Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Five Things from the #RDWC2014

This year I attended the Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas, and was very grateful I did. Here are 5 things I learned during the four day event.

1. Come Prepared. I am the queen of procrastination, and working on World Cup previews in the car as we drove to Dallas is an example of this. BUT I was able to work while on the move because I had an internet hot spot that I had purchased for WFTDA Championships. Covering derby events is always unpredictable, and one should never rely on everything being set up for you or the way you want it exactly. Hopefully, the event coordinators are willing to work with you, but it is not all about you, it's about the skaters and the competition on the track. Having the hot spot definitely saved my ass over the weekend, but there were other areas I could have thought out a little bit better. Everything managed to work out on the fly, but it could have saved a bit of sanity to go to Dallas with more of a game plan. (And possibly a budget for merch buying...)

2. If you build it, they will come. The first time around, people were a little doubtful about a Roller Derby World Cup since the sport was predominately in the United States, and that it is still in its infancy. Blowouts helped satisfy the critics, but the World Cup meant more to the derby world than just competition. In three years, the attendance went from 13 countries to 30, most of which had a creation story about being inspired by the 2011 cup. Roller Derby was already on the rise outside the States, but the World Cup was also likely responsible for the global derby explosion that has taken over Europe and is now spreading throughout other continents. For some people, being accepted to play on an international level may just be a title, and for others it was to represent their country. Either way, this was a ginormous event outside of the normal WFTDA scene that brought a lot of the usual faces together, but many more new ones.

All 30 teams after the Parade of Nations Sunday. (There was some body surfing..)

It was also an amazing weekend to build a bigger audience for Derby Central. It was a ton of work but totally worth it. My partner in crime, Brooklyn, and I, as well as some extra hands and awesome photographers ran around like crazy to cover all three tracks. And in a shameless plug, we are always looking for more volunteers and writers to help document this amazing sport that is covering the globe. Researching on European and South American teams made me really realize how much we need to highlight and support these leagues, and if you are in some of those other countries, we need your help!! (Contact if you'd like to help.)

3. Everyone loves an underdog. The world cup was originally going to institute a mercy rule that would have ended games with 20 minutes left if the team in the lead was up by 100 points. Yes, it was pretty evident that USA would probably take it all again, and by big points against newer teams, but teams understood this going into battle. They fought hard for every small victory and every point earned was as if they won the game. Japan was probably the freshest to enter the scene, and after four losses, including one shutout, they were the darlings of the weekend, and their merch was as good as gold. There were comments online about the outrageous scores, but I bet if you asked the skaters, they were glad other teams showed no mercy.

Team Japan. Photo by Danforth Johnson

4. Speak up. Before big derby events, I daydream about how I'm going to talk to all these people that I "know" online, and make new friends, and have a blast at the after party, but I feel like when the time comes, I miss a lot of those opportunities. The easiest way to network is to just be generally polite and introduce myself, but I'm awkward and shy away from striking up conversations. You would also think I have an "in" with being part of a media outlet, but I get too anxious. I realized it doesn't need to be a big to-do, next time I should at least just stick out my hand and say, "By the way, my name is Deadwards."
A video posted by Derby Central (@derbycentral) on
5. Keep your shit clean. In a exciting end in to our weekend, we got pulled over in Missouri on our drive back to Iowa City. It wasn't your run-of-the-mill traffic stop, but instead involved a police dog, standing along a highway in leggings, and drug accusations. I don't want to start anymore debates about police or legalities, but apparently our car was too dirty and when Danforth finds a joint on me in the next few weeks, he'll "know"...
Apparently a filthy car and my love for "boobing" Danforth's window led to some trouble...

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