Monday, February 25, 2013

For those who have yet to make the move

The whole derby chart can now be found at on a regular computer, or from a mobile browser.

Check it out sometime, it'll give team details, break down why a ranking is the way it is, and give you scores from past bouts and predictions for upcoming ones.

Well, this week it happened.  Tiger Bay overcame 2-1 odds against to beat LRG[B] in Cardiff, and move into the #8 spot.  In Roll'd Firm action, Auld Reekie beat Glasgow, which put them back in the top 10.

Here is the table for all of Europe!

TeamWinsLossesRank Pts
1London Rollergirls 50272.5
2Stockholm Roller Derby 73145.7
+23Central City Rollergirls 33130.7
4Bear City Roller Derby 53121.0
-25London Rollergirls [B] 61113.8
6Glasgow Roller Derby 105104.0
7Rainy City Roller Girls 6194.4
+28Tiger Bay Brawlers 7385.4
+69Auld Reekie Roller Girls 6780.6
-210Crime City Rollers 3879.7
+111Leeds Roller Dolls 6676.8
-312Gent GO-GO Roller Girls 6474.9
-213London Rockin Rollers 4372.1
-114Brighton Rockers 5166.5
-115Paris Roller Girls 3562.2
16Gent GO-GO Roller Girls [B] 2055.9
+117Helsinki Roller Derby 11547.5
-118Stuttgart Valley Rollergirlz 0547.3
+419Copenhagen Roller Derby 3339.5
20Royal Windsor Rollergirls 6138.8
-221Hellfire Harlots 5337.3
-122Bear City Roller Derby [B] 0333.6
-123Kallio Rolling Rainbow 3233.0
24Lincolnshire Bombers 3628.3
+325Sheffield Steel Roller Girls 3427.7
-126Hot Wheel Roller Derby 8424.3
27Middlesbrough Milk Rollers 6224.1
-228Big Bucks High Rollers 3522.8
+129One Love Roller Dolls 7520.6
-130Birmingham Blitz Dames 4420.4
31Romsey Town Rollerbillies 4720.2
+232Dolly Rockit Rollers 2820.0
+933London Rockin Rollers [B] 0218.8
+234Crime City Rollers [B] 7318.3
35Cork City Firebirds 2317.6
-336Stuttgart Valley Rollergirlz [B] 3116.8
-537Ruhrpott Roller Girls 4216.6
-138Dublin Roller Girls 6316.6
-139Bristol Roller Derby 8314.8
-140Dirty River Roller Grrrls 2114.7
-141Roller Girls of the Apocalypse 5212.7
+342Leeds Roller Dolls [B] 2411.8
+143Newcastle Roller Girls 4411.7
-344Kent Rollergirls 3211.4
+245Rockcity Rollers 1210.5
+646Barcelona Roller Derby 039.8
+147Croydon Roller Derby 449.5
+248Glasgow Roller Derby [B] 629.1
-649Southern Discomfort 908.6
+350Manchester Roller Derby 738.4
+351Plymouth City Roller Girls 438.3
-652Quad Guards 827.8
-253Graveyard Queens Cologne 217.3
+154Roller Derby Metz Club 457.2
-655Lincolnshire Rolling Thunder 317.0
+456Central City Rollergirls [B] 246.8
+157Auld Reekie Roller Girls [B] 226.6
-258Paris Roller Girls [B] 436.5
-259Amsterdam Derby Dames 456.2
+160Brussels Derby Pixies 225.9
+961Liverpool Roller Birds 175.9
+162Seaside Sirens Roller Girls 435.8
+463Granite City Roller Girls 145.7
+564Rainy City Roller Girls [B] 435.6
+665Dundee Roller Girls 425.5
-166Imposters Roller Girls 235.4
-867Tyne & Fear 545.3
68Namur Roller Girls 135.2
-369Inhuman League 694.6
-870MRD: New Wheeled Order 574.5
+371Lincolnshire Bombers [B] 144.5
