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Oly Tournament Eligibility in Question

  • Oly's schedule confirmation, via Twitter.
  • Oly's last sanctioned WFTDA bout -- the 2013 championship game against Gotham. Photo: Donalee Eiri.

2009 WFTDA championship winners and perennial finalists the Oly Rollers appear unlikely, at this stage, to qualify for WFTDA's 2013 playoffs.

WFTDA said today, "Division 1 teams must play at least four sanctioned games between WFTDA Championships and June 30 of the following year in order to qualify for tournaments. At least three of those games must be against other Division 1 teams. At this point in time, the Oly Rollers have not satisfied that requirement, but we won't be able to determine any team's tournament eligibility with certainty until the end of June." The Oly Rollers have confirmed to DNN (see inset) that they only currently have two WFTDA games planned: London this Sunday, and Jet City on Monday.

Those two bouts would see them maintain a ranking for the next 12 months and be in a position to qualify for tournaments in 2014, but would be two division one games short of tournament qualification for 2013. If the Oly Rollers do fail to meet tournament eligibility requirements, then the team ranked 41 in the next WFTDA ranking release would find themselves invited to a Division One playoff tournament. That would in turn mean that the team ranked 61 would be invited to Division 2 playoffs.

Oly's meteoric rise and unbeaten 2009 season a year and a week after joining the WFTDA was unprecedented. They missed out on retaining the Hydra in 2010 by a single-point after Frida Beater's last-jam heroics for Rocky Mountain before losing two Championships finals in a row to Gotham by 43 and 103 points--the second game being the team's biggest ever loss, and their most recent WFTDA sanctioned game.

They are scheduled to play WFTDA sanctioned games against London and Jet City on Sunday June 9 and Monday June 10 respective. This would mean that they would still be ranked through to June 2013--leaving them more than enough leeway to compete in 2014 tournaments should they wish to. If those results go to expectation, then Oly would be unlikely to face a serious ranking drop for those 12 months, despite not participating in tournaments. Upsets or close games, however, could see them drop precipitously.

When asked whether they were planning to participate in this year's WFTDA playoffs, an Oly representative simply said "WFTDA will be answering all questions on this right now." In conclusion, WFTDA added: "The Oly Rollers remain in good standing with the WFTDA and are a valued member of our community, regardless of whether they qualify for tournaments this year."

UPDATE: This story originally contained a link to the tweet from the Oly Rollers confirming their scheduling plans. That tweet was subsequently deleted, and so an image of the conversation has been uploaded in its place.

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Not too surprising.

With their finding more success on the USARS side of things, this isn't really all that shocking. The vast majority of their fans (and I *am* generalizing here, but it's just from my observation) seem to have very little interest in any team other than Oly, and therefore not much interest in the roller derby world outside of Olympia.

Whatever happens in the future, I wish them the best of luck.

curiouser and curiouser

as a fan of sports in general, this situation baffles me...Oly is a legit contender from what I have seen and I (as maybe a naive sports fan) would think that top tier teams want to play the best of the best

good luck to whatever they decide to do

No tears for Oly

Thank you DNN. This question has been on my mind since WFTDA announced the ending of the region system and adopting a worldwide division system. Which teams, from across oceans or of few resources, would meet the new requirements? Victoria and London answered the call, but Oly wasn't able to.

But it is ironic that teams from across oceans were able to schedule games with leagues in the Pacific Northwest, yet Oly, part of the Pacific Northwest, wasn't. One wonders how much, if any, derby drama was involved. For Oly's part the last couple of years seem to be a transition from league to pickup team.

Talk has been going around the last few years about how to prevent “super teams” from competing in derby association championships. RCDL simply banned them, WFTDA seems to have taken a different approach, cost them out. How long before USARS gives them the boot? Small wonder the response of the WFTDA community to Oly's failure is a virtual “don't let the door hit you on your way out” and “good luck elsewhere”.

Currently only leagues with strong business structures are able to compete in WFTDA's championships. That has been the main focus of WFTDA in the last few years, helping leagues develop their business structures. For example, last week's WFTDAcon in Florida was solely orientated to improving leagues' business practices.

Holy cow, what accusations

I know a few things about the Oly situation, though not the full picture. I'm not in a position to comment on them more directly. But…

Southbay wrote:

Which teams, from across oceans or of few resources, would meet the new requirements? Victoria and London answered the call, but Oly wasn't able to.

There's quite a big difference between "not able to" and "chose not to." Unless you heard directly from Oly that they were actively seeking WFTDA teams to play and couldn't find any, not hearsay, this is a baseless assumption.

An alternative explanation is that this year (and beyond?) they decided not to seek out additional WFTDA games, other than the ones they had previously agreed to play from last year, and therefore made a decision to sit out the WFTDA playoffs. For whatever reasons they chose. Not the reasons you or anyone else would maybe like to believe.

Southbay wrote:

RCDL simply banned them

When? How? Why? Oly played in an RDCL game early last year, which is not a long time ago in the banked track world. Plus, now that B.A.D. and Rose City have taken their turns on the banked track, all six of the flat track power teams in the west have played at least one, and at most two banked track games in SoCal over the last three years.

The RDCL made it clear that their focus is now on promoting and fostering interleague play among themselves, which is why Team Legit was advised their last Battle on the Bank was last year. Again, if you have a direct confirmation from someone down here in RDCL-land that they've specifically banned the Oly Rollers of Olympia, Washington (and not just "superteams"), let's hear it.

Southbay wrote:

WFTDA seems to have taken a different approach, cost them out.

Yes, costing out the 2009 WFTDA Champions is a good idea. Who cares if some of the smaller leagues in the WFTDA can't afford the additional travel expenses. At least we got Oly!

Do you realize how silly that sounds?

Southbay wrote:

Oly's failure

Why is this Oly's failure, and not in part or whole, a failure of the WFTDA? Losing one of your champions within four years of them winning it all doesn't paint a good picture on the WFTDA, no matter how you slice it.

It's sad that the immediate assumption is that the WFTDA could not have possibly been in the wrong in this developing situation. But there's clearly something else going on here. I suggest we wait until the full story comes out, from all parties involved, until we jump to conclusions.

But this being Oly, a lot of people have decided that truth doesn't matter. Just their version of it.

Maybe you should change your name to Olyman

Anyone with a facebook account can pretty well figure out what's up with Oly.

Just trowing this out there since "I know a few things about the Oly situation, though not the full picture. I'm not in a position to comment on them more directly. But…"...

As we all know, it takes a lot of hard work, time, and dedication to run a successful roller derby league. Each member has to do their part or the league suffers.

Oly has suffered. Not because of a lack of talent, but because of the sense of entitlement that sometimes comes with being so talented.

I know I'm not the only one who feels like the WFTDA let them get away with some shenanigans in the past, and they will probably get away with it this time too.

See ya in Milwaukee, Oly.

Naw, I'll just change my name to

Cutsthroughthebulls**tMan.

Nope

lacey underalls wrote:

Anyone with a facebook account can pretty well figure out what's up with Oly.

I know I'm not the only one who feels like the WFTDA let them get away with some shenanigans in the past, and they will probably get away with it this time too.

See ya in Milwaukee, Oly.

Maybe you'd be better informed if you actually spoke to some Oly skaters instead of relying on your Facebook account.

You make it sound as if Oly wants to participate in the WFTDA Playoffs despite not meeting the requirements. That's not true at all. Oly made a conscious decision not to participate this year.

Nine times? Nine times.

to quote Ed Rooney:

"Wake up and smell the coffee. It's a fools paradise, [they're] just leading you down the primrose path...."

yeah, most of the info on facebook that I get

about Oly is trash talk.

It's Their Choice

WindyMan wrote:

Why is this Oly's failure, and not in part or whole, a failure of the WFTDA? Losing one of your champions within four years of them winning it all doesn't paint a good picture on the WFTDA, no matter how you slice it.

Why does Oly choosing to not participate in the games necessary to qualify for playoffs reflect badly on the WFTDA? I'm missing the logic there. I can't really speak for their decision making process, but if they don't meet the requirements, seems to clearly be their choice.

Is this year's team close to the one that won the title in '09? Does it have the same personnel as last year? Also, in derby time, four years is an eternity, isn't it?

There are a lot of other teams in the WFTDA that are fun to watch, and will be glad to compete for the Hydra, I'm sure.

Agreed

filthy mcnasty wrote:

Why does Oly choosing to not participate in the games necessary to qualify for playoffs reflect badly on the WFTDA? I'm missing the logic there. I can't really speak for their decision making process, but if they don't meet the requirements, seems to clearly be their choice.

Their facebook page asked the question: "Should Oly skate USARS or WFTDA? We would love your input!"

It is truly their choice. And, I guess, the choice of their fans.

Oly's Failure?

"Why is this Oly's failure, and not in part or whole, a failure of the WFTDA? "

If Oly chose to only play 2 bouts this season, and are surprised they may not go to the playoffs, it is their failure. These new stipulations were voted upon by the entirety of WFTDA, if a league decides to not follow the rules, it is their fault.

With that being said, WFTDA set a dangerous precedent with the special vote for Victoria's ranking. Is WFTDA going to do this again for OLY? It seems like a very similar situation, both teams knew(or should have known) the rules put in place, and scheduled the way they wanted to anyway.

Regardless, I hope that Oly gets their bouts in. I want the most competitive playoff season possible.

Victoria

While I agree that the Victoria issue sets a precedent, I don't think it's the one you think.

VRDL's manual ranking did not benefit them--the only people it benefited were those who had previously agreed to play sanctioned bouts against them. It made no material difference whatsoever to their ranking for playoffs.

If that change had been voted down when it was up for discussion, the teams they were playing would (if I understand the rules correctly) have had no choice but to play or be considered to have forfeited.

noted

I understand that the Victoria vote benefited the teams they were playing, not Victoria itself, and that issue should be totally resolved for them going forward( as long as they make it out to their playoff tourney). It is more the idea that there has already been an exception made to the rules this season, and will there be another?

Nobody is Surprised

Sprinkles wrote:

If Oly chose to only play 2 bouts this season, and are surprised they may not go to the playoffs, it is their failure.

Nobody on Oly is surprised. This was not a mistake or an oversight on their part. It was a deliberate decision, and it was not made lightly.

Super Teams

WindyMan wrote:
Southbay wrote:

RCDL simply banned them

When? How? Why? Oly played in an RDCL game early last year, which is not a long time ago in the banked track world. Plus, now that B.A.D. and Rose City have taken their turns on the banked track, all six of the flat track power teams in the west have played at least one, and at most two banked track games in SoCal over the last three years.

The RDCL made it clear that their focus is now on promoting and fostering interleague play among themselves, which is why Team Legit was advised their last Battle on the Bank was last year. Again, if you have a direct confirmation from someone down here in RDCL-land that they've specifically banned the Oly Rollers of Olympia, Washington (and not just "superteams"), let's hear it.

Them being super teams or pickup teams, not Oly specifically. The decision was made before last year's Battle on the Bank. Any RDCL league can invite any other team that they want to play against, but the RDCL tournament doesn't allow pickup teams anymore. Legit was invited to Battle on the Bank V after placing 1st in IV. They only placed 3rd in V, despite being a 'Super Team'.

Why is this anyone's failure?

WindyMan wrote:

Why is this Oly's failure, and not in part or whole, a failure of the WFTDA? Losing one of your champions within four years of them winning it all doesn't paint a good picture on the WFTDA, no matter how you slice it.

If Oly had withdrawn from the WFTDA, your point would be a fair one. But that's not the case. Not qualifying for the playoffs is not the same thing as outright leaving the organization.

If you are provided with guidelines to qualify for the playoffs, and you do not meet those guidelines either through inability to schedule games or willful desire to not qualify. Furthermore, say it's the latter and Oly decided to not meet the qualifications; would they even accept an invite to the playoffs anyway?

It's certainly not a failure on the WFTDA's regard to maintain the qualifications set forth for their playoffs and voted upon by all member leagues, but it's also not Oly's failure if they willingly chose not to meet those qualifications. It's hard to call it a failure to meet a goal when you never set that goal in the first place.

You sure know a lot about something you weren't at...

Southbay wrote:

For example, last week's WFTDAcon in Florida was solely orientated to improving leagues' business practices.

That is all.

The RDCL didn't exactly ban

The RDCL didn't exactly ban superteams. In fact, they only have one sanctioned event where their rules have any effect on the matter.

What the RDCL did do, was establish a geographic requirement that prevents a team from having jet-set commuters that are part of the roster. I think it's something like a 100 mile or 150 mile zone of residence.

