I hadn’t been to a BAD home game in 8 months, although I saw them play at the championships in Atlanta.
So last night I went the 50 miles to the Oakland Convention Center to see the BAD girls travel team play Montreal…..I had heard many good things about the league in Quebec, and they did not disappoint. Colorful uniforms, a great warmup, and Plastic Patrik with nothing but a few ribbons of clothing introduced them. I took a picture with Plastic (on my facebook page) and he is quite outrageous.
The last time I was in the Center there were no elevated seats, but last night there were extensive bleachers on both straightaways, a rubberized border surrounding the track area, and floor seating for many. I estimate about two thousand screaming, loyal fans on hand.
The “arena” was really an arena, with no distractions other than the playing area. Food, etc were behind the bleachers……it may sound insignificant but the more the “spectacle” is the center of attention, the better.
I could be wrong, but the “Skids on the block” Canadians seemed a little intimidated at the start, as the home team jumped to a 47 to 1 advantage, but gradually they got their sea legs (skates?) and fought back to a fairly reasonably half time disadvantage. In the second half the BADs dominated to an eventual 100-point win.
But again (please note all leagues) the game was excellent. Each jam had the fans screaming, and when one jammer chased the other and the lead jammer scored and was immediately aware of calling the play off, the audience appreciated it. And Demanda Riot was a tremendous force on defense, and the others played proper position in the pack in getting the jammer out and holding the opposition back. And even when a slow play was called for, it was like a rugby scrum, with both teams scrambling for position and working with their players. And when the jammers went out they flew….speed is such a thrilling thing to see.
Often it was so loud you could not hear yourself, and fan excitement helps the skaters and the skaters’ effort showed from both teams throughout the game……no lengthy official time outs, no long times between jams…..sounds like nothing for me to complain about.
And there really isn’t, except as the better teams are training harder and learning the game better, I feel (from watching DNN, WFTDA-TV) and other games, that there is getting to be even a great disparity between the top teams and those striving to pull themselves up.
I think one of the secrets is that the more populous leagues have the advantage of from 4 to 6 home teams in their league, (as does BAD and Montreal) and their play against each other creates a greater level of competition and skill. Perhaps eventually the WFTDA would have to create the equivalency of the English Premier League for better and more equal competition…..I can give a suggestion, can’t I?
Once again, maybe if some of the smaller leagues with just an A or B team (or even just an A team) could form a sub-league with equivalent cities around them, it would certainly help.
At any rate, games like last night, where the skating is fast, the blocking is hard, and the skaters are skilled will not only bring back fans, but increase attendance. The game itself as played will stop the talk of slow play, Conga lines, etc.
I for one really like it. Kudos to both leagues, and I am thrilled to see the growth of the BAD girls!