ALL-STARS’ PLAYOFF TREK ESCAPES BUDGET BUSTER!
By Muckety Muck, ARRG Bout Co-Announcer – Photos by Bob Dunnell
(Disclaimer: The following opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. They are not the opinions of the Arch Rival Roller Girls.)
For those of you that faithfully follow the Arch Rival Roller Girls, you recently found out that the ARRG All-Stars travel squad had earned a berth in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Division 1 playoffs.
When the St. Louisans were revealed its respective post-season fate by the WFTDA on Friday, July 12, much ballyhoo ensued…in more ways than one.
ARRG was ranked #11 internationally when the tournament pairings and seedings were announced. That was a surprising two-rank jump from its previous position.
In its first round match-up in Fort Wayne, Arch Rival will face sixth-seeded Ohio, a team that they had beaten 179-108 in May at Midwest Sport Hockey. Huzzah! ARRG Nation had to feel good from the onset!
Most importantly, the proximity in order to compete couldn’t have been better. Fort Wayne is a short trek considering where the league could have been competing.
The other three locations of the 2013 WFTDA Division 1 playoffs are Salem, Oregon, Richmond, Virginia and Asheville, North Carolina.
Let’s look at all four WFTDA playoff locations, and ARRG’s distance from them, in terms of mileage.
The distance from St. Louis to Fort Wayne, Indiana is 373 miles. That’s about six hours in a vehicle.
From St. Louis to Asheville, North Carolina, about 600 miles.
To Richmond, Virginia, 821 miles.
And from St. Louis to Salem, Oregon, 2,088 miles.
Using online travel resources researched by this scribe, a one-way airline ticket from St. Louis to Portland, Oregon costs $215. That’s one-way.
Take that and multiply it by two for a round trip. Take that and multiply it by approximately 18 to cover skaters and coaching staff. Immediately, one can hypothetically gauge where post-season play would have been a costly venture for ARRG in the pocketbook.
ARRG (and many other Midwestern leagues) had to go through a similar situation at last year’s WFTDA post-season playoff round held in Niagara Falls, New York.
Thanks to the kind donations acquired through a late-minute online campaign, ARRG was able to defray the costs associated with the 765-mile playoff commute.
Sure, there are still costs associated with travel this season, and a charity car wash held this past weekend helped the All-Stars in its Hoosier State playoff. (If you helped with a donation this weekend, thank you!) Any little bit helps, and in this case, asking for a little is much easier than asking for a lot!
A six-hour car ride to Fort Wayne? P’shaw! The league’s already done that this season as they went to Allen County, Indiana in order to compete (and quad-squash Dutchland by 333 points) at Spring Roll in May.
When the league was given its playoff itinerary, the skaters couldn’t have been more pleased.
“We are so excited to be going to Fort Wayne,” said Arch Rival All-Stars co-captain Mayor Francis Slayer. “Hopefully, more excited that anyone has been excited to go to Fort Wayne, ever.”
It’s a huge sigh of relief breathed by Her Honor.
But to be honest, these cost-friendly dreams would have not occurred if it weren’t for one important factor.
The Oly Rollers of Olympia, Washington, the 2009 WFTDA Champions and runners’ up the last three years, are not in the WFTDA 2013 derby post-season.
Oly is currently ranked third internationally in the WFTDA. However, the league did not play enough sanctioned games, as determined by the governing body, to qualify for playoff inclusion.
Quite bluntly, they didn’t play enough sanctioned bouts…so they’re out.
The Top 40 leagues ranked internationally in the WFTDA are eligible for Division 1 playoff eligibility. An “S-curve” was applied to the Top 40, which determined what designated city they would compete in the playoff round.
As a result of Oly’s departure, all teams ranked behind them in the WFTDA hierarchy collectively moved up one spot, which ultimately affected where and when they would compete in the post-season, according to the “S-curve” applied.
For one specific league, #41 Columbia, it meant that they got a chance to compete in the Division 1 playoffs altogether.
But for 75% of the Top 40, it meant a different tourney location to compete at since Oly was out.
Scenarios like this makes this part-time scribe play the proverbial game of “What would have happened if Oly was in?”
Altogether, it would have meant a lot for all…and it would have been inevitably costly for ARRG.
In the following graphic, you’ll see two layouts. The upper half contains the four WFTDA playoff locations as well as the teams that are competing at those respective playoffs, their respective playoff seed and their overall rank in the WFTDA.
The lower half of the graphic contains the “What if Oly was in?” aspect. It shows the hypothetical adjustments made if the original “Top 40” had competed. As you’ll soon see, it really would have changed the overall complexion of the WFTDA post-season.
