Kola Loka: A Skater’s Story

Now that Gotham Girls Roller Derby have claimed their third Hydra as champions of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the 2012 WFTDA season is, for all intents and purposes, done and dusted.

The offseason gives most players time to take a well-deserved break at the end of a hard year of roller derby. However, for some it also can signal the end of a chapter in their derby careers.

There have been a few high-profile skaters signalling their retirement from the WFTDA this year. To name but a few: Heather Juska, White Flight, Soulfearic Acid, Joy Collision, Hockey Honey, Psycho Babble…and that’s just from the west region.

Another player ending her time in the WFTDA is Kola Loka.

Before Kola Loka discovered roller derby and joined Windy City in 2006, she was no stranger to the bouting world. “I was boxing at the time, preparing for the Golden Gloves and I preferred the team aspect of it, but loved the physicality and the training,” she said of her derby pre-history.

Like most derby players, she got sucked into the game and found it was right up her alley. According to Kola, what kept her drive for derby alive was “never ending learning curve and the satisfaction of being part of a team that had a goal to win together.”

That goal was met year after year, with Windy City going 62-23-1 in WFTDA play from 2007 and staying undefeated in the North Central since the beginning of the WFTDA four-region format in 2008, winning the North Central regional playoff tournament every year since.

Along the way, Kola had some amazing highlights that she’ll never forget.

“My favorite experiences are beating Madison at Eastern regionals in 2007 when we were the super-underdog and they were ranked first. It was a thrilling upset that is rare in sports.

“In 2008, at Nationals, in a semifinal game against Texas, I mistakenly called it off when we were tied and we had to go into overtime. My team put me back in to clean up the mess I’d made and I helped win the game in the last minute.

“Afterwards, the crowd lifted me up and chanted my name. I saw my dad crying in the crowd. Nothing can top that.”

As one of the top jammers on the Windy City Rollers, Kola Loka knows how to fight her way around the track. (Photo Credit: Joe Rollerfan)

Kola Loka and her team would eventually fall to Gotham and watch them hoist their first Hydra trophy in 2008. But the finals appearance set the tone for Windy City, and after a dominant 11-1 regular season in 2009 they were poised to make another championship run.

By then, Kola was on the sidelines just having given birth to a future roller derby star a few months earlier. But she was ready to cheer on her teammates as any fan of the Rollers would.

However, in their first game at 2009 Nationals, they ran into the Denver Roller Dolls and their new pack-slowing tactics. Much like the booing crowd, Kola Loka was not a happy camper at what she was witnessing.

“It was a shock to see the tactic of just standing there. I screamed myself hoarse.”

WCR was bamboozled by the tactic, losing 157-125 in a game that had been labelled as a major upset. As Kola returned to skating form and her team began to decode what happened, the writing was on the wall.

And it wasn’t good.

“My team and most teams pretty much hated it and then immediately adopted that style, which was horrifying to me. No one has really since come up with a way to stop it, since the rules don’t prevent it.”

So as it was clear to everyone in the WFTDA that they only way to beat ‘em was to join them, and also partake in the slow game. But Kola Loka didn’t want that to happen, if she could help it.

“We have been banging our heads against the wall trying to make other teams skate, while some of them have been figuring out all the ways they can win by not engaging and forcing no packs and out of play.”

This began to wear at Kola Loka. Month by month, game by game, teams all over the country began to abandon the hard-skating tactics that drew players like Kola into the sport to begin with. Instead, they preferred to take the most direct route to victory, even if it was being done in a way that was unpopular to fans—or even fellow skaters.

“Players will do anything to win. Some seem to have no compunction about their actions and their consequences. … People are selfish. They would rather win a medal than help our growing sport become fun to play and fun to watch.

“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.”

“Even though there are amazing athletes out there, I find that they stop using those athletic abilities during the game too often for me to enjoy playing it with them.” – Kola Loka interview on WFTDA.tv

Although she was still proud to be a member of the Windy City Rollers, increasingly Kola began to find out that win or lose, she was starting to have a crappy time playing this slower, more punishing style of game that the WFTDA was rapidly adopting. “As a dedicated jammer, I felt like I was back in boxing, except now I have to keep my hands down while I get hammered in the face, or else I will get a penalty.

