It was just an idea

June 2010 I saw something about WordPress where you could blog for free, so I went to, didn’t read the instructions and just started in (which is why I learn a little more about my Droid every day, because I hate reading instructions).

Well, today is a milestone: I have written 150 posts, just passed 100,000 views, and have 317 subscribers (it’s free, try it).

I don’t think I have said everything yet. When I start thinking about how much still has not been related, I am not certain when I will stop; You sure will know.

Readers’ feedback has helped me focus, taught me a lot. And I have been amazed how many people tell me they follow the posts.

So what do I want to focus on as I start on the path to 200,000: one of the most amazing organisms of the past 10 years.

When Roller Derby was reborn in January 2002, it was by a bunch of women in Austin (now the TXRD) for a one-time fun event. Since one woman had just come out of a bad relationship and had taken up boxing, she wrote down some rules and called it a “bout”. And at these games (they did more than one), they would stop and two women would fight each other. And then came the eventual split, the Texas Rollergirls were born, and out of that manger came the 1105 leagues in the 38 countries today.

So let’s just assume that since there was no controlling body in charge at the time they became like much of man(woman)kind, selfish, self-serving spoiled athletes.

Well, not exactly.

Having just returned from the Championships and being in daily contact with so many of my friends, I am not certain if it is the chicken or the egg that came first. Okay, it is wrong to generalize, but were virtually all of these people willing to put others needs high on their lists, even if they did not have a lot themselves.

They created a sisterhood that goes well beyond their friends, their teams and their leagues. The way they welcome each other whether from London or Des Moines (and they took in, fed, and helped London when the volcano did not let them make their flight across the pond), but the committed service to the community is universal and unusual.

And now that the ugliness of domestic violence was really brought to our attention by Lori Milkeris. and you all have shown so much love and support.  She attributes so much of her continuing recovery to the literally tens of thousands who have been in contact with her and have contributed money and love.

And Rhea and others have expanded on that start and their own previous troubles by creating sites so that all in Derby and elsewhere can tell their stories and get help.

My father always taught me that if you have a dollar, you share it with someone who needs it; Judi, who has been involved with hospice for over 25 years, taught me it is even more important to give of yourself.

With Roller Derby we always worked with our communities: the March of Dimes and many other charities. With BASS Tickets and Ticketmaster we were some of the first companies to join and support AIDS walks and community projects. And we founded the BASS Ticket Foundation which donated a million dollars worth of tickets to the underserved in the Bay Area.

I really believe this is why we are put on Earth, to befriend, support and love each other. This goes well beyond the dicta of religions or philosophies.

And Roller Derby today, for all the greatness I saw in skating in Denver,  what you are as people is what I am most proud.

Leo blesses you all.

19 comments on “It was just an idea

  1. I have never been involved or have seen as much love and compassion as i have within the derby community. It still amazes me how we can be so inspiring and helpful to people we have never even met. I tell you what, joining this spectacular world of sport in 2006 has been THE best thing I could have done. I have met so many great people over the years I would not change any of it to save my own life! Jerry great read. Thank you!

  2. Your “history” of how modern roller derby started in Austin (in 2001) is completely wrong and a total lie.

    – It wasn’t intended to be a one-time event
    – It didn’t involve somebody who came out of a bad relationship that took up boxing who ‘wrote some rules’ and called it a bout

    Continuing to read the outright wrong ‘claims’ that you make about roller derby is getting ridiculous. Your view on modern roller derby is completely distorted. Stop talking about things that you know absolutely nothing about, and stop trying to stake any claim to our sport.

    • Wow, I sure seem to have angered you. Unfortunately you made sure I don’t know your name, as everyone else who post here does.

      I don’t know where to start in answering you……I feel like I have to answer a “have you stopped beating your wife” kind of question.

