I woke up this morning with this article all over my Facebook news feed. Windyman has written about the retirement of Kola Loka (Windy City Rollers) and her views regarding the current state of derby.
It is a really interesting article. It brings up the very current debate over the state of passive offense and the “slow derby” we are seeing throughout a lot of leagues. You can view the interview she gave to WFTDA.tv HERE (it’s at about the 1.28min mark).
“I find that when people play in a way that is boring or stops play, it’s like winning a battle, but losing the war. To me, the war is making roller derby a sport that can be enjoyed all across the world.” – Kola Loka interview on WFTDA.tv
I’m not a fan of passive offense (clearly shown by my support of The Society for the Preservation of Fuck-you-get-passed-me Roller Derby). I don’t like to watch it and I don’t particularly like to play it. It makes me sad when I see images like THIS, where blockers just stand on the sidelines and watch THEIR Jammer battle it out to push the opposing team out of play to take their points. I have played offense like this before though, but it does not mean I like it, nor agree with it.
There of course is always going to be arguments for and against, and it’s something everyone should be thinking about and taking seriously right now. Lex Talionis wrote that ‘Roller Derby Isn’t Broken‘ and passive offense isn’t ruining the game, that perhaps jammer penalties are the problem:
“Roller derby just doesn’t work when you only have one jammer on the track, so let’s change the rules so that you almost always have two…
Teams are punished exponentially more for the same penalty when it’s committed by a jammer, which means the punishment rarely fits the crime, especially when you remember that jammers don’t get points for illegal passes either and so get punished twice regardless.”
Lex Talionis – London Roller Girls
I find reading the comments of articles like this so interesting as the derby community proves the varying degrees of opinions on this topic. Man Flip points out a potential flaw in Lex’ argument:
“If there were suddenly no punishment for jammers trying crazy/dangerous things, they would try more crazy/dangerous things resulting in more injuries for a sport that has a big problem with lots of injuries.”
With the new rules set expected to drop from WFTDA in early January, with the most recognised changes as eliminating minors and releasing both jammers and blockers on the same whistle, we will see a remarkable change to game play. It’s going to fix the issue (well, some people see it as an “issue”) of scrum starts and either upgrade minors to majors (hence penalised immediately) or downgraded to no-impact.
I think it’s an exciting change ahead of us. I’m eager to formulate goals within my own league (home teams and travel) and get on the same page as the majority to work towards a positive objective for how we want to play the game. It’s like riding one great big wave of derby evolution, that’s a pretty rad thing if you think about it!
But as Kola Loka says and I agree wholeheartedly:
“I would always rather have a good time and win than have a crappy time and win. And I would also rather have a good time and lose than have a crappy time and win.”
High five to that!
What are your opinions of the current state of derby? Are you excited about the changes ahead? or disappointed they are not tackling issues that you see more fitting?