I awakened this morning with great excitement…….because something wonderful for Roller Derby is happening soon.
I have been aware of these moments before: my father getting Roller Derby on network television from New York in 1948; my syndication of the game in the 60’s and the subsequent appearance on 110 stations in the US and Canada with over 15 million people watching weekly in their homes and going to sold-out live games in all major arenas and stadia. Roller Derby, once again the national craze.
I have that same feeling for the modern game with “Derby Baby”.
We all know that the growth of leagues worldwide doubled with the release of “Whip It”, but that was a fictional Hollywood film about a girl finding herself with overblown and exaggerated characters as skaters.
I haven’t seen “Derby Baby” except for the promos they released, and I have no interest or ownership in the project, but after getting to know Robin, Dave, and Ron in the last year and a half, I know their point of view is from the people who have brought this game to what it is today. I just have the feeling that they will have caught the essence of why you all do what you do.
I know that they have put their own time, money and effort into the film, and they are among the leading craftsmen in their field, having received awards including Emmys. And they didn’t just stay in Denver to film the players, but have gone to a major amount of venues and cities from regional tourneys and WFTDA Championships to Rollercons and world cup and more, so when the editing is finished, they will have 1 and 1/2 hours of the great unknown story of modern Roller Derby in a fascinating package.
The public really has no concept of what a life force the game has become to tens of thousands around the world. The overused word “empowerment” really has meaning in Roller Derby, and the two trailers I saw seemed to have captured the essence. There is no need to sensationalize the game, that part is there already. But is really all about who you are and why you do what you do.
The media and the sportswriters don’t really understand: “It is really just women in sexy outfits hitting each other on skates”. “Here is a story about a woman who is a teacher by day and a mean Roller Derby girl at night”. They do not get the concept of how the game is a life-changing and in many cases a life-saving passion, and the participants pay to skate, etc.
I am certain it will be an honest film, showing warts and all, and not always reflecting what perhaps you would want there, but only a completely honest film will get your message across and hopefully bring national attention and ever-increasing amounts of participants and audience to your games and hopefully increase your revenue potential.
I know the personal sacrifices these filmmakers put on themselves in making this film. And I know that when it plays in this area, I will do all I can to let the public know about it. I will go to the media people I know, tell the story, and even sell tickets if they ask me.
I am certain you all will see the film, talk it up to your league and games and help make it the success it deserves to be. After all, it is about you.