      First of all, what do you know of the “history” of modern Roller Derby? My sources: “Dude of Roller Derby and his vision” from the New York Times, 12/17/1998 and April Ritzenhaler (La Muerta) who is described in this article as one of the founders of TXRD(by the way, his original event is even more bizarre than I mentioned). April was the lady who came from boxing into Roller Derby and named them “bouts”. Who is your source, Stop It, and what is your story.

      It wasn’t 2001, but in 2002. I don’t have any claim to the modern sport except as a fan, and someone who was given the official Roller Derby name of “The Commissioner” by those who have the power, and does as many positive things as I can.

      I can show you the original registration and trademark of the name “Roller Derby” by Leo Seltzer……please show me documentation of your ownership of the sport…..Do I skate? No. Do I profit from any contact with the sport, No? Do I like what is going on now and the people who are doing it, yes.

      Please emerge from your anonymity and confront me directly. I am always willing to learn.

      • Only a coward would refuse to post their name. Or a poorly trained official.

        If you have full fact and would like to correct the story, Jerry seems like the guy to read what you have and either accept that he was misinformed, or inform you how wrong you are.

        Heaven forbide a non-skater love our sport enough to write about it. Wait, oh, that’s right…..IT’S OUR GOAL!! To have people love our sport, it’s why we work so hard!

        I value anyone willing to contribute love and respect to a DIY sport.

      • Way to go Jerry.. cowards hide and attack when they are backed into a corner. This was like a sniper.

        You rock Jerry, and you true love, support and devotion for the sport is what shines through…not the rantings if a very sad person.

    • Take your own advice and STOP IT !!! I think it is awful that you feel you must attack someone who is doing nothing but promoting great things and informing the world about it. If you do not like his opinion well then don’t read it!! If you have facts that maybe different, then you could be respectful and voice what info you have to set things straight. Coming on to someone elses page and badgering them is so childish and cowardice. You should try a different hobby, rude, is not working out to well for ya!

  3. No one with anything valid to say needs to hide behind the veil of anonymity. Perhaps “stop it” has something valid to add to the conversation, but until they are willing to stop being a coward and take credit for their opinion, I think it’s safe to assume this person is a nobody who has no legitimate ties to our sport. If they are legit, they should have no problem standing behind their opinions by posting their name.

  4. Perhaps they are afraid that you actually hold some clout and that by coming out against you actual real skaters who support you would recognize what a total ass hat they are. I don’t know, since they refuse to step forward it’s just conjecture.

  5. While Jerry makes NO claims to the modern derby, he certainly has been supportive and appreciative of it. No one can say otherwise. Even when he is critical of certain aspects he is still supportive like any fan would be.

    But this Stopit ignores some things that bear repeating, and Jerry will probably hate me bringing it up but I will.

    First, Jerry, (and arguably Bill Griffiths of the RollerGames), remains the only person to consistently sell out major arenas AND stadiums across the nation consistently. He remains the only one to get it on national syndication. and since the game was created specifically for the purpose of selling tickets, it might make sense to remember that and be more respectful.

    Secondly, without the Seltzers none of this modern derby exists. Jerry wont say it, but its true. Without the Seltzers and the star system, the game is never invented, it never creates great memories, and those memories never lead to someone being inspired to bring it back and eventually do it 100% legit. And yes, without those memories, the publicity would be very different than what it is now.

    Because of this great thing the Seltzers, Damon Runyon, the derby staff and the skaters of old created and modified, this game went into a coma but never really died. Efforts to revive the patient often failed by not trying some new medicine. With some new blood and new medicine, its healthy. Yes, its evolved and will evolve again, but let us not disrespect the past. Especially, when its still living and able to pass on knowledge and be supportive.

    That ends my rant

  6. I have to agree with Jerry about the relationships that are made in Roller Derby seem to be deeper than the traditional teammate relationship. Be it participating during the Legacy/classic period or the Modern Era. It is more family. Of course that may be more truer with the legacy/classic era because there were fewer skaters. Now who knows how many skaters. With over a 1,000 leagues there could well be over 10,000 skaters. And, that is a conservative guess. Maybe someone has a more actual number.

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