do you just shut up when someone attacks you?

I am unbelievably angry.

When flat track derby was very young, I was welcomed by the teams and the WFTDA because of my family’s history with the creation of the sport involving men and women on an equal basis.  Without my asking, I was sent credentials for many events….never asked for them; obviously I would buy tickets (and do so whenever I attend a game).  In 2012 I went to the regional in Richmond Ca and was informed I was not on the list….no advance notice.  The vendor from Luigino boots invited me in as I was going to buy a ticket, and to make a long story short, I was asked to leave by the WFTDA rep…she then said I was upset that I didn’t have a free ticket.

Since I didn’t want to face the situation again, I asked the WFTDA if I was credentialed for the champs and received a nasty email from Grace Killy, head of the WFDA, stating I had no relationship to the game today; was not as worthy for admittance as any NSO.  I didn’t go.  In previous nationals I had been invited, and I even made a welcoming speech at the tournament in Portland…..that was fine, I didn’t need that.

But Killy has been obsessed with keeping me away or having any influence or respect by those in modern derby.  Screen shots of her comments were sent to me….I haven’t had 10 spoken words with her.

In 1959 I took over the operation and ownership of the International Roller Derby League, and it achieved the maximum success and exposure during my 15 year operation of the sport in the 60s and 70s.  Then I went on to successful careers in other fields, always working with community organizations….I was proud that I had been appointed to the Bay Area Board of the American Red Cross, on the board of March of Dimes in Oakland, and many other positions.  None of this had anything to do with Roller Derby.  I have continued to work with derby teams that ask me, holding marketing conferences and meeting all at Rollercon, and helping more individual players that I know.

When I was hired by Brown Paper Tickets almost five years ago (at 80), I was not the roller derby rep but have other accounts and developed the non-profit BPT, Red Cross, Roller Derby blood drives that have involved over 30 leagues to date across the US, saving 3300 lives.

So Killy decided a short time ago to misrepresent a posting on twitter, and a satirical one on a satirical site….she and her minions look for anything I post anywhere (obsessive?).  then they posted as a slur on sites that were not even relevant….yes, my friends sent me screen shots.

The ultimate step came when she contacted Brown Paper Tickets on its facebook page (giving them a bad rating…not sure she ever used them) and complaining that I – an evil person – worked for them and implying that the should get rid of me…..she also directed others how to contact BPT with similar statements….BPT is an amazing company and not only services many leagues, but has increased its PR efforts to counteract the decrease in sales of many of the flat track teams.

I immediately contacted BPT to resign…there is no reason this fine company should be tarred with her evil brush.  I loved the work I was doing, and it provided me a livelihood.

The many hundred of friends and others who know me have been supportive…I cannot even fathom this measure of hatred.

Please do not equate what she is doing as condoned by WFTDA.  I have had no problems with the leagues or the many players and most of my friends in the sport are on WFTDA teams throughout the world.  And they have been so supportive of the blood drives that I have worked on.

My life has been full and I have no regrets:  from shaking hands with John Kennedy to counseling Muhammed Ali and so much more.  This does not affect my life, but it should never have happened.

A writer on the New York Times best seller list has asked me to be a prime source on a book being written on Roller Derby….of course I will be fair.

Ultimate irony: I was notified a few days ago that I have been selected by the American Red Cross as a Red Cross Hero of the year and will be honored at a function in April….I will leave a credential for Killy.


31 comments on “do you just shut up when someone attacks you?

  1. Unconscionable. How dare this woman even think to attack you?!? You have bent over backwards to spread your knowledge and give your support to so many teams and organizations in your time. You have more knowledge, more kindness, and a hell of a lot more savvy in your little finger than that witch ever will.

    Who the hell is Grace Killy, anyway?

  2. As always you were informative, fair and true to you. I didn’t know the details before. But never wavered from your side. You are and will always be the Commish. Roller Derby started with YOUR dad! That’s still amazing, even after all these years! ❤️ They are missing out on a wealth of info and support. Very sad.

  3. I’ve played the sport, and I don’t want Jerry to back away. Grace Killy doesn’t speak for me. There’s a hell of a lot of us she doesn’t speak for. This is a pretty small minority who are viciously attacking Jerry. These people are the cancer that is killing modern derby.

  4. No, he should not back off. It started as Leo Seltzer’s game and it was taken over by Jerry, and it will always be the Selzer family’s legacy. Neither you nor Grace nor any of the other toxic individuals who think you can just scrub away Jerry’s name from this sport will ever succeed. What possible harm is he doing to you? Or to Grace? Or to the sport?

    Maybe you should suck it up, cupcake, and deal with the fact that modern roller derby will always be borrowed from the original. And you’re never going to erase Jerry’s contribution to it.