“Just no fun.”

But as a skater in the WFTDA, a governing body for the skaters, by the skaters, Kola had an opportunity to change things. She was very active in trying to enact gameplay updates to get things back to a state where she could enjoy herself again.

However, Kola soon began to realize that as a single skater, she “doesn’t have much of a voice. There are people who represented my whole league, but if I was in a minority—which I usually was—then my voice has no place.” Though she acknowledged that representing the majority is the point of a democracy, she recently wondered if even that’s true when it comes to the WFTDA.

“The strange thing about this issue is that most people I talk to lately, unlike over the last few years, really hate these slow/no derby tactics. I no longer feel like the minority, but from what I hear on the ‘streets,’ there are a few leagues in the country whose voices overshadow the rest as WFTDA’s decisions are made.”

- – – – – – – – – – – – – -

Kola Loka was beyond frustrated with slow derby throughout the 2012 season. The rules update that should have landed in May of this year never came, and like most everyone else in the derby community she was not pleased that she had to continue skating under rules that, according to Kola, made for games so boring they were “like watching paint dry, or maybe like watching a fly die by getting stuck in drying paint.”

“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

Windy City didn’t seem to like getting stuck with current gameplay environment, either, going a disappointing 5-5-1 in the 2012 regular season. There were bright spots for Kola throughout the year—she got to play in the Windy City-Minnesota which was likely the game of the year, and with the help of Sargentina she pulled off a Pegassist to get around a scrum start at the Star of Texas Bowl. (“That was epic and awesome.”)

But after running the table in the North Central regional playoff and heading back to the WFTDA Championships, Kola Loka reached a breaking point.

“I hated the way we played and couldn’t stand to do it anymore. … This whole season especially, since we lost to Charm by them forming a line and refusing to block, I have been pissed! I wanted to quit that night, but I couldn’t let my team down. I felt stuck; quitting was not a good option, and playing this way was excruciating.”

With a rock on  her left and a hard place on her right, she decided the only thing she could do was press forward and stick with her team for one last shot at a Hydra. Unfortunately, despite her leading Windy City in scoring with 48 points, Windy City fell 212-125, ending their chances and simultaneously ending Kola Loka’s time in the WFTDA.

Kola admitted that—very much unlike their meeting three years ago—her final WFTDA tilt against Denver was “a fun game.” But when the final whistle sounded, she got to let her true feelings be known.

“I was just hoping for a good game. When it was over, I was so happy. Nationals was my end goal, and I was relieved. I have been waiting for this for a long time.

“I felt free.”

Finally released from the shackles that have been the restrictive and unpopular style of game she was forced to play, seemingly against her will, she was free to speak her mind about what she really thought about things.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) the first person to ask her opinion was holding a WFTDA.tv microphone while standing in front of a camera that broadcasting the live video stream to thousands of roller derby players and fans around the world.

To see Kola talk about the state of “slow derby” play, click here to go to the Windy City/Denver archive on WFTDA.tv and skip ahead to 1:28:30.

“They asked me why I was quitting and I said that I was done playing a game that was confusing for fans and frustrating and dangerous for me. I wanted to see the amazing athletes in WFTDA do what their positions said: blockers block, and jammers jam. I think teams who win by disengaging from the pack are winning the battle, but losing the war to make derby a fan friendly game.

“I also said that I am not retiring from derby, just the WFTDA, and that people will most likely see me playing ‘somewhere else.’”

People have told Kola that after they heard her comments, they were “encouraged” by her “strong stance.” But still, there was an open question of what exactly she meant when she said she wanted to play “somewhere else” now that she was finished with the WFTDA.

“I like what USARS is doing a lot. They asked everyone in derby to get together—even though WFTDA declined more than once—and create a ruleset with a goal in mind of making a fun to watch, easy to understand and ‘safe’ to play roller derby. If skaters feel the same way, let’s go play USARS. All you need is a USARS membership and a place to play. There’s no reason teams in WFTDA can’t play; they already are. And from what I’ve heard from them, they are loving it.

“I can’t wait to try out the USARS rules and see what the next chapter of my derby life will be.”

