, chances are pretty high that you’ll fall on your knees or your wrists.

Please skate smart.   We don’t want anyone to get hurt.

And if you happen to be gearing up for a day at the roller rink, maybe you can wear a cool NHJRD t-shirt so people know how cool you are.   Maybe you can convince some new team mates to give derby a try.



Skills Clinic!

Created by Saiyan


NHJRD is hosting a skills clinic for skaters L1-L3 based on JRDA standards.  Please sign up for a great day filled with derby skills and fun.  Our coaches have Division 1 tournament and game play experience.  Only $25 for each skater.  Come and enjoy!  Can’t wait to see you there.