The great things about Derby and one complaint (not even mine)

I tend to get involved with things about Derby that I think are helpful:  advice, whether you want to hear it or not and groups and individuals that I feel are not only good for Derby but for all of us.

I love what “Derby against Domestic violence” has become:  over 2400 who tell their stories, listen to others and find ways to get support and guidance……I wish all of you would join.  Also check out “I choose when to get bruised.”

And now Derby over 40.  What an amazing group of wonderful people…..and some of their athletic and personal accomplishments will startle you….check out the site.

And here is what blows me away about the group:  there are 919 members who are active in Roller Derby (including a few good men) and their stories and experiences are worth listening to…..There are a few 60 year olds and Merby Dick at 73 and Bob Wright at 55 lead the men.

Sometimes questions are posed on Derby over 40 and the answers surprise me.  A recent one asked what about Roller Derby surprised them the most, and although many gave the answers of how they were renewed, gained confidence, lost weight, found new lives, etc, many gave the answer “the drama”.

Photo by mattox from

I think they came at it from the perspective of age: “stop whining”, “get over it”, “learn to work together and get along”.  Maybe one thing lacking in many of the leagues is a program as outlined by Donna “thehotflash” Kay on how to be good executives and curb the drama and the problems between the women, and maybe that is the main reason why there are so many splits going on even today.

For all the talk about sisterhood and empowerment, I get the feeling as an outsider that it is the internal relationships (in many, but not all leagues) that hurt this image.

There are no problems that are unsolvable, you just have to be aware of them and confront them.

Let’s make Derby Love a little more meaningful.  If there is dissension and problems, it will show in how successful your league can become.   Good executives know how to delegate and let go of certain tasks so they are not involved in every decision and action;  when you involve more people you usually get better results.

So much is happening today; heed the word of those in your world who are older and maybe wiser.  Do them a favor and curb the drama.  And also let’s find the other 81 people somewhere in the skating world to bring “Derby over 40” to 1000 joined, so we can all say look how little age is a factor in Roller Derby.

5 comments on “The great things about Derby and one complaint (not even mine)

  1. Hopefully we can get a few more of us guys there. I posted to MADE men to get some more guys over. I can imagine skating when I’m 73, but if I skate for another 33 years I am hoping to be good enough to keep skating.

    • Im going to be 50 next week. Been a lifelong fan of the sport, active in both banked derby ( LA DERBY DOLLS) and flat (FLINT CITY DERBY GIRLS) as a track monkey, and trainer respectively. I live for the chance to skate and scrimmage. The fact Derby has never had an explicit age ceiling, despite its intense physicality amazed me even as a kid. The fact its one of the last bastion meritocracies just confirms how special Derby is. I plan to skate, ref, coach, whatever…. and be part of it until I die. ( which if I keep bouting hard as I want to, might just be say… 52-53…) Men in Mid Michigan who want to bout, train and compete….not just be sideline helpers for wives/girlfriends/leagues in genereal lets make it happen…. Derby for ALL!

  2. Nice post Jerry.

    What I love about derby and the insight of our over 40 group is how the community can help one another become stronger people overall.

    Every group and every sport has it’s own drama yet derby in particular attracts a special breed of us (I think most of us will agree) that might make drama more likely.

    Putting all of the issues on the table can give people an opportunity to see things from another perspective and be able to move on!

    I dislike how unresolved personality conflicts within a league can be devastating to an individual in an otherwise empowering experience. We’re trying to work through the issues, and doing it in a group can help.

    Thanks for the post! You get a complimentary Derby Over 40 shirt for THIS one!

  3. Great article Jerry! Donna ‘the hot flash’ Kay is my amazing coach! I joined OWRD 2 weeks ago at 46(new to derby) and I can’t believe how wonderful everyone, and especially Donna is! I’ve heard about the derby drama, but am fortunate enough to have never experienced it, and thanks to Donna, never will! Can’t say enough about her and OWRD! Lots of derby love here!!

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