the path takes you

Photo by Evan Williams from

When I look in the mirror – which I rarely do – I am surprised not to see the wavy black hair and young face that I always think how I look. That person is not there.

But the one that is realizes that no matter what you plan, life takes you on its on path, particularly if you let it.

So I studied business in college, almost went to law school and ended up doing the various things I have described in the previous 130 posts; none of which I had planned for.

And how many of you out there are doing exactly what you thought you would be doing (especially those skating in Roller Derby).

I realize now that signals are sent to you along the way, and you have to be able to answer them if you want and take risks. I have always assumed that this is my one time on earth and I better not regret the way I go, even after a multitude of mistakes and failures (we don’t talk about them).

I have been so inspired by the revival of my family’s sport and the literally thousands of friends it has brought to me. And I am about to engage in some other interesting activities that I approach without any fear whatsoever.

These things are what keeps me inspired, alive, and going.

Just don’t think that this is it, because it isn’t. At least be open to anything that comes your way.

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RollerCon 2011

This still will not be a long post, but it is something I want to write before the feeling drifts off.

Judi Flowers was at her first Rollercon.  And I know that it changed her life.  I did not know Judi when I was promoting the game, and she has kind of picked it up by osmosis.  And she has seen some of the games in this area.  But at Rollercon the aura just overwhelmed her as it does everyone who attends…..and now she is busy starting to design and participate in the culture.  On the drive home she told me that she is just trying to digest this “invasion of her senses.”

Ivanna and her crew have created what to me is something that grabs the whole essence of Roller Derby:  I don’t care  what league or ruling body you belong to, we are packing into a very few days something that will stay with you, whether you skate, referee, or participate in any way in the game we all love.  You will get instructions, guidance, seminars, and dance your ass off partying.

I feel a sense of redundancy when I say I love you all, I love what Roller Derby has become to you and what you have brought to it, and the way you honor me and my family.

What has truly bothered me is the different ruling bodies who have brought sense and order to the crazy way this has all evolved since 2002 have probably unwittingly created restrictions that keep you all from participating and competing with each other the way you do at Rollercon.

As Reagan said to Gorbachov, “tear down the wall”.  goddamnit, it is Roller Derby.  Leagues or teams of equal ability should play others of the same level without worrying about if it is sanctioned or not.  The more you play those closest to you geographically and skill level, the  more you will improve.  And  you might learn something about the others’ rules that you feel should be incorporated in your game.

California has more leagues than anyone.  There should be a California championship tourney, and the teams do not have to be of the present makeup, but maybe by county or city.  I know that this is a concept that Donna Hot Flash is working on, and it could certainly apply to other states and regions.

Why do you all get to skate with and against each other at Rollercon but not elsewhere.

If you really want to honor me, Loretta, Frankie, Ann, Joan,Judy Sowinsky, and all of the great skaters of the past, figure out a way to make this happen without damaging your present alliance.

Keep watching here for more of Rollercon from the Commissioner’s point of view.

And Ivanna and crew, you are amazing…..thanks to all the wonderful volunteers it went off without a hitch; it was the most complex, complete “convention” I have ever attended.  If you did not learn to skate better, ref better, learn at seminars, become a better announcer or any other category that is necessary for your league, it certainly wasn’t Rollercon’s fault…..the parties and functions were amazing.

If I can, I will be back next year.  And please post those photos.

OMG, I now have a Derby wife and more.

Photo by bea29sm from

Well, I am exhausted……just got back from Rollercon;  we left Vegas this morning and drove home.

It was wonderful and crazy and so stimulating!  I will tell about it in bits and pieces, starting on Monday.  Yes I have a Derby wife and until you attend the Derby weddings at Rollercon with over 500 on hand, and you can imagine the wedding garb and lack thereof; and the presiding “minister” in a Elvis jumpsuit that doesn’t cover her stomach because she is 8 months pregnant and Dumptruck in his bikini shorts marrying the coach of the B.A.D. girls, and the Commish ……well that will have to wait as I am just too damn tired.

But Rollercon was amazing and the progress and difference even from last year to this year….well I just can’t short cut.

Join me again in a day or so.

And they should start posting the photos on my Facebook page in the next day or so….

Declaring your independence

Photo by Ryan Tamayo from

The fourth of July weekend always seems to be the best and happiest holiday with no gifts exchanged.

We always celebrated it at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium when the A’s were out-of-town with Roller Derby, marching bands, special events and of course fireworks.  Southern Californians may remember Tommy Trojan who strutted his stuff in front of the famous Trojan band and was on the sidelines when SC scored as he was the extra point guy.  Anyway, he would create our huge fireworks displays after our games.  And we had tremendous crowds for these games, up to 35,000 paid.

We kind of took over for the city of Oakland in those years as they didn’t have funds for fireworks, so the Bay Bombers bombastic was followed by tens of thousands of citizens outside the stadium.  We always made it a benefit for something in Oakland and I remember giving a check for $14,000 to the March of Dimes one year, and $17,000 to a very surprised and pleased Mother Superior for the Providence Hospital fund the following year.  40 years ago that was a lot of money.

I love fireworks and usually try to be up in Seaside Oregon (see earlier posting on “By the Sea”) where if it is not rainy or foggy you can see the fireworks up and down the coast for miles.

And of  course the fourth of July is just a month away from the annual day of founding of Roller Derby, August 13 (1935).  So I thought I would use this occasion to put forth my personal wishes for Roller Derby in the next year.

First, a caveat:  whatever I say about the game or whatever I express, it is all for the love of what the current 940 leagues in 35 countries have accomplished in bringing back this sport from the ashes, an unheard-of feat.  It costs them to skate, of time, funds, and effort, and yet the game grows and thrives.  But I know that we all have opinions which we should express.

1.  The continued growth should be sustained.  Almost 500 new leagues in the past year alone.

2.  The flat track game be simplified so it is easier to watch and play.

3.  The banked track game to continue to grow.

4.  More interplay between leagues near each other who are of the same skill set but not the same sanction or control.  I am going to the championship game of B.A.D. this weekend, and thought wouldn’t it be sensible to have a Nor Cal tournament with so many leagues within 100 miles.  And so many teams could play so many more games.

5.  The establishment of a national TV network in addition to DNN (or utilizing Hurt and everybody else who makes us think that the viewing of our favorite teams everywhere is just a natural thing….what they have done is unprecedented).

6.  Steps toward a professional league.

7.  Continued fun and enjoyment for those who play, participate and watch this wonderful sport.

8.  Some league or region establish the Leo A. Seltzer cup or trophy for their championship.

9.  Even more admiration and love for the Commissioner.

I assume you may have a few ideas on what you would like to see happen in the growth and development of Roller Derby…’s your chance.