ARCH Update: We’re Still Here!

(Written by Muckety Muck – Announcer and Vice-President of Arch Rival Roller Derby)

Howdy, ARCH Nation! I hope you are staying safe in this wiggly world and keeping in stride by protecting yourself and others.

During these idle times, ARCH has been paying close attention to the operation of the roller derby universe while maintaining patterns of policy internally.

No doubt, our athletes miss the flat-track and competing in front of their families, friends and fans, but from the get-go, ARCH stresses that the safety of our skaters, officials, volunteers and audiences is our top priority.

When the local season was suspended in mid-March, ARCH knew the future would be uncertain. However, there was no overwhelming panic.

As a self-sustainable sports franchise that holds successful local seasons, the League knew that it will survive, pandemic be damned.

However, when skaters could return to play, or even practice, was anyone’s guess.

So here is an ARCH update as the League continues to cautiously grind through this minefield.

Keeping in compliance with local restrictions regarding indoor public gatherings, ARCH continues to suspend sessions and scrimmages at their local practice facility in South St. Louis City. That’s been the method since late-March as ARCH has yet to formally hold multi-person, on-skates functions.

Each skater is staying sharp with their own personal training while off-skate League activities have been relegated to ZOOM meetings. That’s the most that ARCH can do at this time.

A return to practice on-skates will be determined by future decisions by local officials regarding indoor public gatherings within the city. Keep in mind that a practice between two local ARCH teams – which includes bench coaches, officials and support personnel – reaches above 40 individuals.

Now imagine doubling that with the other two local teams participating. Obviously with the current limitations in place, we have a long way to go.

Once a future local benchmark for practice is met, ARCH then has to recognize the parameters of when a public event can be held. That would be dependent upon restrictions involving public gatherings in St. Louis County – as ARCH holds their events at Midwest Sport Hockey in Ballwin – as well as the governance of a “Return to Play” rule set forth by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).

For now, everything is kind of up in the air, but ARCH is patient. The League has been around since 2005 and once things start slowly opening up, we will make an inevitable return.

As of this writing, there is no formal announced schedule for a 2021 ARCH local season because it cannot be placed at this time. Multiple factors will determine a future docket and ARCH’s social media platforms will keep you up-to-date. In short, we’re not folding. We’ll be back!

With the suspension of the 2020 local season, several Arch Rival athletes had competed in their final jam for ARCH due to retirement. Some of these departures were already determined early in the season while some were decided during the pandemic.

Regardless of the situation, it was unfortunate that our awesome Leaguemates were not able to get a proper send-off in front of the fans. They deserved their chance to shine.

So we’d like to give online shout-out to our 2020 ARCH retirees (in alphabetical order): Bloody Gaga, Britney Spars, Cheap Trixie, Chicken, Chokehold Chanel, Downtown Dallis, Jam-It Ginger, JJ, Oliver Smacks, Poptart, Skulpix, Slamgelina Jolie, Snotface and T-Bex.

We thank these athletes for their dedication to the League and there will always be a free ticket for them on Alumni Night!

As far as travel team play goes, the situation is similar. The Arch Rival All Stars, currently ranked fifth internationally, have also not held practices and will not compete in any WFTDA-sanctioned games until further notice. The governing body postponed the entire 2020 post-season and decided that all rankings would remain locked until play resumes.

Another bummer since the All Stars, who competed in the bronze medal game at Champs last November, was primed to make a legitimate run at the Hydra Cup – the WFTDA’s trophy awarded annually – and was set to compete against three Top 10 teams at the locally-hosted “Sibling Rivalry” this past summer.

However, perseverance will pay off down the road and once competitive play returns on a global level, you can bet that ARCH will be right there in the thick of things.

The Nemesis and Fleur-De-Linquents travel teams will also make future returns as well once play resumes.

While ARCH is off-skates, the League is still engaged with the community by holding numerous charity auctions that have benefitted local non-for-profits. If you have participated, thank you for the support!

We also want to give a shout out to our 2020 sponsors that have supported us: Planned Parenthood, Taco Circus, Schlafly Beer, Turn Left SkatePro, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, BAR: PM, Flowers and Weeds, Triad Sports & Family Chiropractic, Handlebar STL and Brick City Yoga. Please make the opportunity to support these awesome associates!

Finally, ARCH wants to send continuous support to retired skater the Siege, a three-time, trophy-hoisting buzz saw that competed with the League for seven seasons. One of the League’s most-popular athletes during our evolution, she has bravely fought cancer the past five years and we wish her loving support.

ARCH’s future on the flat-track is unknown…but we fully know that we’ll be up and rolling once we can resume.

And we know that you’ll be with us as well!

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Muckety Muck

Muckety Muck has been a co-announcer for Arch Rival Roller Derby since 2008. Writes Arch Rival previews and recaps for Arch City Sports, a St. Louis-based sports website.

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