Gotham players to be more villainous than ever at this year’s WFTDA championships

With the 2017 WFTDA championships approaching, the players of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars team have vowed to be their most evil selves yet.

Gotham have long been known for their villainous style of playing roller derby, which involves never smiling and wearing the derby equivalent of a black turtle neck as their uniform (made by the most evilest of sponsors!).

But this year Gotham have vowed to take villainous roller derby to a whole new level.

An anonymous player from Gotham commented:
“We have been working very hard on this. We want to win and we want to do it in the most evillish of ways.
We have not won the Hydra in the last two years, because we had turned soft. But this year we are back!”

“We will smile less than ever. We don’t care how good you are, Gotham does not smile!
We always want to look like we are having a bad time. We are here to win, not to enjoy roller derby.
We will not allow any cracks in our armour of evil. One time Bonnie Thunders was seen smiling, so we shipped her off to Smiley-Muesli Land.”

“To be the most evil team, we will applaud whenever an opposing player gets a penalty, we will signal to the referees for extra penalties any way we can and, meanwhile, we will act shocked when we get called on penalties. And we are all getting our teeth sharpened tomorrow!”

“Nobody cheers for us, but we will cheer for ourselves after every jam.
*Villainous and joyless laugh.*”

“And finally we are also changing our hashtag from #HiveMind to #HornetsNest.”

Watch the action on November 3-5 live in Philadelphia or on WFTDA.tv and ESPN2.

Advertisements

WFTDA Officials Certification System to be replaced with Magic 8-Ball

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) have announced the long-awaited end to the restructure of their Officials Certification System: the certification panels are to be replaced by a Magic 8-Ball.

In the past, certification panels served to assess officials’ rules and officiating knowledge and skill in order to provide certification of officials.
Certification, in turn, signifies an official’s excellence and qualification to officiate sanctioned and regulation roller derby gameplay.
The assessment of which officials are deserving of certification and have the skill to officiate WFTDA and MRDA tournaments will now be carried out by a Magic 8-Ball.

Heffalump, a WFTDA spokesperson, commented:
“We are happy to present a unified certification system that will better meet the needs both the WFTDA and the MRDA membership than the previous certification program.
We think this new Magic 8-Ball-based system will be better at identifying skill in roller derby officiating than the old panel-based system.”

“We have listened to the derby community and believe that this will be a much better, more reliable and less biased way to find the best referees and NSOs for staffing our tournaments.”

“We would like to apologise for the delay in re-opening the certification program, but we believe the wait and hard work will pay off for the future of roller derby officiating.
After the long break during the re-structure in which no certifications were processed, we are now happy to announce that we are accepting applications for officials’ certification once again.”

In answer to whether there would be any changes to the application process for officials seeking certification, Heffalump explained:
“As before, you will need to submit game evaluations and certification test results, which will be carefully considered by the Magic 8-Ball.
And, just as in the past, certification will continue to be an entry requirement for officiating the WFTDA, and now MRDA tournaments, to ensure a high level of officiating at these events.”

WFTDA rules to be translated into Klingon, Elvish and Dothraki

Already, versions of the WFTDA rule book are available in English, German, French and Spanish.

The WFTDA have now announced plans to translate the rules of flat track roller derby into more languages, including Klingon, Elvish and Dothraki.

WFTDA spokesperson Ebony and Irony commented:
“After translating the WFTDA rule book into German, French and Spanish, Klingon seemed like the next logical step.”

“We wanted to focus on languages that are relevant to the roller derby community.
We want to ensure that players, officials and fans can access the important WFTDA rules documents and information in the language of their choice.”

These new versions of the rules will be available on the WFTDA website as soon as possible but the WFTDA are looking for volunteers to help with the translation task.

Ebony and Irony commented:
“If you want to be involved in the translation process, please get in touch with the WFTDA rules committee.
You will need to include a sample of your work by translating a rule of your choice into the relevant language.”

“You can also contact the WFTDA rules committee for any further language translation requests of the rule book.”

“We are currently prioritising Klingon, Elvish and Dothraki.
But in the future we are planning translations into Latin, Parseltongue, simple English, Minion, Pirate, Newspeak, Emojis and Scottish.”

Breaking news: WFTDA Championships update

Exclusive news update from the 2016 WFTDA Championships in Portland.