Not the biggest Oly fan but

Honestly, I never have been. Anytime I have even seen them has been at Regionals time (now Playoffs) except for one time at WWS. To me they seemed like a bunch of derbots. But now I realize it was because they were focused on the task at hand, which was winning. When you are playing the likes of Rose, Rat, Philly, Gotham, Bay Area, etc that is what you need to do. Last year seemed like it was going to be a turning point with the addition of the Haydens, Ecko, Stella Boracha, Lindsey Loblow and others. But then things happened and the band got back together for another run. Unfortunately, they didn't finish where they hoped to. Now they are looking like they may not qualify for playoffs at all. It can't be a money thing as I know of other leagues with meager resources that are managing to play a very competitive season this year in Div 1. Whatever the reason is, I really wish they would manage to get those two game in somehow before June 30th. As I said I am not the biggest Oly fan but not having them participate in Playoffs seems like something is missing. Having one of the best teams in derby not competing for the biggest prize in the sport diminishes it just a little. Hopefully they will be there but if not, despite whatever has happened in the past, I will miss them.

why?

vicorp wrote:

Having one of the best teams in derby not competing for the biggest prize in the sport diminishes it just a little.

If they willing choose not to be there, how does it diminish anything? The Hydra is still the Hydra and the 40 best WFTDA teams who want to play the game will compete for it.

It diminishes it in the same

It diminishes it in the same way that fans from the West weep cry and moan about when only 3 Western teams were in Champs each year. Champs is not the best of the best of the best of roller derby if Oly, Rat, Rose, Denver, Rocky, and BAD (did I miss anyone?) do not play. That gnashing of teeth resulted in the new playoffs structure, so apparently that was enough of a concern to spark some change.

Personally I don't object to either situation. Champs, as far as I am concerned, is a tournament to find a WFTDA Champion. If a team isn't in the top 3 of their region, they're unlikely to be the #1 in the WFTDA Universe. And if a team doesn't want to play WFTDA then it doesn't diminish the tourney by them not being there.

But if you're looking at the tournament of a shining example of What Roller Derby Should Be, which many do, then it is diminished by not having the absolute best skaters on the track.

Cost?

I fail to understand how Oly not playing their required requisite WFTDA bouts this year is a "cost" issue. They're very close to a lot of great Division 1 teams, so the idea that WFTDA has a hand in why Oly is potentially not playing enough bouts to qualify for a WFTDA tournament sounds very silly to me.

With that said-- and even though my own league is very close to Division 1 contention and I would LOVE to see us able to go to a Division 1 tourney this year-- I also think Oly not being a part of WFTDA Division 1 tourney action would be sad for derby fans and the WFTDA. While I have wondered at how something like the "transfergate" last year was ok, Oly has done great things for derby in terms of fan appreciation. Some love them, some hate them... there's no apathy there.

Cost

truckstop wrote:

I fail to understand how Oly not playing their required requisite WFTDA bouts this year is a "cost" issue. They're very close to a lot of great Division 1 teams, so the idea that WFTDA has a hand in why Oly is potentially not playing enough bouts to qualify for a WFTDA tournament sounds very silly to me.

You're right that Oly is close to several Division 1 teams, and I don't think cost was a factor in choosing not to play them. I've spoken with Sassy about their decision not to participate in WFTDA Playoffs this year, and she never brought up the issue of cost. However, you have to admit that the new divisional structure of Playoffs makes it more expensive for teams to participate, because they're likely to travel much farther, and airfare is more expensive this year.

I think there's a pretty good chance we'll see Oly back in the WFTDA Playoffs after a year or two. They're not leaving WFTDA, they're just focusing on USARS this year.

The WFTDA isn't their

The WFTDA isn't their organization. With all the speed skaters and roller hockey players they have, USARS is. They have a stake in building that.

Bummer

Not having Oly would be a bummer. I love seeing their really talented skaters play, they always introduce something new to learn from. I respect their decision if they decide to go USARS only, but really wish that's not the case.

There's still time though and they're relatively close to other div 1 teams, they could if they wanted to relatively easily. Even if they don't this year, I hope they'll consider it again next year.

Oh why did USARS have to butt in with their own ruleset and not just help/support the existing derby movement. Sigh...

Simple

Money (as in losing insurance money) and power (as in " We are the US recognized governing body and the only way to the Olympics. So love us, please?").

The bottom line

sativa wrote:

Oh why did USARS have to butt in with their own ruleset and not just help/support the existing derby movement.

USARS became involved because they are a for-profit organization, not for any love of the sport. There's no profit for them in supporting the sport as-is asides selling insurance.

The truthful and factual bottom line

Shy Ronnie wrote:

USARS became involved because they are a for-profit organization, not for any love of the sport. There's no profit for them in supporting the sport as-is asides selling insurance.

USA Roller Sports wrote:

USA Roller Sports, a non-profit corporation under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is the National Governing Body (NGB) for amateur roller skating in the United States under the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. USA Roller Sports is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the Federation Internationale de Roller Skating (FIRS), and the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO).

It's fine if you don't like USARS. Believe me, I know they're not perfect. But Christ, do any of you people even try to get your facts straight before spewing B.S.?

You do realize being

You do realize being classified as non-profit doesn't stop a business from making profit right? And being non-profit doesn't mean employees make a middling sum and CEOs don't get a large cut right?

I have no idea what USARS' deal re: profit is (except when ever I had to call in insurance issues back in 2007 they seemed to have one phone and one person answering it) but you can't tell me they're not in it for profit when literally every insurance practice they have requires paying more.

USARS and WFTDA Tax Returns

Fawkes wrote:

You do realize being classified as non-profit doesn't stop a business from making profit right? And being non-profit doesn't mean employees make a middling sum and CEOs don't get a large cut right?

I have no idea what USARS' deal re: profit is (except when ever I had to call in insurance issues back in 2007 they seemed to have one phone and one person answering it) but you can't tell me they're not in it for profit when literally every insurance practice they have requires paying more.

Since USARS is a 501(c)3 organization, their tax returns are public. Here's their return from 2011:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2011/470/550/2011-470550989-088d2e...

And for the sake of comparison, here's WFTDA's tax return from 2011:

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2011/320/328/2011-320328905-08ce01...

Step 1: Taxes. Step 2: ??? Step 3: PROFIT!!

Fawkes wrote:

You do realize being classified as non-profit doesn't stop a business from making profit right? And being non-profit doesn't mean employees make a middling sum and CEOs don't get a large cut right?

From the public 2011 tax forms Joe linked to:

Line 19: Revenue less expenses

USARS: $206,055
WFTDA: $411,032

The $64 question: Which of these organizations has more employees and more members?

Re: Profit

WindyMan wrote:

From the public 2011 tax forms Joe linked to:

Line 19: Revenue less expenses

USARS: $206,055
WFTDA: $411,032

The $64 question: Which of these organizations has more employees and more members?

Be careful with the profit analysis, WindyMan. In 2011, WFTDA restructured (reincorporated?) from a 501(c)6 organization to a 501(c)3, and I'm guessing that line 8 of their tax return (Contributions and grants) includes all the assets of the previous organization.

Follow the money (into the pockets)

You're both looking at the wrong line.

15 Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits:
USARS - $545,377
WFTDA - $ 81,307

One of these 501(c)3s is funding the purchase of many more shiny cars and lovely houses for their employees.

Right line, wrong interpretation

Doc Holiday wrote:

You're both looking at the wrong line.

15 Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits:
USARS - $545,377
WFTDA - $ 81,307

One of these 501(c)3s is funding the purchase of many more shiny cars and lovely houses for their employees.

5 Total number of individuals employed in calendar year 2011
USARS - 13
WFTDA - 4

Average compensation per employee (calculated):
USARS - $41,952
WFTDA - $20,326

Conclusions: The money USARS employees make, on average, seems like a fair amount for governing over multiple disciplines. The WFTDA number is irrelevant, since they're not in for the money. But the numbers suggest the USARS folks aren't in it for much more money.

Certainly not enough to "fund the purchase of many more shiny cars and lovely houses."

stop making sense!

WindyMan wrote:

Average compensation per employee (calculated):
USARS - $41,952
WFTDA - $20,326

Certainly not enough to "fund the purchase of many more shiny cars and lovely houses."

There you go again, letting facts and basic arithmetic get in the way of a good old American outrage. How are we supposed to get in our Two Minutes Hate if you keep throwing logic and reason in our faces?

Unfortunate

Its unfortunate if Oly doesn't qualify because they are definitely worthy of being there.

On the other hand, there are teams who are working the system and pride themselves on hiding from other teams and the ranking system in general. I could name at least four Division 1 teams right now who are still in Division 1 because they are avoiding playing teams right in their back yard who are better than them but in Division 2. These are also the kind of teams who play bouts against other teams that are comparable, but they don't sanction them. Good Division 2 teams don't get any good competition because of the way this works! There is so much turnover in this sport and teams change every day, but the rankings system takes so long to show this and because of this the ranking system is very inaccurate.

I will say its way better than teams ranking themselves.

refusing to play lower ranked teams

i just posted something similar to this on Facebook. it is going to come back to bite WFTDA in the ass that the current system allows teams to "protect" their rankings but refusing to play lower ranked teams.

in figuring their system, WFTDA has got to find a way to incentivize higher ranked teams playing lower ranked teams, in a manner where the lower ranked team winning is a huge boost to them, but a minimal penalty to the higher ranked team. you don't want a team to drop a bunch of spots because of one loss, but you still want to encourage them to play that lower ranked team.

The system has this already

Firstly: If you play a bunch of games, any one loss isn't going to be a huge deal.

Secondly: lower ranked teams are much, much better for any team to play than higher-ranked ones. You are always going to get more points for a big win over a lower-ranked team than you are a close win over a higher-ranked one. That, to me, is the problem with this system: at the top, there's absolutely no point whatsoever in championships-level (or even playoff level) teams playing each other in sanctioned bouts midseason, as anything other than a Gotham-scale victory will do either team any favours, and any close result will just drag both teams down.

If you want to protect your ranking, you want to play teams 30-ish places below you and win by as much as you can. If you're trying to get more experience playing better teams, then this should actually be useful, as you *should* be able to get the games in against teams hoping to boost their ranking by blowing you out, and have accumulated enough points by the time they realise to have a whole new bunch of teams to aim at.

Yes, but

Yes, but [you] do *not* want to play teams ranked 30-ish places below you if you are afraid it will pull you down in rankings. So teams that are "up and coming," so to speak, sometimes get the shaft.

Meh

There's a lot worse things you could do for your ranking than that. Unless you're going to get blown out by that team that's ranked 30-ish places below you but if that's the case then I really don't see how you can avoid a massive slide in the rankings no matter how you schedule your games.

The problem I see isn't that "up and coming" teams will have a hard time moving up (look, just qualify for playoffs and you can prove yourself then). My problem is that, sooner or later, everyone will realize the types of teams they do and do not want to schedule. Playing teams ranked 30-ish spots below you is perfect. However, those teams don't want to play teams ranked 30-ish spots above them. You also don't want to play teams ranked near you because that won't really help (unless you think you can blow them out) and playing teams ranked much more than 30 spots below you will hurt your ranking no matter how much you blow them out.

So, one of the teams, in every possible conceivable matchup, has a good reason not to schedule a game for ranking purposes. What's going to happen when everyone starts to realize that? Are no games going to be scheduled?

Well...

The high number of game requirements (especially in-division games) means that if you want to defend your ranking you're going to have to play some people vaguely close to you. If you're worried about losing points due to losing to a team 30 places below you, playing one above you is going to do even more damage.

Also, the not playing closely ranked teams to you because it doesn't make sense by the numbers only really applies in the top 20 (ish) going by the recent WFTDA ranking release and the ratings alongside it. There's much more leeway further down the charts.

I guess we differ on what we

I guess we differ on what we consider a high number. 2-3 games is not a high number to me. The other thing I didn't mention is that playoff teams are incentivized not to schedule additional games since any regular season game will take away the weight playoff games are given.

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

thebigchuckbowski wrote:

The other thing I didn't mention is that playoff teams are incentivized not to schedule additional games since any regular season game will take away the weight playoff games are given.

^^^
This!

I recently submitted an issue to the WFTDA Issues Reporting Database on this topic: http://timeout.wftda.com/view.php?id=251

Props for quote from The

Props for quote from The Wire. :)

nooooo dude. I revoke your geek card.

Holy crap. I lose. I will

Holy crap. I lose. I will send it to you by owl.