-872Expendables 444.4
-173Harbor Girls 344.3
+374Lahti Roller Derby 044.1
75Gothenburg Roller Derby 254.0
-376Vienna Roller Girls 413.9
+577Helsinki Roller Derby [B] 513.9
-278Eastside RocknRollers 113.8
+179Luleå Roller Derby 113.7
-280South West Angels of Terror 503.7
+281Blackland Rockin'K-Rollers 233.2
-182Severn Roller Torrent 163.0
-483Barockcity Rollerderby 323.0
+184Lutèce Destroyeuses - Paris 232.7
+285Sheffield Steel Roller Girls [B] 442.6
+486Cardiff Roller Collective 502.6
+187Milton Keynes Concrete Cows 422.5
+388Oslo Roller Derby 042.4
-589Crash Test Brummies 182.3
-190Newcastle Roller Girls [B] 912.2
-591Roller Derby Rennes 112.1
92Portsmouth Roller Wenches 312.1
93Dolly Rockit Rollers [B] 322.0
+194Belfast Roller Derby 332.0
+995Tenerife Roller Derby 202.0
+196Dorset Roller Girls 221.9
-397Munich Rolling Rebels 131.8
+1798B.M.O Roller Derby Girls 241.8
+199Stockholm Roller Derby [B] 141.8
-2100Aarhus Derby Dames 121.7
-5101Rotterdam Death Row Honeys 131.7
+6102Tiger Bay Brawlers [B] 311.6
-4103Nantes Derby Girls 451.6
-2104Nidaros Roller Derby 411.5
+1105Norfolk Brawds 321.4
-1106Roller Derby Bordeaux Club 411.4
-4107Herault Derby Girlz 511.3
+2108Central City Rollergirls [C] 301.3
-8109Zurich City Rollergirls 021.3
+1110Kallio Rolling Rainbow [B] 211.3
+6111Swansea City Roller Derby 351.1
+4112Wiltshire Roller Derby 151.1
+5113Bristol Roller Derby [B] 301.1
-5114Copenhagen Roller Derby [B] 231.1
-1115Liverpool Roller Birds [B] 221.0
-4116Hulls Angels Roller Dames 061.0
-10117Jakey Bites 051.0
-5118Hell's Ass Derbygirls 241.0
+5119Furness Firecrackers 140.9
+2120Rebellion Roller Derby 340.9
+2121Wolverhampton Honour Rollers 120.8
+3122Tampere Roller Derby 120.8
-2123Kernow Rollers 130.8
-5124Middlesbrough Milk Rollers [B] 020.8
+1125Dublin Roller Girls [B] 320.7
+3126Dom City Dolls 120.7
+1127Oxford Roller Derby 450.6
-8128Nottingham Roller Girls 120.6
-2129Bruising Banditas 220.6
130Hell's Belles 150.5
+1131Mean Valley Roller Girls 420.5
-1132Fair City Rollers 040.5
133Wakey Wheeled Cats 120.5
134Montpellier Derby Club 230.5
135Bedfordshire Roller Girls 240.4
+1136Vendetta Vixens 050.3
+3137Shoetown Slayers 030.3
138Limerick Roller Derby 120.3
+2139Birmingham Blitz Dames [B] 120.3
-1140Red Lion Roller Derby 020.3
+1141Manchester Roller Derby [B] 230.2
+1142Preston Roller Girls 120.2
-7143Fierce Valley Roller Girls 210.2
144Roller Derby Karlsruhe 120.2
145Voodoo Vixens Besançon 020.2
+1146One Love Roller Dolls [B] 110.2
-1147Velvet Sluts 140.1
-->148Hereford Roller Girls 110.1
149Evolution Rollergirls 130.1
-2150Porto Roller Derby 110.1
151Roller Girls of the Apocalypse [B] 020.1
-2152Frankfurt Roller Derby 120.1
-1153Roller Derby Toulouse [B] 210.1
-1154Wirral Whipiteres 030.0
-1155Roller Derby Lyon 500.0
-1156Roller Derby Metz Club [B] 200.0
-1157Marseille Roller Derby Club 030.0
-1158Roller Derby Grenoble 220.0
-1159Les Quads de Paris 110.0
-1160Cherry Blood 020.0

