Now I am ashamed

I never was really pressed for grades in high school, but kind of pulled it together my last year, and I was genuinely surprised when I was successfully admitted to Stanford.

Stanford academically is one of America’s top universities and also has a beautiful campus, great facilities and top teams in most sports: football, basketball, swimming and more. And I met some of the most important people in my life there.

Later, as I decided I wanted more of a business background, I transferred to Northwestern University where I eventually graduated.

But I have always considered myself a “Stanford man” and followed the teams, the Nobel Prizes, the achievements, etc.

And now a spoiled brat of a kid on the swimming team has made me feel queasy when I think of this school I loved so much.

He raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, was apprehended and caught by two passersby (heroes!) who testified against him; was judged guilty, but his father got expensive lawyers who humiliated the woman (read her letter; she is the ultimate hero). But the jurors still found him guilty; the prosecutor asked for the maximum 14 years, but the judge (good old boys working here?), gave him just six months in a really offensive ruling. (The kid’s father’s letter: “should he really get such an extreme punishment for just 20 minutes of action”)

Now a Stanford Law Professor has asked Santa Clara County Superior Court to suspend the judge, and it happens as this is written that the judge is up for re-election (unopposed), and I and 75 thousand have petitioned the county to remove him.

I guess the most unimportant thing here is my discomfort about Stanford’s reputation; I keep thinking of the continuing horror, nightmares, and more this 23-year old woman will experience for the rest of her life. Maybe the lesson is that we should all feel shame for all evil acts, no matter who commits them, and try to make certain that there is justice.

Are you ready for Japanese style Roller Derby in Santa Monica March 19 and 20 plus more?

The big event is so near…..and what a break in the weather forecast:  70s and sunny both days.

Hiroshi Koizumi, the Japanese skating legend, who has skated banked track for over 40 years has put this giant event together.

Outdoors by the Santa Monica Pier (wonderful rides and food) on the parking lot.  banked track, great food.  Not only Japan vs USA on the banked track, but so much more:  exhibition game both days by the LA Derby Dolls and the Juniors.  Moxi skaters on hand for trick skating, dance skating, cosplay.  music.

Must be horribly expensive?  advance tickets at $5 admission on sale now at  and bleacher seating (highly reasonable) and VIP tickets also available….capacity limited by the city of Santa Monica.  Hours, from 9 am to 6 pm each day.  Japan vs USA men and women’s teams at 1 pm each day, Derby Dolls to follow, much activity in the mornings….

And until you have seen the wild, entertaining Japanese Roller game; well, it is a whole different game.  And it will be televised for Japan…no local tv or streaming.

The Japanese team is flying in, and they will be joined by Slamurai from the San Diego Derby Dolls.

On the USA roster are Tony Muse and Mark Weber, who both were on the 2014 men’s USA World Cup Champs, and Tony is on the 2016 squad.  Also Andrew Branson, Bobby Cendejas, Ray Robles, Chris Martinez, Nick Scobbda and Josh Valladares, grandson of skating legends Ralph Valladares and Honey Sanchez.

The women’s team features Gwen Miller, Stacey Blitsch (both Rollerjam and modern Derby), Jessica Heiter (Crowe), Erika Valdez, Zoe from LA Derby Dolls, Megan Martinez and more.

There has never been an event like it, and there may never be again.  And don’t tell me you can’t afford it.  And a day on the beach in March….

Say hello to the Commissioner.

Roller Derby 2016, a look ahead

A facebook friend whom I have known for 6 years had an image come on his page which was from Key Arena in 2009, where the whole lower bowl was filled with 7000 fans for Roller Derby for the Rat City League.

It seems as though that was a high point for fan interest in games for most leagues.  Today many leagues have moved down in the size of the venues (and if they haven’t, they should check their average attendance and realize they are not in operation to pay high costs to venues), and are they really assessing the strength of their attraction to a paid audience.

Let me make a point here that always seem to be contentious to those who developed the modern flat track game.  I take no credit for what you have developed and have spread virtually worldwide.  In the past, I have been the subject of resentment (by a very few) because of my family’s creation of the banked track game.  I am sorry for that, but I think most know that I am only interested in the skaters and the success (however measured) of what they are doing.

I as a promoter and as a spectator really liked the game in 2009…obviously it has changed since then and, except in a few exceptional areas, attendance has declined. That should tell you more about the reality of the situation than anything else.  Once you open the doors and charge admission, you are in competition with all other forms of entertainment (whether you want to call it that or not), and what you present is how the public judges if it is worthwhile to spend their time and money there.

So there’s the rub; most of those who have entered the world of skating do so because it fills a special need in their lives and they enjoy it: “Roller Derby saved my soul”.  I would ask you evaluate your league and its objectives very realistically:  if what you are doing satisfies all the participants, then don’t go crazy try to make it a success as a paying sport…..obviously, you must get more dues-paying members and find other ways to fund.

Bob Noxious and I present a seminar annually at Rollercon, and we will address most of the problems you are facing….and not just on a marketing basis.  Bob has written some great features on Derby on the Community page on, including methods to promote, to gain new recruits, to operate as a business and more.  And obviously I have many years background in promoting Derby and other sports.

Look to the leagues that remain successful…what is the key to what they are doing. Communication is the key here; everyone should not feel she has to reinvent the wheel.

Derby is not going away….with over 1800 leagues in 58 countries, more men’s and junior leagues, it has a real foothold in the more than decade it was developed.  And we at Brown Paper Tickets will help in any way we can.  I am