Jammer eats actual baby.
“I’ve always found that phrase confusing. Well, I’ve certainly protein loaded now.”

Sports court still worst court.
Better options said to include wood, concrete, royal and legal court.

All games so far ended in hugs, not fist fights.
Male players confused.

Gotham think they are ‘the good guys’.
Disagreeing with this is literally everybody.

Scientists discover new types of geometric shape in roller derby walls.
First reported sighting of a rombangle and a trimond outside of computational simulations.

Referee to be treated for jamnesia.
“One second I knew it all, the penalties, the points, the passes, and then suddenly … It was all gone!”

‘Rotational violence’ to blame for global warming.
But TNOB’s new helmet technology laboratory are on the case.

Bay Area skaters seen secretly attending backward skating bootcamps

Following their recent loss against Montreal at the 2016 WFTDA Playoffs, skaters from Bay Area Derby (BAD) have been spotted secretly attending beginner’s bootcamps on backwards skating.

BAD, an otherwise high-level team, have become known for their continued use of flat, forward-facing four-blocker defensive walls, while the rest of the derby world moved on to dynamic walls, often featuring blockers facing backwards and physically bracing the walls.

This year’s WFTDA D1 playoff in Montreal saw BAD being defeated by the hosts themselves in the game for third place and hence being barred from attending the 2016 WFTDA championships. This is the first time since 2012 that BAD have not made it to the championships, even coming in third place overall in 2014.

It has been suggested that BAD’s result in this year’s competitive season may be linked to their strategic choices.

A BAD skater, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented: “I had heard of backward skating and of ‘braced walls’, but I had never seen those things in person. Then I saw other teams do them at playoffs and I thought to myself: ‘Why aren’t we doing that?'”

BAD skaters have since been spotted up and down the country at numerous roller derby beginner bootcamps with an emphasis on backward skating and dynamic walls.

Another anonymous BAD skater commented: “I’m like a complete beginner at these backward skating bootcamps, skating alongside fresh meat skaters from other leagues.”

“I have to keep my attendance at such bootcamps secret though. I always wear a neutral top and no golden helmet. And a fake mustache, just to be sure.”

WFTDA to publish the rules of fresh meat roller derby

The members of the WFTDA rules committee have come together to develop a rule set for beginner’s or ‘fresh meat’ roller derby.

WFTDA spokesperson Onyxia commented:
‘We felt that this was a necessary step.
Adapting the rules of roller derby in this way will allow beginners to play without every player fouling out in the first five minutes.’

A summary of the most important changes from the standard rule set is exclusively shown here:

Out of Play
There are no limits to the engagement zone, the pack is everywhere.
Pack definition is not monitored and no failure to reform penalties are given.

Track cuts
There are no track boundary lines. Any lines on the floor mean nothing and can be ignored. Any potential cuts can be undone by skating back on the track.

Illegal procedures
There are no illegal reentries; players can reenter the track anywhere.

False start
There is no such thing as a false start. Players can start anywhere they want.

Penalty enforcement
Leaving the track when being called on a penalty is entirely optional.

Game parameters
Immediately after the start whistle of a jam, there will be a five second delay to give everyone the chance to clarify if the jam has really started and what those confusing whistles mean.

Verbal cues
Referees will not communicate with players beyond issuing penalties. Warnings and prompts to return to the bench are just too confusing.

Impact metrics
Finally, the new rule set will show the following diagram to clarify impact assessment in fresh meat roller derby.

Picture15

WFTDA rules update will see second period played in clockwise direction

In a recent rules update published by the WFTDA, it has been confirmed that future roller derby games will see the second period played in clockwise direction. The first period will continue to be played in the usual counter-clockwise direction.

Omegara, a WFTDA spokesperson, explained:
“We decided on this step to make our sport safer and less injury-prone.
Many studies have shown that unidirectional roller derby can lead to muscle imbalance, which in turn can cause long term health issues and injury.”

“We also wanted to increase the general level of athleticism in roller derby. We believe that roller derby skaters should be equally good at skating in different directions around the track.
This will help us to be taken more seriously as athletes by other roller sports organisations and sports bodies in general.”

