What can Roller Derby learn from World Cup futbol?

Soccer is the world’s game, whether we like it or not in the US.

To some it may seem slow, complex, but really it is a very simple game. And they are smart enough not to muck it up.

Continuous action (note they do not allow television to have commercials during the play, except for a small visual of a product by the score); the one referee doesn’t slow things down……for some reason the fans don’t like officials huddled and the players not playing….and not excessive rules.

The fans know that any one score can mean so much so the anticipation is tremendous.

And if anything, there certainly is not an excess of cheap points.

the players don’t stop and just stand around.

And continuous effort and speed, and the fans love it.

That’s all I am saying.

Obviously if your attendance is maintaining and growing don’t pay any attention to the above.

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.

Do I hate Roller Derby?

I do not, but I must plead mea culpa.

I am opinionated.

It won’t get any better as I add one more year to my collection tomorrow.

I find it easy to criticize when probably I should really be more supportive of the attributes of what has happened in the last ten years.

Almost 2000 leagues in the world, including women, men, and juniors.

Somebody must be doing something right.

I have this vision of what the game should be; oddly enough, everyone does not agree with me.

Although many of you feel I want to “take back” the game to what it was 40 years ago, that is untrue.

There are things about the rankings method, the stoppage on the track, the blocking backwards, the blowouts that really bother me; but if that is what the nature of the game has become, so be it.

I am not any kind of official or affiliated with any rule set (although some believe I am). I just want to see attendance grow, not decline; more teams of equal ability competing, and anything that enhances Roller Derby.

There is no way any of us can wave a magic wand and bring it into being. And when I see the BAD girls play fast paced games with their four equally balanced teams, I see what the game is. And it is not unique to that league.

I would like to see rule modifications that bring it to the original intent of offense and defense always at the same time; I love the chase of one jammer after another.

But you out there play the game, and if this is what you want and the fans support it by attending, then just stay with it. And at Rollercon I hope I can help you market your games.

I still have the first modern Derby tee shirt I ever received, a Hotrod Honey given to me at Rollercon in 2006. And there are so many great athletes playing the game today: from Bonnie and Suzy to Tony and Bloody and V-Diva and Demanda and Quadzilla and on and on.

I won’t say I won’t make comments, but it is easy to criticize. I know what you go through just to be able to skate the game you love.

I want to move forward with you.

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.