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.