Joshua...

...thanks you for clearing that up.

Now about getting rid of that playoff rankings boost multiplier...

It's a wash

I'm ambivalent about the game weight multiplier. It doesn't really have any effect since both D1 teams are effected it. IMO, it's only there for cosmetic reasons and getting rid of it would be for different cosmetic reasons.

What it affects is teams that

What it affects is teams that are at the top of Division 2 and how it makes it much harder for them to break into Division 1. Similarly, teams in Division 1 that have lost their step will find it much easier to remain in Division 1 even if they no longer deserve to be there. This is entirely due to the tournament weight.

It also affects teams that got a win or wins at Champs having a slight free ride the following year of being placed higher than they deserve to be placed.

If one wants to use a mathematical system to calculate the best performances, then it needs to be performance based. Earning a win in the post-season is already weighted by the strength of your opponent... adding on an extra weight, especially one as high as the current system employs, does a disservice to the math as well as to the teams that have earned their way to the top.

Game weight cannot help teams

N8 wrote:

teams in Division 1 that have lost their step will find it much easier to remain in Division 1 even if they no longer deserve to be there.

I just don't see that in the numbers, Right now it is doubtful that D1 teams Dutchland and Arizona will even make the D2 playoffs. Where's their precious tournament advantage now?

What I'm seeing in the numbers is enough turmoil, as some teams improve and others decline, that the game weight is simply swamped by the chaos. What crazyman or person, thought last year that Angel City would beat Rose this year? Or that Bay Area would beat Charm by 400pts? There's plenty of room for D2 teams to rise and D1 teams to fall. I predict that quite a number of (5 or more) D2 teams will be playing in the D1 tournament.

Second, when talking to skaters about game weight they feel that the Big 5 games are more important than the "regular season", a misnomer if there ever was one. Many teams treat the time before the Big 5 as a warmup, as a time to prepare for the big effort. There are many teams that structure their year to give their best performance during playoffs and championships, performances that outshine what they've done all year (think Texas or Oly). Skaters have acknowledged that fact by giving the Big 5 it's multiplier.

All in all the system works, and skaters will be the first to tell you that no system is perfect and they don't expect this one to be either, and frankly I can think of no system that would be better at delivering the skaters stated objectives. In looking at the system for a number of months now, you can tweak the system in a number of ways and get slightly different outcomes, but no real improvement. The underlying volatility makes all systems perform about the same.

And if you think you can cherry pick games or scheduling, that's the kind of thinking that Vegas was invented for, or your case maybe Atlantic City. The path to success hasn't changed, it requires hard work and some luck.

Numbers

Southbay wrote:
N8 wrote:

teams in Division 1 that have lost their step will find it much easier to remain in Division 1 even if they no longer deserve to be there.

I just don't see that in the numbers

I do. I've run a few numbers. Granted, these numbers aren't 100% accurate, since changing the weighting would cause a trickle down affect of the following games, but it is a good approximation.

With the multipliers in place, if you showed up to Regionals and lost three games in a row (putting you in tenth place), you gained on average about 8.5 points to your current Average Rating that someone who didn't get to go would not receive. If you came in ninth, you gained an additional 13 ratings points. Eighth and seventh, 14 and 16 points respectively. Then up to 18.5, 17, 18.5 (yes the fifth place teams tended to gain less than sixth and fourth). Third through first obviously got the biggest average gains since they attended Champs too: 28.5, 37.5 and 52.5

Now, take a look at the WFTDA Rankings. Start subtracting those values from the Division 1 teams and tell me that those Division 2 teams don't have a stacked deck working against them. Maybe this year there won't be any teams that fail to get the bump up that would have in a fair system, but what about the extra points for placement that those Division 1 teams are getting? You point out Arizona and Dutchland, but what about Jacksonville and Chicago Outfit? They also got the bonus bump for going 0-3 and appear to still be fighting for placement in the Top 40 tournaments. We're really saying that doing well enough last year to get invited means that you should get the path slightly greased for you this year?

It discourages regular-season games

The problem I have with the multiplier is that it discourages regular season games. From a rankings perspective, it's most likely a mistake for a playoff team to schedule more than the minimum number of regular season games because it's hard to get as many points in a regular season game as you did in your playoff games from the previous season. So why play more games that are likely to hurt you even if you do well? (For example, BAD's recent 100+ point win over Philly technically hurt their ranking -- and every game Gotham has played since champs has brought their average score down.)

Again, I'm saying this just from a rankings perspective -- I realize that there are other reasons to play more games and that not all teams will take the rankings-obsessed approach -- my team is playing 7 games, for example -- 3 more than the minimum. And Angel City and Ohio are playing 217 games each, I believe :-).

Hopefully teams will decide not to be overly rankings-obsessed and will play more than 4 or 5 games a year, but we'll have to wait and see. I just don't see the point in encouraging teams not to play, which is what the weighting system does (it also says that what you did last fall is more important than what you do this spring, and that seems fundamentally odd to me as well, especially given potential roster changes from year to year.)

one team in particular that I can think of

Won't play a team, even though they are ranked below them, for the simple fact that they are "rebuilding" and want to keep their spot in the rankings. Because of that, they play a team that they are expected to lose to so it doesn't look as bad on paper.

Meh ha

All in all, I would imagine most teams will continue to schedule games regardless because otherwise how do we get any better? Rankings matter most when you're on the cusp of getting into the tournament bracket, although generally of course everyone wants to be ranked as high as possible. I doubt we're going to see much of a drop in teams scheduling bouts, although some will (and have) taken that route at one time or another. There's a certain amount of balance to everyone's league, of course. Sometimes leagues will want/need to play fewer bouts in a season, sometimes more--depends on what your goals are and how the league anticipates growth or rebuilding.

Gotham has no choice but to

Gotham has no choice but to play teams lower ranked than them. Because every team is lower ranked than them. For the rest of the lot, I see more high ranked teams playing each other this season, than any other I can remember. And the ones who haven't played high ranking teams, are making up for lost time this month.

I think the WFTDA has found a way to incentivize the games you're talking about. If you beat a lower ranked team by less than the expected amount, it affects your rankings. Just a win is not good enough anymore.

"Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime" is not for everyone

Busta Armov wrote:
“I see more high ranked teams playing each other this season, than any other I can remember. And the ones who haven't played high ranking teams, are making up for lost time this month.”

Sadly, that statement may not be correct. What is clear is that the number of sanctioned bouts scheduled by the top 20 teams for the 2012/13 season is down 28 % when compared with the 2011/12 season. (Top 20 as defined by April WFTDA rankings - minus Oly)

In the table below, for last year, the 2011/12 column reflects the number of sanctioned bouts following 2011 Champs up to the 2012 Regional Playoffs. The 2012/13 column reflects the bouts played following 2012 Champs plus bouts currently scheduled for this year. The data was taken from Flat Track Stats and may be incomplete, but clearly there has been a reduction from last year. Without access to a database, I can’t quantify the contention that the high ranked teams are scheduling bouts against, huh …shall we say… challenging opponents. I am not inclined offer any unsupported speculation(s); I’ll just submit the following raw data. (Sorry about the lask of formatting - I could not find a way to post that would maintain the colums.)

Team Rank 2011/12 2012/13 Change
Gotham 1 9 6 -33.33
Denver 2 9 5 -44.44
Bay Area 4 7 6 -14.29
Texas 5 13 5 -61.54
Rat City 6 9 6 -33.33
Angel City 7 6 12 100.00
Rocky Mtn. 8 9 9 0.00
Windy 9 11 7 -36.36
Minnesota 10 14 6 -57.14
Philly 11 12 11 -8.33
Rose 12 11 6 -45.45
Arch Rival 13 13 12 -7.69
Atlanta 14 14 9 -35.71
Montreal 15 14 14 0.00
Detroit 16 7 11 57.14
Charm City 17 9 15 66.67
Naptown 18 14 6 -57.14
Wasatch 19 9 8 -11.11
Ohio 20 24 20 -16.67
Total Bouts 214 154 -28.04

Texas, Minnesota, and Naptown have cut the number of scheduled bouts significantly this year. Too bad for both the skaters and their fans. Only Angel City, Detroit, and Charm City have significantly stepped-up their game play. Good for them. As always, Ohio rocks! Perhaps rankings should award points for number of bouts played.

By-the-way, is it curious to anyone else how a city with a population of 8.3 million that is spread over a relatively small geographic area and which has an extensive public transportation system can only offer only a SINGLE WFTDA all-star team? Moreover, NYC is the 5th most densely populated city in the US - the top 4 all being in New Jersey. Given the huge population base from which to draw skaters, plus the steady application pool of experienced skaters that apply to transfer to Gotham, I don't see how any other team can overcome those advantages.

As always, supporting data:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/census/popcur.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population_...

Even more curious

I find it even more curious that a town of 35,000 (Olympia, WA) has played in the national championships 4 years in a row and continues to draw world-class skaters who want to skate for them. They must be doing something right.

Background

Doing something right is having skaters with speed, figure, and roller hockey backgrounds who have competed with and against each other for decades and have connections. Their success has more to do with rollerskating background in general than a specific program in derby, and the importance of this background is likely to fade after the first generation of derby unless a strong junior program is fostered there.

The institutional knowledge which filters down to sufficiently motivated local talent is probably a factor, too - but mostly (and no hate for Oly here) it's connections, and the ability of their existing social structure and background in competitive skating to field a super-team, comprised of many members who have little or no geographical connection to the area outside of the team.

Analogously, Gotham benefits from population and experience density to recruit competitive skaters to a team with a reputation. Oly's background in competitive (rink/quad) roller hockey compensates for their low population density. Areas with lower populations but a strong rink may actually benefit from low population density, in that the variety of competing recreational activities is lower. Skating is cooler and more important in small towns.

Missed the point.

Busta said *more high ranked teams playing EACH OTHER*. The highly ranked teams are playing fewer bouts this season, but they are playing more bouts in their skill range because blowouts have been disincentivized. Fewer bouts in general, more highly-ranked bouts (because of the requirement that D1 teams play other D1 teams to maintain ranking, and the diminishing returns in the mathematical ranks for blowouts).

Numbers please

Numbers please
I saw what he was saying, but I couldn’t put it to the test statistically and he didn’t offer any evidence. Where is the data supporting the contention that higher ranked teams are more likely this year than in the past to play against other similarly ranked teams? The intra-division requirement is modest.
I wanted to test the proposition, but I don’t have a good way to test that statement without access to historical data. (I also believe that those making the claim should be the ones to offer the supporting data.) To quantify, we would need not only the bout history, but the rank for the teams involved at the time that the bouts were played. I just don’t have easy access to the historical ranking data. Plus, whose ranking is the authority anyway? WFTDA ranking are released too infrequently (as yet). That’s why I said the statement MAY be incorrect.
It’s is good that WFTDA offered the mandatory intra-division game requirement. The issue is that division rankings don’t mean anything. See the following statement from F***ing Rankings and Divisions. How Do They Work?

"Divisions are set once annually and do not change, regardless of rankings. Divisions will be reset each year based on the rankings results of the previous Competitive Season."
http://www.derbynewsnetwork.com/2013/01/fing_rankings_and_divisions_how_...
The current system is better than the previous, but you can see how teams can still structure their bout schedule to gain the maximum advantage (or to mitigate losses). For example, with all of the retirements at the end of 2012, there was no way Division I Carolina was going to bout Division II Columbia in 3013.
So I don’t quite agree with your statement that “blowouts have been disincentivized”. If you had said “playing against a significantly lower ranked team has been disincentivized”, I would agree - based upon the London vs. Auld Reekie example here:
http://www.derbynewsnetwork.com/2013/01/fing_rankings_and_divisions_how_...
Whatever; there is nothing new this year. Many teams have always been careful who they choose to play. Check this quote from Derby News Network Power Rankings - July 2012:

“Although Ohio has put up more 2012 wins than anybody else on this list, building a 17-1 record over the last six months, only 4 of those wins have come against teams that qualified for the Big 5 last year. In some ways they're reminiscent of Carolina in 2011, who put up a 14-1 regular season record against sub-playoff competition before finishing 9th in their own playoffs. Oddly, Ohio's only loss so far this year is to … Carolina.”
http://www.derbynewsnetwork.com/power_rankings/2012/07
Last year, Gotham took a bout against Long Island as a favor because Long Island’s opponent fell-out. If Gotham took the same bout this year, Gotham would absolutely have to maximize the point deferential. What’s worse, they would have to field their strongest players to ensure that they maximize the blowout. I don’t believe that Gotham would accept a sanctioned bout against Long Island under the current system.
The point deferential has unofficially been a key metric in assessing team strength (unofficially on DNN, Flat Track Stats, Derbytron…) for a long time. I have never been comfortable with the fact that bouts are influenced by people who are not female, not on a team, not members of WFTDA, can’t skate, and not even financially supporting skaters. It puts the coach in a box. Teams can’t develop skaters , try different lineups/tactics, give the star payers a break (both financial and physical) because for each bouts they have to beat the point spread that’s projected on some guy’s Web site or suffer the consequences in the various unofficial ranking on various Web sites. Not good for the fans or the players.

