In the spirit of the Holiday


Photo by saavem from stock.xchng.com.

I guess I am a little late, but I just got caught up with the USARS posting of their rules that they are testing, as put on facebook by Roxi Tucker today.  I guess actually it was posted in October.

I like some of the changes, thought others unnecessary but really didn’t dwell because I have nothing to do with them except give my opinions.

But then I read the comments under the post;  “how dare they do that……The flat track rules represent 6 years……sue them….etc, etc”

This ownership thing makes me crazy……do you think Leo invented everything that was in the original game?  He took some from the Walkathon, some from six-day bike races which were popular in the 30’s (“jam”), and added other elements suggested by Damon Runyon.  And of course I changed some of the rules to make the helmet game in the 60’s.  The name Roller Derby has long become generic, and we certainly didn’t try to copyright or patent it after my father had done so.  The only copyright still remaining belongs to the Roller Derby Skate Company.

Not every wants to or certainly has to skate the WFTDA, OSDA, MADE, TXRD, MRDA, WORD, Renegade or any other rules.  It is a simple game, 5 players on a team, timed jam, lap the field and pass for points.

Why the need for possession and ownership?  Is it about control?  Let it go everyone.

It would be a great Christmas present for all.

19 comments on “In the spirit of the Holiday

  1. Dead on again, Jerry.

    I skate MADE, OSDA, banked track, flat track, co-ed, old school, men’s only. It’s all fun and a great game. The variations are what makes it interesting.

  2. Yeah Jerry! I agree, This is why I’m hoping that we can work together with USARS to tweak the ruleset to one that most leagues can agree upon and begin to use.

    If teams scrimmage in a non-USARS event I would think that they could agree upon being respectful of the home team’s rules in the meantime.

    Can’t we just SKATE? If everyone spent as much energy figuring out how to MAKE IT WORK together instead of arguing we could sure have a bigger circuit to skate with and against.

    Thanks again Jerry! Keep it coming.

  3. I think most people know that there is no copyright on the ‘rules’ of Roller Derby. WFTDA has their OWN ruleset (non-copywritten, however the name WFTDA/Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is probably trademarked); which they’ve stated repeatedly they don’t mind if others use.

    Flat track rules haven’t been standardized for six years either, back in the day each league had their own ‘home rules’ etc., which is why we had ‘Discrepency O-Matic’ 3 hour pre-bout rules discussions between the two leagues playing, and the referees reffing to know ‘what’ to use for rules.

    I’m not a big fan of the USARS’ rules as of yet, I like some things, dislike others, but we’ll see how it plays out.

  4. Excellent post and couldn’t agree more. IMO, the more variety there is, the more likely it is that there’s going to be a home in our sport for *everyone*. The broad strokes created a game that we all love, regardless of the specific form. Let’s all respect one another and respect the game, baby! It’s owned by no one and belongs to everyone 🙂

  5. Thank you very much for writing this. Sometimes it feels like there is an ‘elitist attitude’ toward which rules set is ‘best’; so to have someone who is so widely respected in the roller derby community request that people put aside their differences and allow derby to continue bringing out the best in them is really something special. I absolutely have fallen in love with this sport, and will continue to dedicate more time and effort to the continued betterment of the sport (in all it’s forms) than I do to almost anything else in my life. Wishing the whole derby community a happy and safe holiday season. (Cool Yule.) -Rogue Slam Ho #XIX-Antihero Derby Alliance

    • I agree Christina. Derby pretty much saved me and continues to be one ot the main things that keeps me “tethered” to this place.

      I want to help people get stronger, have hope, find community.and get an opportunity to experience this as a sport.

      I dislike stopping as a strategy…. that is my only very strong opinion, other than that I really don’t give a rip about the rules as my focus is on the people and the aspects of the sport that are so fun and amazing.

      Anyway, I like what you said here and agree with you.

      Happy holidays!

  6. The USARs rule set is an insult to everyone participating in the thousands of games a year. It is utterly untested in real competitive play, and represents a power play by interests other than those playing the sport today.

    While the flat track game needs some work, it is work that is known. The USARs rules will have gotchas all over the place, because it’s never been tested by true, top competitors. Gptchas manifest themselves in different ways, but it always falls into the category of “unintended consequences”, like the pivot line situation today.

    You’ve got the WFTDA rules being refined over thousands of games, you have the WORD/BTA rules being refined over dozens. USARs has been refined over how many games?

    You either work with the existing players in the game, or you become their enemy. There’s no compromise between such utterly unequal entities, because USARs brings nothing to the table. I know quite a few leagues who are seeking alternatives to USARs insurance, thanks to this unilateral action of theirs.