As Kola Loka starts to look at what her options are going forward, she can’t help but look back at her time with the WFTDA. And while she appreciates what the WFTDA is, she’s come to realize that it’s not the roller derby organization for her.

“I have no regrets and am so happy to be done playing that nonsense. I don’t want to be a part of an organization that is for the skaters, by the skaters. I want to be a part of a sports organization that makes decisions having a goal in mind to grow the sport as a viable option for fans interested in viewing the amazing skating talent out there.”

Kola believes this despite the updated rules coming down the pipeline, as she isn’t confident it will do much to address the major issues she feels are holding the game back.

“There were some options that were voted down … that would have been an improvement. The simple idea that you should create a skating direction, and skaters should have to skate that way, were not approved. Eliminating minors is going to help the crowd and the refs, but the standing around, waiting for the jammers to return to the “pack” and then watching while the jammer struggles alone to push the front out to 20…

“I guess if it wins people medals, that’s fine for them.”

So although she is glad she’s leaving the WFTDA behind, she’s going to dearly miss the Windy City Rollers.

“My teammates want me to stay, and I wish I could. They are an amazing bunch of athletes and women who are in a tough position. WCR is a classy organization. They are my family and I will miss everything about them, just not the WFTDA style of play they are forced to play.

“Roller derby has been the most fun sport I have ever played, and I have played many. I am not done playing roller derby.”

And if Kola Loka has it her way, her she isn’t done writing her roller derby story.

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32 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by There are alternatives! on 12 November 2012 at 6:36 am

    ”They asked me why I was quitting and I said I was done playing a game that was confusing for fans and frustrating and dangerous for me.”

    ::clapclapclap::

    I’m not going to cheerlead for any particular alternative out there, but as a person who has been involved with them for years now I can say it’s very heartening to read of and speak with more and more people like her (and entire leagues) that are realizing there are alternative styles of play out there that never have paying spectators booing out of boredom and frustration, have simple rules focusing on what can be done instead of what can’t be done which eliminate loopholes, and are played in a manner that actually cares about player safety (yeah, let’s have meaningless pre-game equipment checks because we care but allow skaters to fly into stand-still blockers or even fly into each other from opposite directions), and feature bouts where the skaters still skate and are having a great time doing so.

    It’s amazing what happens when one stops drinking the cool aide and actually takes the time to look into the alternatives out there with an open mind.

    Want to have fun again? Look into the alternatives.

    Reply

  2. Posted by N8 on 12 November 2012 at 6:37 am

    I don’t know Kola personally at all. All I do know is that she’s been crying about dynamic strategies since they lost that bout to Denver, while everyone else has been adapting and finding ways to combat it. If anyone watched Champs this year, they’d know there were fast packs more often than there were slow packs, and there was never a bout lacking excitement. This is what the best teams in the world are doing, and if you can’t adjust to force fast packs when its your advantage, then you’re not going to be one of the best teams.

    It’s not Slow Derby at the top level. It’s Dynamic Derby. It’s far more interesting than it ever was in the days of Pack Racing.

    Reply

    • Sure. Let’s also just “adapt” to global warming instead of doing something to fix it or revert the damage. And fans should also “adapt” to just sitting there watching people who they came to see skate doing the opposite. I mean, what is wrong with us fans? Can’t we adapt? It is like saying: we are going to give you a crappy product and you are just going to keep buying it and adapt.
      NO! This is the mentality of derby people who does not give a damn about us fans and precisely what is stopping this great sport from reaching its potential. If you are one of the cult followers and don’t have the balls to disagree with your beloved know-it-all organization, don’t poop on others who do. I admire Kola Loka for having a mind of her own and standing up for what she believes.

      Reply

    • Posted by N8 on 12 November 2012 at 7:16 am

      I’m pooping on Windyman for using Kola Loka to promote his USARS rules that he loves so much, even though everyone hates the pack racing game more than slow derby.

      I’m pooping on Kola for (at least in the tone Windyman gave her in this article) crying about not being able to play the style she wants to play but refusing to learn the strategies that can fight it. It’s not about not adopting the strategy, it’s about not adapting to the strategy and learning where it is weak and how to break through it. All the top teams at Champs have learned how to do that, and they did it in Atlanta. To compare to your example, it’s like seeing global warming occurring and trying to say “Well, let’s just stop using energy” instead of “Well, let’s change the way we use energy so that we stop contributing to the problem.”