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This weekend (23/24 Feb)

This weekend in derby:

Two bouts in Denmark

#18 Helsinki vs #23 Copenhagen.  Both teams have been improving as of late, with Helsinki's stellar performance in Track Queens.  This is a chance for the Danes to link themselves to such a rising star and perhaps climb out of the 20s into the teens.

#102 Nidaros vs #109 Copenhagen [B].  I don't know much about these two, except that it will help connect Scandinavian derby.  The only one that's missing at this double header are the Swedes.  Did their invitation get lost in the mail?

Two bouts in Scotland

#69 Rainy City [B] vs #71 Dundee.  Dundee had been climbing the rankings before teams from the continent were included.  Now, they look to go up to 6-1 with a win over the 3-3 Rainy City B squad.

#15 Auld Reekie vs #6 Glasgow.  One of the bouts I've always wanted to see, this is the second meeting of the Roll'd Firm.  These two have exchanged the top spot in Scotland 4 times in the last year, and Glasgow hold the series lead 1-0.  Can Auld Reekie even the score, and climb back up the chart?  Or will Glasgow solidify their position as the dominant Scottish team?

Two bouts in Wales

#81 Severn vs #117 Swansea.  The Slayers open their 2013 campaign with a hard-but-winnable bout at home.  This win would set them even at 4-4, wheras SRT are looking to get their first win of the last 12 months, having lost the last 6.

#3 LRG [B] vs #10 Tiger Bay.  Is it wrong to call this the main event?  If I still lived in Wales, I would be glad to have the opportunity to see Swansea early, then pop over to Cardiff for their toughest bout yet.  The Brawlers are 6-3 in the last 12 months, losing to Glasgow most recently by only 6 points, and have recently climbed from UK's top ten into all Europe's top 10.  London Rollergirls [B] are the unquestioned #3 in Europe, with a 6-0 record.  Can Tiger Bay record a historic upset, and deal LRG[B] their first ever loss?  According to the computer, it's a 33% chance.  I can't wait to see the outcome of this one!

Great weekend for roller derby all over Europe.  Good luck everyone, and stay tuned for scores as they post and new rankings on Monday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fairness and rankings

In a sport where there's a great deal of upheaval, it is unreasonable to have any sort of official ranking last more than one 'season'. Skaters come and go quickly, and some teams rise very, very quickly. Thus, if a ranking scheme is to pass the basic test of fairness, it must only take into account recent score, and not the scores of skaters who are no longer skating with their teams.

A scheme in which bouts never expire is unfair to the skaters. If a skater commits a mistake, costing that skater's team the win, that loss will be forever be represented in their ranking. In such a scheme, there is no redemption.

A skater can put in hard work for an entire season, and have a great effect on her team's ranking if, and only if, that team has a very short bouting record. If the team has been playing for 3 or more years, that skater cannot have a major effect on her team's ranking for years.

A scheme in which bouts never expire is unfair to the teams. New teams can quickly climb the rankings, or can stay near the bottom of the table, but their position will stagnate. The longer a team has been in existence, the more momentum its ranking has. Thus, a team who did well early in its career need not defend that title strenuously, but can count on the weight of the early bouts.

Such a ranking scheme is entirely unhelpful.  It shows leagues that have had generally good careers but recent poor performance as good, whereas teams with years near the bottom but several wins in a row as poor teams.  When choosing opponents, leagues cannot rely on such a ranking. No one plays their opponent's all-time team, they play their opponent's current team. Thus, such a ranking is at best an interesting intellectual exercise.

Roller derby is a sport that prides itself on fairness. This drives the notion that referees cannot offer assistance, only penalties, and the notion that a strong team shouldn't go easy on a weak team. Fairness is at the heart of the game. Why then use a system which is so patently unfair to those it claims to serve?

The WFTDA have done away with rankings that run the risk of "since the invention of derby..."  As have the MRDA. While all-time rankings have a place, it is in newspapers as pundits debate the results of hypothetical bouts between the 2008 London Brawling and the 2013 Stockholm.  However, they at best allow for an unfair estimation of the current performance of skaters and leagues, and run the risk of misleading other skaters and derby fans.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Support your not-so-local derby!

 I know we were all excited to hear that LRG are going to be covered in a television documentary. It means that the sport we know and love is closer to the big time!

But why? Why are they filming practices, bouts, etc. and editing it into a documentary that I have no doubt will show the sport as difficult, dynamic, and absolutely loved by its participants? Because the TV producers have noted the growth of the game.

TV producers follow the money. If you'll forgive the Americanism, they follow the buck. Wherever the buck stops, they film. A few more independant producers work on behalf of causes, but most mainstream groups work for the benefit of their bank accounts.

Thus, TV sees money in derby.  This is great! It means we, as a sport, are one step closer to being covered as a sport. One step closer to our scores showing up next to the Open Championship on the specialty page of the sports section. One step closer to a "bout of the week" on ESPN or Sky.

Imagine what that would do for recruitment!

Thing is, how do we best show the TV people that there's money in derby? They're not as concerned about the skaters, they're concerned about the fans. The money in sports coverage comes from advertising, and that ad money is linked to the number of fans watching the event.

Want more derby in the news, in papers, and on TV? Increase the fan base. Show that there's potential cash money being unrealised by not covering the best game on 8 wheels.

Thus, your job is twofold.

#1, go to every bout you can.  Live in South Wales? See everything TBB, SCS, and Bristol do.  Live in Manchester? You lucky skunk, you've got two leagues in Mancs, plus Liverpool and Wirral nearby. London? Besides LRG, LRR, and CRD, you should go as far as RWRG and BBHR whenever you can!

