A University Professor Revives A Childhood Dream — Becoming A Roller Derby Queen

A University Professor Revives A Childhood Dream — Becoming A Roller Derby Queen.

(Click above)


This is so much better than “housewife by day, Derby star at night”

Well written and very emotional,  and she is one of the 1955 “Derby over 40” members.

The coverage now just accepts Roller Derby without any snickers or denigration.  and if you are interviewed, etc, just stop all the nonsense when asked.

The Commissioner orders it.

Really enjoy this piece.

I beg you on bended knee…….

Arrived home at 3:30 am from the best Rollercon ever!……Had a booth with two wonderful clients, took my 2nd Derby wife, was in several thousand photos (or so it seemed)…..more should be cropping up.  Having been to dozens of trade shows and conventions over the years for Roller Derby, Ticketmaster, and Judi Flowers Studio, I am just blown away by how well Rollercon is run.

RollerCon 2012. Photo from Christine Mask Warbrick.

And I was able to see so much skating in such a compressed time.   Sanctioned and unsanctioned bouts; skaters who don’t skate in the same leagues competing with and against each other, and what was for me, the most exciting game!

I was able to announce (you know how many years it has been?) the over 40s game between “Slow down, punks” and “Get off of my lawn”, and it was exciting.  Both teams skated Roller Derby as it was meant to be (and under the WFTDA rules): a balls out action game – no stopping, slowing down, going backwards or whatever.  Jam after jam, just trying to get out of the pack with tremendous jamming, offensive and defensive blocking, and every point was hard fought.

And it ended as it should have, a 54-54 ties.  And every skater over 40 and into their fifties.

If you don’t skate this kind of game because of “strategy”, then please use “strategy” in practices; don’t bore live audiences.   You want it to grow, excite audiences and increase its potential, then go back to the skating before the Rat City/RMRG debacle several years back which started this trend.

The game should not be played to get around the rules……penalize skating backwards, stopping, etc, and like in other major sports, set a time limit on when the jams must start.

I have seen Roller Derby die twice.  Please not again before it reaches its full growth……it is on roller skates, it is an action game.   Stop before it is too late.

The Commissioner

ok, just my opinion

This will be my last post before Rollercon, and certainly my last comments on the state of Derby today.

First what I find frustrating:  in so many of the games I watch on DNN or WFTDA.tv I find more and more teams utilizing the slow down strategy to try and equalize the match.  By virtually stopping the pack several things are happening:  often a relative inaction by both teams in starting the jam, and when it does start because the pack is “locked”, the jammer catches them in 25 or so seconds, making a 2-minute jam ridiculously long.

You, the skaters, control the game and the rules.  Just a few changes would help and maybe even check the off-balancing effect of the power jam.  The officials should signal the pack to keep moving or a penalty would be given; the jam time shortened to one minute; and if a jammer is sent to the box in a jam, the team is allowed to field a jammer on the subsequent jam, with a blocker position serving the remainder of the penalty.

Roller Derby is about action, speed, and the chase.  I personally don’t think any jam should start without a jammer on each team.  Don’t allow this game to become one of inaction.  There is far too much intrinsic excitement.

I know I am talking about the WFTDA game; USARS has made some significant changes, and MADE with 40 leagues and OSDA are skating basically the original rules, but I really hope that the different games could be brought closer together…..I have heard complaints that WFTDA teams are discouraged from participating in other skating leagues and often great animosity is shown between the different leagues under different rules.  This certainly will not help the sport move forward, and it seems crazy to me that different leagues in the same areas do not compete against each other.

But that is just my opinion.

Now for the positive.  As time goes by, many of the original skaters are still going strong, bringing their basic knowledge of how the game should be strategized and played to others.  I see less and less of players not understanding what their function is.  The fan base in many areas has grown significantly, and you see so much acceptance and pride in so many communities of what their league means to them.

A recent list in Buzz-feed had Roller Derby listed among the 10 most difficult sports requiring the most skill to play.  You have really established a foothold and admiration for what you are doing and have accomplished.  And remember, when you are compared to other sports they are mostly professional or very well funded.  I am amazed that the growth continues, and as you know, I am just blown away by the love of the game and each other you portray, often with hardships that few outside the game realize.

As I head for my fifth Rollercon, I am more excited than at the first.  I am participating in so many different things:  my seminar on 4 PM on Saturday;  my announcing of the over 40s game at 2 PM on Saturday with Derby wife Val Capone; my Derby wedding with the wonderful Lori Milkers (“I like women” post on this blog), and for the first time, a booth.

Come visit us in the GoMerch/Seltzer brand booth with Judi Flowers and Jim Weymouth of www.seltzerbrand.com, Dan Cooper of GoMerch, and Lori Milkeris who will be selling her end violence bracelets for her continuing medical expenses.  And I just might autograph a “Roller Derby to Rollerjam” book for you.  and the blessed  Laura Blastfemi Kelly has sent some of her delilghtful “Kiss” stickers.

And of course, being a promoter, one more thing:  a free raffle to win books, bag tags, rock and roll shirts from Go Merch, autographed “Roller Derby to Rollerjam” books, and an original Midwest Pioneer jersey (like the one I wear on my facebook page), from 40 years ago.  Priceless.

And Judi has candy for you.

The great things about Derby and one complaint (not even mine)

I tend to get involved with things about Derby that I think are helpful:  advice, whether you want to hear it or not and groups and individuals that I feel are not only good for Derby but for all of us.

I love what “Derby against Domestic violence” has become:  over 2400 who tell their stories, listen to others and find ways to get support and guidance……I wish all of you would join.  Also check out “I choose when to get bruised.”

And now Derby over 40.  What an amazing group of wonderful people…..and some of their athletic and personal accomplishments will startle you….check out the site.

And here is what blows me away about the group:  there are 919 members who are active in Roller Derby (including a few good men) and their stories and experiences are worth listening to…..There are a few 60 year olds and Merby Dick at 73 and Bob Wright at 55 lead the men.

Sometimes questions are posed on Derby over 40 and the answers surprise me.  A recent one asked what about Roller Derby surprised them the most, and although many gave the answers of how they were renewed, gained confidence, lost weight, found new lives, etc, many gave the answer “the drama”.

Photo by mattox from stock.xchng.com

I think they came at it from the perspective of age: “stop whining”, “get over it”, “learn to work together and get along”.  Maybe one thing lacking in many of the leagues is a program as outlined by Donna “thehotflash” Kay on how to be good executives and curb the drama and the problems between the women, and maybe that is the main reason why there are so many splits going on even today.

For all the talk about sisterhood and empowerment, I get the feeling as an outsider that it is the internal relationships (in many, but not all leagues) that hurt this image.

There are no problems that are unsolvable, you just have to be aware of them and confront them.

Let’s make Derby Love a little more meaningful.  If there is dissension and problems, it will show in how successful your league can become.   Good executives know how to delegate and let go of certain tasks so they are not involved in every decision and action;  when you involve more people you usually get better results.

So much is happening today; heed the word of those in your world who are older and maybe wiser.  Do them a favor and curb the drama.  And also let’s find the other 81 people somewhere in the skating world to bring “Derby over 40” to 1000 joined, so we can all say look how little age is a factor in Roller Derby.