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      • I’m pooping on Windyman for using Kola Loka to promote his USARS rules that he loves so much, even though everyone hates the pack racing game more than slow derby.

        They are not “my” rules. They are USARS’ rules. And USARS have only played games for about a month; to think their rules will stay bad forever is ridiculous.

        I am a supporter of roller derby. USARS is playing roller derby, so I am a supporter of them, just like I support MRDA, RDCL, MADE, OSDA, and yes, even the WFTDA. Stop making this about me, because it isn’t.

        Knock it off.

    • No. “Let’s just stop using energy” would be retiring from roller derby and not playing again. It is like pooping on someone for buying an electric car, she is not quitting driving cars, she is going for an alternative. If you watch the interview, she mentions that she tried “adapting” for three years, pretty much like all of us fans. I am as frustrated and have been for a while too. And finally, saying that she “refused to learn the strategies” is so wrong and disrespectful of all the work these athletes do. Giving the fact that she was in Atlanta in one of the top 12 teams in the world and was the lead scorer for her team, she probably did learn the strategies, it was simply “no fun” to do so.

      Reply

    • Posted by nocklebeast on 12 November 2012 at 5:09 pm

      This is a photo I took at Westerns, which probably qualifies as top level play. I don’t think “dynamic” is the correct word to describe it

      I may have to stop taking these photos of passive offense

      To be fair to Rat City… all the teams employed this strategy of watching their jammer skate by as they stand there. This is part of top level derby in the WFTDA today.

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  3. Posted by There are alternatives! on 12 November 2012 at 8:36 am

    To steal shamelessly from Inigo Montoya when it comes to your affinity for the word “dynamic” – I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Most people would associate “dynamic” with constant motion, vigorous force, productive energy, and or being energetic. Since the style of game at question here is more standing around, slow pushing, slow sausage walls, etc perhaps a better adjective would be lethargic … granted, it’s lethargy packed full of nifty strategy I suppose, but it’s lethargic none the less.

    To each thier own I suppose. I’m just glad to see more and more people every day putting down the cool aide and realizing there’s still fun to be had out there.

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    • Posted by Karen on 14 November 2012 at 12:29 pm

      I read dynamic to mean the opposite of static. like ever changing? I could be off the mark here. personally, I feel when Derby is static its boring. ie JUST standing there or JUST racing the other team. a good game, to me, has both slow and fast elements. I think 2012 WFTDA champs definitely delivered.

      for the record, I’ve skated both USARS and WFTDA games and feel like neither one is the “right” answer. USARS has HUGE SCREAMING flaws also.

      Reply

  4. Posted by RB on 12 November 2012 at 8:49 am

    She’s not ‘crying’ N8. She’s competing, fiercely, and has spent years doing so, and trying to make a positive change for a sport. As someone who has spent a couple of years volunteering most of my free time to create media that promotes this sport, I can confirm that in my experience, slow derby (or ‘dynamic derby’ if you prefer) is not fun for new fans and is helping to shrink the sport (in terms of fans that are not family and friends), rather than grow it.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Mac on 12 November 2012 at 11:02 am

    I watched several games at champs this year. Loved ‘em. Great roller derby. There was fast play, there was slow play, there were teams using whatever strategies they could to out smart and out skate their opponents. Best tournament I’ve seen in awhile.
    I’m always surprised to hear people poop on WFTDA. I think WFTDA is great. We’ll all miss them when USARS takes over the sport and instead of “By the skater, for the skater” it’s “By the skater, for some elderly, wealthy, white dude”.

    Reply

    • Yes, the athletes that play at that level are amazing and it is awesome to watch them. Nobody has any complaints or criticisms about how good they are. In fact, that is probably the only reason why we are still watching. But it does not mean that some of these skaters are not being forced to do something they might not like, as this interview suggests. If you are one of the blockers that likes to stand on the side instead of doing your job (blocking), or a jammer who must push through masses of stopped people being hit in the face, then by all means stay with WFTDA and make their motto come true by having “the skaters” being the only ones watching.

