Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bring the Thunda.

Anyone can essentially start a roller derby team. Nothing is officially structured until you begin your journey on becoming a WFTDA certified team. It is this ultimate goal for most teams which keeps them following the rules, training hard to improve their skills, and working hard at being a skater run, community based entity.

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is like the NBA/NFL/MLB, what have you, of roller derby. I have mentioned it briefly before but would like to focus on it again since the WFTDA regional tournaments are beginning this weekend with the North Central leagues, annnnnnd about a month ago the Old Capitol City Roller Girls applied to the apprentice program.

Apprentice leagues can add the green badge to their names, and they become pink once they're officially WFTDA.
The only pink thing I'm looking forward to wearing.
To be declared WFTDA certified, a league must first apply to become an apprentice league. Taking up to a year, this is a period of mentorship, training and orientation in the ways of WFTDA. Any leagues that are 51% skater owned, with all women skaters on quads, who use democratic practices and principles, and managed by at least 67% league skaters can apply. With their application they must submit league name with a roster of at least five girls who train two or more hours a week, a mission statement, a description of the league, an essay on why they aspire to become certified, and a letter of eligibility from an established WFTDA league.

Too me this seems too simple and that anyone who has the desire and ambition to push themselves above a merely amateur status could probably pass the apprentice application. With a recommendation from the Minnesota Roller Girls, we hope to become the first apprentice, and eventually WFTDA team, in Iowa.

Becoming a WFTDA certified league would mean many things for us. It offers a higher level of communication with other established leagues, a hand in shaping the future of roller derby, and playing in sanctioned bouts and tournaments. Nine leagues were just added to WFTDA this month, with a total of 98. This covers more than a national scale; Canada has gained a huge presence of derby and soon will have its own separate WFTDA region. So the final tournaments aren't called 'nationals' anymore, it is the 'championship,' which I will be watching live. 

"Thunda on the Tundra" is the North Central Regionals beginning friday.
For us, this is an extremely exciting possibility to one day be playing with the already 27 certified teams in our North Central Region. The tournaments for this region begin Friday at 10 am and last all weekend. As soon as I’m off work at 12:30 that day, you can bet I will be bunkered down for three days watching the live boutcasts that Derby News Network so fantastically offers. It will be a good glimpse of the level of derby we will hopefully be playing at in the next year or so. 


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