#2, advertise. Not just for your own league, but for all other leagues (who're nearby, and whose bouts don't conflict with your favourite league's). Talk up derby to your mates, to your mates' mates, and to the person you're sat next to at Starbucks. When you get that derby conversation comes around, know where and when the nearest upcoming bout is. If you can get one new fan, you've helped the game.

As well, we need a census. We need to know just how many skaters and leagues there are, but we also need to know how many people came to watch derby in the last year. Thus, when TV comes knocking, we can show them just how amazingly large and supportive our fan base is.

This Weekend (16-17 Feb)

This weekend in European derby:

Scandanavia has a packed schedule!  Luleå take on Gothenburg, looking for the league's first win.  Crime City play host to Finland's Dirty River, fresh off their Suomi Cup schedule, and the dominant Stockholm.  Crime City's A-team have climbed from #11 to #8, and even a well-fought loss against Europe's #2 would improve that position.

A little action on the south side of the channel.  Nantes and Metz play an A&B double header, and Rockcity take on One Love.  Both of these have a wide gap between the teams, so there is certainly a potential for a continental shake-up!  [UPDATE] I missed the Royal Windsor Roller Girls travelling down to Paris to face a tough test of their ability.  If there was one bout I could go to this weekend...

SW:UK carries on.  SWAT-Kernow looks a bit one-sided, although SWAT have been slipping down the table lately.  Dorset take on Wilts, fresh off a very helpful defeat by Plymouth.  Never have Dorset looked better!

North of the border, Fierce Valley face up against Preston.  Both teams evenly ranked, both looking for their 2nd win in the last 12 months.

Oxford take on Leeds-B, in what looks like a major challenge for the southern side.  A good result, even a good losing one, would certainly help them look like a rising regional power, as well as buoy up the rest of the Heartlands competitors.

Good luck to everyone bouting this weekend!  If you're not bouting, try to make it over to your nearest bout.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Rise of the Regional Tournament

That sounds silly, given as the WFTDA just did away with the "regionals."  I'm not sure what they're calling the first round of the big 5, but this post does not refer to them.  No, it refers to the locally run tournaments, representing parts of Europe (and the US, too).

The first time I heard about this sort of tournament was in South Carolina.  At the time, there were 5 leagues in the Palmetto State, and they were of similar bouting ability.  Thus, one of the leagues in the capital city of Columbia started a tournament to act as the "state championship."

These bouts were amazing!  All the skaters, refs, NSOs, even the fans knew each other; the atmosphere was indescribable.  I haven't been to one in years, and I hope they're still going.

I know the same thing happens in Texas, with the Governor's Cup.

Now, the Finns are in on the action.  The Suomi Cup, featuring teams from across the Nordic country, has already had its first round of play.  According to Sari Vahtera, this was the product of Team Finland.

After bringing together skaters from both major leagues, and a few of the minor leagues, they decided that they needed to keep skating together.

One of the major concerns is that of Helsinki, the frequent standard bearers for Finnish roller derby, and their European competitive season.  According to Sari, "The timetable is made so that biggest leagues f.ex. Helsinki ... have their time to play WFTDA [sanctioned] bouts also."  Thus, these leagues have the option to continue building their regional and global reputation, as well as competing for a national cup.

The South-Westerners are in on the game, too.  SW:UK said that "over the last 12 months leading up to the season more teams have sprung up in the region, plus existing teams have got to the point where they are ready to actively bout on a regular basis."

Although there are no major WFTDA teams in this tournament, the level of excitement has been good at the bouts.  As well, the double headers ensure that newer leagues don't struggle to fill ref and NSO positions, and can quickly improve their game.

Last year, the End of the World Series featured a number of teams from across England, and this year it grew into the Heartlands.  This could be best called a super-league, as the word league is taken in the derby lexicon.  Teams play all other teams in their conference, and then there is a playoff structure in place.

The almost-meteoric growth of Heartlands, combined with the other tournaments springing up, show the massive demand.  Large leagues often play continent-scale schedules, bouting whomever they both fancy and can book.  Strangely, these leagues often announce bouts only one at a time.

However, these tournaments ensure a steady supply of bouts for their members, and an open fixtures/results list to make it easier for fans to follow.  I know when I try to preach derby to someone I meet, they invariably ask "how's the local team doing?"  With a team in Heartlands, SW:UK, or Suomi Cup, the answer is easy.

The growth clearly indicates that these tournaments will play a major role in shaping the future of derby.  I think they're a grand idea--skaters deciding that a form of regularity of schedule would be mutually beneficial, then making that happen.  I can't wait to see more national cups spring up, and more regional ones in larger nations.  Good luck to everyone in one, and everyone trying to set one up. Roll on!