      Once again, most skaters just don’t get it. It is not “for the skaters by the skaters” any longer. In the “for” side you must include the fans who pay to watch and in the “by” you must include all the people who make it possible, refs, nso’s, track setup, volunteers, announcers, etc. When WFTDA realizes this and does something about it, they will stop being criticized so much.

      And saying that USARS is somehow run by “some elderly, wealthy, white dude” is very ignorant. They are not private, they are associated to the Olympic Committee and by law (Olympic and Amateur Sports Act of 1978 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_Sports_Act_of_1978) they must maintain amateur level. In fact, there is a greater chance that WFTDA turns professional than USARS. Keep drinking the Kool-Aid (like alternatives! said), repeating whatever you hear someone else say and doing whatever everyone else is doing.

      Reply

    • WFTDA’s motto is “when it comes to the fans all WE CARE about is their money.”

      Reply

  6. I saw several great bouts LIVE at Atlanta approx two weeks ago. Yes, there were fast packs, there was hard hits, but there also were scrum starts, an mostly abandoned pivot line, conga lines, stopped play, and a 44 point record setting bout changing jam. How did that 44 point jam occur? stopped play. I would actually argue, without stats to back me up just my impression, that Direction of Game play and Multi-player blocks were the majority of penalties called due to stopped play and scrum starts.

    Reply

    • I would actually argue, without stats to back me up just my impression, that Direction of Game play and Multi-player blocks were the majority of penalties called due to stopped play and scrum starts.

      Luckily, I have the stats to back you up!

      I’m going to save the full-blown analysis of these penalty stats for my 2013 WFTDA rules analysis (if the rules update pans out how I think it will), but here are the per-game penalty averages for all 80 playoff games this year, as calculated by me:

      Major penalties:
      Out of Play Block – 9.14 per game
      Cutting – 6.85
      Forearm – 4.78
      Low Block – 4.28
      Back Block – 3.45
      High Block – 3.13
      Total majors per game (avg) – 40

      Minor penalties:
      Clockwise block – 34 per game
      Forearm – 24
      Out of Play block – 21
      Multiplayer block – 21
      Cutting – 16
      Back Block – 16
      Total minors per game (avg) – 163

      Reply

    • Just a caveat, but I assume those come from the Rinxter stats which are not the official penalty stats. Rinxter’s other stats are official, but they (WFTDA) still haven’t switched to it for penalties yet. Short version, there’s an unofficial Rinxter person hanging out trying to catch the best they can, and there are the standard official paper trackers. The Rinxter stats get about 80% of the penalties I would say, but mileage will definitely vary.

      I don’t know if/when the official stats ever get put up into the Rinxter archive, but since it’s only been 10 days I’ll assume they haven’t done it yet. I could be wrong though.

      Reply

    • Ah, didn’t know that. Still, if the public Rinxter repository is only getting 80% of the penalties called, then that would make the true penalty stats even worse.

      Reply

    • Posted by Todd Bradley on 13 November 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Yeah, it seems some penalties are missing from your list – no elbows and no insubordination.

      Reply

      • I didn’t list those because they weren’t the “top” penalties. But since you mentioned insubordination, I was quite surprised to see there were 40 total insub penalties in 80 games. Combined with 46(!) Gross Misconducts, and chances are you were going to see at least one instance of naughty play every game.

        To me, that was the most surprising penalty stat of them all.

  7. Posted by Another view point on 12 November 2012 at 1:02 pm

    So let me get this right. Windy gives up 10 power jams to Charm’s 0 and then Kola Loka complains that they lost because Charm used passive offence against them? Charm using passive offence was what frustrated her? Not the 10 trips to the box she and her fellow jammers made?

    Windy only lost by 36 points. As a fan watching, it wasn’t Charm’s tactics that I found frustrating. It was the lack of discipline on Windy’s side.

    Where is the hue and cry demanding that jammers up their game and take less penalties? That would reduce most instances of passive offence.