(Muckety Memo: Click on the image to expand it…I know it’s not pretty, but I never claimed to be a graphic artist.)
Once again, the preceding graphic displayed in its bottom half present the hypothetical playoff projection if Oly is in the mix and the same order of the current “S-curve” was utilized.
Some items of interest from the Oly-included playoff adjustment:
Arch Rival – still retaining a third seed – would have moved to the Salem, Oregon playoff and would have faced sixth-seeded No Coast, a team they lost to by three points earlier this season, in round one. The winner of that bout would have faced second-seeded Texas in the semifinals.
ARRG would have been in the same geographical playoff with three squads they have played this season (No Coast, Jacksonville and Bleeding Heartland) and two leagues that have had bouts against in the past (Texas in 2012 and Philly at 2010). Arch Rival also would have been in the same playoff location as top-seeded Oly.
Within that same potential Salem playoff, there would have been a pair of donnybrooks with Philly vs. Rose City and Jacksonville vs. Bleeding Heartland in the opening round.
ARRG’s current opponent in the Ft. Wayne playoff, sixth-seeded Ohio, would have moved to the Asheville playoff and faced Rocky Mountain in round one.
As a whole, only ten teams would have stayed in the same playoff location that they are currently at this year if Oly was included. The playoffs at both Richmond and Asheville would have had four leagues each retaining the same playoff location.
But all of this is now flushed down the proverbial drain. Oly’s not in the tourney…and what you see in the top half of the graphic applies.
Honestly, I do feel bad for the Fort Wayne playoff’s fifth seed, Rose City, based in Portland, Oregon. Instead of competing in Salem, located 55 miles away from their home base, they now compete in Fort Wayne, located 2,266 miles away. If there was ever a team to rightly call “SHENANIGANS” in the 2013 WFTDA post-season complexion, it would be them.
I feel like I should buy a beer koozie of theirs in Fort Wayne out of support.
I also have a soft spot for Wasatch (1,544 miles) and Denver (1,149 miles). I’m guessing the online funding campaigns are in overdrive for those leagues right now.
Such is the way of the new methodology of the WFTDA post-season.
However, let me selfishly type this…THANK YOU, OLY ROLLERS!
By not making the WFTDA post-season, you are Mrs. Muck’s favorite, and conversely least-favorite, league. You are her favorite because your respective league has saved her household’s bank account quite a lot of moolah since her husband now doesn’t have to buy an airline ticket in order to travel to Oregon.
You are also her least-favorite league because her spouse will now travel (along with ARRG co-yapper/co-pilot Magilla Guerilla) to Ft. Wayne to yap for his respective league the first weekend of September.
Actually, this might be considered a “double win” for her. Holy Oly Moly!
As a derby fan, it kind of saddens me that Oly, a top-notch league (regardless of what one thinks of their roster composition and the ensuing controversy that surrounded it last post-season) is sitting on the sidelines.
However, it was THEIR decision not to play the required number of bouts to be eligible for WFTDA Hydra 2K13. It’s a decision that they have to live with…and it appears, on the surface, that they have no problem with their decision.
But as a derby yapper with a financial budget in mind when following his home league…I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I’m glad they’re not in. Call me selfish, but a ride to Fort Wayne is a lot more realistic, not only for me, but I can only assume for Arch Rival as well.
I look forward to ARRG’s first-round match-up against Ohio on Friday, September 6. As expected when these two leagues tangle, it should be a compelling bout. I also look forward to seeing leagues that I am familiar with (Cincinnati, Bleeding Heartland and Grand Raggidy) and leagues that I will see in person for the first time (Denver, Montreal, London, Rose City and Wasatch.)
I don’t mean to gloat, but with ARRG competing at Fort Wayne, I’m going to save some cash.
Or at least I was. This Gateway City yapper (along with his faithful pal Guerilla) now has this on his future itinerary.
Muckety and Guerilla at the WFTDA Division 2 playoff in Des Moines?
So much for money saved!
NEXT WEEK IN THE ARRG NEWSCENTER: Let’s put playoffs on the back burner a bit, because the league has its season home finale on Saturday, August 10. The ARRG All-Stars have an inaugural meeting with a team that has qualified for the WFTDA Championships the last three seasons. The Lunachix also have a first-time bout against this powerful league’s b-squad. ARRG’s undefeated record at Midwest Sport Hockey could potentially be in jeopardy…that’s how good the opponents are. Next week, a preview of the August 10 double header vs. Minnesota!
Muckety Muck and Magilla Guerillla are bout co-announcers for the Arch Rival Roller Girls. Check back in this section on Mondays for the latest in ARRG news and information.