Modern Roller Derby not limited to the game.


I am not certain if Derby today is a microcosm of society or a different world of its own.

I am what would be called at fraternities and sororities,  a legacy.

My father invented the game, I promoted it, so I have some kind of association with the 2000 leagues and the people in them.

There are some who feel I really don’t have any,  but we are ignoring them for today.

so I have the unofficial title of The Commissioner, and when I show up at most games, tournaments, I am greeted warmly because to many I represent the history of one of America’s 3 sports, created by an American.  And I feel that I try to live up to the respect shown.

I have been part of the creation and/or development of sites that are helping many who need help; I am so delighted to be with Brown Paper Tickets, a company that is more interested in creating interest and developing clients than mere profit.

And they have supported the American Red Cross/Brown Paper Tickets/Roller Derby blood drives that we hope to expand across the country (see us at Rollercon); no profit there except saving hundreds of lives, and the leagues have responded so wonderfully.

I also when I can try to mentor those who contact me when appropriate.  I have so many close friends in so many parts of the world that I am in touch with on a regular basis  (my own time, not BPT’s).  Some have to do with skating, a lot doesn’t.

I kind of hate it when my role with them is ended; they can move on with their lives, but it is inevitable.

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And this is what modern Derby has given to me:  the very human touch of being part of something at far beyond the time one would expect.

I hope to see you at Rollercon, or the World Cup in Dallas, or wherever we meet.  I probably have more Derby love than anyone has a right to expect.

Please friend Hiroshi Koizumi (Mr. Japan Roller Derby)


Hiroshi was a star of the Japan rollergames team years ago.

But he has devoted himself to Roller Derby. He created a wild version (flying skaters, leg whips) and continued to skate at the Tokyo Dome after other versions disappeared.

He has helped the Modern Roller Derby women, and he was largely responsible for the men’s team which arrived short-handed and with little knowledge of the MRDA game to the World Cup, and their skill and persistence made them the crowd favorite.

He has worked hard to bring roller skating to the forefront in Japan, heading a youth sports day during the recent Tokyo Marathon and receiving special recognition from the Japanese government.

And he has big plans for Roller Derby in Japan in the future.

He has been in the US for the past few weeks, visiting teams and skaters in New York, Chicago, Vegas and others, and this weekend is at Battle of the Bank in San Diego. He was hosted in Los Angeles by Demolicous LADD and the people at the Doll Factory.

Not sure where else he is headed, but I know I will see my friend again in Northern California in mid July, and I hope he comes to Rollercon.

I and others believe he belongs in the National Roller Derby Hall of Fame.

He is a wonderful man, his posts are fun, and often written in Japanese with translation available.

So please ask him to be your facebook friend now and comment to him. He is a treasure of the skating game.

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.

is there a simple Derby solution?


When I saw the Chicago Red Hots play the Pennsylvania All Stars a few Saturdays ago near Chicago my eyes were opened to something.

It is no secret that i like certain aspects of the USARS rules because they remind me of our own, but frankly as seen by several of the games played in the recent nationals it looked undisciplined, spread out, and not a great skater awareness. Not in all the contests, but certainly in many of them.

But the Red Hots and All Stars played a very disciplined, fast, furious game with balls out (pardon, women) play and great pack action as the game was intended.

Well, who were these guys?

The Red Hots are composed of players from the Chicago and Indiana area who skate on other teams, but love the extra chance to play and the action of USARS….we are talking the likes of Kola Loka, Val Capone and others.

And the Pennsylvania All Stars: some of the Philly Rollergirls, Steel City and others throughout the state who just love to play the game and schedule against all rulesets and men’s teams. And V-Diva and others are no slouches.

I would love to see all skaters be able to skate against all others of equal ability. And I know many of you out there would like to test yourself against others, schedule more games you can play in and get more Derby!

So why doesn’t Ohio, California, Missouri, Ontario, etc put independent teams together (not losing their regular roster position) and let us see more open Derby action….this was the best game I have seen all year.

So contact Fernando Reguero of the Red Hots and V-Diva of the All Stars and find out how to get started and get it down…..I have no part of it except as the ultimate fan who wants to see this type of great skating action which I believe will excite and expand the fan base.

By the way, on May 24th the Red Hots have scheduled the champions of Mexico, Guadalajara, in their first USARS game…..tickets? at http://www.brownpapertickets.com of course.

Maybe we are on to something….the DIY sport is becoming even more DIY.