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2009 WFTDA Championships – The Declaration of Derby

   Posted by: Bitches Bruze

A number of skaters from my league headed on down to Philadelphia this past weekend to catch the 2009 WFTDA Championships in person. I went with my derby wife, Will Jettison, and we had an absolute blast and caught some of the best flat track derby available in the world today.

There were some firsts and some very unique events which took place on Saturday: a tie game/overtime jam, a tournament expulsion, a successful leg whip, and an attempted helmet cover pass.

For outstanding, detailed coverage of the whole tournament, visit Derby News Network or Miss Print’s blog Roller Derby Diva.

Here I thought I’d introduce my favorite video clips from the bout and share what I got out of these moments.

The most exciting, electric moment of the entire weekend was the final jam of regular play of Rocky Mountain facing Philly followed by the overtime jam. Both of these jams were strategic brilliance where they weren’t won by any particularly fantastic plays as much as they were lost by mistakes. Rocky Mountain was third place in the Western Division and came into the tournament strong displacing Philly – the team which until this moment, was ranked #1 in the world.

It should go without saying that besides being a highlight for the fans, this was an amazing moment for #27 DeRanged of the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls. There she is, lying on the track on corner 3 in complete glory then getting dogpiled by her team. DeRanged is the jammer that tied it up in a jam where she averaged 7.125 laps/minute and then goes back out for a guaranteed 2 minute jam for the win. This is nothing short of pure accomplishment and amazing glory.

But few people will remember the skater name DeRanged as the super-jammer who leads her team to victory over the team ranked #1 in the world. They’ll remember her as the blocker who lost her cool and punched a Texas blocker in the back of the head near the end of a quarter-final bout her team was decidedly losing.

One of the hotly debated topics of the weekend was the apparently stopped and clockwise action on the track. A lot of people are calling the strategy both “boring” and “unsafe”. Personally I don’t think its either. People will find a sport boring if they don’t understand what’s going on. That is true for fans and fiends alike. I’m inclined to believe a lot of people were confused about why a team would appear to stop or step backward and they especially didn’t like it when the strategy created winning situations for the team using it. The strategy is easily defended, as Oly would later prove. But there are certainly times when this strategy is both useful and really fascinating. To prove my point about finding things more interesting by understanding, I took 14 seconds of play between Windy City and Denver, show the play normal speed (which kinda looks like a clusterphuque), then break it down at 1/5 speed and annotate the play, then replay the 14 seconds. The second time you watch the video, after understanding it, its much more interesting.

The Oly Rollers from Olympia, Washington, ran away with the title and deservedly so. While the Rocky Mountain/Philly bout was the most exciting, the Oly/Gotham bout was the one to watch during the weekend – last year’s Champions versus this year’s. There was no doubt from very early on in the bout who the better team was.

The slogan going around, explaining why Oly is Number One is “You can’t do a leg whip by your self.” I had amazing derby karma at the tournament. This is what I got which, if you were in doubt about what that slogan might mean, you should have no doubt after watching this 5 seconds of derby why Oly – who played its first WFTDA bout 11 months ago – is #1 in the WORLD!