Friday, August 24, 2012

The Oly Hub-bub

If you've been living under a rock, here is a funny, albeit biased encapsulation of the whole Atom Matrix kerfuffle.  Is kefuffle a real word?  Who knows?  Also, is this really the worst and most horrible thing that has ever happened to roller derby?  I know this might surprise some of you, but it's really not the "worst, most terrible thing ever."  I feel like the most awful thing that is plaguing roller derby right now is that "Not skating crap", but that's a different subject completely.  Let's all calm down and discuss it like adults.
But please, fill out this butthurt form if this situation offended you personally.  Do you feel better?

First of all, if your league was Oly, would you take these skaters in?  It's a great question and it speaks to the goals of your league.  What is the mission statement of your league?  Are you there to win at any cost?  Does the phrase "Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary" make allotments for mercenary or gypsy skaters?  Let's take Oly out of it completely, and come up with a hypothetical situation.  Your league has made it to regionals, and suddenly you find out that Suzy Hotrod will be relocating to your area a month before the event.  What would you do?   Would your team really say "It's so awesome that you're joining the team, but we're sticking with our original roster."  Would you?  Kudos if you would, but I would be tempted!  I know it's a different situation.  These skaters are not moving to their new league, but sort of commuting. I personally think it's kind of a kick in the face to the skaters who have been working all year with a team, but who knows what their league discussed before this whole incident happened.  Maybe they're taking one for the team; isn't that one of the tenets of teamwork?

Secondly, how would you feel if you were Arizona?  I'm not sure what was discussed with their league either, but would you be willing to accept these skaters back if they choose to return after regionals?  I'm not a very forgiving person, but I'm also realistic; maybe next year they would gel better with their new team.  I'm not sure anyone gave the mixing of Atomatrix, Hockey Honey and Joy Collision the time it needed to settle with the Arizona team.  Remember, transfer skaters are just like any other skater; there are no guarantees of how long they will stay with any league.  We've had people transfer into our league and stay forever, and we've had people transfer in and stay for three months.  It's just the way the world works right now.

PS...both of these teams should tell everyone to STFU because really, it's none of our damned business to begin with.

What would you do if you were Atomatrix?  Your livelihood depends on your skating reputation, and your skating reputation depends on national recognition.  Would you jump ship to further your derby reputation?  The more derby press coverage she gets, the better chance she has of selling her wheels and booking guest coaching gigs.  Douchey or not, it's reality.  There is no rule against what she and the rest of those skaters are doing in the WFTDA.  Should there be?  I don't think so.  Atomatrix posted a statement on her Facebook page last night; most of it pointed to personal reasons, but this sentence was interesting.  "Yes, I do feel in skating Oly is "home" and there are no rules against skating remotely. If this changes my plans would have to change. Maybe 1 day our sport will go pro and athletes at the highest level of the sport will have more options." Roller derby is in a weird place in its development; nobody is paid to play.  We have no official draft, and teams are based on geographical situations.  I know that skaters have moved to play with more competitive leagues, which may be the most extreme thing I've ever heard of, but once again, it's completely legal. Do I dream of the day where skaters will be paid to play?  Hell yes. Would I like for derby to have a draft system like the NHL?  Heck yeah!  But we don't right now, so we're in this strange place between being a professional and an amateur sport.

What do you want to do about it?  Are you really ready to demand that the WFTDA take a more stringent stance on roster selection?  I'm not excited by that idea at all.  More rules aren't always the answer. Just because a league does something you disagree with, doesn't mean it's time to call in the rule makers.

People are all riled up about this particular situation because there is a clash of philosophies going on here.  Is derby a sport or is it a community and a lifestyle?  I feel like this gap is getting larger and larger, with the top tiered teams becoming more and more like a professional sports league and the less competitive leagues are trying to figure out where they fit in to the new derby.  Situations like this are going to keep coming up; last year everyone had their panties in a moist, sweaty wad because Dutchland forfeited to Gotham.  "It's not fair!"  is all I read in the blogs and on Facebook.  Guess what, it was legal, and they thought it was tactical at the time.  This is the same kind of situation; it's legal and it's a tactical decision. You may not agree, but it's their choice.

Now please, somebody do SOMETHING about the crappy conga line that is ruining derby!


  1. Agreed! Can we please focus on the rules (or lack there of) that are ruining the game play of derby and stop worrying about something that already happened?? Talk to your WFTDA rep about what you want to see happen with the rules in 2013!

  2. They both should tell us to STFU about it? What about the other teams, one of whom may well get dicked out of a well-earned trip to Championships that they may have spent the year budgeting and planning for?

  3. In addition, this crap has been happening pretty much every year. This is just the worst and most gratuitous version of it. Oly's now got SIX skaters on their rosters who don't live driving distance. Last season they had Stella Italiana from Des Moines on it. One league in last year's South Central Playoffs used some borrowed skaters from neighboring non-WFTDA leagues instead of their own. At least Rocky Mountain's last-minute transfers actually stayed with the league for the consecutive regular season.

    Normally I'd say "let the local skaters who were disappointed not to get to play solve it." But pretty clearly Oly Rollers DGAF. Someone probably ought to solve this problem for 'em.

    1. Which league is getting screwed over? Arizona? They accepted transfer skaters who rarely showed up to practice.

      I personally don't want the WFTDA choosing who can be on my roster. No league should.

      Reactionary rules never turn out to bee a good thing in the end.