In the past, Texas used the period between the end of June and the beginning of Regionals for test and development. They accepted losses during that period, but would come out stronger at the end of the year. Under the current WTDA ranking system, I’m not sure that can do that anymore. It would be nice if teams just had to worry about getting a win. (I guess we have the B-Cup Challenge for that!)

I know I am picking out the

I know I am picking out the part that pertains to my teammates and I out of your larger argument, but I'm compelled to point out that at the time of the writing of that statement about Ohio, the fact that we hadn't faced tougher competition wasn't for lack of trying. To the contrary, we were ranked lowly enough in 2011 (when we were scheduling the season that comment speaks to) that it was tougher to convince those higher ranked teams to play us. It had nothing to do with being "careful" on our part. In fact, "Anyone, anytime, anywhere" has been our unofficial motto for the past two years. (And maybe that detail about scheduling does in fact back up your argument as to whether teams will play those ranked far beneath them after all, despite the fact that that was under the "old" system.)

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that since this is all the law of averages, a team can better afford to play those ranked far above or far beneath them if they play more games overall, because then outlier games can have less of an effect on the overall average. That strategy (albeit somewhat unintentional) has allowed us to do the things you talk about in regards to development. We get a lot of credit for it, but we are *definitely* not the only team doing this.

You're right, my contention

You're right, my contention that stronger teams are playing each other more often because of the divisional requirement is just a hunch. You're also right that divisions don't (or, more accurately, only sort of) matter.

"If you had said 'playing against a significantly lower ranked team has been disincentivized'"

Yes, you're right - that's what I should have said. ;) Sorry for making you type those big middle paragraphs.

Teams can totally do what you're describing Texas doing - all they have to do is play the game unsanctioned.

Skaters making choices is a win for everyone

As a guy who lives in Olympia and a fan of Oly, as far as I can see it is as simple as the fact Oly seems to enjoy playing USARS better and want to make the choice to just skate with that playoffs this year. This pretty much corresponds with their facebook statements, so not too much controversy.

Sure, I will miss Oly at Championships, but will get to cheer on Rat and Rose and Charm, my other favorites teams. The new set up for Championships should be very interesting and it does not take anything away from those teams that participate. (Just as a quick note to Maddening, while I don't know all the Oly fans, the ones I do know see a lot of derby - I5 has so much awesome within a couple of hours drive it it amazing.)

Since WFDTA is about the skaters for the skaters, they win when skaters get to make choices that make them happy. Out of all this, the worst case is that some awesome team will get bumped up and get to skate for the hydra and have a great time - which hopefully will make them happy. And Oly has the option to jump back in next year and put it together for a shot at the Hydra if they want. I just see this as good for everyone.

That's my caveat

Chris_in_Oly wrote:

(Just as a quick note to Maddening, while I don't know all the Oly fans, the ones I do know see a lot of derby - I5 has so much awesome within a couple of hours drive it it amazing.)

I don't doubt that there are Oly fans who are derby fans. The ones that I've seen make the most noise online (hence my comment regarding it being based on my personal observations) have been much more about Oly than about derby.

perception

IMO - Oly choosing (if they do so) to not compete in the WFTDA tournament reflects worse on them then it does on WFTDA

and to address the points above, the rankings system needs some fine tuning as teams in certain rankings don't want to schedule teams close to them to cover their spot

and I know very little of USARS, but what I have seen were two bouts where a WFTDA team played a USARS team (not sanctioned) and the WFTDA teams (one league being very new to WFTDA) dominated both bouts...in one of them, the USARS team only scored about 40 points in the first half with the final being 248 - 89

so color me not impressed...its NFL vs USFL at this point

I have processed this news

I have processed this news and have made the conscious decision to continue my support of the consumption of Olympia Beer. Thank you for respecting my privacy during this trying time.

more random thoughts

as for USARS being the "route to the Olympics"

I don't understand why they also feel the need to compete (is that the right word?) with WFTDA when if you look at other team sports in the Olympics it's not that way at all here in the United States

USA Hockey runs the Olympic program but the NHL runs the professional league and its players go under USA Hockey jurisidction when playing for the team

same with the NBA, and when it was an Olympic sport, MLB...USA Basketball and USA Baseball are strictly dealing with the formation of Team USA and those competitions and also soccer

or am I missing something??

What you're missing

TheInvisibleNSO wrote:

as for USARS being the "route to the Olympics"

I don't understand why they also feel the need to compete (is that the right word?) with WFTDA when if you look at other team sports in the Olympics it's not that way at all here in the United States

USA Hockey runs the Olympic program but the NHL runs the professional league and its players go under USA Hockey jurisidction when playing for the team

same with the NBA, and when it was an Olympic sport, MLB...USA Basketball and USA Baseball are strictly dealing with the formation of Team USA and those competitions and also soccer

or am I missing something??

Yes. When USARS brought up the subject of the WFTDA at their latest board meeting--the minutes are public, as required by law--they "gave an update on the situation and told about meeting with WFTDA and about the possibility of creating a relationship, perhaps similar to that of Inline Hockey, and that they are willing to sit down and talk about it."

"We need to leave the door open to [WFTDA]."

What you're missing: USARS isn't the one competing. They're the ones trying to pull everything together, for the good of everyone. That's their job.

Yeah, USARS isn't trying to

Yeah, USARS isn't trying to compete...not at all...it's all just for the good of everyone. Their ruleset, their tournaments.

Showing up late to the party and acting like they own the joint.

Everyone is flocking to them. Oh wait, they aren't.

Just because the sport involves roller skating

They by default own it? Sorry but I'm pretty sure it all started with, hey we want to do this derby thing now, why don't you endorse us and let us take over what you started? http://wftda.com/press/open-letter-to-usars

I also don't understand how FIRS can 'own' everything with roller skates. I guess someone was late to the game coming with a governing body for sports with inanimate-object-to-score-with.

Olympics isn't happening

TheInvisibleNSO wrote:

as for USARS being the "route to the Olympics"

I don't understand why they also feel the need to compete (is that the right word?) with WFTDA when if you look at other team sports in the Olympics it's not that way at all here in the United States

USA Hockey runs the Olympic program but the NHL runs the professional league and its players go under USA Hockey jurisidction when playing for the team

same with the NBA, and when it was an Olympic sport, MLB...USA Basketball and USA Baseball are strictly dealing with the formation of Team USA and those competitions and also soccer

or am I missing something??

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/05/30/three-sports-make-olympic...

Not in 2020, not that it ever was

Roller derby was never included in the 2020 bid for roller sports. The timing of things made it impossible.

Personally, I feel there won't be a chance of derby in the Olympics until at least the 2030s. (That's like, the future.) But if enough people want it to happen, it'll happen whenever it happens.

USARS has had a lot of sports

USARS has had a lot of sports under its jurisdiction for a lot longer than modern derby has existed. And they still haven't gotten a single roller sport into the Olympics. Based on past performance, they don't seem likely to be the ones to get any roller sport into the Olympics.

As for roller derby and the Olympics: roller derby doesn't deserve to be in the Olympics at this time. It's not ready organizationally, structurally (rules and officiating) or in uniformity of competition. It needs those things first, before anyone should consider it.

It also needs to be uniformly considered by participants to be a sport, and not a feminist social movement with a variety of political and social goals. The only teams who should be voting on the rules, should be those that make it to Championships, or as large as the group that makes up Division I, the experts, not the beer leagues that make up its majority.

Disagree

Busta Armov wrote:

USARS has had a lot of sports under its jurisdiction for a lot longer than modern derby has existed. And they still haven't gotten a single roller sport into the Olympics. Based on past performance, they don't seem likely to be the ones to get any roller sport into the Olympics.

As for roller derby and the Olympics: roller derby doesn't deserve to be in the Olympics at this time. It's not ready organizationally, structurally (rules and officiating) or in uniformity of competition. It needs those things first, before anyone should consider it.

It also needs to be uniformly considered by participants to be a sport, and not a feminist social movement with a variety of political and social goals. The only teams who should be voting on the rules, should be those that make it to Championships, or as large as the group that makes up Division I, the experts, not the beer leagues that make up its majority.

Those top teams are generally the most responsible for finding loopholes to use non-engagement strategies on the flat track. I agree with the other things you said, but I don't agree that those are the teams you want to entrust the rules too.

I see your disagree, and I *raise* you a dis-disagree!

Angus Con wrote:

Those top teams are generally the most responsible for finding loopholes to use non-engagement strategies on the flat track. I agree with the other things you said, but I don't agree that those are the teams you want to entrust the rules too.

While top teams may generally be the best at exploiting loopholes, that doesn't mean they like it. The *vast* majority of top skaters I've had the conversation with (and I've had it with rather a lot) would prefer to play a game that really is about frequent contact at high speeds.

Getting to consensus on what behaviors the ruleset should incentivize is a very tough challenge, but a necessary one before even considering what the specifics of the ruleset should be (and looking for loopholes). I think a consensus can be achieved around roller derby as a sport that's intended to be fast skating in frequent contact (just as basketball achieved consensus around frequent shooting rather than team keepaway). Once there's real buy-in around that consensus, the people who build the ruleset should *definitely* be the ones who are best at finding and exploiting loopholes, so they can find them and patch them.

Can we get a consensus, for starters?

I agree and disagree with your dis-disagreement

Hurt Reynolds wrote:

Getting to consensus on what behaviors the ruleset should incentivize is a very tough challenge, but a necessary one before even considering what the specifics of the ruleset should be (and looking for loopholes).

Exactly this.

One of the first things that made stop giving the WFTDA the benefit of the doubt is when they issued the "clarification" back when knee-down starts were starting to become a thing. It was legal to do in the rules, technically. But they had no consensus of what "roller derby" should entail, there was never the process a step above the rules that said, "you know, does this really belong in the contact skating sport of roller derby?" Had that been in place, and not just a judicial review of The Rules As They Are Written, the problem would have been fixed a lot sooner if not right away.

Hurt Reynolds wrote:

Once there's real buy-in around that consensus, the people who build the ruleset should *definitely* be the ones who are best at finding and exploiting loopholes, so they can find them and patch them.

The players' job is to find them, otherwise they're not doing everything they can possibly do to win. However, it shouldn't be the players' job to patch them. You'll inevitably run into a situation (and we're likely seeing it in the WFTDA now) where someone finding a loophole or slight unfairness in the rules tries to preserve it for as long as possible so they can continue to help themselves win by using it.

The process of developing a game platform in the long-term is made a hell of a lot easier if the individual wants and desires of a league is removed from the (direct) process. People shouldn't be thinking, "this is what we want, how do we make our rules fit that?" It should be, "this is what the game is, how do we make our rules fit that?"

At the moment, anyway, this is the difference between the WFTDA "skaters first" philosophy and the USARS "game first" philosophy. In WFTDA, if someone finds a loophole, everyone picks up on it and uses it. After some time, people begin to realize that it may not be the best thing to have in the rules, frustrating a lot of players and fans along the way. But it only then, maybe gets changed when a majority of skating leagues (and no one else) agrees to change it.

In USARS (or at least, this their plan based off my conversations with them) if someone finds a loophole, it will be fixed as soon as possible. This skips the skater/fan frustration and wasting-time parts of the equation, which, in my book, is something worth giving the benefit of the doubt over. For the first couple of years, anyway.

Yes Daddy, take the keys.

USARS just fixing things it deems loopholes, willy nilly, without any testing or consensus. Sounds like a great idea. I don't see any potential problems. USARS' ruleset doesn't have any problems, right? Runaway what?

Hey, you liked MADE'S ruleset too, except when smart players like Magnum and Bonnie called off jams in a way you didn't like, though allowed by the ruleset, then you called them names.

