Roller Derby, World Cup and more….upon reflection

I think it has taken at least a week to try and process the amazing, overwhelming effect of the World Cup.

Obviously, great praise to the four finalists, Canada, Australia, England and the USA;  there is no doubt that the USA team was the best compilation of players ever, but it also is obvious the rest of the world is getting closer in the ability to play Roller Derby.

And how could you not love the presence and efforts of the other 26 leagues.  Many had to overcome such obstacles to even get to Dallas; yet you know that this tournament was a defining moment in their lives.

And for me also.

There is no doubt that I have felt the game must be changed to be successful as a fan favorite.  But I was shown to forget that aspect in Dallas by the players themselves.  Whether Chilean or South African or Puerto Rican or Welsh, these people owned this game and loved it.

And isn’t that really the important thing about modern Derby?

As time goes by, the game will evolve to what the players want, and I and others am certainly free to comment upon it as we would on any other sport.

But during my endless conversations with members of almost all the teams represented, it became more and more obvious that this game connects them to what is really important in their lives, whether in the Outback or in Paris or in London or Sao Paolo.

There was such love and sharing in Dallas amongst people who never knew each other before but were joined forever.

I apologize.

And the games will continue. Thanks to all of you.

The best era for Old School Derby and how I learned to promote the hard way.

Jerry Seltzer:

a little bit of history and the real story.

Originally posted on

In 1959 at the age of 56 Leo Seltzer decided to shut down Roller Derby.

It was getting to be too much aggravation, the managers were inept (skaters were great), and he was involved in a land project (scheme) in Lancaster California, about 70 miles north of LA.

The common story is that he turned Roller Derby over to his 26-year old son.  That is not true.  I approached him and said I thought I could make a go of it.  He said fine, but he couldn’t help.

So with an initial funding of $500 and the use of the tracks, uniforms, and the cooperation of skaters who wouldn’t be paid until we started making money, I revived the game in Northern California.  At that time an independent television station had come on the air and needed programming….a marriage made in heaven.  We were able to promote our games (a…

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The World Cup, just indescribable.

First of all, I have no one photo that can encompass it…..if you go to my facebook page and others, you will get some concept of this astonishing event.

Picture a room the size of a dozen football fields….imagine three skating stadiums with grandstand seating each holding up to 2500 poeple…..imagine a wide mall of “shops” with every need a skater could have. imagine 100 yards of tables with representatives from the 30 countries selling their merchandise, and you still can’t really picture what Robin Graves and her support people engineered.

And thousands show up from everywhere, needing hotels, transportation and entertainment. And so many great volunteers, NSO’s, officials, referees, announcers, Dr Richard Fox and other medics and almost no hitches. No, not the Super Bowl: just the second Women’s World Cup.

You know I was a promoter for many years…..I could not have pulled this off.

And the event itself: teams from South Africa, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Japan West Indies, etc. whom you might have considered outclassed, but they all showed such amazing courage and class…..some of the games? Imagine the Seattle Seahawks playing the local middle school flag football team. But Puerto Rico who was demolished by the USA 800 plus (ouch) to 3 got a standing ovation and roar from the enormous crowd when they scored those three points and I met with them afterwards and they were crying and joyous and anxious to learn and get ahead.

Can you imagine walking in a casbah where everyone is intermingling and you hear so many languages and yet everyone is the same, if you understand me.

Discouraged? Szerdi Nagy from South Africa whose team had a very rough time (and they had to raise so much money and fly 24 hours to get to Dallas) cooly told me that how much her team had learned, how they took notes and would study the videos of the tournament, and were so happy to be there.

For all the multi-hundreds of poinr beatings that were in the tournament (not matter what you say, I still don’t like it), there were those amazing moments, especially when the lower-seeded teams played each other in the consolation games. And Argentina upsetting France, which no one expected….and of course the final four of Canada, Australia, England and USA provided great championshp competition……and the US beating England by just 100 points (still sounds weird to me…love to see shorter jam times), shows some in the world are getting closer.

So thankful for the Junior game….shows just how great the young talent is out there, and the all star game was so much fun.

And what really blew me away is that I could never walk ten feet without someone from all of the countries stopping me for a photo or discussion which shows the reach of social media….I was so honored that I am the symbol of my father’s creation in its present form. A lot of snaps on my home page.

You all know there are certain aspects of the game I am not crazy about, but so what. What I saw was a sport that in its intrinsic honesty and particpation is untouched by anything else out there, and the competitors are all sisters in the truest sense.

And even though I work for them, I have to credit Brown Paper Tickets (even though they did not handle this event) for the support in having Bob Noxious set up the marvelous announcing crew from around the world (note to a few from an old-time announcer, please never shout into the mic….modulate) and allowing me to be there.

Oh, and I have been invited to be on hand in some capacity for the men’s World Cup in Calgary. I hung with Peter Pan, another amazing asset to the sport.

I feel it is a shame that the large part of the world doesn’t know or understand what Roller Derby is……meanwhile the bumble bee, which science tells us shouldn’t be able to fly, just spreads its happy wings and buzzes along.

WFTDA, USARS, MADE, Renegade and particular the individuals pursuing this sport, I love you all… are the future.

Roller Derby in Hollywood

Jerry Seltzer:

how much fun was Roller Derby in Hollywood durin g the golden era? and did I really skate with the real Munchkins? click on the link.

Originally posted on

When school would get out in Portland, we knew our annual summer trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco was coming.  I am talking about from when I can remember, circa 1938 to 1940 (when the War came, we didn’t drive down).

My father and Uncle Oscar would come from Chicago or wherever Roller Derby was operating, and the families composed of my dad, mother, sister Gloria, my uncle, aunt Agatha, and cousins Lloyd and Bob, and my grandfather David and grandmother Celia would caravan to Los Angeles first and then eventually to San Francisco.

We would go casually down Highway 101 through the redwoods and all the beautiful coastline, stopping at every tourist attraction from driving through a redwood and Trees of Mystery (oooo, scary) to the big Orange, etc.  As I recall, we usually rented a place in Santa Monica so we would be by the beach.  …

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