  5. Whoever is saying these things about you, my friend, they have hate to spare and want to spread it, you’re exactly right calling it a cancer. Just like 45 and his hillbilly minions, sometimes the hateful voices are the loudest. People on the fringe who’ve been dying to get “inside” will latch on to any old drama because it makes them feel more important. You’re a truly beautiful human being. Five years ago, you and the group you started literally saved my life. Your acceptance and support led a battered and bullied victim away from the darkest ledge, and taught her how to be a survivor. This attack does not define you. You are kind, generous, unconditionally loving, and you absolutely sparkle with a wit and energy that blows my mind for someone of ANY AGE. I think of you as a hero, so I’m glad the Red Cross is acknowledging it!
    Going darker here… When my attacker wasn’t able get close to me again, he spread the most wicked and salacious lies he could think of around the community where I live. Five years later I’m still here, and I absolutely love it when I meet and talk with the people he lied to. People who get to know me even a little realize the truth very quickly, that I am as far removed from the woman he described as possible. He portrayed me as conniving, spiteful, unfaithful, drug addicted, and a clinging mooch who refused to contribute to our family. Lol! Me, the one who paid the bills and put food on the table while he sold drugs and drove expensive flashy cars. When I finally kicked him to the curb he was forced to move into a ratty trailer and he told everyone he was paying MY rent.
    And I only told this story because I know YOU, and I know you’re the polar opposite of what is being described by this cancerous faction. Your friends are legion because your kindness is legendary. We have your back.

  6. Roller Derby was the name of a sport with derby rules on how the game was played with offensive & defensive playing for a Jamer to try to pass the blocker to score points . Since roller derby closed down in 1973 skater still crept there sport going .Grant u lots of changes had happen from the period of the past but so has many other sports. Many seem to change every 10 years new generations of skaters have hard times to keep the pubic excited with fans who seem to wanted more excitement getting skaters with short tempers to get into fights for some reason some groups lost the fact the skating was the sport that changed into wresting on wheels.As skaters retired less skaters had training to carry on another generation. Roller Derby is a roller skating sport and later years flat track was developed first in Japan out of a roller rink.WHen later in year 2000 a another group of woman felt that they also would like to learn more about the sport and developed to learn every thing of the past with there idea to mortified this into a show .While learning about the sport which seem to take off.As the years change so did the skaters of this new sport they seem to think they own. I have been involved with many gals who now become the more active developing different rules of the game.Ladied it’s great to see how far you all have came in building this sport but now all I see is your playing rug-be on wheels with losing the game of Roller Derby. No different if baseball or football is being played on skates.Sorry I am venting and the disrespect for the Seltzer’s & the skaters who kept this sport alive to excite the public for over 85 years and now your all think u own this sport.

  7. The polar changes in the game and the toxicity that happens behind the scenes are the main reasons why I am in no real rush to attend a WFTDA bout. Over my years of being “inside” and “close to the inside” of derby leagues, I have discovered that unless you skate, are married to a skater or otherwise have sexual relations with a skater despite other enthusiasms or knowledge, you are not desired and you are quickly shunned. I guess this is a part of the “by the skaters, for the skaters” mantra. The same mantra that does not take fan satisfaction and good marketing into hand. I said years ago, many of these modern derby “leagues”, especially the much older established ones are more like bar room fight clubs than they are serious sports associations.

    During my time in derby, I first supported the OSDA because I felt that they would bring a more fan friendly game. The OSDA pretty much fell apart and some of the folks involved were almost up there in today’s WFTDA caliber of attitude.

    The sport’s only glimmer of hope are the new WorldSkate rules adopted by FIRS which now put into place harmonized rules for international competition and could spell the potential for roller derby’s representation in the 2024 Olympic Games. It was nice to see some game footage the other day from Desert Dolls Roller Derby of Arizona who has skated USARS and is now evolving into the FIRS WorldSkate rule set.

    I do feel that WFTDA is trying to create their own distinctive game in a way to veer away from the original old school game (the leagues have always been trying to separate themselves from that during the entire history of DIY) as well as separate themselves from the international game. I do support the international game and I would hope more leagues/teams would skate it so we can properly prepare our future athletes for the internationally recognized sport and not the elitist WFTDA version.

    Those of us who followed the game before WFTDA came around definitely know yours and your father’s contributions and I remain grateful to both of you. We need to make this game fun again, not just for the skaters but also for the fans and others who care about this sport’s past and future.

    • I was one of the founders of OSDA. PennJersey Roller Derby was the founding league of OSDA. Judy Sowinski and myself were the Pro Skaters that started to teach/train the flat track skaters to skate a game very similar to ROLLER DERBY’ game, just slightly modified for the banked track. OSDA failed because other leagues were more interested in skating WFTDA rules, wanted no men to skate, “men don’t belong in roller derby” was their motto. Other leagues around had no interested in learning how to skate ROLLER DERBY, the blocking. changing Lead Jammer etc. When OSDA fell apart, Sowinski and I were not longer a part of it and most of PJRD wasn’t either due to lack of interest in finding other leagues to skate against. How long can keep skating against teams within your own league. PJRD, Judy Sowinski and myself were never in “today’s WFTDA caliber of attitude”

      • Hence why I said “some”.. The issues I had with OSDA stemmed from the attempt to bring a league into Phoenix, AZ. Overall, the OSDA, Penn-Jersey are a good bunch but there was definitely some issues back in the late 2000s.