    • Busta Armov says:
      “You either work with the existing players in the game, or you become their enemy. There’s no compromise between such utterly unequal entities, because USARs brings nothing to the table. I know quite a few leagues who are seeking alternatives to USARs insurance, thanks to this unilateral action of theirs.”

      Wow!!! That is some of the most arrogant crap I’ve seen posted in a long time.

      I’m glad you feel insulted, hopefully you (and other intolerant people like you) will walk away from Derby and allow this fantastic, open and friendly community to grow and flourish.

      I don’t even want to hear your opinion on the MADE rules, which you didn’t mention above, I’m guessing it’s because you don’t even know they exist. Intolerance like yours could be explained through a lack of knowledge, but I have the feeling it’s more likely just a case of anything that threatens your little idea of what Roller Derby is shouldn’t be around.

      What do you care if there’s 10 different rulesets or 10,000, no-one is forcing you to play any ruleset you don’t want to, but just because you don’t like something doesn’t give you the right to stop others from playing under different rulesets or in different leagues or in mixed sex teams….. or god forbid MENS games.

      I hope others people aren’t scared off Roller Derby by backwards attitudes like yours, because that would be a loss to every version of the game.

      • What’s arrogant about not wanting roller derby co-opted by outsiders? USARS has added nothing to modern derby. They’re trying to gain the upper hand on the work of everyone else who’s actually involved IN the sport. They’re trying for a weird power grab, not trying to grow the sport.

        If growing the sport was their main goal, they’d encourage and endorse the existing rulesets before coming out with their untested own set at this juncture.

  7. The rulesets should reflect what the various organizations want them to. To assume that current rules are set in stone is not logical.

    The WFTDA has established their rules, which I assume will be modified as time goes on. And there is no reason to believe that they have to be accepted empirically by all who lace up skates.

    • For some people, if it isn’t their way, it’s the wrong way.

      Shame, too, cause there’s a lot that variations in game-play, structure, and organizations can teach us. Even the general variations in attitude on the sport and those of us in it can teach us tons.

      Don’t like the usars rules? Don’t play by them. Don’t like the organization? Don’t work with them. Don’t make it about “us” and “them.” The “us” in that equation can’t even respond to bs RDIT posts without flaming each other over our petty differences in this sport. Maybe we should be less concerned about “outsiders” and more concerned with getting the general public to give two drops of urine about our sport. While we in-fight over bullshit, most people don’t know what the hell we even do.

  8. Jerry, some people just like to complain. Especially on the internet. And in any facet of anything there will be a group of people who get their enjoyment from arguing the very small details and proving they know better than the other. I have decided not to discuss rules so much and just play… kind of like when I go to dinner at my mom’s I don’t go near the conversation of politics. A little humility goes a long way. At this point most current skaters will not reach the professional level that the next generation may reach, so with that being said everyone should not take themselves and everything so seriously, it’s supposed to be fun isn’t it? Everyone has something to offer and something can be learned from every perspective.

  9. something that i had assumed and found later that others also saw was that usars ruleset is most likely not about creating a better roller derby. it’s about the bottom line. the current growth of roller derby has revived a dieing skate industry. before wftda came along, skate companies were being absorbed by larger skate companies and roller rinks were closing all over. the popularity of women’s roller derby has single handedly reinvigorated event skate related company. usars is not an exception.usars had long been unaccommodating to the needs of wftda, so when wftda came up with a different supplement insurance, usars realized they missed the boat. usars lost a lot of business because of this move by wftda… A LOT. I’m guessing usars was really liking the growth they had experienced over the past few years, and now that bottom line was being threatened. i think the usars ruleset is a desperation move to break back into the world of roller derby. they saw an opportunity and decided to go for it. i hardly think usars is doing it because they love roller derby. i think they are attempting to do what they were always doing with roller derby. profitting. that’s my two cents

  10. Just play the game. There’s room for everyone. While I do favor the WFTDA rules and am a referee using the WFTDA rules, I am not against anyone starting their own ruleset or roller derby league. USARS can and will bring a lot to the table as far as roller derby is concerned. Can you imagine what will happen when other roller sports that are governed by USARS sees USARS roller derby? It will bring in a whole new fan base of athletes who will want to know more about roller derby and help promote it. We’re talking thousands or hundreds of thousand of new people (fans) reached to watch or participate in this great sport of roller derby. Whatever gets you into this sport whether it’s WFTDA, USARS or any other roller derby organization, let’s all work together to share ideas and help grow this sport into a nationally and internationally recognized legitimate sport. Long live roller derby.

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