Protected: Three Derby rulesets in one weekend! I better get going!

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

KISS And Derby

No, I do not mean the group Gene Simmons heads.

KISS is a great acronym used for so many different projects: Keep it simple stupid.

There is an easy explanation of why soccer is really the universal game on our planet……and even becoming widely accepted in the USA, contrary to early beliefs.

It is easy to play on any field and is easy to follow and understand.

Yes, there are a lot of rules, but they do not interfere with the flow of the game. And with the 22 players on the field, rushing from one end to another, there is just one referee, with linesmen on the sidelines. Penalties are clear cut and understandable.

Roller Derby became a pack game where the players would engage using technique and strategy to aid their players and stop opposing players. Again, I am writing my opinions as a promoter and as a fan of the game.

When neither the fan nor the player understands why up to 100 penalties a game are called (or even what they are for), and the game seems to be a series of one team power jams with no engagement in the pack, it does not make fans (or even skaters) very excited.

Let’s make no mistake: if it weren’t for WFTDA organizing, Roller Derby would not be where it is today. But actually MADE and TXRD are closer to leaving the skaters skate. And USARS is trying, although still too many penalties and other areas that are confusing. And using WFTDA as a basis, I love what the LA Derby Dolls have done to the game, which assures a great evening of Derby regardless of the score.

There are great teams in action at the Championships. I know some will take advantage of the loopholes in the rules, and others will just compete as hard as they can.

But I think I speak for many when I say: please just let them skate the game!

Keep it simple stupid.

why can’t sport be entertaining?

I think it has to be to succeed.

In professional wrestling they used to have “shooting matches” where one of the showmen wrestlers would challenge another and engage in “real” wrestling, untimed……thereby having one  of the combatants keep a hold for fifteen or twenty minutes in order to wear his opponent down. Generally these matches were done in private because they would be boring to a live audience.

And then for the scheduled matches they would go out with all their staggering, fakery, hurts, etc, often having razor blades hidden so they could cut themselves and show the fans bleeding warriors.

It has changed little today except for complex story lines written by hired hands, just like a TV drams.

Well, the roller skating game has gone through those kinds of cycles and it actually continues to exist in some areas.  But this is not the game that Leo Seltzer or any of us want to see today with the tens of thousands of skaters around the world sacrificing so much for the fun of this sport created 77 years ago and brought back to life in Texas with the first “bout” in 2002.

Now April Ritzenhaler (La Muerta) was one of the originals with TXRD, and they are staying pretty much on the original path they created:  banked track, a legitimate game but with fun bells and whistles that people keep coming back to see.  They have been more or less successful for the past ten years and plan to release their ruleset to all to those who want to skate their style.  Talk to April sometime, an amazing holistic woman.  I am not crazy about these activities, but they do seem to work in Austin.

Texas Roller Girls split off from TXRD, went flat track and pretty much established the rules of the WFTDA.

And then of course there is MADE, which utilizes the original game rules, MRDA which is close to WFTDA, and USARS which has taken a bit from each, and OSDA and banked track skating under several rulesets.

I was speaking with one of the greats who on the sly skated a USARS game.  And she felt the game would be skated more by schools, clubs etc because it is too fast and grueling for most of the WFTDA people.  Personally, I find that hard to believe……it still is no where as grueling as the original game.  Of course these were professional paid athletes who skated over 200 games per year.

And then there is the Renegades game which doesn’t seem to have many rules but is just kind of fast, rumble tumble fun for those skating it.

Without criticizing any of the rulesets, I think it is well-known that I like the fast-paced, hard-hitting continuous action game that Roller Derby was meant to be……and I saw a lot of that at the Championships.  I personally am opposed to whatever style that doesn’t portray the game as an explosive athletic-driven contest that most skaters like and the audience loves……after all, the fans hold the ultimate vote on whether the game survives and in what form.

Anyway, hope to see you all at the USARS championship in Fresno December 14th and 15th where I will present the beautiful Seltzer Cup (in honor of Leo) to the champion team……and no this does not mean I am part of USARS or any other Derby organization.  I hope DNN will televise these finals, with Oly as one of the teams involved.

The next five years will be very interesting, especially as the junior skaters bring their terrific talent to our game.  I have more faith in the survival of the game than I have ever had…..I hope you do too and contribute as much as you can.

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.