Wednesday, December 5, 2012

See the future...

This weekend, the Tiger Bay Brawlers' junior derby outfit, the Tiger Cubs, take to the track for the first time.  This marks a quantum leap in British derby, as now the new generation of skaters will be learning derby as teenagers, not as young adults.

The first junior roller derby league was established in Tuscon, Arizona, in 2006.  By now, the Junior Roller Derby Association list over 40 leagues in 5 countries, of which only a few are JRDA members.

Why junior derby, though?

Someone once asked a great skater, I believe it was Suzy Hotrod, what she did to be the greatest skater in the game.  Her answer was simply that she had been skating derby longer than anyone else.  A junior derby team is that investment of time into the derby future.

It's the future of the league.  The Brawlers are, like other leagues, normally limited to recruiting over 18s, due to liability issues.  Generally speaking, these recruits have had no derby experience, and must be built up from zero.  Soon, the next generation of Brawlers will have been skating derby for years before even turning 18.  They'll already have all the basics: tactical know-how, equipment, skate skills, and perhaps even a derby name!

It's the future of the fans.  In the US, the growth of youth soccer in the 90s is largely responsible for the growth in fan support for the game.  The parents watch their kids play, get to like the game, then start watching it at the top level.  The same will likely be true in derby; parents will eventually come to bouts that do not even involve their children!

It's the future of Wales.  Two out of the four junior derby teams I've found in the UK are located there.  Perhaps unintentionally, the Welsh have set out to grow their national team from a virtual "M4 Derby Academy" with teams in Cardiff and Swansea.

If you go on Saturday, make an effort to show massive appreciation to these junior derby skaters.  Look around you.  You'll be seeing the future of British derby right there.

1 comment:

  1. I kinda wish I hadn't already got something planned this weekend, so I could go along. I bet it will be brilliant :)