Monday, August 12, 2013

Bye Bye Intros (except for home teams)

Derby intros.  I hate them.  Unless you have a team choreographer and oodles of extra time to practice your dance moves on skates, most intros are awkward and silly time wasters.  I once witnessed an intro that went on for almost ten minutes, with spotlights and overblown music.  The opposing team was patiently waiting to do the team hand slaps and they got tired of waiting and went back to their locker room.  It really was one of the worst intros I've ever seen in five years of derby.  Epic fail.  I've also been involved in a team intro that went on forever because the announcer lost track of time due to an illicit influence; I think we were out there for five minutes just waiting...waiting for everyone to get announced.
I'm totally Batman when I'm not playing derby.
What a waste of time.

In 2010 Eastern Regionals, I watched Philly come out and skate together in a pack for their intros.  No player's name was announced, but a statement was read by the announcers.  I don't remember exactly what it was, but it mentioned how they thought of themselves as a team, and something about derby spirit animals, which made me instantly wonder what Teflon Donna's spirit animal was; I also remember yelling, "brilliant" at the computer screen.  Finally, a team got it. It's about the name on the front of your jersey,  not the back.

One of the picky little reasons I don't like intros is the fact that they can be a little awkward for both teams involved.   When is the proper time to do the hand slap?  Is it on your team's lap?  Is it on your solo lap?  What if the other team is expecting to get their hand slapped every time?  What if someone feels snubbed because I accidentally missed slapping her hand.  That's a lot of baggage that comes with something that doesn't necessarily belong in the game.  Don't get me wrong, I love the victory lap hand slaps, those should stay.

The most important one is the fact that derby is supposed to be a team sport.  As derby has grown and matured, it's become more team focused and I personally think that the intros need to go by the wayside.  People generally don't wear tutus on the competitive level, and most teams try to keep their uniforms, well, uniform.  Announcing the names and having a skater take a lap takes the attention off of the idea of team, in my humble opinion.

But, if you are so married to the idea of intros, here are a few tips to keep them short and sweet.

 1.  Seriously, keep them short.  If I'm on a team that has traveled more than a couple of hours and have to drive home that night, please don't drag out your intros.  Also, leave the tag lines out; we're not professional wrestlers. I know that will piss some people off, but come on.  We already have derby need a tag line too?  Really?

2.  Be respectful.  I've seen some teams be pretty disrespectful to the other team in their intros.  Tearing the team's shirt up, making threatening gestures,  or refusing to slap hands is all obnoxious.  Just smile and slap hands.  You don't need to be a jerk.  Remember, derby is a small community with a long memory.

3.  Make sure people can hear them.  If you're going to do intros, make sure the music isn't too loud and the microphones are working.  Nothing is more frustrating than intros where nobody can hear jack crap, including the skaters. 

4.  Keep them to home teams or theme bouts.  Home teams are where personalities should shine.  Usually home teams are where newer skaters are brought into the league, and have rabid family and friends excited to see them play.  Ham it up on home teams!  Also, themed bouts can be a perfect time for the extravagant intros.  Capes and tutus and fluffy pink leg warmers are fun for fans too.


  1. Along with #2: I played in one game where the announcer purposefully got half of my team's names wrong in the intro. Our names were not that hard to pronounce, and if they were, the announcer should have confirmed the pronunciation with my team first.

  2. Interesting read. As an announcer, I take pride in introducing skaters on each team and having the chance not to do so in a "home vs. visitor" style, as is the case with other sports. If the idea to create a greater concept of a team, you can just always take names off the jersey. As long as the announcer gives the same amount of enthusiasm to both sides and the teams play the right way, it should work.

  3. The home team crowds go wild at NFL games when the starters are introduced, same with the NBA. I'm all for keeping home team intros, but yeah...tag lines need to go, and the opposing team should just be introduced as a group (in a monotone, bored voice of course - think visiting batters intros in baseball).