So many of you have enjoyed our playoffs tournament coverage over the span of the last weeks. And we’ve been so glad to have you here with us.
You might be looking forward to the upcoming Champs in Portland as much as we are.
Or have perhaps enjoyed the consistent and comprehensive coverage for tournament after tournament all year long, every year since Derby Central began.
You may not know this yet, but you have one person to thank for this.
And her name is Deadwards
Across the last few weeks especially, we’ve been beyond glad of the quietly organizing force behind the words and images that you have seen on your screens right here, catching every play and penalty.
It’s that persistence and tenacity that keeps this website showing up for you and your constant curiosity about the kinds of roller derby that happen across the world on a weekly basis (sometimes in every part of the world, all on the same weekend).
She’s not just the reliable and relentless companion to my editorial daydreams (or nightmares), she is the point person for our photographers. The person who tracks teams and players across years of play. She’s also a cat enthusiast, the person who so many people come to in her landscape for support, and check-ins about the correct location or stat for that game.
But she doesn’t just work almost tirelessly on this site, managing to squeeze that little bit of extra focus and care for editorial details into every day.
After we established the website and set up our commitment to an editor’s eyes on every single piece before we hit ‘publish’, at no point has she swerved from this commitment, even when it would have been so easy to have felt like things were good enough, to hit that button, to not question that stat or rephrase that sentence, to send out something almost ready. It’s been a minimum standard of care, and one that even exhaustion has not queried. She’s also totally committed to supporting the mental health of all of the other people who have joined the team in whatever capacity.
For me, personally, it is the way that Deadwards is almost endlessly fascinated and knowledgeable about realms of play even outside the more obvious D1 WFTDA teams that really inspires me. The star-quality of play that people see in the top teams in the world are delightful and their own kind of glamorous and inspiring, but they aren’t Deadwards’ prime motivation.
She is enthused and enraptured by the ways that derby teams grow and expand, and their possibilities. By the movements through rankings, and the commitments teams make to get there – you can see this intimately in the profiles she did of the teams new to Playoffs play this year.
It’s for these – and so many other reasons – that a profile on her and her work seemed like the only way to go. We owe her endless thanks. Thank you from the bottom of my frustrating and overflowing heart, Deadwards.
Note: Editorial constraints (aka Deadwards eyes are everywhere) have meant that we’ve been unable to collect even a fraction of the many voices who would want to contribute to this piece. Below are a couple more voices, but if you have an image, a memory or a story to share, please do!