Published on March 14th, 2014 | by Tony Muse0
Men's Team USA Stars vs. Stripes scrimmage, Photo by Randy Pace
Musings on the Men’s World Cup
For nearly a year, I have been cautiously excited about the first Men’s Roller Derby World Cup. As an old veteran of international competitions I knew how important and amazing an international event could be. As someone who has been involved in many a start ups, I also knew how hard it is to be the first to blaze a trail at anything. So I was giddy…and suspicious. The whispers of this event preceded me knowing about it. I think a mixture of the success of the Women’s World Cup, The NY Shock Exchange trip to Europe and a few guys with a dream created enough passion to try and create a global event. By the time word of the event got to me, the city and venue were already in place and it was time to see if we could fill the place with teams and fans. I was even more cautious (in disbelief) because I was asked by my derby competitors from the USA members of the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) teams to be one of the five managers/founding members of Team USA. It was up to us five guys to help turn the dream into a reality.
Team USA could have been made up with over 50 players based on the amount of talent we have witnessed through the process. We started in Chicago last summer where after a two day event; we narrowed the selection down to 32 skaters. During the camp in Chicago, I witnessed what I thought was the best roller derby game I had ever watched. The Blue vs. Red game ended the camp and it was the division of the top skaters from the trials who were given one more chance to shine. In all of the manager’s opinions, the difference in talent was nearly zero. At the end of the event, the top players along with a few video submissions were invited to be a part of Team USA of which we would later select from, the top 20 to travel to the 2014 World Cup in England.
The next event on our calendar was the Beat Me Half Way training camp and Stars vs. Stripes game in November. We were allowed a few hours on the first night some floor time to go over some general strategy ideas for the team. We took a 10,000 ft view as to how we wanted the team to play from a strategy standpoint. Right after the practice we held our first team meeting and received some of our sweet gear for the event. Roller Derby Elite had donated uniforms for the squad as well as team shirts for travel and practice, Vanilla had donated travel expense money, Antik had donated sweat suits, Triple 8 helmets and Atom donated gear bags. Each and every player received cool swag just for being involved in the process. The meeting allowed us to go over logistics and expectations which went quick and easy with a bunch of guys who were really super excited just to play. The weekend event ended with our Stars and Stripes game which for me was even more amazing than the first bout because the other managers and I got to play this time. A few different videos of this event are floating around so take a few minutes to watch if you want a glimpse into what we will be bringing to England. On a special note: I ended the game with a double penalty jam while playing jammer which for added pleasure, the second penalty was extended an extra minute when I as captain also had to serve a bench major….I have no problem taking the responsibility for losing it for my squad. Sorry guys.
[Editor’s Note: We didn’t find that footage, but we did find this footage from tryouts. If you have a link to the Stars vs. Stripes scrimmage, please link it below in the comments.]
From the 32 members that make up Team USA Men’s Roller Derby, we had to select the top 20 players who would travel overseas to represent all of us at the World Cup. This was by far the hardest part of the entire process and I know now why they chose five of us from five different teams to manage the team. With so much talent, so much experience and so many different relationships built over the years none of the 32 deserved not to go to England and none of us wanted to cut anyone for the event. We ultimately used a blind voting system to make it democratic and after the votes were counted, we all signed off on the team. Some great players were certainly left off the roster but we also know every man going is also a great player.
Plane tickets are booked, hotels are reserved and schedules have been made. As I talk to players here and there we really don’t know what to expect from the other teams. We look forward to playing against some of the famous names we here and read about (yes you Furieux, Sutton and Ballistic). We are stoked at the idea of playing the host country at some point and everyone wants to see the Japanese play because of what we see from Japanese derby online. At the end of the day, we know the kind of talent we have and the hard work we have all done to get to this point. Our jammers Frank NotSoHotra, Jonathan R, JurasskickPark, Prime, Scott Slamilton, TJ Binkley are all powerful, fast and slippery. Even if our walls break down, good luck to the other countries in keeping these cats back. The dual threats (as if they will ever get a chance to jam with that rotation) of Quadzilla, Streak, Magnum, Gnat, B Stang and Nick Becker could be star jammers or blockers around the world and we have them as chess pieces to play where they are needed. Our blockers Sugarboots, Abe Drinkin, Corey Pain, Percy Control, Sea Horses, Dirty Larry and Tink offensively and defensively are beasts and all will recycle jammers to the point of exhaustion. The Team is a who’s who of men’s championship roller derby…our very own dream team. Even our coaches and managers Mark Muse, Slay-Ya , Meow and Val Capone are at the top of the game and will be guiding us and making sure we do not get in our own way. You probably will not be seeing any mind bending new strategies or crazy plays. What we hope you see is really solid text book roller derby done by really skilled guys on roller skates wearing stars and stripes.
By the time we get to England, it will be the first time that all of Team USA will all be together as one and playing against someone other than ourselves. That alone will be amazing and a dream. Now, a few days before the start of the first Men’s Roller Derby World Cup, I guess I allow myself to believe that it might actually really happen. Cheers. Tony Muse aka Peter Pan #3 USA and Your Mom Men’s Derby.