In the spirit of the Holiday

Photo by saavem from

I guess I am a little late, but I just got caught up with the USARS posting of their rules that they are testing, as put on facebook by Roxi Tucker today.  I guess actually it was posted in October.

I like some of the changes, thought others unnecessary but really didn’t dwell because I have nothing to do with them except give my opinions.

But then I read the comments under the post;  “how dare they do that……The flat track rules represent 6 years……sue them….etc, etc”

This ownership thing makes me crazy……do you think Leo invented everything that was in the original game?  He took some from the Walkathon, some from six-day bike races which were popular in the 30’s (“jam”), and added other elements suggested by Damon Runyon.  And of course I changed some of the rules to make the helmet game in the 60’s.  The name Roller Derby has long become generic, and we certainly didn’t try to copyright or patent it after my father had done so.  The only copyright still remaining belongs to the Roller Derby Skate Company.

Not every wants to or certainly has to skate the WFTDA, OSDA, MADE, TXRD, MRDA, WORD, Renegade or any other rules.  It is a simple game, 5 players on a team, timed jam, lap the field and pass for points.

Why the need for possession and ownership?  Is it about control?  Let it go everyone.

It would be a great Christmas present for all.

Women and Men

I’ll talk about women first.

Today I watched the semi-finals of World Cup soccer from Germany.   The US team prevailed over France in  a very exciting game before a huge crowd, and they move onto the Championship on Sunday.

Now soccer is not Roller Derby, but the play, the discipline and the flow of the game were very exciting, although only 4 goals in total were scored (do I have to tell you who got 3?).

There is little doubt that Roller Derby is on the verge of what most of you have been hoping for:  a fully competitive popular sport.  Women’s basketball and soccer and softball are all accepted, and I and many others think Roller Derby is more exciting.

So what is my point?  I would hope that rules committees look at ways to make the game more exciting from a spectator point of view:  less penalties (not ones that should be called, but stop impeding the game), and ways to keep the action moving forward.  The disparity in the scores could be solved in several ways:  teams only play other teams that are of the same ability; shorten the jam time; make certain there is one jammer from each team at the start of the jam; only permit two players in the penalty box at one time; allow the pivot to chase the jammer if her jammer can not get out of the pack, and start the jammers from the rear of the pack, requiring the pack to be moving or be penalized.   Please shorten half time to 15 minutes (easy if you get rid of minor penalties).  And the score should be given to the audience and announcers at the end of the jam, not during.

Photo by Ron Horton. Angel City Derby Girls (red) vs. Salt Lake City Shakers.

OK, I keep hammering at the same point, but blowouts and stoppages are bad for spectators, if that is what you are concerned with.  I understand that OSDA, MADE, and perhaps Renegades skate a similar game.  I think that the flat track leagues that do not figure ways to solve this problem they might be left behind in the future….just my opinion.  Of course, a number of people do not care about expansion and that is fine.

Now men:  there really should not be any dispute this.  Yes, the women revived and recreated the game.  But it was always designed for both men and women.  I really am not for having men and women compete on the same teams against each other, but apparently that is what MADE is doing.  I have watched some of the men’s games, both banked track and flat, and at present the teams are behind the women in skill and strategy, but that will change rapidly.

To me a perfect evening would be a double header of a men’s game (two twenty-minute periods) and a women’s game to follow (same period time).  I think that would have great audience appeal and bring the best there is in our game.

Photo by Sharkey. ( Portland Men's Roller Derby.

And can’t there be a way that more teams could play each other, even if not in the same rule settings.  It would help all leagues and allow the teams to be able to skate more games during the year.

No one has to listen to me.  Am I just one voice in the wilderness?

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