2012: Advent Roller Derby: They’re leagues, Jim…

by on December 12, 2012


But not as you know them!

Now, when I say ‘league’ within the general context of sports, I imagine you’re going to think of football. That’s ok, it’s a popular sport, you’re allowed to think of it. Simplify it down to the basics: a football league is a collection of teams of similar ability that play each other in the same geographical area. And the same goes for roller derby leagues, sort of.

Let’s take an example, shall we? I’ll fabricate a league for this: Cambridge University Roller Derby. This league is based in the bustling university town of Cambridge, and has three main teams: Lemons (A team), Limes (B team), and Clementines (C team). The three main teams travel around the UK and play the main teams of other leagues in ‘interleague’ bouts, depending on their ability. There are also 31 ‘intraleague’ teams, including the Mardy Magdalenes, Fitzwillies, Trinity Smalls, Queenies, Red Brick Robs, and the Gone Villain Keys. These intraleague teams play each other on a regular basis, at least once a year, perhaps twice, to determine the winner of the annual May Shoves competition. [Though, in this instance, with such a large number of intraleague teams, you’d probably split them into divisions based on ability and then have some kind of championships with promotion and relegation.]

So, in a similar vein, you have the real-life version. The WFTDA split leagues into regional divisions, and these leagues play each other, as well as leagues outside their divisions if they want to. The regions are becoming a little bit stretched, seeing as all the Europe-based WFTDA leagues are currently placed in the “East” region, though there will be a European division soon. Anyway, every year, there are regional championships, the top-placed teams at which go onto the ‘national’ championships, and these top 10 teams compete for a trophy.

I hope all that makes sense! It can seem a bit strange at first when all you hear of is “the league from Exeter” or similar, but it’s mostly sensible. Mostly!

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