A potpourri of items I think you will enjoy, featuring Roller Derby

The rise of roller derby: No longer WWE on wheels, the rapid growth of women’s flat track derby in Greensboro is a microcosm of the sport’s ascension into the mainstream – SBNation.com.

Click above…….I think this article about Greensboro Roller Derby is an absolute knockout; beautiful photos, well structured……a pr dream for Roller Derby and Greensboro

This great video by the London Rollergirls, promoting the upcoming Ft Wayne Regionals, based on the “Wayne’s World” movie.

http://vimeo.com/72420911    (Click on link)

And Ft Wayne responds to the London Roller Girls:  http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F72568661&h=YAQG4kRzP

And we are very proud of Brown Paper Tickets, 5 Northern California Roller Derby leagues working with the Red Cross to get 150 units of blood donated this week….More to come.

Photo: Thanks for donating blood!Photo: Come bleed for RRG and get cool stuff!  The Red Cross will be there from 11 - 5pm today.  Bleed, baby, bleed!!Photo: Look how awesome our own Hope's Fury is - she's giving blood and saving lives! Do it today. Click here for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/571250959583156/Photo: The Secret Cervix usually makes other people bleed on the track, but today she donated her blood! </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who participated today. We had over 40 people sign-in today to donate and we even had to turn away people due to time and supply constraints. Thanks for such a great day!Photo: Don't forget to register for the blood drive on Friday! We need you! FREE Melo's Pizza! FREE t-shirts! The Undead Bettys Roller Derby team will be on hand for photos, sign your t-shirts, and just have fun! Jerry Seltzer, "The Commish" from Roller Derby will be there too! https://www.facebook.com/events/312570385546783/Photo: The Undead Bettys roller derby team (Antioch) came out to encourage blood donations... They rock!Not only did the Undead Bettys enjoy an exciting victory over the Oakland Outlaws, but non other than Mr. Roller Derby of the Bay Area himself, Jerry Seltzer, was in attendance to promote American Red Cross Blood Drive.Here's a better version (Photoshopped) of the photo from last night at the Undead Bettys bout in Antioch.

There was a there in Fresno

The Convention Center did not have a lot of traffic around the area.  But there was a lot of excitement inside.

I think you all know that I love and support all Roller Derby.   There is much that I like and some that I don’t like, but that is only my personal preference.  When I think of the game of my day, I think of the players (men and women) flying around the track, trying to pass blockers within the 6o (!) second time limit, with usually a jammer from the other team close behind and if they could get 1 or 2 points before cutting it off, that was usual…..Our games were in the high 20’s or low 30s for score, and some  jams had no score at all.  There always had to be at least one jammer at the start of a jam for each team; the player was penalized, not the helmet.  A maximum of 2 players would be in the penalty box at any time; if there were more, they would go to the box as other players came out.

And the jammers started at the rear of the pack, the skating was continuous, there was usually time between the jams for the skaters to change helmets (maximum 8 skaters on a side), and the jam would start when the pivots, blockers, and jammers were all in position, the referee would signal the start…..going backwards and blocking moving backwards were not allowed, as was stopping; the referee would warn, and if not changed immediately, the penalty would be called.

The USARS rules are closer to the original game, although not completely; jams are still 2 minutes which seems ridiculous as jammers catch the pack in about 20 to 25 seconds which of course leads to power jams (I don’t like them, but they are part of a ruleset) where skaters just skate as they are passed lap after lap, to me throwing the game into a scoring imbalance.  but there other aspects that make this ruleset allow fast and furious action:  skating or blocking backwards is a penalty; and the pivot skater takes on a new meaning with the ability to go on a jam after the other teams jammer has left the pack, thus partially solving the no jammer situation.  There were no slowdowns except of the start of the jams from the starting line (yawn) with one whistle……and the interminable official timesout.

If you were in there skating, you skated.  There were basically four levels of ability among the 8 teams.  at more of a starting level:  Birmingham, Deep South, and Underground; intermediate, Tulsa;  at a proficient level, San Diego, Resurrection, Port City; and at world class level, Oly Rollers.  Oly rolled through the preliminary rounds, and you can’t say it was a close game against San Diego in the championship, but there were constant action and great effort with Oly winning 181 to 35.  Many of the jams had skaters from each team out and it made the game exciting.  One thing I saw that I hadn’t seen a lot of, was good sportsmanship in the scoring.  Oly knew they had it won going in to the last two jams, but the player who could have gone on a 30 or 40 point power jam against the tired San Diego team got her grand slam and a few more points and called it off. (my goodness, no piling on!)

