The Big O 2016 Wrap-Up

I’m not a sports analyst, so I’m not going to write in-depth reviews and stats for each bout.

I’m not a social butterfly, so you won’t get a list of all the people I met and what we chatted about. (‘Cause the list is short. Like SOOOOO short. Like 2 people.)

I’m not a super shopper, so I’m not going to show you all the gear and merchandise — not much — that I bought.

But…I am a person that likes to watch derby very intensely for a few reasons:

  1. I can always be a better skater than I am right now. And tournaments like this (or archived high level bouts) are one of the few places I can see advanced individual footwork and skating skills executed consistently during play. {Case in point: I spent almost the entire first half of the Texas/Bay Area bout just watching footwork in the back of the tripod.}
  2. Derby is a young sport that’s always evolving. And high level teams are on the front lines of what derby will become. This year it seems like teams are moving toward an even more dynamic style of play where the blockers interact and contend with each other more often, not just the opposing jammer. The pace of the game is picking up slightly. That’s something that teams farther up the rankings are going to want to know and start practicing. (Remember. I’m not a derby analyst, that’s just my observation and might be totally off base.)
  3. The strategies that high level teams are using are pretty simple. Which means that teams that watch intently can learn how to use them too. There ARE a lot of moving pieces in derby, however the difference between winners and losers on the track isn’t better strategy, it’s better execution. Watch the strategy. Watch how teams execute the strategy. Break it down as much as you need to for your team’s level.
  4. High level derby is fast. I don’t mean that in a “Look, they’re going so fast!” way. I mean that in a “Look at how quickly they execute things within the pack” way. If you start watching fast-paced derby, your brain will start picking up things that it didn’t before. Consider it brain training for your own derby game.

SO….these are the games that I’ll watch again from The Big O 2016


I didn’t actually get to watch this game the first time as I was still driving in a hellish downpour between Salem and Eugene. But it was {allegedly} Rat’s best game all weekend and Texas really had to fight them off. Plus, being from the Pacific Northwest, I had to give some love to my nearest team.


Different Texas. This was a MRDA bout from Saturday afternoon that was just fun to watch. Several of the Team USA players skate for one team or the other and there are a few “newcomers” with some amazing skill {*cough* Lambo R Feeties *cough*}. I could have picked any mens game — they were all fun to watch — but the surprise surge from the Aftershocks at the end is a big reason for this choice. And…it’s less of an all-out, knife fight than a few of the other MRDA bouts from this weekend.


Duh. Right? I think this was one of the most highly anticipated games of this event and it didn’t disappoint. Despite the outcome of this game, I don’t think anyone feels like they can definitively choose the “better” team. You know what, just put this one on repeat.

I’m actually not sure if this will be archived (it’s not yet), but I will be keeping an eye out for it and you should too.


After the VRDL/Rose game, this was the one I was most looking forward to. Angel City blew into the tournament looking more like an elite level team than they have in a while and shocking a few of their opponents. (Also, it was Tui Lyon’s first go against her old team. So there’s a personal element to it.) This game made me most excited for the rest of the season to unfold.

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About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.


  • Wild Rumpus says:

    I watched the uneven match between VRDL and BAD and really enjoyed watching VRDL cleanly execute their strategy. Sometimes when teams are evenly matched its more difficult to understand the strategy they are employing. This will be a game I encourage our newer skaters to watch as a strategy guide.

    • IronOctopusFitness IronOctopusFitness says:

      That’s an excellent idea! That bout is a perfect blend of high level strategy with just enough difference between the teams to REALLY get a good look at it (instead of just being in awe of how fast everything is going).

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