Yesterday, the Oly Rollers ruffled some feathers when it was learned that three skaters would be added to the Oly Rollers charter just before the deadline to skate in the WFTDA playoffs in September. Atomatrix, Joy Collsion and Hockey Honey will be on the roster for the playoffs despite not playing with Oly at all this season and living nowhere near Olympia. Atomatrix had been an Oly Roller before moving to Arizona with her family and company Atom Wheels before this season, Joy Collision had spent seven years with Baltimore’s Charm City Rollergirls and Hockey Honey comes from San Diego after stops in Arizona and Olympia. Oly is a #4 seed in the upcoming WFTDA playoffs.
Reaction to this news throughout the roller derby world has been passionately negative, despite being technically within the rules of the WFTDA. Hellarad, a derby zine, was particularly profane in their criticism calling the Oly Rollers “the douchiest team in all of roller derby”. You could go down the rabbit hole following the links reacting to this move and I encourage you to do so if you want to learn more about roller derby culture. Banked Track News post “Why We Dislike ‘Ringers’ and ‘Superteams’” is particularly interesting as are some of the links to Facebook posts that the Derby News Network linked to today.
But you can also read from the three skaters that are moving. Atomatrix, Joy Collision and Hockey Honey have all weighed in on the moves and I find it hard to argue with their reasons for joining Oly for a playoff run. I do agree that it might not be completely fair to some of the skaters that have been on the Oly roster the whole season that will get bumped for the playoffs, but that’s the breaks when you are playing competitive sports and the Oly Rollers are a competitive team. There’s a reason that there are three roller derby leagues in this small town: the Oly Rollers are a competitive team and not completely recreational. If you want recreational fairness, don’t join the Cosa Nostra Donnas.
I will also say that I don’t feel bad for the other roller derby leagues that are losing players to Olympia. Olympia is by far the smallest market playing at a high level and with the smallest group of athletes to draw from, perhaps it is necessary to bring in old friends and people that want to play to compete with New York City and Denver and Bay Area and all of the other leagues based in major metropolitan areas. I’ve seen a few people refer to the Oly Rollers as the New York Yankees and as a proud native of Olympia, I’m pretty happy to see that insult lobbed our little old way.
So my message to the roller derby world: suck it up. Welcome to the realities of competitive sports.
OLY OLY OLY, OI OI OI!