    Reply

  8. […] woke up this morning with this article all over my Facebook news feed. Windyman has written about the retirement of Kola Loka and her […]

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  9. Posted by Sir SkateAlot on 13 November 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I wonder how it is possible that we see so many exciting games lately if the (WFTDA) rules suck that much. We had a tournament last weekend in Antwerp Belgium. Good level of play but not the top level you see at regionals and nationals. Skaters had the best time of their life. The fans got wild from excitement as most bouts where great to watch. First time spectators came to tell me that this was a really exciting sport. And there were a lot of passive agressive powerjams during this tournament. But no one complained about it.
    If you’re playing soccer but you prefer a ruleset where you can pick up the ball with your hands, change sports and play rugby. But don’t start shitting on the soccer rules by crying everywhere that they suck and should be changed.
    WFTDA has a ruleset that produce great games if the skills of the teams are not to far apart. If the skills levels are to different you have dull games, but that’s the case in any sport.

    Reply

    • Not to be rough on Belgium or any other place, but you bring up a really good example of what the sport is going through. So many skaters in the world have never played under any rules other than the sausage-prone WFTDA set. There are few teams in Europe that have been around before that, London, Berlin, and yes, Ghent, among others. But in reality, most of the skaters are “new” to derby and they don’t realize that the sport was faster and more exciting before. To be fair, the rules might be worse, but the current skaters tend to be much more skilled than in the past, equipment is safer and better, officials are top-notch and a lot of the non-sport elements have been eliminated. Everything has evolved, but the rules and the stupid “for the skater by the skater” cult.

      You see it now in Junior Derby, and I cannot stand it. Juniors play sausage derby because they don’t know any better, because that is what we have now. They don’t have any idea of what an alternative might look like, other than maybe watching some old videos of the original WFTDA founding teams, when derby was good. This is disheartening and I really hope that someone does something to at least show these skaters that they do not have to skate that way.

      In the other hand, I find it very disrespectful of you to advocate for switching sports, this is not your exclusive sport. But just to refute your example since you don’t know the history of sports, I am going to elaborate on what you said. In soccer, they have changed many rules over the years, like for example the offside rule. At the beginning of the nineteenth century anyone who was in front of the ball was “off his side” (that is why it is called offside), which is how rugby is played. This was not an offensive game, so later on they changed the rule to be “behind four opponents”, which increased the offensive abilities of the teams, but not enough. The biggest change was to go from four to “behind two opponents”. This single rule change made the sport go from 1800 goals scored in 1924 to 4700 goals in 1925 and 6400 in 1926 (same number of games). The popularity of the sport exploded after this, why? because fans like goals. In derby, fans like blocks, jumps and speed, not standing around.

      There are examples of rule changes in every sport, the 20-second rule in basketball, “forward passes” in american football, overarm bowling in cricket, etc. Of course, for each one of these, there was always a group of people who did not want to change, who said to others “change sports”, who did not have a vision of how the sport could be better, that is you my friend. But the rules will change, we will reach standardization and the sport will continue to improve. It is just a shame that the innovators and leaders always have to drag and fight people like you.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Derbyfan on 15 November 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I think you need to separate the sausage from things like the scrum start, scrum starts require huge amounts of balance, strength, power and teamwork from the blockers, they are very physical environments. As well as masses of explosive forceful energy from jammers. All while not committing penalties and as long as two jammers are in play they also require the blockers to execute offensive and defensive strategy at the same time. The sausage is a problem, but don’t forget the defensive team and the jammer are working very hard, good teams have learned to exert a lot of concentrated force on jammers and bridge to prevent the pack from splitting all of which takes heaps of effort, and any jammer who has pushed out a well co ordinated 4 wall with no help from her team will tell you it is not easy or painless! But yes the offensive team is essentially doing nothing and this is a big problem. I find it interesting that the upcoming RDX in Australia who plan to host big well promoted for profit events on the banked track killed the existing pack definition rule in 5 seconds flat. It will be interesting to see how those games go.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Angus Con on 16 November 2012 at 8:24 am

    Funny, when I watch the bouts from 2009 involving my old team, Denver, the game wasn’t that slow. That’s just a mob mentality opinion as far as I’m concerned, (especially when the opinion comes from Windy City). Watch one of those games and watch a game now; it’s night and day. I also think it’s funny that teams today think they’re going to beat Gotham by playing Gotham’s style. That defines insanity. Rule changes won’t fix things. Just sayin’.

