Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting to Grips with Different Leagues

I pointed out a poster to someone for the Auckland Roller Derby League when I was suddenly asked if I'd ever been to a bout... It turns out I was meeting one of the players... Funny how I keep stumbling across roller derby things...

There are two leagues in Auckland. You can recognise them by the posters.

The Auckland Roller Derby League always have a really boring blue uniform and the photos always kind of look like they're a bunch of girls colliding into each other while doing figure skating - the posters I've seen so far are dark with what looks like spot lights on them.

Compare that to the Pirate City Rollers who generally have a big theatrical, meet some of the players kind of a poster.

Big difference right? The Auckland Roller Derby League concentrate on the sport more so than the theatrics. To me this feels like a mistake as it just doesn't look like fun. Rather than a bunch of holy crapballs on toast kick butt people out there embodying a persona, they're looking to be athletes. It's just that it feels less... engaging. Rather than cheering on the individual, you're kind of stuck with a bunch of people who all look kind of the same.

So I know where I'd rather spend my money (though it's worth noting that it's $5 cheaper to go to a ARDL game). I am getting to a point. In a fit of curiosity, I did a search on "derby roller" (it turns out the order of search terms on youtube matters. Who knew?) in youtube and came across a short video that had an interesting point in it.

They're talking about their league being a volunteer organisation and that to be "legitimate" or whatever, they have to lose a piece of themselves. What does that look like?

Remembering of course that each league does have sponsors.

This struck me as interesting as it kind of brings the two leagues into an interesting contrast. ARDL (Auckland Roller Derby League) talk about how their league is more about the game. It's not just for the spectators. It's their league. The Pirate City Rollers seem able to charge a little more but how much of what happens is a popularity thing?

I'm not sure the question is all that valid really... or rather, I would think that part of the appeal of the game is the dressing up and finding that confidence to be in a full contact sport and having that separation from the mundanity of everyday life. In which case, it's still about the players. Sort of a version of Fight Club (except that the first rule of Derby is you will talk about derby because it's awesome!). But that also introduces a problem. Some players are held up as heroes while others flounder. Either which way, I'm sure the separation of the leagues felt like a personal conflict at the time...

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