“Of course, in the second period of every bout you would now potentially be subject to direction of gameplay penalties for counter-clockwise blocking.
Regarding necessary rule changes, we have created an updated version of the rule book which contains a new section for the second period.
This section is just the whole rule book again, but every instance of ‘counter-clockwise’ has been replaced with ‘clockwise’ and vice versa. In one swift move we have thus doubled the WFTDA rule book in length.

“In general though, we do not anticipate a lot of organisational changes for games and game play. Line-up and score trackers may need to change position at half time and we will need a second set of jammer and pivot lines and a penalty box ‘line of no return’ on the other side of the box.”

Isle of View, of the Derpshire Rollergirls, commented:
“This is a whole new challenge for our training. We basically feel like rookie skaters when going clockwise around the track. We all have a good side for stops and turns and none of us can really cross-over all that well in clockwise direction.

“I normally like to position myself on the outside line in our walls. Now I’m confused. Will I want to be on the inside on the second half?”

DuroTart, another Derpshire skater, commented:
“I like this change. Why do so many sports go counter-clockwise anyway?”

Meanwhile, owners of derby businesses and enterprises with names based on the unidirectionality of roller derby were left unimpressed.

British leagues to pull out of WFTDA competitive season following Brexit

British roller derby leagues, including the London Rollergirls (LRG), Leeds Roller Dolls (LRD) and Rainy City Roller Derby (RCRD) have confirmed that they will be pulling out of the 2016 WFTDA competitive season due to the impact of the recent Brexit vote.

Standing in the rain outside the Thunderdome PeaWet, an RCRD spokesperson, commented:
“We’ve already lost a lot of EU funding over the last week. No funding, no venue; no venue, no training.”

La Grunge Point, of LRG, stated:
“It turns out that half of our members are European. Even some who we thought were Australian! They are preparing for deportation as we speak.”

Yakety Sax, of LRD, said:
“Leeds as a city was very divided on the referendum. And our membership has fallen out over the Leave vs Remain issue. Half our directors have now resigned and have left us in a complete mess.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Leagues were left with a more positive outlook, as Glasgow Roller Derby and Auld Reekie Rollergirls stated:
“We are looking at all the options and are hoping to have a membership vote on whether to remain part of this year’s WFTDA championship.”

WFTDA spokesperson Miniplenty expressed regret at these developments:
“We are very sad to see this happen. But we believe that the WFTDA Big 7 tournaments of 2016 will not be further affected by politics. However, we cannot currently make statements about next year’s season, as the US general elections are happening the week after WFTDA Champs.”

Get certified for creative roller derby refereeing

This coming weekend, the Derpshire Rollergirls are putting on a WFTDA-sanctioned referee clinic with a special emphasis on creative refereeing.

The class aims to help roller derby officials put the maximum amount of creativity into their roller derby refereeing.

The advertisement for the class states:

We will teach you about creativity, innovation and change.
We want to stimulate your creativity and help you take your creative refereeing to the next level.

Be a more innovative referee; jumpstart your creativity, and don’t just go by the rules.

Learn about what is inhibiting you from calling roller derby penalties the way you want.

Think outside the box, break the shackles, push the boundaries and challenge the status quo.
The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity in roller derby refereeing.

Discover and develop your own ideas for how roller derby penalties should be called.

By the end of this course, you will be great at discovering your own ideas about roller derby rules and delivering them confidently.

This course is highly experimental and teaches you to be experimental, too, in your roller derby officiating.

You will learn to creatively work as an individual ref and you will also learn creative refereeing in a team of officials.

We will prepare you for all the situations you may encounter as a roller derby referee: gameplay, captains’ meetings, official reviews – bring your creativity to all of these.

You will be able to use these creative skills everywhere in your function as a roller derby referee, whether you are making calls, selecting crews or evaluating other referees.

There are no skills requirements for this course.
There are no grades or tests. You decide how good you are, because the only person judging your refereeing should be you.

This course also leads directly to certification, i.e you will be a Certified Creative Referee.

Here are some of the creativity- increasing concepts you will learn on this course:

Approach roller derby penalty calls in new innovative ways.
Push your limits – make calls in ways never seen before.

Have you gotten into a rut? Try calling things differently to how you would normally call them.
You may feel foolish at first, but getting comfortable with feeling foolish is just another way to think outside the box.

Shift your thinking away from your brain’s logic centers and into a more creative part of the brain, where it can be mulled over in a non-rational way.

