Protected: Three Derby rulesets in one weekend! I better get going!


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Busiest Derby week of year, and Val on my mind


I have to say I will be pulling for the Bay Area Derby Girls in the Championships…..frankly, I don’t know if anyone can beat Gotham. It reminds me of what a prominent sportswriter said in the Sandy Koufax era: “He belongs in a higher league.”

As I gave blood Saturday at the BAD girls drive in San Francisco I was aware that they had a scrimmage that morning in Oakland in preparation for the regionals and wasn’t sure if they could make it; and they did, and we had a record amount of donations which put us over the top of last year with the help of the 9 Derby Leagues.

love them BAD girls: http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=9XfEH4r8coE&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D_cAs891AD1s%26feature%3Dshare

BAD really came through, with appearances on CBS (if you missed them on channel 5, reporter Roberta Gonzales will be doing a special report on October 3, before our final drive date in Rohnert Park on October 18), and other promotions.

And last Saturday Val Capone was so much on my and everyone else’s mind as she continued her recovery from the horrible Crohns attack, but like the spoiled kid she is, she wanted to be at Riot Fest in Denver, and every other possible activity….good to hear she went to the Red Hots and Bruise Brothers scrimmage and did walking while there.

the one and only Val: https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/s640x640/10614265_840784379299560_389014403991346266_n.jpg?oh=04414350fa554c301e191b977dd7b63b&oe=54C94B3C&__gda__=1422091499_81baab9be07c12fc07a60b166c2c2446

I hope to see her at the men’s tourney in Seattle on October 17, if we both make it.

And I have to give Windy City great kudus for winning the most exciting game I have seen this year against a heavily favored Texas team, 176-173; and although they lost in the final game of the regional to London (what a powerhouse!), they and Texas will also be at the Championships…..don’t know if I will be going this year, I keep checking the mail.

And what a Roller Derby weekend coming up: On Saturday I am taking the publisher of the Petaluma Argus Courier (check out their website, quite an amazing publication) to see her first game, as the Resurrection Roller Girls take on Shasta from far northern California…..I was able to buy my tickets easily of course through Brown Paper Tickets.

And on Sunday, off to Stockton for the USARS Nationals……anxious to see Oly play again and the Pennsylvania all stars with V-Diva and, one of the most exciting teams I have ever seen in modern Derby. I will be presenting the Seltzer Cup (in honor of the man who invented this sport way back in 1935) to the eventual champion. And this may also be the first major exposure of coed play on live streaming.

They are probably the third choice, but my sentimental favorite has to be the Chicago Red Hots now with Kola Loka and Doc Josie…my friend D is on the squad and Fernando Regueiro is GM….but to me it is Val’s team…..I have to wear the Red Hot shirt so I am certain all will understand.

You all can watch on pay tv, check out the USARS page to find out the site…..for some reason, not a lot of free games on tv anymore…..you don’t appreciate what you have until you miss them.

Now someone tell me how I can get Leo to watch.

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, ┬áBill 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….

are you ready to shoot the Derby messenger?


The good news: with this post I have officially passed 300,000 readers of my blog since I first starting posting it.

The disturbing news? This subject will stir up the pot again.

Last weekend my first modern derby league had their season ending championship. It doesn’t really matter who won, what matters to me is that the 9500-seat UIC Pavilion looked quite empty.

OK, so if you bought the best ticket, $35, you paid a $6.50 (!!!!) service fee to Ticketmaster, but you could save money by buying tickets in advance from any WCR player, so that is a small part of the issue. And there were general admission tickets for $15 plus service charge; $10 if you bought in advance from a player.

A friend of mine who lives in Glenview, my old home town northwest of Chicago was there. “It was boring”, he said. Ouch. “Players just scored points in bunches with little or no opposition.”

How can Roller Derby, the hard-hitting, fast paced game on skates be boring? I will not relate what the game has become since 2010 where the slow game became more or less the official strategy…..skaters may love it, fans (outside of friends and family) don’t. And the question is, if they come one time will they come back?

Hey, if I were a jammer I would love it if I could score 100 points a game; but the game is about a team of 5 players who work together to keep the other team from scoring and get your own jammer out and help her score. Why do players stop, go backwards, and just stand aside? And why are many, if not most jams with just one skater, getting (to me) very cheap points by just skating around endlessly. And has the 30-second penalty rule really changed the game? I don’t think so. I am waiting for WindyMan to present the statistics. And now many players are upset that by allowing clockwise skating, chest and other injuries will occur.

OK, on my facebook page is twelve minutes of women skating from 55 years ago. Probably not what many of you expect, and how many in today’s game are in this kind of condition. if you have time, check it out.

The game is for the skaters…..rule changes in WFTDA take a long time to be adjusted, and if you are a skater benefiting from the rules, and you vote on them….isn’t it obvious what will not happen.

I was discouraged when I saw the USARS championship two years ago in Fresno. The game appeared to be untidy, pack strung out, only OLY a very good team; players unsure of how to use the pivot position. Then a few weeks ago I saw the Chicago Red Hots play the Pennsylvania all stars, two teams of primarily WFTDA skaters from the Windy City Rollers, Rockford, Philly, Steel City and more and the USARS rules really worked……rarely more than a few points on a scoring play, great pack action and the speed of all the players was wonderful…..the game could be considered a blow out, 91-31, but the pack action and play kept the fans enthralled, and few if any left.

I would love to see great players who are capable and want to skate all styles of play forming teams in California, Texas, New York, etc to play all rule sets; the PA All Stars play WFTDA, MADE, OSDA, and now USARS. I know that not all can play this fast game (One of the players from Indiana told me in Cicero that in 20 minutes she skates more and harder than in her home league games), but why not present the best of you to the fans and hopefully they won’t say the game is boring. And the more players learn and play other types of Derby, eventually a game should evolve with the best of all rulesets (in a perfect world).

Yes, many places – LA Derby Dolls, Gotham, BAD, skate a faster more crowd exciting game under the WFTDA rules…..but certainly not all…..if attendance was skyrocketing everywhere then you certainly don’t need to pay attention. The problem is probably more than just the ruleset.

But I think many of you had better look at what is going on and try to address it. At least start talking about what may make your league better.