They totally happen.
The Dolly Rogers were on the other side of a blow-out at the end of last season. The experience was mostly humbling. We were finishing an extraordinary first season and frankly, we needed to learn a little lesson. Getting that badly beaten showed us that not only was it important to consider what we’d achieved all season, but that we needed to establish some goals based on what are truly endless possibilities. Witnessing some of those possibilities helped us gain a lot of focus, which brought new meaning to our winter training. But this is derby. And the sport is still in its infancy. And the tools that track what teams are doing are still rudimentary. There are no divisions, no classes, no in-depth rankings and no standard training approaches. It’s not for a lack of effort; there are lots of amazing people out there, painstakingly tracking games, scores, trying to centralize information and attempting to develop more sophisticated means of painting a clearer picture of the derby scene. But despite all the work, there are still mismatches. As much as these mismatches are great for teams, they’re not so amazing for the spectator. And because we depend so heavily on revenue from games to bring us through our winter training, we’re not exactly in a position to mess with spectators. So when we plan our season, we try to schedule close games.
Enter our inter-league liaison, Eastern Block’her. She has a tough job. She’s responsible for finding teams willing to travel to Ottawa. She starts this in January, because that’s when we apply to the City of Ottawa for space. Ottawa typically doesn’t get back to us until April so Eastern has to balance the teams willing to come to Ottawa with the dates the City eventually gets back to us on and the dates these teams can travel on. Moreover, when finding these teams, Eastern doesn’t have many tools at her disposal to determine whether the game will be close enough to be interesting…or not. There’s still months of training ahead, there are only a few past scores, some basic rankings, but as we’ve all experienced first-hand, these things don’t mean much. We’ve gone from 12th to 47th to 37th to 26th in the flat track rankings in a matter of weeks. Take our last game against Peterborough. Our leagues got off the ground around the same time. Peterborough had a great coach from the start. We were coachless for months and we didn’t even have enough players to roster a team until DAYS before our first season started. Things fell into place quickly with us. We got a coach and managed to get through a season. CCDD and Peterborough are into their respective second seasons. Both teams have new players. On paper, it looked like a good match and that’s the best we could do. Peterborough was awesome. They played right until the final whistle went. They fell, they got right back up. They laughed and joked on the line and said wonderful things to us during and after the game. They took the whole experience as a learning one. All around, both teams were pretty happy and the after-party had a happy and positive tone.
But, we got some tweets about maybe having a closer game next time. Which is fair. Because when you’re coming to see a game, it’s so much better when you have NO idea what’s going to happen until the last few seconds. And it’s what we try to do, because for us, as much as the basic rankings mean a lot to us, and can represent a point of pride, the ranking system is not sophisticated enough to recognize what happens when you beat a team that should have creamed you. It doesn’t take into account how long you’ve been playing. Or even how many games you’ve played. If you’ve only played one game and you won by 500 points, you’ll stay at the top all season. So, while we’re paying attention to where we are, we don’t want to set-up a season that involves huge and easy wins. We’re not going to improve if we don’t challenge ourselves and we’re not going to promote any sustained interest in a sport if we routinely steam roll the competition.
We appreciate the tremendous support we’ve had this year from Ottawa residents. The word on roller derby is getting louder. We have great crowds at our games, we have great support from sponsors and local businesses who’ve put up our posters and offered to sell tickets for us. We had SuzieQ Doughnuts, the Merry Dairy truck, and Beau’s Beer at our last game and this desire to get involved in derby gives us a lot of hope for the future. Every game we play gives our supporters the opportunity to learn more about a sport that’s growing every day. It’s not an easy sport to wrap your head around, but once you’ve seen a bout, you gain a rapid understanding of the intense strategy and physical demands posed by roller derby. Ottawa, we appreciate your support and our next game will be something special. We played a team a year ago at a tournament in Moncton. We spent most of the game down by some serious points, when suddenly, we came back and went on to win by a very narrow margin. The ladies from the Fog City Rollers want a rematch. We don’t blame them. It could have gone either way. They’re travelling all the way from St. John, New Brunswick, to set the record straight. On Saturday, September 8, we’ll be facing each other again at the Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena in Rockland. Yeah, Rockland is a bit of a drive, but they don’t flood their surface in the winter so we can play on a concrete slab. We practised there all winter and the Rockland community is really looking forward to having a game in their neck of the woods.
We still have quite a season ahead of us. You can learn all about us at our brand new website. We still haven’t loaded all the potential content, but it’s on its way. You can also check out our facebook page and follow our twitter feed.