Photos courtesy of Ryan Hayes
In case you missed it, there was recently a fairly significant event in the world of flat-track roller derby. Over 40 years after England energized the American music scene via the rock & roll British Invasion, the Texas Rollergirls returned the favor to England's sports scene with a bang. They conducted their well-known derby bootcamp for a whopping 175 skaters in London, teaching skills and raising the game of a slew of skaters who then of course were able to take those new skills back to teach to their home leagues. On this same trip, TXRG's intraleague team the Hustlers played the London Rollergirls in what turned out to be a competitive game for much of the bout before the experience of Texas allowed them to pull away. (see Ryan Hayes's photoblog about it at http://www.oneflameinthefire.com/blog/istoleyoursoulforthis/london-vs-texas-rollergirls-a-fistful-of-rollers/ for a more detailed account.)
What really gets the wheels in my head turning is that only 7 years into the life of women's flat track roller derby, it was financially justifiable for a group of people to fly across thousands of miles of land and ocean to teach a bunch of people how to skate and fall down, then play one game with them. From its solitary existence in one southern American town in 2003, the game has absolutely exploded to 15 countries on three continents, and regular visits to Derby Helper from additional countries lead me to believe that more are on the way. (C'mon Japan, let's DO this!) The growth rate of women's roller derby has already managed to kill one of my planned projects to make a Google map of every league in the world, since it grew to where there are now too many leagues to show on one map at one time. The nice thing about this is that it proves my theory that deep down inside, no matter what their cultural heritage may be, girls are all looking for an excuse to clobber each other.
So the question in my mind is this: Can women's roller derby continue to evolve and grow to the size that the WFTDA launches full-fledged continental divisions? Will Derby News Network someday soon be broadcasting the Asian championship game right after the Australian championship and right before the European championship? Will the day ever come when (I'm drooling just thinking about this) the two top teams from each continent meet in a genuine, full-fledged 8 team WFTDA World Championship tournament? Start saving your tips and get your passport updated folks because if the current rate of growth is any indicator, I honestly think that the day will come. And trust me, the after-party for THAT will be an international incident of legendary proportions!