A potpourri of items I think you will enjoy, featuring Roller Derby

The rise of roller derby: No longer WWE on wheels, the rapid growth of women’s flat track derby in Greensboro is a microcosm of the sport’s ascension into the mainstream – SBNation.com.

Click above…….I think this article about Greensboro Roller Derby is an absolute knockout; beautiful photos, well structured……a pr dream for Roller Derby and Greensboro

This great video by the London Rollergirls, promoting the upcoming Ft Wayne Regionals, based on the “Wayne’s World” movie.

http://vimeo.com/72420911    (Click on link)

And Ft Wayne responds to the London Roller Girls:  http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F72568661&h=YAQG4kRzP

And we are very proud of Brown Paper Tickets, 5 Northern California Roller Derby leagues working with the Red Cross to get 150 units of blood donated this week….More to come.

Photo: Thanks for donating blood!Photo: Come bleed for RRG and get cool stuff!  The Red Cross will be there from 11 - 5pm today.  Bleed, baby, bleed!!Photo: Look how awesome our own Hope's Fury is - she's giving blood and saving lives! Do it today. Click here for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/571250959583156/Photo: The Secret Cervix usually makes other people bleed on the track, but today she donated her blood! </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who participated today. We had over 40 people sign-in today to donate and we even had to turn away people due to time and supply constraints. Thanks for such a great day!Photo: Don't forget to register for the blood drive on Friday! We need you! FREE Melo's Pizza! FREE t-shirts! The Undead Bettys Roller Derby team will be on hand for photos, sign your t-shirts, and just have fun! Jerry Seltzer, "The Commish" from Roller Derby will be there too! https://www.facebook.com/events/312570385546783/Photo: The Undead Bettys roller derby team (Antioch) came out to encourage blood donations... They rock!Not only did the Undead Bettys enjoy an exciting victory over the Oakland Outlaws, but non other than Mr. Roller Derby of the Bay Area himself, Jerry Seltzer, was in attendance to promote American Red Cross Blood Drive.Here's a better version (Photoshopped) of the photo from last night at the Undead Bettys bout in Antioch.

OK, Tim Roy, you are partially right, and it took Santa Cruz Roller Derby to prove it.

What a great weekend!

On behalf of Brown Paper Tickets and the American Red Cross Blood Drives I took a trip to Monterey and Carmel over the weekend.   The Monterey Peninsula is one of the best places on earth, and I was happy to see the ocean was still running (all night too).

On Friday night I met with the great people from Monterey Derby Dames.  We went over the upcoming blood drive (which had been set up by Hanna Malak of the American Red Cross) and also got to spend some time on marketing and PR.   They use Brown Paper Tickets (of course!), but like so many of the users, really don’t know the literally dozens of free services available to them.  I think they do now. (look at http://www.brownpapertickets.com for services, just go get an idea).

Monterey Derby Dames!

Photo: Great seeing you tonight!!<br /><br /><br /><br />
I hope you and Judi enjoy your trip

Randy Boose from Santa Cruz Derby Girls had invited me to come to one of their games for a long time, but now they have moved into a new arena, are the leading participant in the blood drives (they are providing two days in August!) and I really wanted to see them play again.  They had been skating at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium where ironically we had booked occasionally about once a season in the 60’s; really a very small venue (about 1000), but SCRG had built a loyal following.

The city of Santa Cruz hosts the most laid back campus of the UC  University system; unlike their big brothers UC Berkeley and UCLA they are much more relaxed about things;  420 is their biggest holiday, and the name of their athletic teams (I kid you not) is the Banana Slugs.  The population of the town is 60,000, and as I found out, SCDG is neither small town nor laid back.

The Golden State Warriors NBA has their D league team (the Warriors) in Santa Cruz, and this year the city and Kaiser Permanente provided them with a brand new 2500 seat arena.  The building is clear span, very raw in terms of amenities (you go outside to use the bathrooms), but is about the greatest Derby venue imaginable.  You walk right into the arena, through no lobby or hallway and are right there.   And right in front as you walked in was the blood drive table, where fans were signing up for the upcoming event.

the building was packed: about 2000 on hand; surprising since it is summer vacation, and parking is impossible……the location is very near downtown, and there just isn’t any parking nearby.

