ok, just my opinion


This will be my last post before Rollercon, and certainly my last comments on the state of Derby today.

First what I find frustrating:  in so many of the games I watch on DNN or WFTDA.tv I find more and more teams utilizing the slow down strategy to try and equalize the match.  By virtually stopping the pack several things are happening:  often a relative inaction by both teams in starting the jam, and when it does start because the pack is “locked”, the jammer catches them in 25 or so seconds, making a 2-minute jam ridiculously long.

You, the skaters, control the game and the rules.  Just a few changes would help and maybe even check the off-balancing effect of the power jam.  The officials should signal the pack to keep moving or a penalty would be given; the jam time shortened to one minute; and if a jammer is sent to the box in a jam, the team is allowed to field a jammer on the subsequent jam, with a blocker position serving the remainder of the penalty.

Roller Derby is about action, speed, and the chase.  I personally don’t think any jam should start without a jammer on each team.  Don’t allow this game to become one of inaction.  There is far too much intrinsic excitement.

I know I am talking about the WFTDA game; USARS has made some significant changes, and MADE with 40 leagues and OSDA are skating basically the original rules, but I really hope that the different games could be brought closer together…..I have heard complaints that WFTDA teams are discouraged from participating in other skating leagues and often great animosity is shown between the different leagues under different rules.  This certainly will not help the sport move forward, and it seems crazy to me that different leagues in the same areas do not compete against each other.

But that is just my opinion.

Now for the positive.  As time goes by, many of the original skaters are still going strong, bringing their basic knowledge of how the game should be strategized and played to others.  I see less and less of players not understanding what their function is.  The fan base in many areas has grown significantly, and you see so much acceptance and pride in so many communities of what their league means to them.

A recent list in Buzz-feed had Roller Derby listed among the 10 most difficult sports requiring the most skill to play.  You have really established a foothold and admiration for what you are doing and have accomplished.  And remember, when you are compared to other sports they are mostly professional or very well funded.  I am amazed that the growth continues, and as you know, I am just blown away by the love of the game and each other you portray, often with hardships that few outside the game realize.

As I head for my fifth Rollercon, I am more excited than at the first.  I am participating in so many different things:  my seminar on 4 PM on Saturday;  my announcing of the over 40s game at 2 PM on Saturday with Derby wife Val Capone; my Derby wedding with the wonderful Lori Milkers (“I like women” post on this blog), and for the first time, a booth.

Come visit us in the GoMerch/Seltzer brand booth with Judi Flowers and Jim Weymouth of www.seltzerbrand.com, Dan Cooper of GoMerch, and Lori Milkeris who will be selling her end violence bracelets for her continuing medical expenses.  And I just might autograph a “Roller Derby to Rollerjam” book for you.  and the blessed  Laura Blastfemi Kelly has sent some of her delilghtful “Kiss” stickers.

And of course, being a promoter, one more thing:  a free raffle to win books, bag tags, rock and roll shirts from Go Merch, autographed “Roller Derby to Rollerjam” books, and an original Midwest Pioneer jersey (like the one I wear on my facebook page), from 40 years ago.  Priceless.

And Judi has candy for you.

9 comments on “ok, just my opinion

  1. And Roller Derby’s fastest growing uniform supplier: Roll Models by completeoutfitters.com is also in booth 61 will samples and a fact sheet for you……

  2. “The officials should signal the pack to keep moving” That is what we do in MADE. The pack ref tells the pack to “pack up” or signals skaters behind 20 feet to catch up. This works great, and eliminates so many penalties and keeps the game flowing and rules condensed. It’s such a simple process.

  3. Jerry, In MADE we have a lot of guest WFTDA skaters, and many reciprocal leagues who play WFTDA and MADE. But there are definitely leagues and players who look down, snear, or whatever, because you play the so called “other” ruleset, when meeting MADE players. Things will hopefully get better in the future. There is so much talent on both sides, it such a shame we can both enjoy the fruits of eachother’s labor. Thank you for bringing up this issue.

  4. The ridiculous slow down or no skating bit the girls do is one more reason why this will never be real derby but an odd offshoot of it.

  5. While stroller derby kills me, and frustrates the bejezus out of me (and countless others) I have to keep reminding myself that at certain times it does have a strategic advantage. 90% of the time it is completely allusive to me, but there have been a few times I have seen it work so well that we not only recouped our losses, but won the game. After that particular bout I had to sit and think.

    I still don’t like slow derby…. but…. an interesting comparison came up. Mind you I was heavily influenced by the fact I was in the woods at a bluegrass festival surrounded by all that is redneck.

    Roller Derby is not NASCAR. While a girl might do as many laps as a car driver -endless circles of jockeying for position- it is the strategy of placement, and team efficiency (and the other teams deficiency to react) that can make the sport spectacular. If the other team is running you and simply can out pace you… what does a slower team have as a counter strategy. If a team comes to a dead stop, there are penalties etc… but slowing, well… it throws and interesting strategic problem in the mix.

    Jerry, I almost always agree with you and love ya, but I am torn on this issue…. While I might yell at my girls for starting slow three jams in a row with no discernible change in result, I am livid at the ref I over hear say “so this is how we are going to play this shit?”. (not saying it was you that said it… somehow I doubt you lack such professionalism)

    If our team knows the other team has the endurance and speed to simply out pace us on the track the whole bout, and we simply can not collectively get the speed to get in front of them and forcibly slow them down… what is our team to do, but force the other team to slow down by breaking the pack? Once we figure out that other option I am throwing this stupid stroller derby crutch out the window and leaving it for others to try…. till then, it might just stay as that really hated play in the play book

    • you may a great point…..remember, I am expressing opinions as a fan of the game, not as a player……there must be a middle ground somewhere…..

  6. A M.A.D.E. game, even though it is fast, has tons of strategy because we are trying to keep people out of the box, Lead Jammers call it off and constantly jockey for the lead, Jammers have to be on their feet and in bounds to call off a jam, Pivots take off, we go on one whistle, we have one line, we have to capture 2 opponents to destroy a pack, I could go on…

    A slower game does not necessarily more strategy make (I’m not saying that’s what you were implying). The rules are what make good strategy. You could have a fast game with lots of strategy. Fast derby does not look like nascar (for those who haven’t experienced it).

    A MADE game looks nothing like a WFTDA one….but is the same sport. It’s just so funny how modern roller derby started at the same point and evolved in two different directions.

  7. RollerJam games were televised out of “RollerJam Arena,” situated on the grounds of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida . Initial teams, each consisting of seven men and seven women, were the New York Enforcers, the California Quakes, the Florida Sundogs, the Nevada Hot Dice, the Texas Rustlers and the Illinois Riot (Original names of the latter three teams were the Las Vegas High Rollers, Texas Twisters, and Illinois Inferno. These names were changed prior to the start of the first season). Despite strong funding and four seasons of broadcasts on The Nashville Network (TNN, now known as Spike TV ), the venture never became a “live” attraction. After MTV’s takeover of the CBS Cable group, fabricated storylines and uncharismatic characters were being featured more than actual competitive skating. This did not go over well with many skaters or die-hard roller derby fans. Two notable veterans from Roller Games, Rockin’ Ray Robles and Patsy Delgato, were featured in the second season of RollerJam. When RollerJam was cancelled, many of the skaters found smaller leagues to skate in. 40 episodes of Roller Jam have been reversioned for UK television after successful televised seasons in other countries. Airing from October 2, 2006 on Challenge TV much of the narrative has been removed with sex and violence toned down for a family audience.

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