Breaking News: All meet to work together to assure future of Roller Derby


I never thought it would happen, and I don’t know how they managed to keep it quiet…..there were so many involved.

It was at the Palmer House in Chicago Saturday and Sunday.

There were the heads of WFTDA, USARS, MADE, MRDA, JRDA (including Claire Ashcroft from the UK!), and a rep from Renegade Derby. And reps from Roller Derby in Australia, Canada, UK, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden and I am not sure where else. And of course April Ritzenhaler from TXRD and Demolicious from LADD.

Val wasn’t there, but I saw Juanna Rumbel; Jane Hammer and Demanda Riot; Suzy; Lara Irons (Hot Wheels); Sandi Mustang Johnson (the troublemaker): Elle Hoar (who has put together a regional league in Canada); Tony Muse; Justice Feelgood Marshall; Szerdi Nagy(South Africa); Angie Kls from France; Elektra Q Tion; Ivanna S Pankin; Brandy Rettig; Teresa TC Miller; Carly Marie; from original Derby: Loretta Behrens, Judy Arnold, Cliff Butler, John Hall, all of whom have worked in training modern Derby skaters (I guess Buddy Atkinson, Jr couldn’t make it); Debbie Rice, Mark Weber, and Quadzilla from Rollerjam and today, and more….sorry I can’t list you all.

and the purpose of the conference (believe it or not!): to all work together to present a combined front in 2015 so that the Game would work for all; leagues big and small, the fans, and of course, the skaters.

On hand to serve as chairwoman and chairperson: Mia Hamm and Andy Dolich. Mia of course brought women athletes to the forefront with her abilities in the Olympics (and did a lot for sports bras also). Andy, the former marketing and operating head for the Oakland Athletics, Golden State Warriors, and consultant to the 49ers now heads his own sports firm and has always recognized the potential of Roller Derby. And Marsha Jordan from ABC TV Chicago and other members of the press were there, including Robin Graves, Vic “Moxie”, Five on Five, and Hit and Miss, and Rollin’ News.

Also there as observers and possible contributors, Windyman, Bob Noxious, Judi Flowers,Erin “Lucy dynamite” Loggia, Donna “The Hot Flash” Kay,  Bill Yates, Frank Deford and others.

there was a general session on Saturday morning, defining the areas to be covered: rules, operating standards, marketing, officiating, and more. Then there were breakout sessions: Rules to try to combine the best (from the skaters and fans view) rules to make the game more accessible: should jams be 1 minute, 90 seconds, 2 minutes long? Should all skaters be permitted to block at all times? how could the rules be simplified for less penalties, should there be a limit on scoring an any play? Should there be different levels of rules depending on the quality of the leagues? As you can see, a very difficult agenda.

One group was dealing with the problem of supersaturation in market areas: could leagues be combined? should there be mini leagues in geographical areas to increase fan interest? and of course more.

Another was focused on marketing, ticket sales, and merchandising, with Bob Noxious and Judi Flowers and Andy Dolich lending their expertise.

There was a wonderful dinner in the Empire Room Saturday night, sponsored of course by Scott Riegelman of Riedell…..and everyone got along so well…there appeared to be great progress. There were to be two more breakout sessions on Sunday, and then the final gathering Sunday afternoon to try to present and vote on actual procedures to be put in place.

I was seated between Hot Wheels and Szerdi Nagy; suddently I couldn’t hear anything because of the incessant barking.

And that damn Bishop woke me up….

12 comments on “Breaking News: All meet to work together to assure future of Roller Derby

  1. Oh, you bugger! I was freaking out! And also thinking, “No freaking way!” And now I’m laughing at myself for getting so worked up.

  2. Had me for a moment Jerry, until I saw my name. Though, I don’t think this is all that far-fetched. OK, THIS recount was fictitious, but so many leagues are hurting that some sort of forum, especially for women’s derby, needs to happen. To hear from leagues who are contacting me because they are afraid the upcoming season will make or brake them is disturbing. What I say is NOT fictitious! I’ve had leagues ask for ideas before, certainly, but never out of desperation. Yet I’m averaging a few a week as of the Spring.

  3. Recognize , acknowledge, appreciate , encourage , inform and communicate with the Fans. . Skate your game to ‘ show the Fans’ that you skate for them as well as for yourself…..and you WILL see a difference . Please do NOT depend ‘ only’ on Facebook, a small flyer, your website and telling your circle of friends about your upcoming game. TELL everyone you come in contact with about the ‘ GAME of roller derby” and how exciting it is…where and when it is and how they can get tickets. DO NOT WAIT until the day or days before the game to begin doing this. Start at least 10 days or more in advance of the game….When you see people, friends, fans that you spoke to at the game…wave ,smile, wink to them. MAKE them KNOW that THIS GAME is for them as well as for you. DO ALL of the above….teamwise as well as total League wise ….and your attendance will increase. TRY ALL OF THE ABOVE. It has to make your attendance better than it has been recently. PLEASE :-)….John Hall….Yes…I am from Roller Derby of the past as well as Roller Games of the past. I am also hoping that the current games continue and prosper. It IS possible !

  4. THANK you Jerry Seltzer. I HOPE that your entire dreams ( or even portions of it ) does actually become a reality. The present numbers of active skaters in the world presents the greatest opportunity for roller skating to prosper ,, on many levels. The hopes and details of your dream ….if they took place…would greatly enhance the chances of that happening. Thanks for ‘ putting it out there , ‘ albeit in a dream fashion’. I HOPE that it does happen…..John Hall.

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