New derby topic to discuss: The Olympics?
Dude, I just found out this sport was in my area, and USA Roller Sports (USARS) is campaigning for a stage at the Olympics! There are many people in the derby-verse who probably disagree with campaign, and I don't blame them. Roller derby is a skater owned and operated business. It's basically a small business venture within itself when you start a league, from what I gather anyway from Flexi Wheeler's blog in the NY Times (read it here). Looking at my little hometown league, a lot of work goes into bout production, training, merchandise, and a lot of other things. It's successful because hometowns look highly upon something that is entrepreneurial, sort of like shopping at a farmer's market instead of Walmart. An amazingly accurate explanation of this local love is written by Matthew at Saratoga Sports here.
Would we lose that "local love" if we went to the Big Stage? This derby girl doesn't think so. It would add a whole level to our game that not many women get the chance to get in the first place. (Unless you were born with ice skates, skis, or cleats on your feet.) Personally, I have always had a dream to walk in the opening ceremonies into a grand stadium, lights flashing, music playing just waving to the small faces all around me. I couldn't do that if I was participating in any sport but roller derby. Think about it. Most of the leagues I have come in contact with are locally grown leagues. There are many leagues out there who are affiliated with the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), and are very competitive. On the flip side, there are leagues that excel at the sport but have a more social side. The heart of roller derby is split between these two instances.
The heart of derby lies in the showmanship of the bout, the entertainment factor that makes roller derby so gripping and exciting to watch! Can we still do that on a global scale? Heck yes we can. Here's another opinion:
"Roller derby is about the do it yourself ethos, a rebellion against convention… it’s about kicking someone’s ass, having fun doing it, and then enjoying each other’s company after the whole thing is done. It’s the punk rock of the sports world, explosive, different, and spectacular. It’s about fun, stomping on convention, acceptance of all people, and sticking it to what is accepted as “the norm.” That’s what makes roller derby truly what it is, that’s what makes it so amazing." ~Facebook Group Against Olympics for Roller Derby.
I agree! Here's more:
"Having it entered into The Olympics would destroy all this. It would make it mainstream at the expense of the soul of the sport itself. It would turn it into a corporate, mindless sport more about strict victory and mindless competition, rather than the diy attitude and the love of being on the track."
I think any derby girl knows that this has a possibility to happen, but the likeliness of this is not high. Will derby girls everywhere stand up to this? I know I would. Derby is about do it yourself showmanship, so let's make it that way.
Let's give women another avenue to their Olympic Dreams that's true to what roller derby is all about.