first of all, Happy Holidays, i.e. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, and Saturnalia

I have a lot to be thankful for in my life.

But today I will confine it to Roller Derby.

It has been a great thing for my life. I took over the game my father invented, and further developed it as a great entertainment for America, Canada, and Mexico. It was a business built to entertain the public, but along the way I met and employed some of the greatest men and women athletes that I could have known, was a real fan of the game and enjoyed with the audience the fury and excitement and speed of these great banked track skaters.

And I made a living! Actually not as good as when I became part of the ticketing industry, but at 26 I worked for myself and employed a hundred people, and saw America and met so many people in so many regions. Our games were seen on 110 tv stations, we played at (and sold out) all the major arenas and some of the major stadia. And I made one huge mistake: running this enterprise as a family business with no partners and when the economy sunk us, I had no one to turn to for additional resources, so I had to shut it down.

I am proud that all the skaters and employees were paid; we supplied all uniforms, skates, per diem and medical injuries coverage (paid while off), transportation and hotels when on the road….a decent salary for the 60’s and 70’s, and probably the first sport to have profit sharing for the employees…..when we shut down, the skaters and employees (to their surprise) received a payout of anywhere from $5000 to $60,000, depending on their pay scale and length of employment And our ticket prices: $1 to $3. Larry Smith started his business with his pay out…..some blew tens of thousands of dollars partying…and this was 1973.

So I went into the ticket distribution business (never scalping), and what I learned in promoting Roller Derby carried over into BASS Tickets and eventually Ticketmaster. And including Brown Paper Tickets (the best!), that covered the next 40 years of my work life.

So 10 years ago Gary Powers, after starting (and maintaining) the National Roller Derby Hall of Fame, hosted the 70th anniversary of Roller Derby dinner in Chicago, and who showed up for the evening but dewy-eyed Val Capone and the fledgling Windy City Rollers, and we all saw their game the next night, and that started a period of revitalization of my life and association with Roller Derby.

I felt so welcome and was invited to Rollercon in Las Vegas (and Judi provided over 300 pair of her Bonjour Fleurette flower slippers,featured on Sex and the City and Oprah), and Loretta Behrens and I addressed the attendees about the old and new days…..then I was invited to Rollercon in Portland (my home and the home of my father, the creator of Derby) and once again the welcome mat was out.

I was invited to the Bay Area Derby girls games and went when I could, and of course to Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sacramento for area games. And the nationals in Chicago (where I had gone to college) were a real treat.

Then the bottom kind of dropped out on weird instances that I have no desire to relate. I found I was resented (and even hated) by some (most I didn’t know) because I represented THAT Roller Derby, I guess. When I got over the incident, I just continued on seeing and supporting the people in the game, and they know who I am and how I relate to today….I have over 12,000 friends and followers on facebook and twitter and many more on my blog.

But this is not about me and my travails. I have seen very specifically in the last few months statements this year, by at least one person that I completely respect, that modern derby has no relationship to Leo or my game, and was created by the women as a flat track game that empowers women in sports…..and guess what, I have no argument with that. I have no claim on the game as it exists today. For whatever reason if that is important, then I gladly acknowledge what you believe……I guess I am surprised that the name Roller Derby was attached to the game.

But I am an individual who loves the sport my father created. I am a fan. If there are aspects I don’t enjoy, I will say them. Understand, I have no power to influence or change anything, but I do have the right to express myself.

roller derby is on the greatest growth in recent years. I am not the enemy. I advise skaters. I would love to help everyone increase attendance and other aspects of the promotion of the leagues. That is one of my functions of work and the seminars at Rollercon. and why Brown Paper Tickets encourages me to work on community projects like the blood drives (in three major areas next year!).

You have every right to not like me or want to be a friend…but please make sure you are not tilting at windmills. I love you all.

rules of the game, 1970

let’s go back 5 years to when Roller Derby filled arenas

In 2010 I was invited to come to Denver to help promote the Denver Dolls first game in the beautiful arena in Broomfield.

If you have 8 minutes, please watch the video from Denver television. I was actually on several tv stations, radio stations, and newspapers. It was a great promotion and as you can see, I can use the background of sports promotion in helping modern derby. if you go to my home page on facebook, the cover shows the results for that first game, and it was so exciting. And I met Robin Bond and did my first interview for “Derby Baby”.

If you cannot bring up the interview, go to my home page (Jerry Seltzer) and play it:

The interview:

As we get full swing in Playoff and championship season, let us work together on getting the big crowds back to watch the most exciting sport in the world.

And as you may note, Roller Derby has helped me lose 25 pounds since this interview, and I don't even skate.

Rollercon 2015: banked track, 3 birthdays, ending Roller Derby Wars

I have really been remiss in posting here….but so much going on.

Going to my seventh Rollercon, certainly a highlight of the year. It is no secret I loved banked track Derby; after all my family started it, I grew up with it and it was the game when we became a national favorite, sneaking up on established sports with over 15 million watching on television weekly, and over 3,000,000 attending games yearly.

All Leo Seltzer wanted was his game to survive, become a nationally played sport, and be in the Olympics. When he died in 1978 he no longer even talked about it. His creation had disappeared.

And then you all came around…..starting from one league in Texas (that word is kind of misused; they actually had, and still do, 4 teams in TXRD), and transferred to flat track by one very creative league (Texas Rollergirls) till today when there are 1853 listed leagues in the world. (check out the amazing website by Sam Santos,

So that brings us to Rollercon, which has to be the mecca for everyone in the game to journey at least once…..over 5000 from virtually everywhere will cram the Westgate in Las Vegas July 22 till 26, all created by Ivanna S. Pankin and friends. (get down on your knees and give thanks). And check out the master schedule at for whatever you want to do.

9 tracks this year for training and games and one banked track! And the most amazing games ever are scheduled…..most are created for the event, and you might learn a lot from that fact alone. Skaters regardless of rule set, age, or geography playing for fun. Have you lost the fun in the game? Is it less fun for spectators to pay and watch? That may be one of the most important considerations for your team, league, whatever.

Bob Noxious and I will go there in our marketing seminar Friday at 1:30 at Rollercon….not just advertising, promotion, ticketing, but making your games events…..and fun!

And there really are more than three birthdays, but the especially noticeable ones are Rollercon and WFTDA’s 10th year, and the 80th birthday of the game itself. We will celebrate it at the Brown Paper Ticket booth on Thursday the 23rd at 3:30 with cake and juice, and stars of the past: Judy Arnold, Frank Macedo, and Hiroshi Koizumi on hand, and some stars of today: the immortal Merby Dick Roche, who at 75 is in his fifth year with his team (league?). There will be some surprises on hand also.

The game is thriving, but in reality the world doesn’t know or fully accept it. Instead of fighting amongst the rule sets, why not all join in figuring a way to really broaden the base to the general public and make certain that what you are presenting can be appealing to a non-derby affiliated audience. Unfortunately, when you are charging admission, you are competing with other forms of entertainment, and to survive you have to keep the fans you have and grow the attendees. as I said, Bob and I will address that as part of the larger picture.

This is more than a game to the majority of you; you are not paid, you sacrifice your time and money. But the huge reward is a world that most do not know or understand, a kinship that extends far beyond the game, team or league. Somehow you must let the world see that.

And please come by the booth and give The Commissioner a hug. It is what keeps me going and coming back.

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.