We are on the cusp….


of a New Year and a new era for Roller Derby.

Certainly more people than ever know what the game is and that it is currently being played, and many know someone who is playing it.

And the recent BBC piece on Roller Derby said it is about to explode!

Photo by lelu1973 from stock.xchng.com

Photo by lelu1973 from stock.xchng.com

and Bonnie D Stroir tweeted:  “Progress, people in my town now ask me if I play Roller Derby instead of what is it.”

My feelings (no shouting or pointing fingers), until there is some super ruling body to set up leagues, practices and standards, the game will still be splintered (as many people want).

College sports are under the NCAA umbrella, most amateur sports under AAU or ISOC,  pro sports have the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL (OK, not right now).  Although these all incorporate rule sets, they are a lot more.  They impose control over the individuals, teams, leagues under their domain.  Obviously neither WFTDA, USARS, or any of the other rule sets really control any of the leagues other than what is presently controlled.

So leagues form, split, and often overwhelm their markets in a topsy turvy manner.  And even worse, because of anger that causes the splits, they won’t play each other.

What if everyone (hah!) decided on a ruling body or Commissioner (sorry, I decline……this would be 1000 times worse than asking for a ticket), had control of setting up meaningful leagues, style of play, playoffs, and championships, based on different divisions, similar to baseball, football, or soccer in the UK.

And if the commissioneress said to the teams in a metropolitan area, like Seattle, Chicago, Denver, etc. that their will be just 4 (or 6) teams in this area, and they will all compete in one league, post a schedule at the start of the season, promote all games as to their importance in final standings, and the followers of the game would know when their team is playing, against whom, and what bearing these games have not only as rivalries, but as actually leading to something important that could be achieved.

And there would be rules over player behavior, standards, training, promotion, marketing, officials, etc

And she would negotiate television deals that would benefit everyone and allow the game to grow as it should.

We all know this is completely impractical.  Happy New Year!

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7 comments on “We are on the cusp….

  1. Preaching to the choir. We have 5 local teams (local meaning within an hours drive). Do you think they even coordinate on each others home scheduling so we can make sure there are enough Officials available, let alone schedule against one another? Nope.

  2. I agree. I think until the sport can become organized from the top down, perhaps collegiate style conferences would balance out the games and the schedules for the teams. I think a conference system would be viable, doable and it would make every game matter. Plus it would foster rivalries between teams, which is always good for growing an energized fan base.

  3. I’ve been preaching this for years and this very message is the closing vision of my development meetings…. It’s time!!! As broadcasters, it’s terribly difficult for us to promote and cover the sport with such a fractured system of micro organizations and it’s crazy that teams within hours drive of each other DON’T communicate and still schedule events on the same nights rather than ORGANIZE and share promotion costs. It drives me crazy. A thousand sports have been successful over a hundred years… we don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just re-adapt it to our needs. We can maintain our integrity and protect the grassroots. But we can also take it to the next level. We *ARE* on the cusp of an exciting potential if it can be realized. Thank you Jerry for promoting a vision.

  4. For those who think this means the “powers” take over your individuality, please realize that none of the organizations own the schools, sports, teams listed above, but all who become part of them agree to abide by the rulings of the Goodalls, Sterns, Selig, and their organizations.

    the only one that is different is the MLS soccer league, formed by Alan Rothenberg after the Los Angeles Olympics, where the league owned all the teams, and then eventually sold off the franchises.

    What is ironic about that is that Alan and I met with a group in the mid 80s to form a professional (legitimate) Roller Derby league and we outlined that method for Derby. We couldn’t get the financing, and Alan successfully made it work with soccer.

    • Oh, to think how things could have been so different if you and Alan HAD gotten the financing, Jerry! That would have been a fantastic time (and likely still would be)! 🙂

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