5 Things We NEED To Talk About After #WFTDACHAMPS

With Champs coming and going and the season being official over, now is a great time to have important discussions about the future of derby that came out of news from WFTDA Champs 2017.


I touched on some of these subjects in my newest video, WFTDA CHAMPS 2017: What You Need To Know (brought to you by The Apex), but these are big topics that need a bit more expansion (and links)!


 

1. WFTDA’S ESPN PUSH

For the 2017 Champs game, the WFTDA originally arranged for live streaming on ESPN2. This would be the first time live roller derby was shown on network television, but a week out from the tournament WFTDA announced the championship game would be live on ESPN3 and rebroadcasted on ESPN2 the following week. Sudden and disappointing, but not surprising.

 

Were you excited for derby to be on ESPN2?

Should the WFTDA keep pushing for a ESPN presence?

Is ESPN/2/3 a good way to find new fans?

 

 

2. DOUBLE-H MAKES ON-AIR ‘TRAIL OF TEARS’ COMMENT

WFTDA Announcer and Chief Media Officer, Erica Vanstone, aka Double-H, made a comment on-air during the tournament, comparing losing the game to genocide, referencing the Trail of Tears.

Double H apologized, WFTDA removed the comment from the archive, penalized Double H by mandating her to take an 'Inter-cultural Competence' course and stated she will “not be appearing on broadcast in 2018”.

 

 

This is the least I expected from WFTDA in response to such a comment but there is a lot to unpack here and a lot our community needs to work on.

Start by checking out Mick Swagger’s post ,the FB live video from Team Indigenous, and Team Indigenous's statement on current community conditions. 

Hopefully after doing so you'll be inspired to start making derby better, specifically for this community within our community! Here are just a few questions rattling in my mind:

 

What other ways are we disrespecting, hurting, and continuing to oppress minorities in roller derby?

How can we educate our community so this doesn’t happen again?

Was WFTDA’s ‘punishment’ for Double-H proportional? 

 

 

3. ESPN Challenges Derby Names

There was a lot of hoopla surrounding a few skater names going into the Championship game on ESPN. In a Statement from the Board of Directors, WFTDA said ESPN "requested a number of name changes from skaters and officials to be FCC compliant". 

"One of the names requested was "Bicepsual" from Victorian Roller Derby League. WFTDA leadership determined (thanks to VRDL's quick response) that omitting this name was discriminatory. ESPN made the move to engage their internal LGBTQ advisory committee in the conversation. After asking ESPN to do something it has never done before, they are now prepared to run the entire broadcast as-is." 

That's definitely a win for us, and hopefully sets a standard within our relationship with ESPN. I did see a few other references to skaters altering their names for the broadcast, including Screw Barrymore of VRDL who went by ‘Barry’ and Frisky Biscuits of Rose who taped over ‘Biscuits’ on her jersey. Not sure if those changes are related to the ESPN challenge, but it brings up important questions about derby names moving forward!

 

Should we consider altering names for ESPN broadcasts or any other new territory?

Is there a line when it comes to altering names?

What role do derby names play in derby in 2018, and specifically, at the top level?

 

4. Retirements, Transfers

So many skaters from all over the top 10 have announced retirements, hinted at a future announcement (most likely after the World Cup), have retired on the DL. Here is list I am trying to keep updated. If you know of any others (and have a source), send it my way so I can keep it updated!

 

Publicly announced retirements:

Laci Knight

Jes Rivas

Jacked Pipes

 

Transfering:

Short Stop transfering to home league in Australia

V-Diva transfering back to Wilkes Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals

 

Whispers Around the Internet (unconfirmed):

Serelson

4 skaters from ARCH

5 skaters from Texas

 

 

5. NEW ERA

This season brought us so many exciting, new advancements! We had a record number of non-US teams at playoffs, the game itself is developing, the development of JR derby/ xXYouthCrewXx, the fact that this was the first time in 7 years Gotham didn't compete in the final game, some of the biggest names and derby brains are retiring from skating, and the Hydra went home with VRDL for it's first time out of the states! 

 

 

As I talk about in this video from earlier this year, derby has entered a new international era and 2017 was the year of non-us derby! With so many changes, next season is hard to predict, but it's fun to wildly speculate!

 

What do you think the roster changes will bring for these top teams? Any major shifts?

How will JR derby impact the sport at large?

How will VRDL winning the Hydra impact non-US teams?

Are we going to see different teams win it each year?

 


 

These are some big topics (well, the first 3) for our community to tackle, but it's important that we do. We get to shape the future of the sport! For derby, by derby, damnit!

Please share this post with your derby circle and share your thoughts. And, talk to your WFTDA rep if you want to see change at that level. 

 

 

 

Wendy Walden