    I also find it interesting that 2008 was so vividly beloved when 2008 was the year of intentional pack destruction. If my memory serves, both Windy and Gotham were big fans of taking a knee to destroy the pack to get their jammers out, which was just pathetic to watch (when they ended up #1 and #2 at nationals that year coincidentally). There was no penalty for pack destruction that year, only for failure to reform. So let’s not go pretending like this failure to engage crap is a recent phenomenon or that Denver started it in 09. Kola got a medal from playing a different version of a non-engagement strategy. The rules closed that loophole going into 2009. Hugs!

    Reply

  12. Posted by Trent Rasinor on 19 November 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Anyone ever consider shortening the length of penalties down from one minute?

    Reply

  13. Posted by Jerry Seltzer on 19 November 2012 at 5:14 pm

    well, I stop criticizing slow play and look what happens…..love the WFTDA teams but now there is choice with a stronger USARS. I will be at the national championship tournament in Fresno on December 14-16 along with Oly and some other leagues. Ant the Championship trophy is the Seltzer Cup, named after the founder of the sport.. hopefully it will be on DNN. The play at the WFTDA championships was mostly amazing, but these are all great teams. and leagues who are concerned about fans should be concerned about the style of the game they are presenting….If attendance goes down, it isn’t the fans’ fault.
    And Mac, if you were thinking about me as being the elderly white guy with USARS who would take over the sport, sorry, I had my chance 40 years ago.

    Now if we could just get rid of the power jams, stopping, and have 1 minute jams.
    Well, we will in MY game (see you tube, 1970 Roller Derby rules).

    And I sort of wrote about this topic today at http://www.rollerderbyjesus.com.

    Reply

  14. […] you have time please ready the latest windyman blog:  www.windymanrd.wordpress.com.  He writes about a well-known skater who just couldn’t deal with the current style of WFTDA […]

    Reply

  15. Posted by Warren Semble on 30 November 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Do like the NHL did with the powerplay in the 70’s. The Canadiens could regularly score 2 or 3 goals on a 2 minute penalty, and thus create blow outs.
    Yes they had great teams and won many Stanley Cups in that era. The NHL realized that more than 1 goal in a powerplay was penalizing teams more than was fair to fit the crime. A 5 minute major still to this day allows as many goals to be scored as a team can get, as it is a more serious foul.
    WFTDA should determine what is an acceptable amount of points to be scored on a powerjam, and if that occurs before the penalty time is up, release the penalized jammer.
    This wouldn’t solve the human centipede (sausage) problem, but could keep games to more even scores.
    Call it dynamic strategy, call it passive offense, call it what you want. It’s still BULLSHIT and is ruining the game.
    I used to bring friends to bouts for their first time a few years back, trying to get more people to see this awesome sport I fell in love with in 2008. I don’t even bother anymore. Now I dread, some nights going to NSO. I go to help so the ladies can play, I can’t just walk out like a discouraged paying fan.
    This to me is a really sad state of affairs, and it breaks my heart. Some of the best derby I’ve seen in the last couple of years are pickup bouts where these teams and coaches agree to not play passive offense. Skaters skate, blockers block, its fast, entertaining and everyone involved leaves with huge smiles on their faces.

    Reply

    • The NHL realized that more than 1 goal in a powerplay was penalizing teams more than was fair to fit the crime. A 5 minute major still to this day allows as many goals to be scored as a team can get, as it is a more serious foul.

      Your comparison is incorrect here. To equate WFTDA derby’s power jam problem with hockey correctly, imagine if a team’s goaltender got removed from the ice to serve a penalty and the penalized team wasn’t allowed to clear the puck out of their defensive end. It’s pretty much a guarantee the team with their goalie in the box is going to get scored on, especially since the defense can’t do anything to give themselves some breathing room, such as ice the puck.

      But this “problem” goes away when both goalies are on the ice at all times, which is exactly what the rules of hockey mandate. Original roller derby rules required each team have a jammer on the track at all times (the game was designed this way to begin with) which would unsurprisingly make lopsided power jams non-existent. This isn’t possible with the instant-off penalties the modern game employs, but there are ways of getting around that other rulesets are using via pack definition, pivots abilities, and so on.

      Reply

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