This is probably one of the most misunderstood lines in literature. Do you know what ‘wherefore’ means? Without looking it up? If you guessed ‘why’ pat yourself on the back, if you KNEW it means ‘why’ then you were either in drama or had looked it up before, right? If you didn’t know, don’t worry. I myself learned about it in drama class. The meaning behind the question, “Why are you Romeo [Montague]?” is the family feud between the Monatagues and Capulets (Juliet) if he had any other name they could be happy and not have to hide their love.
But it wasn’t the end, and it led to the whole “if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” bit. If a rose were called ‘blood stain’ it would still be as pretty and everything else we associate with a rose, but probably not the flowers of choice for Valentines Day.
What does this have to do with derby? Well, what is in a name? First off most “leagues” are a nickname to what city (Big Easy, Alamo City), or what region of the country (Gold Coast, SoCal) they’re in. Other leagues are named after the city or state, (Houston, Arizona) or a play on the city name (Oly = Olympia, Naptown = Indianapolis). Then there are others whose names if I’m told how it relates to the city they’re from I still won’t get the word association or I might think it’s clever. But for the most part I’d have no clue where the league is from.
Frequently every league has in the second part of their name a variantion of: Rollergirl, roller girls, derby girls, rollers, vixens, dames, devils, roller derby, dolls, rebels, grrls, and so on. Few leagues make no mention of derby in their name such as, Mississippi Valley Mayhem, The Chicago Outfit. I’ve come across an article about making derby a legitimate major league sport, with a convincing argument for skaters to choose more family friendly derby name.
Now here’s my reason for this post. If most skaters, as in WFTDA and non WFTDA, don’t know most of the *league* names or locations. How then will ESPN present it?
Think of your favorite major league team. Whether it’s football, soccer, hockey, basketball or baseball. What’s the name of the *team*? What city are they in? finally what *league* do they fall under? MLB, NBA, NFL, MLS, NHL? This is my point, WFTDA is the governing body and league of roller derby. The member *leagues* should be called teams, which would go by a team name. Their city would be included with merch, during game announcements, commentator color to the point where the viewing fans will get it.
San Antonio Tejanas, Temple Sirens, New York City All Stars, Montreal New Skids on the Block, Baton Rouge Diables Rouges. But what is in a name? I’m still going to officiate and announce where I’m needed, with various leagues in a 200 mile radius regardless of that they call themselves. Until the end of the bout, skaters are still just a color and number to me. This is just food for thought for anyone who might want to rethink how else to get ESPN to televise a sport worth international recognition as a major league sport.