A modest proposal


I’m beginning to understand a little better now.

When I suggest anything about the games or skating, there are those who question it because they know that I have not been a skater or referee.  I did update the rules and create the helmet game though, which created the jammers, blockers and pivot, and I have help train skaters and seen over 1000 games.

I guess you could say I am a fan and (oh oh….shhh) a promoter.

I look at the games two ways: 1) how the players are enjoying what they are doing (a lot!), and how the fans are enjoying it (usually great, particularly if the home team is winning or staying close).  And 2) if the venue is fan friendly, good security and a great experience (almost always).

Photo by glanzerr from stock.xchng.com.

When I comment, it is always with the intent of trying to make the games better, but it certainly is not always seen that way.  And someone posted on my site today something I frankly had not thought about:  in basketball, football, hockey etc, there are those who play and those who own or promote.  Do I want to own or promote?  No, but I know that I can help those who feel they have reached a stage where they would like to make a bigger splash in terms of attendance and marketing and perception.  A number of the leagues are obviously doing quite well without that help;  luckily they have within their organization people to handle booking, promotion, ticket sales and more.

And there are about a half-dozen leagues working with promoters (not a bad word if the leagues come out better than if they did it themselves) and are quite happy.

So many of you seek my advice on so many things and I am so glad to help.  I am sorry for any thoughts that I am trying to tell you how to skate or referee or train, but I have the right to say something if I feel it is pertinent.

If  you feel your league wants to move to a bigger arena (you better be careful about this), need advice or want to be put in touch with good reliable people, please get in touch with me.

I believe you understand I am just trying to help this wonderful legitimate game grow.   Every time we help each other, we are adding permanence to the sport.

4 comments on “A modest proposal

  1. If you are looking for my response to the podcast, on “recent” above right, click on to “let me grouse a bit.”

  2. Your writings have made the game and history of derby so accessible to many. I don’t know how I would have learned so much if it wasn’t for your insights. I can’t tell you why the haters are so eager to spew negativity.

    Maybe some people think your only link to this sport is your dad. Those people clearly have not read your writings. They simply make quick assumptions based on the flimsiest of details. What are you going to do, really? Those people have existed throughout the history of mankind. Perhaps they serve a gnarled purpose. Perhaps they allow us the opportunity to assess ourselves, to check in with our number one player in the mirror and realize our moral centers, our core values. And they push us, in their own passive-aggressive way, to keep struggling against the current to maintain our values.

    Anyway, screw ’em. They’re steaming sacks of misery.

  3. I recently ran across this when looking for something else: when the Roller Derby visited Miami in Dec. 1937-Jan. 1938, the local paper mentioned that “a penalty box, similar to that used in ice hockey, will be used in Miami this winter for the first time. Another innovation here will be the use of crash helmets similar to those provided members of the U.S. army tank corps.” source (click). So I’m going to say your pa invented the helmet game, and you just brought it back after it failed to catch on the first time! 😉 I wonder what the whole story is behind that experiment.

    • Mike, the original helmets were shaped like the old-fashioned football helmets; the skaters, especially the women, hated them and before long only a few would wear them. One of the complaints we had as our Tv network grew in the 60’s was that people had a problem identifying the skater’s roles, so I came up with the helmet game. Originally the skaters fought it, but it was required. The best all around skater was the Pivot, who controlled the front of the pack, but could not break out unless a jammer broke first; then he or she could chase a jammer to bring him back, or if there was not jammer or his team, he could jam. The blockers were restricted to the pack, and the jammers of course, could jam. The lead jammer would be the jammer who actually had the lead at any time, and that was the only one who could call off the jam. Because of the added speed of the game and often we had to shorten the track to 96 feet because of the arena size, jams were made 1 minute long. In between jams, the pack kept moving, new skaters came on or helmets were switched, and as soon as the pack was in formation (pivots, blockers, jammers) the next jam would start. skating was only in a counter-clockwise direction, and stopping or skating backwards was a penalty…..these were the basic rules until we shut down in 1973. the pivot wore a black helmet the blockers solid color helmets, and the jammers striped helmets. the original helmet game in the 30’s had nothing to do with designating the skaters’ functions. That is the whole story.

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