Q’s Tips: Thoughts on Retirement

Q’s Tips: Thoughts on Retirement Photo credit: Joshua R. Craig. www.joshuarcraig.net

First of all.  I hate the phrase retirement when it comes to stepping out of roller derby, but honestly I can’t find a better one to fit leaving a sport and a lifestyle that has been my main social and athletic outlet for the last eight years. When people have suggested that I might be addicted to roller derby, they may not have been that out of line.

2016 WFTDA Champs Central

The 2016 International Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Championships are being held in Portland, Oregon, November 4th-6th. Hosted by the reigning Champions, Rose City Rollers, the tournament will consist of 12 Division 1 teams and 4 Division 2 teams.

The top three teams from each Division 1 Playoff tournament- Montréal, Columbia, Vancouver, and Madison– qualified for the WFTDA Champs bracket and will play for the Hydra. The top two teams from each Division 2 Playoff tournament- Wichita and Lansing– play for the D2 Cup. Catch up on how each team has done this year with a preview of Division 2 Brandywine versus Charlottesville and Calgary versus Blue Ridge, as well as Friday’s Division 1 match ups, and Saturday’s D1 quarterfinal games.

2016 WFTDA D1 Champs: #3 Rose City repeats victory against #1 Gotham, 186-166

2016 WFTDA D1 Champs: #3 Rose City repeats victory against #1 Gotham, 186-166 Photo Credit: Danny Ngan.

PORTLAND, OR – For three years in a row the Rose City Rollers and Gotham Girls Roller Derby have met each other in the final game of WFTDA Championships. 2014 ended in heartbreak for the Wheels of Justice by losing to the Gotham giant by three points, but then they enacted revenge the next year when they took them down by 11 points. Gotham has remained at the top of the WFTDA rankings however, and Rose City came into this tournament at #3 with their only loss this season coming at the hands of this weekend’s 3rd place team, Victorian Roller Derby League.

Yesterday Gotham played a very evenly matched semifinal game against London but with a slight edge in the second half, New York took them out 189-163. Rose City finished out the tense day with a thrilling game against Victoria where the Wheels of Justice came from behind in the last jam to beat VRDL 155-152. Those games began the excitement that would carry through to the final day and Rose City didn’t disappoint their hometown fans with yet another comeback victory and second consecutive Championship win against Gotham, 186-166.

2016 D1 WFTDA Champs: #2 Victoria wins the bronze over #5 London, 198-108

2016 D1 WFTDA Champs: #2 Victoria wins the bronze over #5 London, 198-108 Photo credit Quick'N'Derby

PORTLAND, OR – Victorian Roller Derby League and London Rollergirls have a shared championship history that goes back to 2014 in Nashville, TN, where London won 173-142. That game marked the first time two international teams faced off at a WFTDA Championship. Victoria and London also met during the 2015 WFTDA Championships, where they played for 3rd place, making today’s match up the second time that these two teams have competed for the bronze.

Last season, Victoria was ranked #4 in the WFTDA and London was ranked at #3. VRDL won that game, 122-99, claiming 3rd place at Champs. Victoria experienced some penalty trouble early on in that game and garnered 7 jammer penalties by game end, earning a total of 26 penalties overall. Despite this, VRDL’s lead jammer status sat at 51.4% to London’s 48.6%.

Since these teams first played each other at champs in 2014, their rankings have changed. And this is the first time that VRDL enters this match up with a higher ranking, #2 in the WFTDA, than London, who is currently ranked #5.

Both teams have similar styles of play, defined by strong bracing powerquads and tripods that are able to rotate quickly to catch opposing jammers even as they cut from the outside to the inside line, but both teams took a few minutes before they were able to maintain their respective formations despite meddling from opposing blockers. Victoria steadily collected points thanks to earning a majority of the lead calls (66.7%) added to their defense’s ability to hold London’s jammer apart from their pivot, often delaying and sometimes successfully preventing the star pass. Victoria ultimately defended their bronze medal, with a win over London of 198-108.

2016 WFTDA D2 Champs: #43 Blue Ridge takes 1st over #50 Brandywine, 257-188

2016 WFTDA D2 Champs: #43 Blue Ridge takes 1st over #50 Brandywine, 257-188 Photo credit: Steve Jurkovic Roller Derby Photography.

PORTLAND, OR – The 2016 D2 Championship featured a rematch from Playoffs of #43 Blue Ridge against #50 Brandywine, in a game that would be decided by penalties, and result in an eventual strong win by the hands of Blue Ridge. Despite a strong start by Brandywine, Blue Ridge asserted control after several power jams in the first half of the initial period to open the door for multiple-scoring pass jams to take and keep the lead.

The turning point of the period was a 16-0 jam posted by D2 tournament MVP Dr. Octopushy for Blue Ridge, on a boxed Lurz Lemon from Brandywine to take the lead by one point and not relinquish it for the duration of the contest. While Brandywine demonstrated a staunch defense, ultimately they had to dig deep into their jamming rotation after primary jammer Lurz Lemon was ejected after an egregious low block 20 minutes into the game.