The fourth of July weekend always seems to be the best and happiest holiday with no gifts exchanged.
We always celebrated it at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium when the A’s were out-of-town with Roller Derby, marching bands, special events and of course fireworks. Southern Californians may remember Tommy Trojan who strutted his stuff in front of the famous Trojan band and was on the sidelines when SC scored as he was the extra point guy. Anyway, he would create our huge fireworks displays after our games. And we had tremendous crowds for these games, up to 35,000 paid.
We kind of took over for the city of Oakland in those years as they didn’t have funds for fireworks, so the Bay Bombers bombastic was followed by tens of thousands of citizens outside the stadium. We always made it a benefit for something in Oakland and I remember giving a check for $14,000 to the March of Dimes one year, and $17,000 to a very surprised and pleased Mother Superior for the Providence Hospital fund the following year. 40 years ago that was a lot of money.
I love fireworks and usually try to be up in Seaside Oregon (see earlier posting on “By the Sea”) where if it is not rainy or foggy you can see the fireworks up and down the coast for miles.
And of course the fourth of July is just a month away from the annual day of founding of Roller Derby, August 13 (1935). So I thought I would use this occasion to put forth my personal wishes for Roller Derby in the next year.
First, a caveat: whatever I say about the game or whatever I express, it is all for the love of what the current 940 leagues in 35 countries have accomplished in bringing back this sport from the ashes, an unheard-of feat. It costs them to skate, of time, funds, and effort, and yet the game grows and thrives. But I know that we all have opinions which we should express.
1. The continued growth should be sustained. Almost 500 new leagues in the past year alone.
2. The flat track game be simplified so it is easier to watch and play.
3. The banked track game to continue to grow.
4. More interplay between leagues near each other who are of the same skill set but not the same sanction or control. I am going to the championship game of B.A.D. this weekend, and thought wouldn’t it be sensible to have a Nor Cal tournament with so many leagues within 100 miles. And so many teams could play so many more games.
5. The establishment of a national TV network in addition to DNN (or utilizing Hurt and everybody else who makes us think that the viewing of our favorite teams everywhere is just a natural thing….what they have done is unprecedented).
6. Steps toward a professional league.
7. Continued fun and enjoyment for those who play, participate and watch this wonderful sport.
8. Some league or region establish the Leo A. Seltzer cup or trophy for their championship.
9. Even more admiration and love for the Commissioner.
I assume you may have a few ideas on what you would like to see happen in the growth and development of Roller Derby…..now’s your chance.