Monday, November 26, 2012

New rules. "I'm not touching you"

I know this is going to be hard to believe, but I do not like causing arguments among derby folk; I know that's a shocking thing to admit because I do have strong opinions about everything derby related...sorry....not really.  If you don't have strong opinions about something that costs this much, or takes this much of a toll on your body, then why do it?  So, if you are offended about what I'm going writing about today, I'm sorry.  I don't mean it as a personal attack, but I do really want some of you to stop and think about what I have to say.

Just in case you feel like you'll need this at the end of this blog.

Last week, the new rule set was released by the WFTDA: huzzah!  This is a momentous occasion because for some players, these are the only rules they have ever known.  The WFTDA took a long time to release this set, in hopes that the rules would be well thought out and not chock full of loop holes that slow the game down even more.  I know I was looking forward to seeing how no minors would impact the game, but instead of thinking about what kind of impact the new rules would have for skaters, all I heard about was how skaters and coaches are joining in and trying to anticipate loopholes so they can be the first people to take advantage of the newly found loopholes.

Wait, what?

Why aren't you working on learning the new rules, and for some, the old rules, so you can skate cleanly and effectively?  I guess that's too boring now; all of the cool kids seem to be trying to be on-track lawyers instead of amazing players.  Compare the idea of people focusing on the potential loopholes in the ruleset to the kid that isn't allowed to touch you by parental decree, but who stands there with his hand in front of your face saying "I'm not touching you!" Yes, legally the one kid isn't touching the other one, but we all know he's ignoring the spirit of the law to honor the letter.

Boo.

Personally, I feel like coaches should be focused on how to tweak their training programs to deal with things like one whistle starts, cutting an opponent being a major, and whether or not your team is going to get thrown into the penalty box for the hyper vigilant multi-player blocking calls that are going to happen now. Those things are the BIGGER picture!  Whether or not you can be the first to game the rules really shouldn't be your primary objective, at least in my opinion.  Should your team ignore the fact that there are ways to "game the system?"  No.  Let's face it, I'm sure there are hoards of people meeting feverishly to find the new "passive offense" in the rule set.  Good for them, but wouldn't it be even more amazing for your team if you put all of that kind of effort into planning your training regime instead of focusing on the one tiny, stupid aspect of it all?  I know many people say, "Other sports do it all of the time."

I don't care about other sports; I care about derby.  I have no control about how football strategy happens, or the newest d-baggery in soccer, but I would like for derby to have fewer "masterminds" and more talented skaters please.  I'm not going to actually shun you for getting together and putting all of your time and energy into figuring out what the newest "passive offense" crap might be, but for most leagues, putting that time and energy into training better skaters might be a better investment.  In the end, which would rather be remembered for, your amazing skating or how you figured out how to do the new "back block flop?" Just my two cents.

Now. if you need to, go and fill out that butt-hurt form I posted up top and let's move on to a less controversial topic, like sparkly helmets!

23 comments:

  1. As an old school player, I appreciate your blog. 7 years ago we just laced up, put on some gear, and went to work. I hate hate hate all the loop hole bull-crap but sadly had to play into it to compete. However I did enjoy putting my swamp ass in the girls faces taking a knee start every jam :) 4 layers of tight, hot, sweaty goodness, yum yum!

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    1. Sure, you have to understand the loop holes to fight them, but for them to be your primary concern...no.

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  2. But passive offence is a straaaaaaaaategy! It's not trying to game the system! It's playing smart! Why do you hate modern derby?


    Brilliantly written, and I agree wholeheartedly. Focus on better skating and this game would be way ahead of where it is now.

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    1. Hates the passive offense we do.

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    2. Agreed. Too bad it's "popular" amongst some of the skaters most vocal with their opinions.

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  3. This is a wonderful blog. I really appreciate this idea.

    ~Rodeo

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  4. Hahaha love it. Especially the butthurt form ( I may print it out and carry it to every practice and game).

    " on-track lawyers" bahahaa

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  5. MADE skaters agree with this 110%. It's not that we're anti-WFTDA, we're just pro-derby.

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  6. No argument from me. I've hated lawyer derby from the moment I found out what it was. I'm relatively new to the derby arena. I referee "po-dunk" roller derby & enjoy it. I tried my whistle at reffing for the WFTDA. It allowed me all sorts of opportunities to meet asshole coaches who exploit rules to no end.

    Nice article, lady!

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  7. I admit that my first read-through was with an eye to imagining the shenanigans that might result. Well, more, worrying about them. Then I decided to relax, skate, have fun, and try to make it out to spring roll to see what develops over the off season.

    Lawyer derby (love the name) is a major reason I am considering dropping reffing altogether. I really have the mindset that I am just there for safety and fairness and HATED being turned into basically the 11th player on the track. Unfortunately I don't see that changing much so I think I might be for real retired.

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  8. Another fantastically righteous and incredibly insightful blog posting Ms. Q-Tion!! Though there be a concern with coaches and players "pulling crap" with loopholes to gain a strategic advantage, I see the greatest issue will be in consistency in the ref department. Without minors, will there now be a high bar or a low bar where penalties are concerned? Whatever the criteria for penalties, they NEED to be consistent from ref to ref and from league to league. I am only concerned with how these new rules will do for the fans and potential new fans of the sport. The hoi polloi hates slow derby and actually boos and walks out on it. I rarely see the top leagues pulling the "passive offense". Instead, their packs engage the other pack and keep things moving, even during a power jam. Hopefully this trend will continue to trickle down to the smaller leagues. As for the officiating, perhaps the WFTDA could produce a video which would clearly show what criteria will now constitute a penalty, showing many examples of each kind of penalty....

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  9. Hello! I love you! Won't you be my neighbor? :-D
    Well said and thank you!

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    1. I wish you hadn't removed that...it was awesome!

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  11. i dont think 'exploiting the rules' is the problem. I think standing there is the problem. when you think about all the other rules that are being "exploited"...for example...

    lets turn back time to (for me, possibly earlier for bigger leagues) 2008. We were still like "so, wait, if we get out of play in the front, can we skate clockwise to re-join the pack?" some refs were like "hell no" and others were like "huh?"

    Then i specifically remember this exact question on a WFTDA issue rules test, and the answer was something like "The rules do not state you cannot skate clockwise, therefore it is legal"

    technically thats exploiting the rules right? or am i way off base?

    also with 20' being out of play, that really means i can block until 19.9999999' right?

    a lot of 'strategy' is figuring out what the rules ALLOW you to do. and we do a lot that's not been in the rules until recently. even skating clockwise from the box to re-enter behind the pack is technically exploiting the rules i think.... but standing there is lame, thats why we hate it?

    just my opinion... love your blog =) thanks for spending so much time on it!

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    1. Maybe it's just me, but that's apples to oranges. "I don't know if I'm doing something illegal, but I'm in a weird situation" is different than "How can I deliberately destroy the pack by not skating?" or "Can I get someone thrown into the box if I deliberately flop on a back block?"

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    2. Yep. And I have to say the players I respect the most are the ones that know EXACTLY how to be aggressive but legal (i.e. deliver that hit at 17' if they can but know when they hit 20 without a warning and get back and pair up). That is smart gameplay.

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