So, as some of you local folks (and those who are Twitter or Facebook friends) know, I went to Declaration of Derby (WFTDA National Championships) in Philadelphia in mid-November. Basically, this is the 12 best traveling women’s flat track roller derby teams in the country — the top three from each of the four regions. Three days of bouting. It was AWESOME. For those who have only seen an intraleague bout (for example, when Baltimore’s four teams play one another), this is a whole other level of the game. It is much faster (though it can also be much slower — deliberately) and the teams are made up of the best players from their league.
Sadly, none of the teams from the North made it to day three. The Boston Massacre and Philadelphia Liberty Belles were both knocked out on Saturday morning (as was my voice, whoops), and Gotham Girls Roller Derby was not far behind them later that day. That said, there were still plenty of awesome games to watch, and that’s exactly what I did. (Would you like to talk about fandom? I missed exactly one bout.) The ultimate winners were the Oly Rollers from Olympia, Washington, who unseated the two big teams to watch — the Texecutioners, from Austin, TX, where the current roller derby resurgence got underway; and Gotham Girls, a powerhouse team and the defending champs. And if that isn’t enough, this was the first season that the Oly Rollers were eligible for tournament play. I didn’t know that until after all was said and done, and I never would have guessed it. Those women put in an amazing amount of work to rocket their skills up to this level so fast!
On top of all the amazing bouts, I also got to spend lots of quality time with one Foxie Renard, picking her brain about random derby-related stuff. Plus there was great people-watching — skaters from leagues all over the country (and Canada!) were there, rocking their league colors and skater names. Awesome. Oh, and I took a very few crappy photos with my point and shoot, since DSLRs are not allowed if you aren’t an official photographer.