Almost three-and-a-half years ago, in May 2011, A2D2 played its first game ever. The league had been building up to that moment since its founding in 2010. It was a simple black-against-white game where each team consisted of a mix of players from the 30 or so women who were skaters at the time. We were determined; we were excited; we were ready to take on the world.
It was only a month or so later that the league’s official travel team, the Brawlstars, was formed, marking another major event. We were annihilated in the first game we played against another league, but it felt like a win. We played hard, and we learned a lot. We wanted to keep moving forward.
And we did. It’s now three-and-a-half years later, and we've reached yet another milestone! When the official April 2014 WFTDA rankings were released, we were on that list for the very first time!
And when the October 2014 rankings were released, our progress was evident. WE ARE OFFICIALLY #100 IN THE ENTIRE WFTDA! Breaking into the top 100 WFTDA leagues is an incredible accomplishment for our team and our league.
When I think back about playing in this league’s very first game, I am truly impressed by how much this league has progressed. We now have over 100 people on our league, three teams that play competitively, and a growing presence in both our local community and the global derby community. The Brawlstars have worked hard to grow from our unsure and inexperienced beginnings. We've come to train harder as a team and as individuals. We set goals, and we encourage each other to help the team reach them. And our diligent work has paid off.
So what does this ranking even mean? To be ranked #100 might not seem very impressive to the outsider, but it truly shows how far we’ve come in such a short time.
HOW ARE LEAGUES RANKED?
Every league is represented by their charter team, which competes with other charter teams in the rankings. A team’s ranking is based on their performance during the past year against other WFTDA teams.
WHEN ARE LEAGUES RANKED?
Once a league becomes fully sanctioned by WFTDA, they are eligible to be ranked after playing at least three games against other WFTDA leagues. Rankings are refreshed approximately every month by WFTDA to show each league’s progress.
WHY ARE LEAGUES RANKED?
Arguably the most important role of the WFTDA rankings is to determine which teams play in the WFTDA playoffs each fall. Teams #1-40 play in the Division 1 Playoffs, and teams #41-60 play in the Division 2 Playoffs.
So what does all of this mean for A2D2?
Because we graduated to an official WFTDA league in December 2013 and played our third official game against another WFTDA team in April, we were eligible to be placed in the public rankings shortly thereafter. When we received our premiere ranking, four other leagues were also newly placed in the rankings, but out of the crop of newly-placed leagues, we were BY FAR the most highly ranked — the other new leagues placed in the #180 region. Plus, we've moved up in the rankings since then! Also, we are still a very young league, which makes our ranking an even more impressive accomplishment. Consider this: Out of the 99 leagues ranked above us, only a small handful of them (five or so) were established during the same year as A2D2 (2010) or later. This places us among the elite few who have given the cliched-but-true trifecta of blood, sweat, and tears to become as good as possible as fast as possible.
These last several months representing our first rankings are only the beginning. As we continue to train hard and improve, we will continue to move up the list, overtaking our opponents and aiming to compete at a higher and higher level. You better keep your eye out for us at D2 Playoffs in the near future. Our trajectory of improvement since our humble beginning has been mind-blowing, and we haven’t paused in our growth since we started! This makes us a promising competitor for more established teams. This makes us an exciting league to watch. We are the underdog. We are the dark horse. WE ARE ANN ARBOR!
Update: As of the publish date of this post, November 17, 2014, A2D2 is unofficially ranked #58 in WFTDA, up from #83 last week, via Flat Track Stats.