Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brawl Your Heart Out.

A roller derby season can be different for everyone. Most WFTDA leagues begin in late winter, pick up heavily in the spring and summer preparing for the WFTDA regionals and championship in the fall. Some leagues have home teams that play earlier in the year allowing more time for their All-star teams to play in the spring and summer, or have the one team that plays home and away and must schedule accordingly.

More of the local teams I’ve noticed, either start in the fall or early spring. Either way, planning for this starts way in advance, usually up to a whole year prior. I know Toxic Sugar, our interleague coordinator is already looking at 2012 dates. Especially with our venue, which can host larges events in our bouting space, and contending with the University football schedule, we want to make sure we secure dates far in advance.
Our first bout.. we don't look scared at all...
When we first started bouting in 2009, we jumped on whatever bouts we could find. Our first was of course against our sister league, the Quad City Rollers. They did a lot for us in our beginnings when we had no clue. On the other side of us was Cedar Rapids and we ended up getting a bout with them the very next weekend. Not only were we entering the public bouting scene for the first time, but we did weekends back to back. It was terrifying and awesome and we managed to get out alive.

We held our first home bout that October after making the wonderful Coralville Marriott our home and it was the only bout on our own turf that year. In December we had an opportunity to drive up to Appleton, WI to play the Paper Valley Flying Squirrels, whose league is now WFTDA. They worked us over, fed us beer and cheese and sent us back home. That first year was definitely a huge learning experience. We were the new kids on the block so we had to play experienced leagues to build our team.
Four Wheel Clover was a face I saw in the star often. 
Mo Thunder holds up GLADi8HER.
This past weekend was the same song, different verse. In Cedar Valley’s first bouting season, they have a dozen dates on their schedule, all against leagues of varying experience. Although, the most notable date on their schedule would be July 7th-10th, the weekend they will be hosting a Blood and Thunder bootcamp. These four days will bring impressive skaters from all over to the middle of the country to unload all the derby knowledge they have. For as many new leagues as there are in the state now, I hope every one of them are taking advantage of this AMAZING opportunity. More experienced leagues would also be stupid for not making a point of including this in their training. If my funds hadn’t already been directed to Rollercon, I would have jumped on this in a heartbeat. (Maybe I could just sell my car and attend anyway?)

It is obvious these girls have guts. They’re pushing it hard in their first full bouting season and it shows. Having scheduled last Saturday’s bout well in advance, they knew what they were asking for and we played nothing short of roller derby. We held them scoreless at the half and ended the bout 298 to 6, but numbers don’t reveal their perseverance and attitude. They were not scrappy players, they didn’t give up, and they smiled the whole night. It was one of the best bouting experiences I’ve had, (not to mention my love affair with their floor) and I can’t wait to skate with them again.

Starting a sports league is hard. Starting a business is even harder. Starting a business with a sports team takes a lot of time and commitment. Beginning with a solid foundation and taking on a challenge will send a league far. Also, hot uniforms are must.

From this bout:
Photos by Joy Doehrmann
Photos by Donna Olmstead Photography
Blog Recap by the Dibrarian - who can do a CARTWHEEL on skates. Keep your eye on her...

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