I think the problems that you perceive in derby aren't big enough for the majority of skaters in WFTDA that they'd want to give up control to an organization like USARS. The process they have is the process, and it seems to work for the organization. They made some interesting changes this year, and it's neat to see how things are shaking out. A lot of skaters testing and pushing the boundaries of rules is great. Also, skaters are just getting more skilled in general. I do like Hurt's idea about condensing the democracy, but I like the idea of democracy.

Skater oriented vs game oriented? I don't think it's quite what you think.

If you didn't brag about how you're in such close discussion with USARS all the time, I'd call you a shill.

Seriously?

filthy mcnasty wrote:

USARS just fixing things it deems loopholes, willy nilly, without any testing or consensus. Sounds like a great idea. I don't see any potential problems. USARS' ruleset doesn't have any problems, right? Runaway what?

Seriously? You really believe USARS doesn't test stuff or take feedback from the leagues that play by its rules? And of course there are problems. Their rules have been used for than less than one year! That is normal for such a new ruleset. (Were WFTDA rules faultless after one year? Eight years?)

I'm giving USARS three years to see what kind of progress they're making. Only then can we see get an idea if what they're doing is working. Because it's sure as hell too early to say the way they are doing things is failing.

filthy mcnasty wrote:

Hey, you liked MADE'S ruleset too, except when smart players like Magnum and Bonnie called off jams in a way you didn't like, though allowed by the ruleset, then you called them names.

I expect the top athletes in this sport to act like top athletes. All the time. If I feel they aren't doing so, I'll call them out on it, with reason. Just because the rules allow them to chicken out of this responsibility does not give them a pass to escape it.

filthy mcnasty wrote:

Skater oriented vs game oriented? I don't think it's quite what you think.

It is what I think. If skaters take four (or more?) years to eliminate a practice that is clearly not good for the game, regardless of the reason, there are misplaced priorities somewhere.

How many games are played

How many games are played under the USARS ruleset? How many have been played? They don't exactly have a good laboratory to test things out in just yet. As opposed to yes, years played by many teams under the WFTDA rules. It's easier to find things out that way. Like I said, things have just changed, it's fun to see how things shake out before making more drastic changes.

Four years? There was passive offense happening four years ago? I don't remember it happening back then. I know it's passive offense that you're talking about because you've got one song that you sing, you're a one hit wonder. I think the timeline is a little different than what you're saying.

Why is it that your opinion that what is or isn't good for the game more valuable than that of the voting body of the WFTDA? Who are you exactly? I feel like there's good reason not to trust USARS, and you're pretty close to them.

Who?

filthy mcnasty wrote:

Why is it that your opinion that what is or isn't good for the game more valuable than that of the voting body of the WFTDA? Who are you exactly?

From WindyMan's blog:

"The Internet has hundreds of derby blogs where have (sic) skaters share stories about what they did at practice, lessons learned about skating, and photos of who won at the afterparty.

But I’ve yet to see one that looks at derby from the critical eye of a genuine sports nut. If roller derby wants to consider itself a real sport, it’s going to need real fans of the sport—not just fans of “derby.”

That’s where I come in."

As WindyMan used to frequently point out, he believes he's the only derby fan that is also a sports fan: "Observations on Derby from a sports fan's perspective" (that would be the tagline of his blog).

In time

filthy mcnasty wrote:

How many games are played under the USARS ruleset? How many have been played? They don't exactly have a good laboratory to test things out in just yet. As opposed to yes, years played by many teams under the WFTDA rules. It's easier to find things out that way. Like I said, things have just changed, it's fun to see how things shake out before making more drastic changes.

By my highly unofficial count: Around 50 in 2012, probably a dozen or two more this year, so far. But that was more than enough play time to change the things that were obviously bad and needed to be changed immediately, like effectively having different rules during regular jams and power jams regarding the pivot's scoring abilities, or having an eight-seat penalty box., etc.

The thing that's going to take time is refinement, and confirmation if that refinement actually works. Having a lot of games played under a ruleset helps with that a lot, obviously. So part of the challenge facing USARS is not only working on an alternative ruleset, but having teams choose to play it. The more teams play it, the more games are played, the more they are refined, the more attractive they become to teams, and so the cycle goes.

So like I said, three years is a fair grace period to see how their rules are coming along, as well as how many teams they've got, if they're making meaningful inroads as far as growth in that department, if/how they'll play into international sanctioning or compeition, etc. etc., But USARS landing The 2009 WFTDA Champion Oly Before-They-Were-Really-A-Superteam Rollers is a pretty staggering way to open their account.

filthy mcnasty wrote:

Four years? There was passive offense happening four years ago? I don't remember it happening back then.

The whole slow-pack play deal that Denver invented happened in 2009. Some series of events later, the sausage was born. It's still here in 2013. It may still be around in 2014. Who knows.

filthy mcnasty wrote:

Why is it that your opinion that what is or isn't good for the game more valuable than that of the voting body of the WFTDA? Who are you exactly? I feel like there's good reason not to trust USARS, and you're pretty close to them.

I don't know for sure what is or isn't good for the game. The only thing I know for sure is the game. Ultimately, my end goal in all of this is to do whatever I can to help make sure the best possible game is being played by the players I know in my heart of hearts are capable of playing it, in whatever form or forms it takes; and that it's always available for all players, at all levels, from recreational, to amateur, to eventually the professional level.

I've heard the USARS horror stories. I know that they've screwed it up before. And every once in a while, I hear something that gives me pause about them. But for all the people worrying that USARS is going to change roller derby for the worse, I say this: Isn't roller derby amazing enough that it could change USARS for the better?

N8 wrote:

As WindyMan used to frequently point out, he believes he's the only derby fan that is also a sports fan: "Observations on Derby from a sports fan's perspective" (that would be the tagline of his blog).

Yes, that's my tagline. It's not, "Observations on Derby From The Only Derby Fan That is Also a Sports Fan." Just thought I'd point that out.

Sorry, We don't need a pet project

WindyMan wrote:

I've heard the USARS horror stories. I know that they've screwed it up before. And every once in a while, I hear something that gives me pause about them. But for all the people worrying that USARS is going to change roller derby for the worse, I say this: Isn't roller derby amazing enough that it could change USARS for the better?

Besides that sounding like the shilliest line from the biggest shill who ever shilled, who cares about changing USARS for the better? I certainly don't. We have WFTDA/MRDA, which are working just fine. USARS obviously have noticed that derby might be lucrative to be involved in, and now they want to be in charge of it. Sorry, we don't need them. If I need someone to be snotty to me on the phone when I'm asking a question about insurance, I can call USARS.

So many more games have been played under the WFTDA rules and will continue to be. They have a nice big laboratory for testing them out. And then they'll vote on what they want to change about them.

You're a dude who doesn't play the sport, but you want to tell them how they should play the sport, or want a company to tell people how to play the sport. This is the very thing it seems that "by the skaters, for the skaters" was set up to prevent. Thank goodness for that.

I find your crusade against passive offense to be semi hilarious. Maybe you could get in a time machine and go back and convince Denver to not play slow. THEN THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE, PEOPLE WOULD BE SKATING. Don't you notice all the other people skating during a power jam, that aren't the blockers on offense? There's a lot of skill and hard work at play. Chicken little, the sky isn't falling. The sport is fun to watch, and fun to play.

Also, to say that you are the only derby fan who is also a sports fan is pretty ricockulous.

Disrespectful

filthy mcnasty wrote:

You're a dude who doesn't play the sport

Doesn't currently. Kind of hard to skate when there's a giant bowling ball growing out of my hip.

Not that you care to research all the facts about a complicated issue before insulting someone about it.

He stated a fact. The fact is

He stated a fact. The fact is you don't play. That's not actually an insult.

He stated a fact. The fact is

He stated a fact. The fact is you don't play. That's not actually an insult.

The end

Fawkes wrote:

He stated a fact. The fact is you don't play. That's not actually an insult.

He also stated "We don't need them." That's not a fact. Because apparently, there are some leagues that do.

Who is he to be judge, jury and executioner of what this game needs? Saying I'm being that way and then doing himself is pretty hypocritical, isn't it?

No league needs anyone

No league needs anyone actually. A league COULD make their own rules and play intraleague forever and never talk to WFTDA, USARS, or MADE.

Filthy is obviously an MRDA skater and he's been around for awhile. It's really hard to think fondly of USARS when we spent a long time being treated as 2nd class citizens. We've (THIS WE ONLY REFERS TO PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF AND FILTHY, LEST YOU THINK I MEAN ALL CITIZENS OF THE WORLD) have put a lot of time into WFTDA and the MRDA, who (especially the MRDA) have always been welcoming, cooperative, and a place I wanted to be and invest my time. Why would I want to hand ANYTHING over to USARS at this point in time? They weren't interested in working with us until we were thriving organizations and even then it's been bullying to deceptive at times.

USARS

I might add that USARS acts rather passive aggressively in their desire to control roller derby. Even their slogan on 2012's USARS champs demonstrates this: USARS, Moving Forward. Tell me that's not a dig at WFTDA and all those that dusted off this sport for the last 10 years and made it competitive and relavent. They also omit WFTDA from their History of Roller Derby page on their site. It skips right from Jerry Seltzer, Roller Derby Jesus, to USARS.

There was once a time when supporting all derby was positive. Any publicity was good publicity. But we're maybe entering a time when that isn't true. I don't think that USARS is healthy for the advancement of the sport. At some point too many flavors under the same name of Roller Derby is just going to confuse people.

I know about your condition.

I know about your condition. I've read the blog post about it.

I guess I shouldn't have been so definitive. I guess I should have said "As a skater who has been playing derby for a long time and skates for an MRDA team, it's of my opinion that the organization is fine and doesn't need USARS."

There you go.

You're the one crowing from the outside that the game is broken. When was the first time you attended a big WFTDA tournament, last year? You are so obsessed with the sausage that you were practically making love to MADE's three page ruleset.

Looking in

filthy mcnasty wrote:

You're the one crowing from the outside that the game is broken.

Fun fact: The majority of people who are fans of derby, and of sports, are on "the outside." And I'm not the only one crowing about it. I just do it louder than everyone else.

Fun fact: Saying the same

Fun fact: Saying the same thing over and over again loudly does not mean you represent the majority, or are right.

4 years ago

Spot on, Filthy!

We were still starting at the pivot line and it was a HUGE deal to not move for 5 to 8 seconds to burn penalty time prior to releasing the jammers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JPPD9PmK1U

And skating so fast that there was hardly any engagement:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY3BOAE1lPU

And this minor that lost a playoff game by one point would have sent the jammer to the box for a much bigger loss:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brID9BmxMAo

We would sometimes skate slow, but we sure didn't dare stop! The passive offense was relatively new for 2011 playoffs and World Cup 2011. That's two years.

(PS - recommend low or no volume for these clips - don't say you weren't warned)

loophole hunting is st00pid

WindyMan wrote:

The players' job is to find them, otherwise they're not doing everything they can possibly do to win.

At this point in the game's development, "doing everything they can possibly do to win" is not necessarily the best thing for the sport. From standing to sausage to flying in players, just because something is legal doesn't mean it's right. Having a fast, hard-hitting, exciting game that keeps bringing fans back is the best thing for the sport.

I work in the board and roleplaying game industry. There's nothing the vast majority of players hate than "rules lawyers", those players who exploit loopholes in the rules so they can win, the spirit of the game be damned. I certainly don't like it any more in D&D than I do in roller derby.

Our league teaches new skaters when they join that they should think "league first, team second, yourself last". Perhaps we should place "the sport" in front of that.

SPORTS

John_Maddening wrote:

At this point in the game's development, "doing everything they can possibly do to win" is not necessarily the best thing for the sport. From standing to sausage to flying in players, just because something is legal doesn't mean it's right. Having a fast, hard-hitting, exciting game that keeps bringing fans back is the best thing for the sport.

No, players "doing everything they can possibly do to win" is EXACTLY what they should be doing. The problem is, the players are giving themselves the power to do things on the track that are detrimental to the sport. Maybe they shouldn't have that power, or at least install a (very demographic) checks and balances system for themselves.

John_Maddening wrote:

Our league teaches new skaters when they join that they should think "league first, team second, yourself last". Perhaps we should place "the sport" in front of that.

This is a great idea. But isn't it something that should be done at the governing body level first?

Subject field is required.

WindyMan wrote:
John_Maddening wrote:

At this point in the game's development, "doing everything they can possibly do to win" is not necessarily the best thing for the sport. From standing to sausage to flying in players, just because something is legal doesn't mean it's right. Having a fast, hard-hitting, exciting game that keeps bringing fans back is the best thing for the sport.