I was greeted by Randy and went to my reserved seat.  And then one of those things happen that are so funny and leave a person wondering.  I was next to a nice lady, probably in her fifties or early sixties, who said to me that this was the first Roller Derby she was going to see since she used to watch in Minnesota.  I had not told her of my background.  “Did you watch on Sunday mornings at 11 on WCCO, channel 4?”  She looked at me startled, and said yes.  I then excused myself and walked down to the floor.  I used to know every city and time and day our tapes were shown in all 120 cities across America.

It had just been announced a few days before the Santa Cruz would be the number 1 seed in Division 2 WFTDA in the upcoming regionals.  Ironically, their last game previous was a loss, so they fell out of the top 40 rankings to #41, which meant they would not compete in the Division 1 regionals, but would be a favorite in Division 2, which might give them a path to the Division 1 championships in Milwaukee later.  Confused?  check it all out on the WFTDA site.

The fans went crazy when their home team appeared.  And they were doubly excited when the local paper the day before had announced the city’s representative would be #1 in Division 2, and the team basked in the audience’s approval.

The opposition was the Humboldt County (far northern California) league.  Due to injuries, they only had 9 players on their traveling squad, so I was ready for the slow down, sit down, twirl around pattern of skating.  Was I wrong.Photo

Right from the first starting line both teams bolted out and engaged.  Great pack blocking and skating, and the outmanned Humboldts stayed with Santa Cruz for a while, but then the home team showed its dominance…..no slow down by either team, no disengagement-let’sstandhereandlookatthecrowd skating.  And the fans loved it and responded.  They had been there before, they would come back next time (like the LA Derby Dolls fans, the Gotham Girls, the BAD girls etc, all who skate action games).  I was so impressed by the Santa Cruz jammers!

At half time, a tremendous response from the crowd (their team was up by a large margin).

And great halftime entertainment:  a group of women danced in Brazil Carnivale fashion and not much costume.

The fans got what they came for, the players got the love from the audience (and the money from the gate!) that let them know they were stars and appreciated for what they give up to be part of Roller Derby.  And the wonderful Mildred Fierce told me that since moving to the new arena skater tryouts and junior wanting to skate had skyrocketed.

Now Tim Roy had said to me that the rule set was not at fault for the problems with Derby.  And if leagues want to play an action sport and ignore the loopholes as I saw on Saturday, he is partially correct.  I still would like to see the pivot able to provide the function the position was created for:  to block and jam if no other jammer was available; the jam time cut by 30 or 60 seconds; penalties for skating backwards or stopping, and allowing the pack to keep moving; elements which are available in other rules sets.

But if all games were like what I saw on Saturday….it is a great start, unless you don’t care whether or not fans  (outside of friends and family) show up.

Good show, SCDG.  Hope you make it all the way to Milwaukee!

A different way in Derby to give blood

One of the least things known about Roller Derby of all the misconceptions is how much the leagues give to other organizations and the community.

That is why the recent American Red Cross blood drive with the Santa Cruz Derby Girls was so successful and caught the interest of the Red Cross in Northern California.

I recently met with Justin Mueller, Director of Resources Development, and Thomas Petty, member of Board of Directors for the Red Cross (and Thomas is a friend of Scott Bland from Houston) and discussed the possibility of involving all Northern California leagues in this very essential  effort.  I was a Bay Area Board member for two years and saw up front just how dedicated the people in this organization are in helping victims of disasters, fires, and tragedies of all kind, and how much was done during our very own earthquake disaster in 1989.

And having blood on hand is always crucial; unfortunately Northern California has some of the lowest supplies of any region.

So this August will be Red Cross/Roller Derby blood drive month.  We hope to get all leagues involved from Mendocino to Sacramento  south and including Monterey.  And the Roller Derby representative for this drive is Shebangz, from the Tri Valley Roller Girls.

Photo by wolak from stock.xchng.com

Photo by wolak from stock.xchng.com

There will be extensive promotion and media coverage, other participants, and with your promoting it at upcoming games the donor bus can be scheduled in your area.  And remember, you get cookies and or doughnuts afterwards!.  Hopefully we can get as many players and fans to join in.  There will be a prize for the most successful league!

Giving blood can be done pretty much by anyone, and you will be made aware of the few restrictions.  Obviously the drive will not be held on a game day.  I will give during the drive, as there is no age restrictions for older guys like me.

This will be great for future victims, the Red Cross and obviously all the leagues participating.   To join in the effort, please contact Justin Mueller, Director Resources Development for the Red Cross: justin.mueller@redcross.org, or contact me, and you will be given all the details.

I know how much you give and do by just participating in your league…can you just add this to your filled bucket list?