Breaking News: All meet to work together to assure future of Roller Derby


I never thought it would happen, and I don’t know how they managed to keep it quiet…..there were so many involved.

It was at the Palmer House in Chicago Saturday and Sunday.

There were the heads of WFTDA, USARS, MADE, MRDA, JRDA (including Claire Ashcroft from the UK!), and a rep from Renegade Derby. And reps from Roller Derby in Australia, Canada, UK, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden and I am not sure where else. And of course April Ritzenhaler from TXRD and Demolicious from LADD.

Val wasn’t there, but I saw Juanna Rumbel; Jane Hammer and Demanda Riot; Suzy; Lara Irons (Hot Wheels); Sandi Mustang Johnson (the troublemaker): Elle Hoar (who has put together a regional league in Canada); Tony Muse; Justice Feelgood Marshall; Szerdi Nagy(South Africa); Angie Kls from France; Elektra Q Tion; Ivanna S Pankin; Brandy Rettig; Teresa TC Miller; Carly Marie; from original Derby: Loretta Behrens, Judy Arnold, Cliff Butler, John Hall, all of whom have worked in training modern Derby skaters (I guess Buddy Atkinson, Jr couldn’t make it); Debbie Rice, Mark Weber, and Quadzilla from Rollerjam and today, and more….sorry I can’t list you all.

and the purpose of the conference (believe it or not!): to all work together to present a combined front in 2015 so that the Game would work for all; leagues big and small, the fans, and of course, the skaters.

On hand to serve as chairwoman and chairperson: Mia Hamm and Andy Dolich. Mia of course brought women athletes to the forefront with her abilities in the Olympics (and did a lot for sports bras also). Andy, the former marketing and operating head for the Oakland Athletics, Golden State Warriors, and consultant to the 49ers now heads his own sports firm and has always recognized the potential of Roller Derby. And Marsha Jordan from ABC TV Chicago and other members of the press were there, including Robin Graves, Vic “Moxie”, Five on Five, and Hit and Miss, and Rollin’ News.

Also there as observers and possible contributors, Windyman, Bob Noxious, Judi Flowers,Erin “Lucy dynamite” Loggia, Donna “The Hot Flash” Kay,  Bill Yates, Frank Deford and others.

there was a general session on Saturday morning, defining the areas to be covered: rules, operating standards, marketing, officiating, and more. Then there were breakout sessions: Rules to try to combine the best (from the skaters and fans view) rules to make the game more accessible: should jams be 1 minute, 90 seconds, 2 minutes long? Should all skaters be permitted to block at all times? how could the rules be simplified for less penalties, should there be a limit on scoring an any play? Should there be different levels of rules depending on the quality of the leagues? As you can see, a very difficult agenda.

One group was dealing with the problem of supersaturation in market areas: could leagues be combined? should there be mini leagues in geographical areas to increase fan interest? and of course more.

Another was focused on marketing, ticket sales, and merchandising, with Bob Noxious and Judi Flowers and Andy Dolich lending their expertise.

There was a wonderful dinner in the Empire Room Saturday night, sponsored of course by Scott Riegelman of Riedell…..and everyone got along so well…there appeared to be great progress. There were to be two more breakout sessions on Sunday, and then the final gathering Sunday afternoon to try to present and vote on actual procedures to be put in place.

I was seated between Hot Wheels and Szerdi Nagy; suddently I couldn’t hear anything because of the incessant barking.

And that damn Bishop woke me up….

Thunder Road, Etta James, Judi and me


Jerry Seltzer:

The good news: Frank Deford’s classic 5 Strides on the Banked Track is coming out as an ebook on March 25, and this was the night he and Willie, and Roger Ebert, The Smothers Brothers, and my “friends” roasted me……too damn many memories to keep track of.

Originally posted on RollerDerbyJesus.com:

Thunder Road is a teenage drug and alcohol center in Oakland that is so much more.  It includes family counseling activities and training for life.

My friend, Joel Selvin, rock critic for the San Francisco Chronicle went to the center to help establish a music department and ended up being a huge supporter.  He put together an annual “Roast and Jam” at San Francisco’s oldest nightclub and invited local celebrities to be “roasted” and local musicians, who probably had similar problems as the kids, to perform.  He was able to have Van Morrison, Sammy Hagar, Huey Lewis, the Doobies, and on and on show up.  And Herbie Herbert, manager of Journey, became a mainstay of the roasters.

