Rocky Mountain High


The most amazing weekend in the 10 years of modern Roller Derby took place in Broomfield CO, at the 1st Bank Center, located halfway between Denver and Boulder.

This beautiful, modern arena with all the accoutrements you expect of an indoor sports palace:  a huge jumbotron, great seating, lighting, sound, etc, and a beer for just $8.75, hosted the 12 best teams ever to compete in the WFTDA national championships.

Not only weren’t the westerns the besterns, but the talent was so even that all regions were well represented. Congratulations to Texas, Kansas City, Nashville, Minnesota, and all the other unexpected teams that showed that they all know how to play Roller Derby.

And what a well-oiled machine Gotham is!  To fully understand how to play the flat track game; following simple-looking but very complex strategies of protecting your jammers, stopping the others, and having the amazing talents of Wild Cherri (congratulations on the MVP!),  Bonnie Thunder and Suzy Hotrod to pound the opposing teams jam after jam.

And wide open, slam bam, full speed Derby, the way the game is meant to be played and will be the future of the game when it moves even more onto the public’s perception.

Personally, I had the best time ever, being in the booth with Doug Martin and the wonderful Phoenix Hellfyre, and meeting and talking to literally thousands of new and old friends; autographing one beautiful lady in a most unusual place, and raising almost $800 selling bracelets for our lovely Lori.

And the Voice of America, our official government propaganda agency that lets the world know about the USA, covered the tournament and asked the Commissioner for a few words about the start of the sport, etc.  They got more than a few words, but if they are smart, they will edit it.  It should be on the official Voice of America news website in a few weeks.

Of course the delightful Robin Bond was on hand with her beautiful daughter.  Robin said that “Derby Baby”, the 90-minute film about our game, has been delayed till Spring so footage from the World Cup can be included.

OK, why can’t I leave well enough alone?  Because I can’t.  The discouraging part of the tournament was the amount of time that the best players were sent off the track; in one game alone there seemed to be an endless amount of time that one team had no jammer because of penalties and skaters sent off for reasons I could not comprehend.

The best team won the Championship, so I am not quibbling about that.  But why does a game with just a total of 10 players on the track need 6 referees, and 10 (or 13?) officials, trying to enforce 50 plus pages of very specific rules?

I can’t blame the 16 or so enforcers:  they are given specific instructions, and if you are in a uniform shouldn’t your presence be noted?  But when the outcomes are so affected, so many official times out (yes, that is the correct grammatical usage); the slowing down of the contest; don’t others agree that there is something wrong here?  The WFTDA and Denver Roller Dolls had the best event ever;  please allow the skaters to really perform in the future.  And don’t forget you have fans watching, and they deserve better also.

I think you all know I am sincere in my love of the modern game.  Let’s make certain it is ready for prime time, and that the players who work all year to be part of the Nirvana of the Championship feel they are getting a fair shake.

Now you might think that the players who left it all on the floor would take a break, but no:  Kitt Track has a banked track tournament November 17 and 18 in Chicago, with the champion Gotham Girls, RMRG, Windy City, and the LA Derby Dolls, with the winning squad getting $10,000!.   Is this the start of a new era in Roller Derby?  If you are going to be in the Chicago area, please go to http://www.prorollerderby.com.  And then just a few weeks later, the World Cup in Toronto, with the best skaters from 13 nations competing for the best in the World……Damn it, I told you all to keep it underground.

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