SHHH: I just got to watch the first two episodes of “Derby Till I Die”

Obviously, even though we don’t like to admit it here, the Brits sometimes do things first and better than us.

The people from Rampage Studios were kind enough to send me the first two episodes of this series about the London Rollergirls (and a lot more). But they were also smart enough to allow me just a few hours to watch them and with restricted passwords, so I can’t post them for all to see. The series can be seen on Extreme TV in the UK.

I have seen every Derby Film from The Fireball with Mickey Rooney, Pat O’Brien, and Marilyn Monroe. to my “Derby”. “Whip It” and “Derby Baby” so you can say I know my Derby. But DTID chooses an interesting path: each episode follows a different individual through her daily life, especially with Derby. Treekill Tart (Theresa Brown) wants more than anything to be a London Rollergirl and is in their rec league. The first episode follows her through her training, competing and finally with her tryout which occurs every six months by LRG. What makes it good programming is seeing the reaction of others in her personal life, her work as a park ranger, her try with the other women at burlesque. and finally her tryout, which if you have watched Derby at all you know she will be rejected, but she just goes forward to try again. And unlike the series shown on AE years ago, this show is never dull or exploitive.

Although the camera work and editing are stellar there will be complaints from Derbyites that there isn’t more Derby and less other. The obvious answer: if you are creating a series you want everyone to watch and be interested in, you better achieve balance, and the producers have accomplished that. And Treekill exudes such joy and spirit the episode just flies by, and of course my very own (she will learn someday) Raw Heidi and the others are huge contributors. They were able to catch the naturalness and the uniqueness of Roller Derby (“Darby”) people. And the Ewok portion showed another side of the fun of the game.

The second episode is definitely more hardcore. The focus is on that great Derby couple from the Brawlers, Stefanie Mainey and Olivia Coupe; Stefanie the star skater, Olivia the captain, and a couple in real life. You want to see fitness and training that any sport participant would want to emulate, it is here….a great tourney in Europe where the Berlin Bombshells upset the team from the UK, the Tiger Bay Brawlers; it is there where the skating and the fans are captured perfectly. And the episode ends with LRG coming to the US to skate (and beat!) the fabulous Rat City (Seattle) Rollers in a huge NBA arena. The action caught is startling.

I am not a reviewer and there is no way I can do this series justice. Those who know me know that I love film and am rather harsh in my criticisms (see “The Dallas Buyers Club” and know I liked it), so I am far less likely to fall over everything just because it is Derby.

This is a wonderful series: I hope someone picks it up here: frankly, if not ESPN, then Oprah, Bravo, etc. Perhaps the most important thing you will get from these shows are implied empowerment, team play, athleticism, love of sport with no pay, and an enthusiasm for life that is bigger than life.

Good show, Rampage, and the London Rollergirls and supporting cast.

Convergence for Roller Derby

I believe in convergence.

Sometimes things come together, and you would like to see that there is a pattern and a reason.

Sometimes you just have to assume there is.

This is the season for the championships of Roller Derby. The WFTDA tournament occurs the first week in November and the teams are in place. The number 1 team in the world Gotham should win it, but the Mile High Club from Denver is a real strong dark horse. But a huge difference this year is that a team from outside the US has qualified: The London Rollergirls, with the all powerful Raw Heidi.

And the Extreme Sports Channel has been quietly filming a 13-week series on the London Rollergirls which will start showing on October 18 to a potential audience of 30 million in Europe, Asia and Africa. This will certainly provide a boost to Derby in all those areas.

And a leading sports media company in this country will announce plans next week for a Roller Derby television program……over the air, not live streaming as now.

The Golden Era of Derby occurred in the 60’s and 70’s when the game was seen on 110 stations in the US and Canada, with an estimated 15 million viewers weekly, There is a short documentary on you tube (Mike Gammon Roller Derby) which will show you that time….Arenas from Madison Square Garden to Stadia such as Shea, Oakland, and White Sox Park had ten thousands of fans in attendance.

Yes, that was a different rule set and exhibition, but the fact that there are 1513 leagues in the world today in 41 countries playing amateur competitive Derby is a reality. And the fact that this has quietly occurred and most of our media has ignored it tells me that it is time to let millions see what the game is and what it will become. click to see photo of Roller Derby at Madison Square Garden.

And WFTDA has just announced that in February there will be beta testing of improvements in the current ruleset.