No, players "doing everything they can possibly do to win" is EXACTLY what they should be doing. The problem is, the players are giving themselves the power to do things on the track that are detrimental to the sport. Maybe they shouldn't have that power, or at least install a (very demographic) checks and balances system for themselves.

John_Maddening wrote:

Our league teaches new skaters when they join that they should think "league first, team second, yourself last". Perhaps we should place "the sport" in front of that.

This is a great idea. But isn't it something that should be done at the governing body level first?

Sometimes, in volunteer organizations as well as in government, you have to prove that something legal shouldn't be (or, in this case, doesn't have to be) that way.

Legal and Acceptable vs Legal and Unacceptable

WindyMan wrote:

No, players "doing everything they can possibly do to win" is EXACTLY what they should be doing. The problem is, the players are giving themselves the power to do things on the track that are detrimental to the sport. Maybe they shouldn't have that power, or at least install a (very demographic) checks and balances system for themselves.

I think you forget that for every team who benefits from 'doing everything they can possibly do to win', there's a team that has equal detriment. The WFTDA rules are voted on by the skaters, yes, but they're voted on by ALL skaters, not just those who benefit but also those who are burned by any sort of perceived 'dirty' behaviour.

Regardless, if we're talking about passive offense, I view it as on a par with onside kicks, or using up your downs at the end of a football game by taking a knee - not within the 'traditional' bounds of how the game should be played, but legal and overall acceptable.

Anything technically legal and overall unacceptable should and generally is dealt with by various means (non-jams being the most obvious example) - however it can't happen overnight.

And if you want a real sports reference for 'overall unacceptable'...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underarm_bowling_incident_of_1981

Disrepute

The best part of that article:

Quote:

McKechnie was censured for bringing the game of cricket into disrepute by doing so.

oh?

I'd also argue for

Quote:

As a direct result of the incident, underarm bowling was banned in limited overs cricket by the International Cricket Council as "not within the spirit of the game."

Coach Dennis Green

Number CruncHer wrote:

Regardless, if we're talking about passive offense, I view it as on a par with onside kicks, or using up your downs at the end of a football game by taking a knee - not within the 'traditional' bounds of how the game should be played, but legal and overall acceptable.

Ouch, please don't bring up "taking a knee" to Minnesota fans. :) http://espn.go.com/page2/s/list/worstdecisions.html (#9)

Triple Dis?

Hurt Reynolds wrote:
Angus Con wrote:

Those top teams are generally the most responsible for finding loopholes to use non-engagement strategies on the flat track. I agree with the other things you said, but I don't agree that those are the teams you want to entrust the rules too.

While top teams may generally be the best at exploiting loopholes, that doesn't mean they like it. The *vast* majority of top skaters I've had the conversation with (and I've had it with rather a lot) would prefer to play a game that really is about frequent contact at high speeds.

Getting to consensus on what behaviors the ruleset should incentivize is a very tough challenge, but a necessary one before even considering what the specifics of the ruleset should be (and looking for loopholes). I think a consensus can be achieved around roller derby as a sport that's intended to be fast skating in frequent contact (just as basketball achieved consensus around frequent shooting rather than team keepaway). Once there's real buy-in around that consensus, the people who build the ruleset should *definitely* be the ones who are best at finding and exploiting loopholes, so they can find them and patch them.

Can we get a consensus, for starters?

I can agree with that regarding getting a buy-in around that consensus. I know what I like. I don't need fast skating to be entertained, but I do want high skating skill combined with frequent contact. Until that consensus of yours exists though, loopholes are exploited with no interest in patching them (that or the ability to make real change is bogged down by bureaucracy).

Top skaters may not like how they have to play, but most aren't doing anything to change the state of the game either. Complaints ring hollow when a top skater consistently does something they hate in order to win. I believe we've had this discussion before; so, I won't go a-ranting again. haha

Sport, or a feminist social movement

I may be wrong, but when I go to watch derby, I always thought I was watching real sport. I recognise that derby is not just a sport for many of the players and I've read enough to know how empowering it is for many women. I'd be proud to see my daughter be involved with one of the leagues in my city (after her next birthday...)

But at the end of the day, what I see going around the track before me are talented athletes who have trained hard so that they can be their best in the bout. I see skill, I see speed, I see power, I see courage, I see tactics. Looks like real sport to this fan.

As for USARS, exactly how does that help the sport internationally? While there is no question that the strongest leagues are in the USA, some of the leagues outside the USA are catching fast. Why would USARS care about the leagues currently Power Ranked 7, 13 or 14 by DNN? On the other hand, WFTDA has supported and encouraged "foreign" leagues.

Beer leagues?

Busta Armov wrote:

The only teams who should be voting on the rules, should be those that make it to Championships, or as large as the group that makes up Division I, the experts, not the beer leagues that make up its majority.

How low does a league need to be ranked to be dismissed as a beer league?

It would be courteous to that majority of leagues to advise them that "by the skaters, for the skaters" only refers to the elite skaters.

You say "elite"...

I say "expert".

Elite implies that just because of who you are, you have privileges. Expert implies that because of your expertise, you have earned your accomplishments. In sports it's easy to measure your accomplishments through rankings.

If your league had no say in how the game was played, but the leagues who made Championships did, that would be a pretty good incentive to get up to that level. There would be more at stake than just the Hydra. Also, it would be easier to get decisions made, since fewer organizations would be involved.

No matter what job I've ever worked at, I have never in my life had a problem with people who were better at my job than I was, telling me what to do. I learned a lot that way.

"expert" or "beer"?

Busta Armov wrote:

Elite implies that just because of who you are, you have privileges.

Words have different meanings in different societies. I don't recall the media referring to any sport played at the highest level as expert. However, it is common for Olympians and other sportspeople competing at the highest levels to be referred to as elite athletes. YMMV.

Busta Armov wrote:

If your league had no say in how the game was played, but the leagues who made Championships did, that would be a pretty good incentive to get up to that level. There would be more at stake than just the Hydra. Also, it would be easier to get decisions made, since fewer organizations would be involved.

Quote:

The only teams who should be voting on the rules, should be those that make it to Championships, or as large as the group that makes up Division I, the experts, not the beer leagues that make up its majority.

Leaving aside the semantics of elite vs. expert, are you clarifying that the twelve leagues that reach Championships are the expert leagues, and that the balance of Div 1 and all of the lower divisions are beer leagues?

Or would you allow all of Div 1 as expert and just dismiss the lower divisions?

Oly

I don't know much about what has gone into Oly's decision. But I'm going to take a guess.

I imagine the decision was tied to the difference in ruleset for one. As WFTDA's current rule set tends to reward less dynamic and consistent skating (compared to what Oly is used to) and penalty happy referees, I would guess that Oly opted for a rule set that lets them skate fast rather than what WFTDA has to offer right now.

Second, I also tend to believe that Oly got tired of being generally treated so poorly by the rest of the community. A whole lot of roller derby at the high level has very little community or nice attached to it. And at the end of day, everyone is involved with this hobby for fun. If you don't like how you have to skate or how your community treats you, there's no strong argument to continue to do it. It's just stress and killing your body for no tangible reward. Many people would make a similar decision, even if it's not an easy or popular one.

Just sayin'.

You can either have feelings

You can either have feelings or win games

there are a number of leagues out there that treat roller derby as a social/community thing and there is nothing wrong with that - those leagues might win 2 or 3 bouts a season, if that

but there are also leagues that treat this is as a sport to be taken seriously, now on occasion that will mean that attitudes may be a little prickly, it happens at a certain level of competition but if you're making decisions based on that and not on "how do we get better as a league and a team?" then IMO you are going the wrong way

I have been involved with this sport for about 3 years now and the reason I stick around is because I believe that this is a great sport and if you put your effort into it, good things will happen but it does have some growing up to do and I see that happening slowly but surely

Uhh...what?

Being competitive and having fun are definitely NOT mutually exclusive. Being a good team does not somehow give them the right to treat everyone else like shit.

As for Oly, I haven't attended a tournament they've been at and maybe they get the cold shoulder and get treated poorly on a personal level. If that's the case, then that reflects pretty poorly on the roller derby community. However, on the more public Oly issues that tend to get blown up on social media. That's what happens when you're at the top of a sport and make unpopular decisions. Surely, they should be able to take the heat for that.

What

thebigchuckbowski wrote:

Being competitive and having fun are definitely NOT mutually exclusive. Being a good team does not somehow give them the right to treat everyone else like shit.

As for Oly, I haven't attended a tournament they've been at and maybe they get the cold shoulder and get treated poorly on a personal level. If that's the case, then that reflects pretty poorly on the roller derby community. However, on the more public Oly issues that tend to get blown up on social media. That's what happens when you're at the top of a sport and make unpopular decisions. Surely, they should be able to take the heat for that.

Not suggesting they are mutually exclusive either. The Oly folks I've met are competitors to be sure, but at some point, you get tired of hearing the stupid ass heckling (that the community basically looks the other way for when it's certain teams) or being held to a different standard than the rest. T

ransfergate was a joke; RMRG did the same thing with DeRanged, Psycho and Echo a couple of months before regionals in 2009. They weren't crucified like Oly was. No one is ever crucified the way Oly has been. They can take the heat; that's not in question. But over time, it just gets old. I've experienced it with derby myself. I doubt it's the reason they made their choice, but it was on the list. "If it's brown, flush it down" Sorry assed and childish.

I wasn't responding to your

I wasn't responding to your post, I was responding to theinvisiblenso.

Not exactly the same thing

Angus Con wrote:

ransfergate was a joke; RMRG did the same thing with DeRanged, Psycho and Echo a couple of months before regionals in 2009. They weren't crucified like Oly was.

Which state did DeRanged, Psycho Babble and Ecko reside in? How far did they have to travel to practice with and play for RMRG?

good question

They lived in southern Colorado when they transferred from Pikes Peak to Rocky Mountain, and still when they transferred to Oly. I would estimate they were each traveling about 800 miles per week to practice with RMRG. So they actually probably travel(ed) LESS playing for Oly. It's about 3000 miles round trip from Colorado Springs to Oly. Do that once a month and it works out to fewer miles than the 800 miles RT per week (assuming 4.3 weeks per month).

Once a month doesn't make practice percentages

ToddBradley wrote:

They lived in southern Colorado when they transferred from Pikes Peak to Rocky Mountain, and still when they transferred to Oly. I would estimate they were each traveling about 800 miles per week to practice with RMRG. So they actually probably travel(ed) LESS playing for Oly. It's about 3000 miles round trip from Colorado Springs to Oly. Do that once a month and it works out to fewer miles than the 800 miles RT per week (assuming 4.3 weeks per month).

Sure, but someone who does not practice with the team and only flies in to play games is the very definition of "ringer", isn't it? At least, it is to me. YMMV.

Minnesota had a skater who drove from Duluth to Saint Paul and back two or three times a week to practice (because, in most leagues, you have to make practice requirements to be allowed to bout). 150 miles each way. I personally have a great deal more respect and admiration for someone who works their tail off like that rather than someone who flies in once a month and knocks a skater who HAS made the time commitment off the roster.

Fortunately

"Once a month doesn't make practice percentages"

Depends on the league. Fortunately, WFTDA doesn't decided what each league's own membership practice requirements are.

Also

Pikes Peak was not a potential playoff opponent. Arizona was.

Not correct

thebigchuckbowski wrote:

Pikes Peak was not a potential playoff opponent. Arizona was.

See link below.

http://wftda.com/tournaments/2009/derby-on-the-rocks

Splitting hairs

John_Maddening wrote:
Angus Con wrote:

ransfergate was a joke; RMRG did the same thing with DeRanged, Psycho and Echo a couple of months before regionals in 2009. They weren't crucified like Oly was.

Which state did DeRanged, Psycho Babble and Ecko reside in? How far did they have to travel to practice with and play for RMRG?

I think you're splitting hairs a bit, Maddening, but I think I understand where you're coming from.

I will choose to split hairs in the other direction however. Pikes Peak beat RMRG in February 2009 and was ranked #7 heading to regionals where RMRG was #8. They moved to RMRG after playoff rankings were determined (right around the time of Rollercon or shortly after it). They went from #8 in the West (RMRG wasn't very good that year prior to their arrival) to #4 in the country by the end of championships. Maybe they stayed in state, but that doesn't change the effect they had on each team on really short notice. What they did completely changed the course of the tournament that year. I know plenty of skaters that were outraged about it at the time, but it wasn't even a blip on the radar (edit: a blip for the national community). Oly does it and it's the Derby Apocalypse. So whatever. There may be differences, but to me, the similarities are there too.