This is a game I prefer just based upon the speed and the action.  If all teams could skate like the final four in the WFTDA Championships, then there is no need for the slow down game which is so common now.  Again, I urge you to look at those final games at WFTDA; but very few teams have that kind of skill, and to me, that is sad that the fans don’t get to see what Roller Derby is in my mind.

Champion Oly Rollers with the Seltzer Cup. Photo by D. E. SIGN

Champion Oly Rollers with the Seltzer Cup. Photo by D. E. SIGN

I was honored to have given out the Seltzer Cup to Oly, and the medals to them, San Diego, and my own home team, the Resurrection Roller Girls of Sonoma.  The whole tourney was just a joy and fun to be at.

I can hear the criticisms coming, but remember, I am not part of USARS, WFTDA, MRDA, MADE.  I am a fan of the game that I like to see, which has often been skated at the BAD girls games that I attend.

Enjoy the game you skate; and those of you who over defend or condemn others for changing the “original rules” better stop and think before you say that to me.

I will continue to see and love all Derby that I can…..personally I and most fans want to see an action game which has strategy, but does not just stop in front of us.  I have a feeling more leagues will be learning to skate more rulesets……hey, it is supposed to be a game and fun to skate!

And USARS gave me an official jacket AND an extra ticket for my granddaughter Sydney (Leo’s great-grandaughter) to attend. Yes, the games are archived at DNN.  And Danielle Fairbanks and Fernando and all the volunteers are to be commended for a very professional and friendly event.  And Notown were great hosts!   Can’t wait until next year.

Roller Derby and the Military…..was there really a game on an aircraft carrier?

Yes…….more on that later.

My father was very patriotic.  He was too young for World War I and too old for World War II.  But he did all he could for the War effort.  Before the 2nd World War Roller Derby was at its largest in terms of total personnel:  4 “units”, each with two teams playing across the country.  The teams did not interchange, as in those days Derby played in cities from 14 to 28 days in a row, depending on the size of the city and the love of Derby.  So the teams were “white shirts”  (home favorites) and “red shirts” (non favorites).  When they went from Cincinnati to Kansas City, the home team was Kansas City, the visiting team St. Louis, etc.

When the War came my father told all the skaters that if they went into the service or worked in War industries, they were guaranteed their jobs back when the war ended.  The Derby was down to one traveling unit of those who did not qualify for the service or did not get a wartime job.

There were always free tickets for the military, and promotions to sell war bonds.

When the War ended, most skaters came back.  Some who felt they were too old or didn’t want to do it went into other professions, got married, etc.  (Some 20 years later when I was operating the League, a skater who I had known from the 40’s came up to me at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco and told me he wanted his job back as Leo had promised.  Unfortunately his skating skills were gone, and we got him a job selling programs…..you have to be careful what you promise.)

During the Korean war my father worked with the Army and USO to arrange a tour for Roller Derby to go the Far East to play for the troops.  One of the skaters later told me they landed in Bangkok for refueling and a stop over (no jets, then), and the players freaked out when the officer who greeted them was Captain Seltzer.  He was my first cousin Lloyd who was an officer in the Air Force as was his brother Bob Seltzer.   Of the four Seltzer cousins (including Sherman, see post about him) who were in the service, I was the only enlisted  man.

When I was operating Roller Derby we also tried to do something for servicemen and women.  When we would play in Hawaii, games were scheduled on a consistent basis at Pearl Harbor and Schofield Barracks.  But I was thrilled when I was contacted by the US Navy in Alameda, Ca, to schedule a game on the carrier, USS Ranger.  I told them there would be no charge and all personnel would be free, but we needed help with the logistics.  So they provided the transportation and personnel to set up the track on the  hangar deck (first deck down), and an official game was played.

The commander of the ship sat in a special chair trackside .  There were a few bleachers, but most of the sailors stood.  One time I look over at the Captain, and my then 6-year old daughter Ellen had crawled onto his lap…..he seemed fine with it.  The event was a huge success.

As a result of this game, I was invited to go on the family day “cruise” when all personnel’s family left on the ship from Alameda, went under the Golden Gate Bridge and many miles out into the Pacific.  They then had their jets take off and eventually land.  I think it was the most terrifying noise I have ever heard.  They fed us on the way back….Quite a day.

The other game we gave that was interesting was to San Quentin for the prisoners and personnel……Luckily, Calvello did not cause a riot.