Bill Graham, Joel, Sammy Hagar and others were roasted, and I think Joel ran out of victims and asked me to be skewered.  I was an easy target because my computerized ticketing company…

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From Roller Derby to Rollercon


transcontinental-roller-derby-opening-night-august-13-1935.jpg (1024×731).

Above is the image of the very first Roller Derby, August 13, 1935.

And last week was the fifth Rollercon I attended.

Photo: Rollercon Black & Blue Ball

It seems light years since the first event; but what both have in common is the intensity to compete.

I hate to disappoint many of you, but if you think Rollercon is a 5 day party you have no concept of why people are there.

It is amazing that athletes who are doing what they love take time from their work or lives – often at great hardship – to attend the most intensive boot camp, training school, games (some skate 3 or 4 a day!), to better play the game that brings all 5000 of them together.

Photo: Admin Silence of the Jams and Demanda Riot at Rollercon!

Those who attend sure enjoy themselves in the other activities (including the great parties and hugging of the Commissioner), but they are there to skate, learn to skate better, and enhance their skills.

The games are amazing; almost all full-bore; fully engaged as the game was intended, and getting off the track exhausted and exhilarated.  Old rivalries fought at the highest level (RMRG vs Denver Dolls, for example).  And often where you least expected:  The over 40 game was a barn burner; coed, full speed (damn Pitchit is fast), blocking and engaging over and over (Hot Wheels is not just a glamour puss, but one hell of an athlete), and really played with the skill that age game bring.  And the USARS game was an eye opener to many; closer to the original rules…..and fast, fast, fast.

At the USARS championship last year I asked Sassy of Oly if everyone could play USARS….she said they could, but many wouldn’t because it is too hard and requires great conditioning.  And MADE and OSDA skate virtually the original rules (all 4 pages….for those who haven’t seen them, take three minutes to watch a demo on you tube, Roller Derby Rules 1970)

And yet I saw WFTDA matches where the skaters were there to play, and there was no purposeful disengagement, even on (ugh) powerjams, and the fans loved it.

Just shorten the jams by at least 30 seconds, allow the pivot to do what I created the position to do (jam after a jammer breaks from the other team) and penalize the player and not the helmet, and see what a difference it would make.

I really didn’t believe there were at least 1000 of you I hadn’t met, but I did break my own hugging record in just the first two days; I got to become Donna “thehotflash” first Derby wife and she my third – although she became quite jealous after the ceremony and stood between me and all others.

Photo: Soooo cute...!!! The happy couple about to take their vows at the 2013 RollerCon Derby Wedding, Donna with Jerry Seltzer

Photo

And I did dance off, pants off, and wore my 26-year-old safari jacket to the fabulous Riedell party (one of the many great sponsors who really support Rollercon) and not only did I get great photos at the Black and Blue soiree, but some great lady gave me a standing lap dance that I will remember for quite a while.

I attended as many things as I could, and Bob Noxious and I hosted a packed house seminar on marketing and building attendance…..there is so much more you can do that is free with Brown Paper Tickets and I think we demonstrated that to our group, many of whom used BPT.  I think Bob got a video of the two hours, but will know later.

And I want to welcome Tony Muse and the Roller Derby Skate Company to Rollercon.  These skates were originally the only ones designed for Roller Derby years back, and he figured it was time to re-emerge with a wonderful new product.  Check them out.  They have been producing Roller, In-Line, Ice, skateboards and other products for years and have a great reputation.  And guess who was the first salesman Sales Manager George Sloniger hired way back when?   You betcha.

And I have to thank the amazing Doug Martin, who hosted me in the Roll Models booth.  He is a great guy, and his sublimated uniforms bring a professionalism to the sport that I think it needs for those who really want it to become what it should be.

And Lara (Hot Wheels) is such a great representative of Crazy skates, and you will see an interview she did with me on my facebook page…..I had to learn to speak Australian to do it.

http://youtu.be/GRAOzBWbsqA

I could go on and on, but can only give credit to Ivanna and Trish and Salsa Picante and the dozens of others who keep this thing going.  It really is the best thing in Derby today!  And the amazing crew including Sten and Michelle from Brown Paper tickets who sorted out the logistic nightmare of ticketing this event.  and what great tee shirts they gave away!

And I want to thank all of you who gave me even more shirts to add to my collection…..I will try to wear them all.