And USARS with the number two team Oly Rollers heading their tourney the end of October is also pushing the game forward.

Sports owners, producers, sponsors etc……we love lingerie football, crossfit training, curling, field hockey and whatever else you are trying to find under rocks, but the most competitive and difficult and woman-empowering game in the world (men competing again, also) is out there and already has a fan base in every North American city.

And this former promoter is willing to do whatever he can to help make it happen……..reach me

week ahead, Portland – Salem Divisionals -Seattle…….and my projected winners

Last fall I was in Atlanta for the Championships and thought the Derby girls there did a great job of hosting……the surprise to me was just how dominant the Gotham Girls were, and this year they look even stronger, and I don’t know of anyone out there who might beat them.

The divisional in Salem looks really intriguing – with one of my all-time favorite leagues Cherry City hosting – just a great mix of teams from everywhere: Melbourne, Toronto, my locals Bay Area and Sacred City, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago Outfit, Boston, Atlanta, and the closest thing to a home team, Seattle.

Because of obligations in Portland (and I have to get to Seltzer Park in Seaside, honoring the game’s founder, Leo Seltzer)and Seattle, I can only see the first round in person, and intend to be on hand all day Friday except for my time with Terry Sol (a Roller Derby fan all of his life) at KBZY radio. The last time I was in Salem was when we played at the Armory a long time ago.

The Northwest with Portland, Rat City and Oly have been leaders in Derby for quite a while. And of course the BAD girls are up there every year. But there is definitely the possibility of having no West Coast representation this year. Oly is competing in USARS and Portland (I know they don’t want to make excuses) had to travel all the way across the country and was eliminated……I would have liked to have seen the Rose City Rollers as the local rep in Salem, but I have nothing to do with it.

Nobody knows the exact comparative strength of Victorian; they did very well on an earlier tour of the area, and I don’t think the rankings do them justice. I feel they are a real dark horse. The way it should play out is BAD, Rat City, and Toronto going on to the nationals. My dark horse picks: Victoria, Toronto, and BAD. I would love to see three international teams in Milwaukee.

And what is truly ironic is that if the West Coast teams don’t get out of Salem, then tiny Santa Cruz by winning their playoff against their fellow Division 2 opponent could end up in Milwaukee.

And wouldn’t it be great if there were so few penalties that there were almost always two jammers on every jam……

See you in Salem. Please say hello to me as I return to my home state. did you know that the Peanuts gang followed Bay Area Roller Derby back then? click on link.

watch another rule set with Oly Rollers playing, and see how you can get help for your league.

National Champions of Roller Derby Take on Best Northwest Derby Teams Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at Magnuson Park.

Click on the link and read about the USARS regional this weekend in Seattle.  If you cannot see it, it might be on DNN.  It will give you an opportunity to see how the Oly Rollers skate the USARs game

Here is the moment last year when I presented them with the Seltzer Cup for their championship win….Photo by Donalee, of course.

But here is something extremely important that you might not even be aware of:  they turned to their ticket service (Brown Paper Tickets, of course) and took advantage of the free PR help given to clients.  Barb not only help rewrite the release (OK, there is a little bit of “puff” in it) but distributed it free through PRweb and provided a media list for the tourney producers… would have cost at least $400!

You should know by know that I work for Brown Paper Tickets because based on my knowledge of ticketing and companies over the past 35 years, there has never been anyone like them to help clients sell more tickets!

More leagues use BPT than anyone else, but if you are not fully utilizing the FREE services available through a not-just-for-profit company that charges only a 99 cent service fee plus credit card to the customer and charges your league NOTHING, then please go to and read the page and services provided.  And it is available in US, Canada, Europe and more.

Bob Noxious is the Roller Derby doer; on behalf of BPT he helps all leagues from promotion to scheduling and more; and you can set up donations and fund-raising in addition to your ticket sales, and all the technology from taking live phone orders, to customer ticket printing at home, to utilizing mobile devices do not cost any more, and there is live 24 hour client service.

Attendance is becoming an every increasing problem……if you are not maximizing the use of a service you already have, examine what you can do to get more advance sales.  And you might check out BPT if you don’t use them.

And this does not just apply to Derby, but to every potential client.

Brown Paper Tickets is the good guy who I don’t think shouts loud enough, and perhaps I shout too loud……but there is good reason.