18 September 2011

WFTDA East Region Playoffs: Dutchland Wrong to Forfeit?

So, who else has been glued to the free live stream of the WFTDA East Region Playoffs this weekend? There have been some great bouts, some bouts that should have been great but weren't, and one unprecedented decision that has a lot of people very upset.

The 8th-ranked Dutchland Derby Rollers were slated to play 1st-ranked Gotham Girls Roller Derby in their second game of the Playoffs. Dutchland was going to lose, no question about it. There was a good chance that Dutchland's skaters would come out of the bout with low morale, high exhaustion, and potentially some serious injuries. They had a team meeting, consulted WFTDA officials, and decided to forfeit the game.

They're catching a lot of flak for this. Some folks think they should have been kicked out of the Playoffs, others think they shouldn't even be in WFTDA for the next year, and the decision is generally being condemned as unsportswomanlike and, well, lame.

We get it. You come to the Playoffs, you expect to see all of the scheduled bouts go off as planned, even the unbalanced ones. But y'know what? We think Dutchland made the right call for their skaters. They knew they would lose anyway, they weighed the pro of experience against the con of skater health, and they made the decision to take the loss without risking the safety of skaters who still had several bouts ahead of them.

Roller derby is a tough sport for tough gals, and we love that toughness. Thing is, you can't just be tough. You have to be smart, too. If this had been Dutchland's last bout of the tournament, then yeah, take the chance and skate against the best team in the East Region, risking major injury and a serious blow to morale. But putting your girls up against such a formidable opponent that early in the tournament when you need all of them to be fit and healthy for two or three more bouts in the next two days? That's just not smart, and we applaud Dutchland for realizing that and having the guts to make a tough call in spite of the damage to their reputation.

Good call, Dutchland. We salute your brains. Now, back to the tournament!