I don’t know why the folks in Atlanta looked at me funny when I asked.
I had the best time in Atlanta. The WFTDA people were great, and Grace Killy introduced me to the new head of the organization for the next two years. And the Atlanta Roller Girls did a fantastic job with this event. They were everywhere, made sure everyone was happy and kept it right on time.
The facility was wonderful….I personally felt with the amount of people who showed up it could have filled a larger arena (Phillips Arena and the Georgia Dome were right next door), but they were able to handle the capacity crowds; the lighting was great, the sound was great, and when they saw how many people showed up on Friday they were able to add extra bleachers on Saturday.
Oddly enough, I did not get to see as much skating as I would have liked. Texas was the big surprise to me and I think it is good that they are back. Denver never quits, and Oly didn’t quite have the talent to match up with Gotham, but then no one does.
Almost all of the games were of such a high-caliber that I can’t really bitch or moan. And the fans never stopped screaming from start to finish……such a wonderful coming together of lovers of the game.
But I wouldn’t have even been to my last WFTDA tournament if it hadn’t been for Doug Martin. Doug has Roll Models uniforms (www.completeteamoutfitters.com), and invited me to his booth. First of all, he has the best uniforms available, sublimated, long lasting, so professional looking, slightly more expensive but you won’t be buying them every year or seeing them bleed or pile….I have never seen better.
I rarely got out of the booth. It seems (sigh) that I was constantly getting my photo taken with people in attendance, meeting long-time facebook friends…..you can see some of the photos on my facebook page. And there are so many great companies on hand: If I start naming them I will forget someone, but they also are a real part of the family. And the great guy from Atom Wheels (Luigano sets) who helped me when I needed it, and on and on.
Loretta Behrens was supposed to come, but had to have tests for surgery…..I am so sorry all of you didn’t get to meet this legend….but she now lives in the Atlanta area.
So I hung with Doug Martin and Craven’s Nightmare, and we went to a great traditional barbecue place and heard the best blues I have listened to in a long time. And I was hit on (!) by an attractive blonde who had a little too much to drink, but thought I was the ideal man she was looking for. She told me she was in her mid fifties and she was glad I was about her same age (!). I let her down gently and told her I was taken……I promised to call her but haven’t.
There were so many new people at the tournament. And the highlight for me was the Junior Derby game. These kids will revolutionize Derby in just a few years….their talent starting as young as nine is amazing. I just wish my father could have seen all of this.
And I got to hang with the beautiful, Derby wife #2 Lori Milkeris. She watched a lot more action than I did, we ate breakfast and actually one dinner together…..she still needs more surgery for that terrible event in her life.
The after party on Saturday night at Stats was the best I have ever been too. The fact that I had not been to the South in the current state of Derby was evident as I was joined by at least 50 new family members. There are photos on my facebook page, although not all have shown up yet. Every time I tried to leave, someone came up to grab me. And then finally as I was going down the stairs a group of about 5 women stared at me. One said, will you talk to that woman…..I said of course. They were part of Nashville and the woman I started talking to just cried and cried. She is a mother of three, and had just received the award for the best inspirational skater for her league -the Seltzer award (which I never knew existed). I hugged her and hugged her and she cried and said she couldn’t believe it, the best moment of her life (nah), and we all took a photo. I was pretty emotional by then.
When I went to the airport on Sunday night I sat next to a man with a SF Giants hat who was talking on cellphone and was talking about the championships. I asked him if he was a BAD girl fan, and he said no. He is a teacher in high school and once a year about a dozen of his buddies and him go somewhere for a sports weekend. They saw the Atlanta Hawks NBA on Friday, Georgia football on Saturday in Athens, and then back to Atlanta for the Derby championship on Sunday. I asked him how they liked it; he said all but one thought it was one of the most exciting things they had seen, and he is planning to take his wife to the next game at Craneway. As I said, give them action and great skating and great players and you can’t go wrong.
I have one more tournament coming up in December: the USARS in Fresno on December 14th……Oly has to be the prohibitive favorite. and they just announced today that the winning team will get the Seltzer Cup, in honor of Leo. I hope to present it.
You have all made me so happy at a time when I never thought I would be involved with Roller Derby (and Brown Paper Tickets). I will keep following all of you and please stay my friends.