  8. In this world, there are folks with class and those with none. Folks with class are recognized very easily by the way they conduct themselves.

    Those without class spend their time trying to gain attention any way they can. There is no polite way to define the way they conduct themselves and they are easily recognized by those who know the difference.

    You should always respond to any attacker with words of truth. The folks who know you and the folks who know the difference who don’t know you will recognize your words are sincere and like wind chimes on a breeze, ring true..

    No one can take away your life’s work, your experiences, your contributions to the many lives you touched – personally and professionally. Those who try are simply cluttering their own lives with the noise and stench of garbage cans tipped over in the back alleys their minds occupy.

    View your life with the pride it deserves. Listen to those who salute your success.

  9. Jerry, As my friend, what I can say is, I am sorry this happened to you. Any civilized society is based upon respect for self and others. When that line is crossed, then it’s up to those who have the capacity and ability, to respond in character.
    Your legacy supersedes by decades, (almost a century), this pettiness. Firstly, we are all a part of your Roller Derby legacy. And those who have found kinship in knowing you, know better. That this is basically an outsider who doesn’t even know you. Familiarity breeds contempt. Let someone who gets to know you have a bleep on your radar on what they think. People who interject without even taking the time to familiarize themselves are working on incomplete and faulty information. Thereby making them not worth the regard, a non issue. Irrelevant.
    The best frame to wrap this up in may be to see it as more to add to your ‘reputation’. It isn’t a coward that can make an enemy basically sight unseen! You’ve reached a whole new echelon! Your legacy is rich.
    They also say it takes a common enemy to bond a society! Maybe they can find some kinship around their toxic bonfire roasting you? Think about it, Jerry! You would make a fabulous bad guy. Put some of your guyliner on and run with it!
    The bottom line is, life is eased with repetitive and ongoing doses of forgiveness.. Forgiveness is the salve that reduces friction and keeps us running smoother and more efficient. If this brings out the fight in you, good! Fight! But don’t let it make you weary. Release to the things of beauty that sustain your more heartily. I love you!

  10. I have known Jerry for well over 50 years including working for him at BASS Tickets from 1975-1983.
    Jerry has been like a father to me in many ways, and also a major mentor in learning the ticketing and promotion business.
    I can not say anything negative about Jerry or and his personal and business practices.
    I love you Jerry, and always will!

  11. Just for anyone who’s curious. Grace Killy reported my Facebook account as fake, and it’s been taken offline until Facebook decides I’m not a bot. She got mad when I called her out for being a bully. I did this with no name calling. I just said her motivation was nothing more than sheer pettiness. Guess I hit a nerve, haha. She proved my point, which was very satisfying. But this is why people don’t speak out against bullies. They are vindictive and will stop at nothing to silence you. I think if more people would step up, we could eventually eradicate this problem, though.

  12. Ahhhh….the wrath of an undereducated and egotistical derby girl. Yes, I know this well. They’ve never run a business but know so much more than a 20-30 year business veteran. They are devious and just plain wrong. They lack diplomacy, grace, and education. They ruined derby for many of us. I’m terribly sorry they are doing this to you. It is far, far better to do the harder right than the easier wrong. – Zig Ziglar

  13. Jerry, I love you and this breaks my heart… I have been slandered and it’s wrong!! I know you helping me with my team and becoming my friend after all these years. You supported me, and I will ALWAYS support you. It’s sad people don’t realize how this affects people’s lives, families and reputations. It’s one thing to feel a certain way but to use social media as a path of revenge or whatever is very childish. My heart is with you!!

  14. Beautiful Jerry. Well done. FYI. My father many years ago was affiliated with the March of Dimes in New York. I also had the honor of meeting and writing a piece on Muhammad Ali. Small world indeed

  15. In the spirit of tonight’s Academy Awards, I hereby nominate A Former Derby Husband’s 410-word counter-screed for the Oscar in the category Best Anonymous Post in a Condescending, Hypocritical Role. Well done, sir! And thank you for counting words. The world needs more word counters.

  16. A couple of points: the implication that I care what the game is or becomes is erroneous……I don’t own the game today and have never claimed to do so… is by the skaters for the skaters, based on the original game of 5 to 5 on each side, timed jams, getting 1 point for each skater passed, etc….unfortunately, neither you nor anyone else can tell me what my screed must be; I am not under a committee approved code of conduct on what I may write or choose to criticize, compliment, describe…..The last time I promoted Derby was 45 years ago; I had a pretty decent career afterwards until right now….play whatever game they want; this criticism of my wanting to own it (false) or getting free tickets is a trump-like diversion that 1 person (not the WFTDA) and her followers have chosen to bully me and spread falsehoods…..I will respond as necessary.

  17. For the record, Grace Killy is a miserable dirtbag. She’s someone who overcompensates for being a terrible athlete by being a terrible person.

    And WFTDA, whom she says she represents, does nothing about the haters ruining the sport.

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