Work backwards: start with the call you want to make and work backwards to creatively come up with a justification.
Try to challenge your brain’s normal concept of causality.

Draw on other creative sources: players, coaches and the audience may give you new ideas about how to make calls.

Invite randomness into your work. Embrace mistakes and incorporate them into your style.

Always think: what’s the worst that could happen?

Eliminate negativity. Do not limit your ideas. No idea is too ‘out there’.
If other people tell you your ideas are outside of normal, don’t listen to them.
Instead, surround yourself with likeminded people.

Keep your creativity sharp. Like any skill, creativity needs to be exercised to keep it going.
Keep thinking of new situations to apply your creativity to. Any bout is an opportunity for this.

This course will cover all of the WFTDA rule book, though special emphasis will be put on creatively calling forearms, multiplayer block, and cut track penalties.

We have many graduates who have gone on to referee at the big 7 WFTDA tournaments and other high profile roller derby events.

Interested?

Contact the Derpshire Rollergirls to book your place on the creative refereeing course and bring your officiating creativity to a bout near you.

WFTDA to add emotional intelligence and common sense to minimum skills

The WFTDA have announced this week that the next update of the WFTDA Minimum Skills Requirements will include skills of emotional intelligence and common sense in addition to the currently listed skating and contact skills.

WFTDA spokesperson Wheatley commented:
“We need to keep the required skill set relevant to evolving game play.”

The last update to the Minimum Skills Requirements saw the addition of further backwards skating skills and removal of outdated practices such as baseball slides.

Wheatley commented:
“The upcoming version of the Minimum Skills Requirements will see similar changes. We did our research and found that emotional intelligence and common sense are some of the technical skills that currently present the greatest hurdle for skaters. A lack of these skills holds skaters back from progressing and it presents a safety issue.”

The Minimum Skills Requirements present an important rite of passage for roller derby players. WFTDA member leagues are required to assess all charter team skaters, who must pass both this set of skills as well as the WFTDA Skater Rules Test in order to compete in WFTDA-sanctioned games. These tests are taken very seriously by leagues around the world. Team captains have to certify that all testing is complete when submitting WFTDA team charters and game sanctioning applications.

Wheatley explained further:
“Ultimately, these updates are for the safety of the skaters and those around them. We believe that skaters cannot safely partake in contact game play and scrimmage without having demonstrated skills such as speed control and not expecting constant validation and congratulation.”

“We feel confident that this is what our members want. The WFTDA Training Committee has developed this new set of the Minimum Skills Requirements in tandem with WFTDA member leagues and WFTDA Risk Management. Just as with past versions, this new set of standards was beta tested and voted in by WFTDA membership.”

Act Your Rage is a player and coach with the Derpshire Rollergirls, one of the leagues involved in the beta testing of the new Minimum Skills Requirements. She felt positively about the changes: “We very much welcome this move. We definitely think that skills of emotional intelligence and common sense are needed to play modern roller derby. In each season we, as a league, have had to add both physical and mental skills to our tool box. You cannot execute a Rose City wall without good backwards skating and you cannot be on a travel team without a minimal level of emotional resilience and an ability to handle the ups and downs of a competitive sport.”

“This is an important part of making derby a more serious sport. We just cannot have players who are unable to make it through a practice session without crying because they are not famous yet, if we want to be taken seriously in our athleticism.”

“We run a fresh meat programme for six months where we teach these skills to beginners. Just like we have seen with the physical techniques, some people struggle with emotional intelligence and common sense. We find that those who have a background in practicing these skills tend to do better initially.”

“Overall, we very much think that this is a move in the right direction. But we are also still facing some challenges in coaching these skills. For example, we are always looking for new and better ways to teach T-stops and not making it all about yourself.”

Mary, a skater participating in the current Derpshire Fresh Meat programme, commented:
“It’s so hard. I’ve had to redo the course several times. I’ve passed the 27 in 5 endurance test, but to pass my min skills I still need to learn how not to blame others for my lack of progress.”

Act Your Rage shared some of the tips she gives to skaters:
“Just as with skating techniques, you will need to practice these things over and over until you nail them.”

“You can practice them at home while you watch TV or brush your teeth. Stand on one leg or in derby stance and visualise not shouting at players and referees when you are sent to the penalty box.”

“Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do it first time, just keep working at it.”

“Also, importantly, don’t be a dick.”