Yesterday, USARS announced that they’re going to form a US national roller derby team. From what I’ve seen in my social feeds, the news was not especially well-received. Most of the people I know play WFTDA, and a few of those people are/were on Team USA. You know, the national team of the best adult roller derby athletes in the country that’s been established for five years or so.
The biggest reaction to the USARS announcement: THERE’S ALREADY A TEAM USA, YOU JERKS.
- Um, who are they going to play?
- There’s an international governing body for roller derby, and that is WFTDA.
- USARS doesn’t mean anything to me, because I don’t skate in the US.
- USARS never helped us before, why should we support this effort now?
- They tried to make things as hard as possible for roller derby ten years ago.
- No one wants to watch USARS derby (ouch, people).
- Hey, sounds cool!
Now, I don’t necessarily think USARS is a paragon of evil, but I do think they’re trying to make money off roller derby. Plenty of people have, with, we can say, varying levels of success.
My first reaction is that if USARS skaters are happy, that’s great. Let ’em skate and have their fun. No skin off my hide. I don’t think it hurts WFTDA (or any other roller derby organization or rule set, because there are more than two) to have a bit of competition. Personally, I’d prefer not to skate against or with 14-year-olds, but I’m glad they get the opportunity to skate if they’re physically and mentally ready.
In fact, it might be pretty fun to have a Team USA that’s all kickass 17-year-olds. Then we can stop saying crap like “junior roller derby is actually fun to watch” because where have you been, people, of course it is.
Here’s the thing, though. The day before this was announced, I was hearing that USARS was in financial trouble with declining membership, and derby was a major part of that.
So, in short, my two cents: this seems like an effort by an organization to save something that was not well-conceived in the first place. They don’t seem to have a deep understanding of modern roller derby and its culture, and that’s not going to serve them well. But if people want to try out and play for this new national team, I won’t hold anything against them. Unless I already hold something against them. Hey, I’m a sports fan, I hold grudges. It’s only natural.
What do you think? Does this news make you mad? Annoyed? Totally thrilled? Kinda sleepy? Is a roller derby national team any kind of national team at all without Bonnie Thunders?