do you just shut up when someone attacks you?

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.


Roller Derby is a game on skates

This week I am scheduled for an interview on a CBS TV network program called “Through the Decades”.  It will be part of the whole program which will be seen on CBS stations throughout the country around the 13th of August, the date of the very first Roller Derby in Chicago in 1935.

History has been a problematic topic in current roller derby, all amateur composed of 2000 women and men and junior leagues throughout the world.  Some (and boy have I run into them!) believe derby is modern, created by women around a table in Texas in about 2002; Others glory in the history, even though in most cases it is a far different game.

Now the reason this TV program came about is because a wonderful group in the Chicago area got most of the leagues together last year for World Roller Derby Week, a celebration based on the history of the game in Chicago; there was a public display and skating at the Coliseum Park, what is remaining of the original arena, and a contest skated with juniors and then adults at a skating rink.  And Barb Morgen of Brown Paper Tickets PR working with Jane and Cheryl and the others got almost Super Bowl coverage in Chicago and throughout the US on TV, Radio and on line media, and the result was a blood drive with the Red Cross that set a record of our 30 drives with Roller Derby leagues of almost 200 lives saved.

And that is why Decades is interested this year.  The history is an asset.

So yes Virginia, there was a Roller Derby in 1935 and up until 1973 and it was skated on skates, originally with maple wheels on a banked track.

As the game evolved Leo and Oscar Seltzer wanted to make certain the players had skates designed for the games; they founded the Roller Derby Skate Company and even after I took over the stewardship of the enterprise in 1959, that is all we used.  Then Oscar developed a urethane wheel and that changed the game.  The skates were costly; if the skaters had to replace a pair and break in a new one (they hated that worse than anything), we had to pay $27 for a new pair.

After we shut down Roller Derby in 1973. the skate company continued to grow; it was now run by Oscar’s son, Ed Seltzer, who was a physicist graduate of Cal Tech.  They developed the first outdoor shoe skate for kids (the Street King; I actually sold the first pairs to a retailer in Southern California) and produced skate boards, hockey and in line skates, ice skates and more, and are in retailers throughout the world under various brand names.

But what did Ed miss?  The re-emergence of Roller Derby.  I called him immediately after the first Rollercon, but they were doing so well and others in the company saw no need to enter the field, that they missed out for the first years.

But then they found Tony Muse, who some (me) consider the best speed and derby skater in the world.  Now what many don’t know is that the Roller Derby Skate Company has patents and they are the only one that can have Roller Derby Skates as the title; also, they have the exclusive rights for the name on merchandise but Ed chose never to enforce that (good move!).

So some of the upcoming women’s World Cup leagues will be using the Roller Derby Elites, and about half of the USA Men’s Cup team will be wearing them….I have examined the skates, and against the competition, they are a great value.  And I have nothing to do with or no interest in the company…..

So I guess this is an endorsement of my friend Tony and his co workers; and I love to see Roller Derby Skates as a part of the sport as a further tribute to Leo and Oscar.

And if the history bothers you, what a shame.


Roller Derby is 82; join the party on August 13 at Coliseum Park

what do you want?

Illustration by ba1969 from

Per your suggestions, I am going to construct some kind of book out of a number of these posts, add some important filler information, some great photos and whatever I can find left in the refrigerator.

The question is, it is pretty damn expensive to self publish.  How many would take an inexpensive ebook?

Whatever you want I will do.

Within reason.