are you kidding me?

Two weeks from today I will reach an amazing birthday.

I was born in the depth of the Depression, and have lived under 13 presidents…..would have been more if Roosevelt hadn’t kept running.

Lived through at least 5 wars; I am not certain what counts as a war now.

And I have been around for the entire length of Roller Derby, and two things always surprise me:  those who think I created it (don’t worry, Leo, I keep correcting them), and those who think it is just 10 years old.

I have seen cures for polio and other diseases, the emergence of television, air conditioning, jet travel, flights to the moon, and so many other unbelievable things.  It is amazing to know that more changes have occurred during my lifetime than during the millions of the years previously.

For Roller Derby alone, I saw it change from a marathon to a game; I saw it become one of America’s leading attractions, its disappearance and most unlikely revival.

And I will live to see it attain its rightful place as one of the world’s leading sports.  There is way too much awareness and interest for it not to happen.  So let’s all get real busy.  I will be starting another page on facebook (oh no!) asking for everyone to help in making Roller Derby reach its proper position in the sports world; those who do not want it to happen, that is fine; for you it will stay the same.  For those who want to see a legitimate professional game with teams (why not some of the present ones) of paid skaters, let’s at least discuss it.

I know it is going to come about.  And I probably only have another 20 or 30 years to be a part of it.

Teaser Post

I am not sure what else to call this.

OK, on June 3rd I have a huge birthday coming up…….obviously not my first but an amazing number I never thought I would reach.

So Mary and I are working on a wonderful gift from you to me and from me to you.  I hope you can all participate.

It is something that many of you have suggested.

It will be either in the next post or the next few.

10 years and Denver this weekend!

In January modern Roller Derby will mark its 10th year anniversary.

It started as an extravaganza in Austin at TXRD and somehow organically became 1105 leagues in 38 countries today.

And the end of the 10th year will be marked by several huge events:  the WFTDA Championships this weekend in Denver (be there, I will be), the first World Cup in Toronto in December with at least 13 national teams from various countries; the Derby Dolls championship, OSDA, and much more.

I have such feelings for all the teams in the finals:  Portland is where I was born; Chicago is where I grew up, the home of Roller Derby, and my first view of modern Roller Derby in 2005.  I have met and am in touch with players and friends on all the final teams.  And my choice……don’t skip to the end, because you will be cheating.

The Commissioner will see as much Derby this weekend as I can.  I love the arena, just the perfect size for the event.  about 7000 seats, all comfortable, with a running light board and a huge Jumbotron scoreboard and video.  And Chuck Morris, who is AEG-Live chief of the area and of this building, is a great old friend of mine.

So when I am not watching Derby, I will be giving out prizes:  I will be handing out badges (not exactly) and lanyards at our booth at 1-1, each one numbered and signed by me.  When you come by the booth either to see the unbelievable uniforms of Doug Martin or to try out Mogotix, the ticket system on a mobile phone that requires no additional system, has no paper ticket or will call, or learning about which will be launching soon with very different apparel and other items (“bringing tradition to modern Derby”).

And we will be giving away some tee shirts, Roller Derby to Rollerjam books, “Derby” videos, Judi Flowers footwear and luggage tags, sample jerseys, headbands, etc.  If you are at the games, and are wearing the lanyard, check booth 1-1 in the early and late afternoon each day to see if you are a winner of the dozens of prizes.

I will be selling Lori Milkeris bracelets (see “I like women” posting on this site) for fund raising for her upcoming surgery.  Also, $5 of every sale of “Roller Derby to Rollerjam Book” will be donated to Lori……Make certain we see a lot of purple bracelets at 1st Bank Center.  And you can leave a check with me for Lori or just go to Lori Aid 2011 to donate through paypal.

In late afternoon each day we will be giving away 1 free (!)  service for any upcoming game….this can handle all of your ticket sales including walkup (people can buy on their phone as they walk to the entrance!), any advance game sale (announce your next game and it will be on sale to the people in the audience) with no fees to the winners.  Completely green, no paper, no will calls except on the phone.  Be one of the three winners.  You will only be charged the credit card fees on ticket sales that you now pay.

And Doug Martin has what I think are the best uniforms, including names and numbers and ways to help teams raise money for them…He also is showing some retro Roller Derby designs.

All right, I haven’t seen all the teams play in person, although I have seen them on DNN or  I think Gotham will come in with their strongest squad to date, but to me you have to go with the past champions.  I think it is between Oly and RMRG with Oly coming out the winner.  I am such a fan of all the teams, that I would be happy with great competition, great skating and blocking, and -I hope- no slow play.

Please everyone come up and say hello and if you see me I would appreciate a hug at least.

Everything old is new again, spirit of 76

Last night I was at the Oakland Convention Center with several thousand of my closest friends and the Detroit, Texas, Windy City, and Bay Area teams.  Most people were not aware that it was the eve of the birthday of the game they were playing and watching.

Photo by Marija Jure from

That’s really not important.  If anything, Roller Derby is so today, it could have been started yesterday.  Women who enjoy what they are doing, empowered by the game and their teammates; often their husbands or partners or families on hand.

And the skaters in that first game 76 years ago were so reflective of the times:  representative of the Talking Head’s song “We’re on the Road to Nowhere'”, in the heart of the depression, skating endlessly in a marathon to win a few hundred dollars but getting meals and lodging just to stay alive.  And women competed which was so controversial.  The winning team was composed of a boy of just 16 (he snuck in) and his partner.  Only Keith Coppage, official Roller Derby historian and Gary Powers who keeps the Hall of Fame alive, would know who they were.

And the game has changed so much but still has the original essence.  From the banked track (the first one was not really banked for skating).  Take a look at the photo at  And you will see the skaters standing in a posed position at the old Chicago Coliseum, with cots in the huge infield for them to rest until it became time for them to get back on the road again.  Their sleeping quarters and kitchen were elsewhere in the arena.  And the audience could take a walkway above the track to go to portion of the infield to sit and watch and eat!  And they paid almost nothing to get in, could stay as long as they liked.  And there were breaks when the skaters would each do a little entertainment routine and the audience would throw coins if they enjoyed it.

Photos and article from "Life" Dec. 1948. Full article at the link below.

Those were your grandparents.  And the ultimate joy for me came when on the one occasion, a side effect of what Gary Powers had put together for the 70th anniversary of the game at the Chicago Historical society on August 13, 2005, the old and new met.  A number of members of the recently formed Windy City Rollers (thank you, dear Val) attended the dinner, and there were tears when they met Ivy King and the other plus 90’s who skated in the first go around.  and the next night we all attended the game at the Congress Theater and the hardy pioneers saw the new Roller Derby, still in its initial stages with very few leagues. And the championship tourney in Chicago is now the Ivy King cup.

Shortly thereafter all those who skated on August 13, 1935, were gone.  But very much like the Divinity painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, they touched and passed on The Game.

Guard it carefully.

“Life” Dec 1948 Article