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…..you are the future.

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


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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….

you are 79, whither thou skateth?


In spring of 1935 Leo Seltzer was having dinner in Ricketts restaurant with his managers from the walkathon he was operating. He had taken over the management of the Chicago Coliseum and was starting to book events in the historic arena: the site of many of Chicago’s shows and expositions, including the 1896 Democratic National Convention.

They were discussing what to book after the “walkie” ran its course in the summer. The building was not air conditioned (none were at that time) so there were no tenants looking for a place to book.

Leo had just read a factoid in the (now defunct) Literary digest: that over 90% of all Americans roller skated at some time in their life. “You know”, he said, “we could make a roller skating game.” The others scoffed: “Leo, that is the craziest idea you have ever had, and you have had a few”

So on August 13, 1935, he presented the first Roller Derby to Chicago and the world: a marathon on skates, a team a man and a woman, and the object over 30 days to skate across America (as pictured by a map on the wall with electric lights), and the first couple to achieve it would receive a prize of $500.

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/roller-skating-derby-in-new-york click link to see the original marathon.

So approximately 10 couples took off on a race to nowhere in a game that has evolved, survived several shutdowns, and today is played by almost 2000 women, men and junior leagues in 49 countries.

And very soon the game will be 79 years old and the birthday will be celebrated by leagues everywhere.

Rollercon this year showed the maturity of the modern game. (by the way, next year Rollercon will be 10, Roller Derby 80; how will Ivanna deal with the convergence?). Every day there were game after game, showing the diversity of the rules, the players, and enjoyed by all on hand.

But all is not serene in skateland. Those who have read my previous post and the comments of Sandi Mustang Johnson on her facebook page know that there is some discontent throughout the skate world. And all who participate should look at the problems, if you acknowledge there are any.

In the discussions generated by the previous postings, the following seem to be of the greatest concern:

1. The game had become boring to fans and spectators, and attendance was decreasing sharply in many areas.

2. As the sport keeps growing, there were too many leagues in compacted areas.

3. The smaller leagues were suffering because of the rankings, and perhaps the rules should be modified for leagues not in the top tier,

4. Perhaps there should be clear divisions, with the larger cities in the top tier, and the smaller in a lower tier, only completing amongst themselves.

And more, which you are welcome to add to.

Some skaters only want to train and skate games and do not want to be encumbered with fund raising, ticket selling, or concerned with the costs of presenting games to the public, which brings up the valid point, should many leagues even be in the “promoting” business. The examples of softball and soccer were brought up: why not just play for fun, not charge admission, and exist by the dues of the players and contributions by family, friends, and sponsors?

Obviously some leagues are doing well, and can sell tickets and merchandise and get sponsorships so they can support travel teams, etc. But others complain of difficulty in scheduling because of venue availability, other leagues in the area playing the same dates, and when the emphasis is on the travel team, the lesser players – who pay their dues and fulfill all the functions – have a lesser role.

At 79 reality is really settling in……should there be a quick rule modification to satisfy skaters and fans (unlikely), should leagues in compacted areas merge? Should you consider other rule sets?

If you are facing any of the problems stated, or know others, it may be the right time to try to come up with solutions. Some leagues in Canada and Australia have formed regional leagues to help with scheduling and meaningful competition. Some players (V-Diva from the Philly Roller girls) have formed independent teams to go around and play other rule sets, and some like Teresa TC Mueller and her cohorts have formed Detour Derby, a no drama, no cost to players event that occurs once a week in Colorado….and on and on. And let us not forget the LA Derby Dolls and TXRD for making the skaters and fans happy.

If survival without stress is a concern, take some time to look at your options.

Happy Birthday.