As mentioned in our season announcement, Bay Area Derby has consolidated from four home teams to three. Over the past couple of years, BAD’s membership has decreased with our number of retirees being greater than new recruits and transfers. This trend is not unique to BAD. Our governing body, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) has seen a decrease in the number of new leagues joining, some leagues merging due to declining numbers (e.g. Sacred City & Sacramento City), and some even losing their practice spaces.
In 2011, when BAD introduced a fourth home team —The Berkeley Resistance— we had a membership count of over 100 league members. At the end of 2017, we had 56 league members. For the safety of our skaters and to help continue to produce competitive and entertaining events for the public, the entire league membership voted to temporarily go back down to three home teams until we can drive our member numbers back up.
With the change in the number of teams, the league took this opportunity to reshuffle skaters in order to create new, closely-matched teams. This also made it so the skaters from the one eliminated team would not have to try to integrate into already formed/bonded teams. The Coaching Committee essentially picked names out of a hat and placed skaters on teams 1, 2 and 3, then evaluated each team to make sure they were even, followed by selecting team names from the hat.
The decision on which team names to keep was not an easy one to make. There was no question about maintaining the Oakland and San Francisco team names — they were the first teams of the league, both have a rich fan base, and are the cities where most of our league members and fans live, in addition to Oakland being the location for our headquarters. While the Richmond Wrecking Belles were the third established team in the league and held the “Most Winningest Team” title, after careful consideration and deep deliberation, it was decided to keep the Berkeley team name. Berkeley won the last two BAD Championship bouts, we recruit several skaters from Cal and it’s in closer proximity to our headquarters.
BAD is so thankful to the City of Richmond and its incredible fans who came out to our games at The Craneway Pavilion. And we are especially appreciative of our Super Fans who traveled from Los Angeles to support the Belles. While this situation was not ideal, we want to emphasize that we are working hard to make this a short-term solution. The Belles will be back! And it’s already looking encouraging — we just picked up over 20 new skaters during our last tryout session. Continue telling your friends about roller derby and encourage them to come check out BAD!
If you have any questions regarding the reshuffle, please do not hesitate to reach out to Eva Menace at firstname.lastname@example.org.