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.

What is a friend?

I had to move the other day, and although to explain it to you would be ridiculous, it turned out to be quite complicated.  It involved heavy duty cleaning, painting, sorting, disposing, and more, all things I am not good at.

But Judi Flowers and Jim Weymouth and Jerry Nicol showed up and with three days of intensive and grueling work, I am in my new location…..not enough of the work was mine.

And these are really friends I love.

So let’s think about friends for a moment.  Facebook has redefined the meaning for many people.  If you don’t even know someone, or are merely an aquaintence, you can be someone’s friend and drop information or trivia or pictures of turtles on each other’s doorstep.

Photo by lusi from stock.xchng.com.

But I find a very different situation with my 5000 friends.  So many are from the  Roller Derby connection that there is already the true meaning (to me) of friendship, when we first lock into each other.  Many people think of Roller Derby mainly as the game but are not aware of the inclusive world and sister/brotherhood that exists within it.  If you look on facebook at my wordpress breakdown for 2011, I think you (as I was) will be amazed at the continents and countries that are tuned in.

It is the culture, not just the game, that joins us.  If someone is in trouble in Manchester, we all respond.  Look at how Lori Milkeris is recovering from her terrible experience, and how literally tens of thousands of you responded with donations, positive messages, advice and more.  And the effort of Derby to help stop domestic violence was accelerated by her experiences.

And when Pandora thought she was abandoned in Colorado, how PJ Shields and all people who didn’t even know her changed her life to a more positive experience.

And I don’t just mean that everyone has to respond to these extreme situations, but we know we all will.

Derby today is so much more than skating …….it is an absolute positive way of life that the World could learn from.

Happy New Year to my family  (be good, don’t fight……and by the way, we have to get Lori to Rollercon so among other things she can get a wonderful Derby husbitch).