Not really close to the same thing

Angus Con wrote:

Pikes Peak beat RMRG in February 2009 and was ranked #7 heading to regionals where RMRG was #8. They moved to RMRG after playoff rankings were determined (right around the time of Rollercon or shortly after it). They went from #8 in the West (RMRG wasn't very good that year prior to their arrival) to #4 in the country by the end of championships. Maybe they stayed in state, but that doesn't change the effect they had on each team on really short notice. What they did completely changed the course of the tournament that year. I know plenty of skaters that were outraged about it at the time, but it wasn't even a blip on the radar (edit: a blip for the national community). Oly does it and it's the Derby Apocalypse.

When RMRG did it, they it was an hour drive to the next closest team. When Oly did it, it was skaters coming from three different states on top of the one their team is based in.

It's really two different issues...

...and I think different people are bothered by one more than the other (and some are bothered by both):

1. Having players on your team that don't practice with you because they live super-far away.
2. Changing your roster after tournament seedings have been determined such that your team is now significantly better than it was when the rankings were set.

RMRG did #2 in 2009 (actually, I personally don't know exactly when those transfers took place -- were they after the seedings were set?). Oly did #1 and #2 in 2012.

(I'm not passing judgement on any of the above (trying to be more neutral these days!)...just pointing out the fact that there are two separate issues and I've seen some people complain more about one than the other...and some people complain about both...and some people complain about neither.)

1a and 1b

That first issue is two separate issues for many people that have commented on the drama. Some people really want a requirement that skaters actually live in or near the town they skate for. If Oly had been flying those skaters in every weekend to practice with their league they would have still been just as upset.

This is relevant to many other leagues as well, not just Oly. Some have skaters from up to four different states plus The District coming to skate with them (and not just for the travel team... sometimes just to be a home team skater... we're talking 90-120 minutes of commuting each way). Many people want to disallow a league like that. They want a requirement that skaters have to skate with a league that's closer to them if possible. They want to take away the option for a skater to choose which league is best for her. I'm not saying you're claiming that, but it is important that the discussion properly recognizes what some people have said.

Eastern states are smaller than western states.

It just makes it difficult to figure out what we (the people who were bothered by flying in ringers) want.

Commuting an hour and a half is nothing, I'm sure that numerous Gotham skaters take multiple subways and buses to get to practice, and that their commute can take that long.

I think the point is that if there are numerous highly-ranked teams that you pass by (or 36,000 feet above) to get to the team you actually are playing for, that's when it gets uncomfortable.

i.e. Don't want to play for RMRG? Okay, Denver and Pikes Peak are right there. Boom.

What if it's not about the

What if it's not about the ranking of the team you want to play with, but the people in the league that you want to play with? Why do you get to decide that someone must choose RMRG, Denver or Pike's Peak as their only choices of who to play with? Like I said, some of those people traveling those distances aren't doing it to be on the travel team, but to be on the home teams, because those are the people they want to skate with. They have plenty of other options that are closer, but they don't like that choice.

So many excuses!

If those are the people they "want to skate with", they're not skating with them very much when they're not close enough to skate multiple times a week at practice.

I really don't care about someone who wants to do that. What I am concerned about is when it begins to effect other teams.

Yeah. And I could choose to

Yeah. And I could choose to travel to visit some friends every now and then or be required to hang out with people I don't like several times a week. Why does this even need explaining why it's a good thing to let people choose the league that's right for them instead of requiring them to skate with leagues they might not want to skate with or not skate at all?

I have been away from the

I have been away from the tournament transferring topic for a while, so forgive my naivete, but what if there were a rule about not being allowed to skate in tournament season with a given team if you were on the roster of another team for one or more sanctioned bouts in that year's regular competition season? In other words, you could only skate for a team in the tournament if you skated for them in regular season.
I'm sure there would need to be an exception for someone who moved during the regular season..I guess that could get complicated.

we have a winner

Angus, I've never seen you write anything so 100% on the money. (I'm talking about your post "I don't know much about what has gone into Oly's decision. But I'm going to take a guess...")

You flatterer

ToddBradley wrote:

Angus, I've never seen you write anything so 100% on the money. (I'm talking about your post "I don't know much about what has gone into Oly's decision. But I'm going to take a guess...")

It happens more than some people would have you believe, Todd. Just sayin'. haha

This...

I love this <3

there's your confirmation

DaintyDisaster's short and cutesy comment is probably the nearest thing you'll ever hear to an official explanation from the Oly Rollers of why they do what they do. And it's really the only explanation you need.

yeah, that's it.

Seems more like she just waited until someone posted a set of plausible reasons, then "liked" it.

This...

Angus Con wrote:

I don't know much about what has gone into Oly's decision. But I'm going to take a guess.

I imagine the decision was tied to the difference in ruleset for one. As WFTDA's current rule set tends to reward less dynamic and consistent skating (compared to what Oly is used to) and penalty happy referees, I would guess that Oly opted for a rule set that lets them skate fast rather than what WFTDA has to offer right now.

Second, I also tend to believe that Oly got tired of being generally treated so poorly by the rest of the community. A whole lot of roller derby at the high level has very little community or nice attached to it. And at the end of day, everyone is involved with this hobby for fun. If you don't like how you have to skate or how your community treats you, there's no strong argument to continue to do it. It's just stress and killing your body for no tangible reward. Many people would make a similar decision, even if it's not an easy or popular one.

I love this a lot <3

Just sayin'.

If you dont have anything nice to say...

The only time I can imagine using the word popular to describe anything related to Oly is when we recognize how popular it is to put them down and be judgmental of just about every little thing they do. And for what? Theyve ALWAYS been a good team whether or not you agree with how they formed that team last year. Youre talking about a team that has literally played in EVERY championship game since they won it in 2009. Its a team of hard working, dedicated ATHLETES. Not a team of girls who play for a ”hobby”. Most of them have been members of USARS as speed skaters and hockey players since the FIRST time MC Hammer pants were on the market. Its not a sudden jump to another organization because of any amount of bullying and grief most of the WFTDA world handed them. Theyre bigger AND better than that. It's an opportunity to skate at their level of athleticism while enjoying a much safer rule set and for many of them USARS has been familiar turf since childhood. Oly potentially not playing in WFTDA tournaments this season WAS a conscious decision... NOT because they couldn't handle the heat, NOT because they couldn't get games and certainly NOT because of any drama other leagues or fans stirred up. The only drama surrounding Oly is the mess everyone enjoys making when it comes to that team. If you arent gonna be sad to see them go and if you really ”dont care what they do” let it go. It is after all, their choice. Let them make it.

bullying?

I think you make a lot of fair points here, but on this one, I'm not sure where you're coming from. I think the word "bullying" gets thrown around a lot, sometimes serving as an "instantly win the debate" button, and I don't think that furthers understanding and communication. Can you provide an example of an instance where Oly has been "bullied" by anyone?

On the larger issue, it has definitely been my impression that Oly and WFTDA are not entirely culturally compatible with each other. I'm not particularly at home in a country/western bar or hip hop club... I might stick my head in the door to check it out, but if I head on down the street to the punk rock club or the karaoke bar, that's not a judgment, that's just a matter of personal preference. I think it's not too surprising to see Oly decide that WFTDA's just not their bag, or at least to give it a break for a bit.

Yes, Bullying

Hurt Reynolds wrote:

Can you provide an example of an instance where Oly has been "bullied" by anyone?

Gee, where to start? Bullshit accusations of Sassy bribing a ref? Oly's rink being vandalized? Skaters throwing drinks and bottles at Oly players? But that's not bullying, right? That's just girls being girls, right? I guess the "Don't Be a Douchebag" rule doesn't apply any more.

Evidence?

I don't support vandalization, but was there any evidence that the vandalization of their rink was done by people from the derby community as opposed to some bored thurston county sociopaths?

Here's some

CynicalGuy wrote:

I don't support vandalization, but was there any evidence that the vandalization of their rink was done by people from the derby community as opposed to some bored thurston county sociopaths?

Around Besterns/Transfergate last year, Atomatrix alluded to Oly getting "our car tires slashed, cut off our pony-tails, or be called shady old bitches."

This kind of stuff keeps coming up when talking about Oly, so I have to wonder if it isn't a coincidence.

Unless you saw it yourself

It's just gossip and hearsay. Last I checked we're all adults who can take care of ourselves, these accusations are serious some bordering on felony. So I am curious why it wasn't reported if it was so bad or actually happened.

FWIW--may be cold comfort

WFTDA skaters who cross over into causing physical harm or property damage to fellow members of the Association, if identified, should at the very least be suspended if not reported to the cops.

On-da-sligh

Does this mean On-da-sligh will transfer to Jet or Rat so we can see her play again in the playoffs? It's shame that just as she is becoming known world wide as super awesome skater, her only option now would be to skate against teams that never could get their shit together in the first place to become a WFTDA member.

Good question

The Cheet wrote:

Does this mean On-da-sligh will transfer to Jet or Rat so we can see her play again in the playoffs? It's shame that just as she is becoming known world wide as super awesome skater, her only option now would be to skate against teams that never could get their shit together in the first place to become a WFTDA member.

There are multiple Oly players who I will miss seeing at Playoffs and Champs. It'd be great if they could move to [an]other team[s].

Teams that never could get their sh!t together

Please explain how you came to a conclusion that these teams she would be skating against could never get their sh!t together in the first place to become a WFTDA member?

Do you know any of these teams personally? Do you know the back story as to why some of these teams transferred over?

Talk about being quick to judge.

For your information, Tulsa Derby League was an apprentice league with WFTDA in the 2012 season, but made the decision to transfer back to USARS because they felt that USARS was a better fit for their players and league. Does that mean we didn't have our sh!t together?

Just curious, but what made

Just curious, but what made it a better fit?

Tulsa was good enough relative to other USARS competition to make it USARS championships. You all were successful against Division 3 WFTDA competition ICT, but that performance wouldn't merit even a Division 2 playoff invite in the WFTDA. It makes sense to focus where you are more successful, I guess.

I get it-

People- they didn't play the bouts needed to qualify. That this is unique does not make it strange, new, suspicious- or anything else. I feel for Oly in that they cannot have one routine set back (if it even IS one for them) or make an alternate decision without ceaseless assumptions and conspiracy theories. The tournaments are there for them qualify for, and they know it.
Enjoy the moment, enjoy a newly opened opportunity for another team- and save the drama for when the enter the next tournament with an upset.

Thanks Joe!

For confirming and posting some hard facts, it's highly appreciated.

As much as I respect Oly's decision not to compete at WFTDA this year it sucks that we won't see Onda, Sassy and the rest of the amazing athletes play there. I'm seriously bummed.

Let's hope they'll be back next year and in the meantime maybe this whole Oly-bashing will get old and people will move on. Also: there will be plenty of exciting up and coming teams to watch: Angel, Wasatch, Ohio etc.

as a fan

of others sports and roller derby

if the New England Patriots left the NFL to go play in the CFL, I would think less of them

if the New York Rangers left the NHL to go play in the AHL, I would think less of them

and with no malice, I think less of Oly (as an organization)

I might have a different opinion if a number of other top level teams were choosing to go to USARS, but that isn't the case here

Because Canadian

[quote=TheInvisibleNSO]

if the New England Patriots left the NFL to go play in the CFL, I would think less of them

>>>Hey Now!

if the New York Rangers left the NHL to go play in the AHL, I would think less of them

>>>Nothing could make me think less of the Rangers. They're already at the bottom.

Back to the Original Topic

I may be wrong (don't know the formula for the wfta rankings for tournament victories), but isn't it pretty possible or likely that Oly will retain their Wftda #2 ranking through the tournament and into next season. If that is the case then the team that scratched and clawed their way through the tournament to get to the finals will be officially ranked #3 at the end of the season? Once again Oly finds a flaw in the bureaucracy of the association and exploits it to their favor, whether or not they intended to do so. (I'm guessing not) If only Oly had the same mindset as far as playing the game and using the rules to their favor.......

Oly's post-tournament ranking

It's hard to say, but I'd be surprised if Oly is ranked #2 after the 2013 tournament season. Assuming they don't play any more WFTDA games in 2013 after their upcoming London/Jet games, their ranking at that time will be based entirely on the results of those two games. In contrast, other teams around them will have their rankings boosted by the playoff multiplier (all playoff games count more than regular season games), so it'll be hard for Oly to top the teams that make it to champs (especially the ones that do well there).

