Many factors have resulted in 2018 being the most busy year for Roller Derby since the sport has existed. (2018 has been an event packed year outside of Roller Derby too, of course, and some of those factors overlap.)
Worldwide Growth and Connection
Roller Derby has continued to spread across the world, and become more international in scope and vision. This is reflected not just in the increasing size of all three Roller Derby World Cup events in the past year, each of which increased both their number of participating teams and the geographical variety represented by them, but also in changes to attitude and organisation across the sport. WFTDA's new "Continental Cup" competitive structures are an admission and response to the increased importance of Roller Derby outside the continental USA,
[New teams for 2018 WCs:
RDWC: Team Romania, Team Poland, Team Russia, Team Czech Republic, Team Indigenous, Team Puerto Rico, Team IRN (nee Iran), [Team Baltic, Team Israel]
MRDWC: Team Poland,
New teams for future WCs:
RDWC: Team India (nee Desi), Team Uruguay, Team Lebanon, Team Hungary?, (Jewish Roller Derby), [Team Latvia?, Team Israel]
MRDWC: Team Middle East, Team Russia, ]
WFTDA World Survey. People talking more in general.
Outside of the governing bodies' competitive structures, there's been just as much (and just as important) development in National competitions and quasi-national competitions of similar scope. The joint largest National series - the United Kingdom's "British Championships" and France's "Championnat de France" - continued much as they have in previous years, as did the most established National tournaments (in Mexico, Sweden and Finland), with Colombia's equally old series returning from quiescence this year too. As well as the other existing championships in Germany, Northern Finland (Pohjola), Spain, Netherlands, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and Brazil, we also have had the first ever Belgian Championship, an additional "States" tournament for Australia, and a short-format Tokyo-metropolitan series. (Depending on how you view it, the Pan-Asian Spring Rollers ongoing "travel" series could also become something like this.). More about the actual National Tournament winners in our special overview post here.
Tools and Accessibility
There have also been positive developments in tools which help Roller Derby to grow and support more teams. In the literal sense, this includes Namur Roller Derby's second web-based tool - the league management tool "TrackKarma" - which we have a video review of here.
Another tool which has seen a revival has been the "Carolina Roller Derby Scoreboard" (usually referred to as "the CRG Scoreboard"). With the retirement of Rinxter, and a significant uptick in development driven by Dublin Roller Derby's Brain of Terror and Riff Reff, amongst others, CRG has become the de-facto Scoreboard and data system for most of the major tournaments this year. From the Roller Derby World Cup in February, through to the . Improvements in performance, statistics tracking, and more professional overlays for streams, have all come this year, and development continues apace. (CRG Scoreboard is also an open-source project, which is also important for the community.)
However, we are equally excited by the advent of Short Track Roller Derby. We've previously discussed this new reduced-resources version of our sport here, but since then, even more regions and leagues have explored it as an option. In Canada and North America, ruleset creators Rolla Skate Club have been helping to promote amongst interested teams, whilst in Europe, teams in Scotland have begun using it in training, and Russia's White Night Furies have adopted it wholeheartedly for a series of planned outreach tournaments in 2019! With Roller Derby Dubai also adopting the ruleset, and additional interest in Belgium, Poland and New Zealand (just of the places we are directly aware of), we expect 2019 to be a very exciting year for this ruleset, as it enables more leagues to play more derby, more easily.
Recognition of the sport: BBC (RDWC, British Champs, W ECC), national media in general (off of various things), What A Bout magazine.
Things in Patagonia - those bootcamps etc
New teams in countries: Estonia, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Uruguay, ...
Loss of information - it's hard to find info about teams / that teams even exist / use of rating and ranking schemes / translation and accessibility issues
"Derby Businesses" - growth of? sponsorship by? [implicit bias?], consumer protection issues?