I will be at the BPT, Roller Derby, American Red Cross Blood Drives over the next few weeks….what a wonderful project!

But by God I will be back in Vegas next week, with Derby wife #4, and those who didn’t come and take advantage of at least some of the plus 400 events there were part of it, please do next year…I really want to meet you all!

Don’t be terrified of Rollercon, be happy; you are entering Derby Nirvana


It starts Wednesday.  the most well-organized chaos imaginable.

When you see Ivanna and Trish and the few who seem like many who have put this Kraken of an event together, bow, nod your head, whatever, to show your appreciation.  There has never been anything like it.

Bitch about some things if you want, but what if you were in charge?  And things that caused delays or anguish in previous years have been dealt with:  entrance to classes simplified, help everywhere.  And how would you plan to house and schedule over 400 different activities for 5000 people flocking in from all over the Derby world?

Pardon me for thanking Sten Iverson and his great crew from Brown Paper Tickets (plug) for processing the ticketing, the badges and all.  Stop by the BPT booth and he might even have something for you, and of course you will probably see Bob Noxious and the Commissioner.

The energy is amazing.  You come here with a purpose.  You don’t see slackers.  You see those who want to make the game become what the promise holds;  those who want to skate better, NSO better, announce better, whatever.  Unfortunately, I can’t get better because I am at my peak (Oh really…..what the hell do you do?)

And meanwhile all of you continue to serve good causes; the raffle, the donation boxes for Scarlicious, and what ever is out there for your worldwide community, you support.  And I hope we can expand the American Red Cross-Brown Paper Tickets-Roller Derby blood drives across America.  It starts this Saturday at Resurrection Roller Derby in Rohnert Park and  6 other days are scheduled in August, more to come in September in Northern California.

I look around and can’t tell if you are from Christchurch, Des Moines, Bogota…..there seems to be an amazing relationship that unifies a world of skaters.  Please take advantage of this binding over the 5 days handed to you by this event.

Below is one of 10 amazing Lucy D shirts by Gamegear.  Sublimated, design lasts forever (remember, I do tend to exaggerate).  wonderful non-odor bearing material.

Photo: it truly is better...at the very least less long term painful to get knocked down than knocked up...get to meet Jerry Seltzer, check out the Game Gear/ Seltzer Brand/ Roll Models lineup and get a sweet high performance shirt with sublimated printing to last as long as your shirt

My calendar? greeting as many of you as I can; being with Judi and the others in the Roll Model, Gamegear, Seltzer brand booth in the main hail; sometimes at the BPT booth; hanging with Baon Wolman (www.baronwolman.com), one of the great photographers who just happened to wander to our arena from the Haight/Ashbury crowd and capture classic photos of Derby; bringing Frankie Macedo and Judi to Karaoke; putting on what is left of my safari gear (Judi and I did the Kenya thing 25 years ago) for the fabulous Riedell party; stopping by the Roller Derby Skate Company booth, which my uncle and father started over 60 years ago;  and checking out all the great vendors and booths, including Blood and Thunder magazine who is right next to us (I do a column for Robin).

By the way, Baron is bring 4 sets of different photos…..he will sell and sign them.  (you will realize what a bargain you are getting when you go to his site and see what he gets for individual photos.)

Photo: And here is Number Two.

taking a new Derby wife, the amazing Donna “thehotflash” Kay, and then taking my pants off and dancing; hanging with my derby-over-40 homies  at the Victoria Pub on Friday evening; heading up the marketing (how to increase attendance) seminar with the powerful Bob Noxious Saturday at noon, #114; hugging Val, my first Derby wife; and catching all  and seminars and fun that I can and joining the continuous pool party.  Searching out at least two blondes:  The amazing Crazy Skates lady from OZ:  Lara Irons!   And my long time Bont friend and donor of the most amazing jacket:  Debbie Rice.  And obviously every other blonde, brunette and redhead out there (just kidding, Judi).

Please come and hug me, talk to me, take a photo, buy a book!  And I will update via twitter (@jeryseltzer), facebook (Jerry Seltzer), and of course here on WordPress (www.rollerderbyjesus.com), and writing my impressions for the UK’s Lead Jammer magazine. And I will be checking my new LG mobile device……..modern media isn’t going to overwhelm me.

To quote the great Ernie Banks:  can’t we just play a double header?