So I'd say possible, but not likely. Personally, I imagine they'll end up somewhere in the Top 20 heading into 2014 though. (Again, this all assumes they don't play any more games -- even if they don't play in June, they could still schedule games later in the summer if they're so inclined.)

I think it'd be a stretch to say they're exploiting the system right now.

ps

;)

What a goddamn sausage party

... this whole comments section is.

Sausage

ivanna_s_pankin wrote:

... this whole comments section is.

Better sausage in the comments section than on the track.

The wurst

John_Maddening wrote:

Better sausage in the comments section than on the track.

Or in my pants.

No, wait...

Leave the sausages to Jimmy Dean

Passive offence is not at all entertaining to watch. I like the RDCL rule set

welcome to DNN

ivanna_s_pankin wrote:

... this whole comments section is.

Welcome to the DNN web forum, Ivanna, also called Let Me Mansplain To You What's Wrong With Your Sport. This week's episode: "Dudes Argue Over How to Fix Problems Chicks Didn't Know They Had, Part 14".

Snausage!

ToddBradley wrote:
ivanna_s_pankin wrote:

... this whole comments section is.

Welcome to the DNN web forum, Ivanna, also called Let Me Mansplain To You What's Wrong With Your Sport. This week's episode: "Dudes Argue Over How to Fix Problems Chicks Didn't Know They Had, Part 14".

More like, women know they have these problems, but are smart enough to not endlessly argue about them on the internet.

PEOPLE ARE BEING WRONG ON THE

PEOPLE ARE BEING WRONG ON THE INTERNET!!!

but seriously, have a good weekend everyone

I think the term in this

I think the term in this case is more appropriately 'fan-splaining.'

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme

Is there a website

devoted to WFTDA vs USARS bickering? I couldn't find one, so this thread will have to do.

Regardless of the politics involved, the outrage, and everything else, bouts under the USARS ruleset are just plain fun to watch. Not sayin better, but certainly different and very entertaining.

If you are into derby simply to watch the elite teams duke it out for top rankings and championships, then of course you will not enjoy a USARS bout because there is only one high-level team (by WFTDA standards) in USARS. But for people who are more of a general derby fan who enjoys a bout between two competent, but not high-level, teams, then it is worth a look if you have the chance to see one. (Clearly Oly is not a good example because their USARS bouts are too lopsided.)

It just seems to me like the outrage at the USARS organization (which is obviously trying to get a slice of the pie) overshadows the fact there is still some good derby going on under their ruleset.

Maybe there should be

Maybe there should be a separate website devoted to WFTDA vs USARS bickering. But it seems like this bickering expands to fill the container it's put in. So instead of the bickering actually movingly somewhere else I think it would just double and we'd have it in both places.

Warm Wishes

Oly still has several weeks to get games in, let's not count them out quite yet.

In 2009 I took my son to his first Big 5 tournament, which also turned out to be his last one for a while. I sat on the dias with my then eight year old son and watched people torment skaters from a variety of teams, including profane signs that were much worse than what's been mentioned in this thread. At the end of the first night my son told me he didn't want to go back the next day. He asked me why people were being so mean to each other, did anyone treat me like that when I played, and why did I want to be a part of this.

Then he wrote Juska a note that said 'I think you are great', and dropped it by her dressing room.

Being good to each other takes a little courage, but I think if an eight year old can manage it then we (as the skating body of roller derby) can treat Oly with dignity and respect. It's none of my (our) business what path brings the skaters of Oly to happiness, but it is my business to see that they aren't shunned or humiliated.

Ultimately, I think there is a lot of room for people of all stripes to play derby, anyway they see fit. Quibbling over who 'owns' what seems inconsequential. Regardless of our gender, philosophy, age, or track dimensions we don't 'own' a movement and have no jurisdiction to compel people to fall in line with our views. The idea behind this little adventure is subversion, to subvert the norms placed on us by society. We have been lucky to see our ambitions come to fruition in many ways, and many of our lives have been fundamentally changed by participation in derby.

Here is the rub though: In some ways we are recursively placing norms on each other. We are calling the ways that we subverted the system, and making a historical bias that those ways must be correct and must be applied to others. This has cropped up in how we treat men involved with the sport, alt rule sets, as well as how we treat women outside of norms we created. I think 'The WFTD' (whoever that is) has passively allowed this to happen by not addressing the mean girl's roller derby that we saw crop up, and sometimes may actively encourage mold fitting to accrue power.

Here is the salt curing to the rub: I can think this about the WFTDA and still be a member in good standing. I can work in, disagree with, subvert, and love the WFTDA in equal parts becuase it is multifaceted. Sometimes there are many right answers, and sometimes there seems to be no right answers.

To each their own, and Oly I will be cheering for you no matter what kind of derby you decide to play this year.

Good times

Sarah Hipel wrote:

Oly still has several weeks to get games in, let's not count them out quite yet.

In 2009 I took my son to his first Big 5 tournament, which also turned out to be his last one for a while. I sat on the dias with my then eight year old son and watched people torment skaters from a variety of teams, including profane signs that were much worse than what's been mentioned in this thread. At the end of the first night my son told me he didn't want to go back the next day. He asked me why people were being so mean to each other, did anyone treat me like that when I played, and why did I want to be a part of this.

Then he wrote Juska a note that said 'I think you are great', and dropped it by her dressing room.

Being good to each other takes a little courage, but I think if an eight year old can manage it then we (as the skating body of roller derby) can treat Oly with dignity and respect. It's none of my (our) business what path brings the skaters of Oly to happiness, but it is my business to see that they aren't shunned or humiliated.

Ultimately, I think there is a lot of room for people of all stripes to play derby, anyway they see fit. Quibbling over who 'owns' what seems inconsequential. Regardless of our gender, philosophy, age, or track dimensions we don't 'own' a movement and have no jurisdiction to compel people to fall in line with our views. The idea behind this little adventure is subversion, to subvert the norms placed on us by society. We have been lucky to see our ambitions come to fruition in many ways, and many of our lives have been fundamentally changed by participation in derby.

Here is the rub though: In some ways we are recursively placing norms on each other. We are calling the ways that we subverted the system, and making a historical bias that those ways must be correct and must be applied to others. This has cropped up in how we treat men involved with the sport, alt rule sets, as well as how we treat women outside of norms we created. I think 'The WFTD' (whoever that is) has passively allowed this to happen by not addressing the mean girl's roller derby that we saw crop up, and sometimes may actively encourage mold fitting to accrue power.

Here is the salt curing to the rub: I can think this about the WFTDA and still be a member in good standing. I can work in, disagree with, subvert, and love the WFTDA in equal parts becuase it is multifaceted. Sometimes there are many right answers, and sometimes there seems to be no right answers.

To each their own, and Oly I will be cheering for you no matter what kind of derby you decide to play this year.

Good ol' nationals in Philly circa 2009. Those were the days. Or something.

Clear the air perhaps?

Oly will be addressing this matter Tuesday I hear?

Or not.

DaintyDisaster wrote:

Oly will be addressing this matter Tuesday I hear?

Well, it's Thursday. What else do you hear?

Real Life

Real life is getting in the way. It is being worked on.

Watch this space.

Oly - Premeditated douche baggary or just seems that way?

First, complete disclosure - I'm an RCR fan and after last Wednesday a fan of London.

Secondly, this does not really belong in this thread BUT there has been much back and forth on similar topics in this thread with no one being picky about it.

Many pages up the question was asked why Oly doesn't skate against the nearby Division 1 teams. Could it be, perhaps, that those teams won't?

I've had the occasion to "hang-with" several RCR skaters over the last few years and there has always been an unusual amount of animosity directed to Oly, even pre-transfergate. Now the easy answer is that RCR hates Oly because they can't beat them. Well those same RCR skaters adore Gotham...

Now the real question I have.

I was not on hand at the Oly/London bout on Sunday, though I wish I was. But my friends that were report the following:
1) Until well into the game the score board read Oly VS team 2.
2) That the DJ only played music when Oly had lead jammer.
3) That after the final score was established and Oly had prevailed that instead of celebrating among themselves and congratulating a worthy opponent several skaters took the opportunity to direct rude hand gestures and lewd comments towards the other team.

Now I'll admit that each of these events is an individual act by an individual person (or persons in case 3). The scoreboard operator and the DJ are undoubtedly unpaid volunteers that are only volunteering because they are rabid Oly fans. That said there seems to be a pattern here, one that could result in local teams choosing not to bout against Oly.

So we have a chicken and egg question. Do Oly fans act that way because the team expects them to or does the team act that way because the fans expect them to?

Re: Post Bout douche baggery, bout challenges

PapaT wrote:

Many pages up the question was asked why Oly doesn't skate against the nearby Division 1 teams. Could it be, perhaps, that those teams won't?

Rat City skated against them in Olympia in 2011. Jet City has thrown down a couple of times or so previously in addition to this evening. I believe I also read here or somewhere else if I'm not mistaken that BAD challenged them but they wouldn't accept?

PapaT wrote:

3) That after the final score was established and Oly had prevailed that instead of celebrating among themselves and congratulating a worthy opponent several skaters took the opportunity to direct rude hand gestures and lewd comments towards the other team.

Are there other attendees who witnessed the same behavior?

Nope

Oly congratulated the London team in the victory lap, and most all the Oly and non-Oly fans formed ‘London Bridges’ for the London team to skate under during London’s Lap. It was great!

It was a great game and everyone there was excited, it will go down as one of my favorites. My mom went over to the London team and got her photo taken with them and they were all awesome and seemed exhilarated from the game.

Nothing about the night and the game was depressing until I saw the post starting this thread. But all this is ‘he said she said’ drama. To PapaT, let me invite you to travel the 45-60 minutes down the road from Seattle and watch an Oly game to verify Oly fans for yourself.

[All those other imagined slights are just part of running the show - the scoreboard said London everytime I looked at it - but electronic projectors need resetting occasionally so it is possible they had to reset it and needed to add the team title. Also, there is no DJ at skateland anymore, just the regular skate night sound system (on a playlist I think) that is perfectly adequate, but often gets drowned out when people are cheering.]

what i saw...

I was standing behind a large group of RCR fans during the Oly vs London that bout and the only disrespectful comments i heard came from a some of them. Except for the RCR fans, almost everyone else cheered for both teams and great derby.

London vs. Oly

I was at the Oly vs. London game. I didn't witness any of that rude behavior.

The board did show Team 2, but that was corrected pretty quickly. I think even before the game started. And the music system is always spotty.

I also was at the Rat vs. London game.

After each of the games, it appeared everyone involved were in a pretty jovial mood and were treated appreciatively by both audiences and teams.

It think it was one best games of the year. Oly had to play their best game and London almost beat them. It was a large crowd packed with players from other teams. Most of the Portland team was there cheering for London, for example.

The only thing that I was miffed about is that all the London shirts seem to have been sold out or non-existent. *sigh*

Merch

if you email merch@londonrollergirls.com we can sort getting merch mailed out to you...

I checked the scoreboard

I checked the scoreboard after each jam starting from 0-0 and never saw 'Team 2'. I saw a lot of camaraderie and good sportsmanship after the bout from both teams and from the fans, including the London Bridge.

Over the last year or two most Oly bouts have been relatively quiet, compared to the way the home crowds cheer at other leagues' venues. The Oly home crowd has changed since 2009, maybe in part because there seems to be less effort directed towards making it an overall fun time for the fans. There used to be more of that extra effort made (and I know it is a lot of work) for a great fan experience. For example, a few years ago they regularly had very talented DJs with their own equipment and would sometimes also bring in live bands to play before the bout and at half time. I think part of the shift in the crowd is the fact that there are now two additional leagues in town (it's not a big town either), which has pulled away some of the derby fan base. The fans that go to Oly bouts now (excluding the obvious friends and family) go to see awesome skating-most of them seem to be hard-core derby fans rather than casual fans there for the 'roller derby experience'. Overall, it is a smaller crowd for sure. I remember some fierce crowds 3-4 years ago.

That said, the London bout was an exception. Tons of loud enthusiastic fans (it helped that many were from out of town), and a cool marching band at halftime.
My only complaint was that they opened the doors too late considering the long line, and then they started the bout while there was still a line outside.

Yes there was a little bit of showboating by a couple of the Oly skaters during the bout, but it was nothing we all hadn't seen before from the same skaters. And it did give the Oly fans an extra reason to get loud.

Math

In light of this discussion on opponent selection and the new Rankings/Ratings, check out this post that discusses some math with a couple of pretty pictures: http://flattrackstats.com/blog/33624-wftda-rankings-and-fts-expectations