When I first heard about the revival of Roller Derby by women, I really didn’t pay any attention….Over the years there have been “outfits” popping up in Florida, Texas, California, all who thought they could emulate the original Derby with a crappy “game” with an excessive amount of wrestling moves…..and frankly I thought that’s what the modern Roller Derby was all about.

Then in 2005 I met Val Capone (my current Derby wife) and about a dozen other women from the Windy City Rollers, as I mentioned in a previous post about the 70th anniversary dinner in Chicago. And frankly when we went to the game at the Congress Theater the next night, I didn’t think this was much difference: Cross dressers for coaches, strange races when a skater was penalized, etc….But the crowd at the facility was on to something.  This was a neo-punk event, and they were really into it.

CafePress T-shirt design "Derby Evolution".

As we know, the game evolved, and grew, and then you realize that today many of the original players are still involved and the skill level just gets better and better.

I am hoping that a tier system comes into being soon, similar to English soccer, so the level of play equalizes.  Hopefully, that 86 point average disparity between the winning and losing teams that exists today will gradually shrink, allowing the teams to be more competitive with each other….and the ranking system will be changed so beating up on a weaker opponent is not a benefit for getting into the nationals.

It is a great game, it will continue to evolve, and I have little doubt – in spite of those who don’t want it to happen – it will become a major arena event in at least 2 dozen cities….

But that won’t affect the other leagues any more than major league baseball or NBA basketball affects the thousands of other leagues.

It’s not the worst thing that can happen to one of America’s original sports.

2 comments on “Evolution

  1. My wish is that your expectation for Roller Derby comes to fruition. I’ll be the first one into the stadium to cheer and the last one to leave (probably with no voice left at all)

  2. I’d love to see it become a major sport, too, rather than just a “novelty” sometimes written about in the mainstream media as it is over here. With all the effort that goes into it, and the fact that most of us aren’t professionals at what we do in derby (we just do it because it has to get done) and we manage to hold down jobs/university studies/everything else in life outside of derby, it’s nothing short of phenomenal that it’s gotten where it has– and STILL comes up against people telling us it’s just a craze/excuse for women to frock up in fishnets and booty shorts.

    It’s a LOT more engaging and exciting to watch than many other mainstream sports. I don’t know why it isn’t as big as it was back in the earlier days right now, to be honest. Methinks it says more about who controls the media rather than who watches it.

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