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Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy 75th Old Friend

Happy Birthday 
Roller Derby!

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the first ever roller derby game.  In effect, you could say it’s Roller Derby’s Birthday.

I was thinking about this topic just yesterday, and it struck me:  How better to pay tribute to 75 years of roller derby than to illustrate how the sport has spanned generations by bringing together young and old? A remarkable thing about roller derby is that it is played by athletes of all ages.  Ann Calvello holds the record for the only athlete, male or female, to play professionally for 7 decades! Another characteristic unique to roller derby is the number of mother/daughter duos involved in the sport.  Combine the ego boosting female empowerment magnetism that comes with derby, with the explosive friction of a mother and daughter, and you’ve got yourself a parent/child bonding experience you will find nowhere else.

Meet mother and daughter duo Hot Flash #40 Something and Miss Fortune #99 of the Rat City Rollers. They talk about skating together in the documentary Blood on the Flat Track, and they both kick major ass!

Miss Fortune and Hot Flash are fortunate enough to play on the same team, even the same league, but some mother daughter derby girls bond from different zip codes.  A past teammate of mine skated down in the bay area while her mom skated up in Sacramento.  Though they do not get to experience together all the failures and successes along the way, derby girls everywhere share a common understanding no one else can know.  Derby holds a special place in all our hearts,  and to have your mom share that with you is a gift.

Pia Mess of SVRG (shown here skating with the Sockit Wenches of Rat City) as well as her "derby daughter" Lilly Lightning of the Seattle Derby Brats skate the derb. Check out this awesome shot of them both getting their jam on.

The Seattle Derby Brats are a Junior league. Isn’t that so cool?

Here is a video if you're like me and want to see more of this peewee action.

If I had this option when I was 12, I honestly doubt I would have been so involved with the band. I love junior derby girls!

Youth roller derby league


It’s not just mothers that are worried and apprehensive. There are plenty of mothers themselves on roller derby teams whose daughters are the one’s worried which game will be the rib cracker. Sometimes my mom thinks I am crazy, and I have known plenty of moms whose kids thought they were crazy. Solution? Play dery together. (Though I doubt I’ll ever get my mom on the flat track, but it isn’t for lack of trying).

Here is a 75th Anniversary blog by journalist and derby girl: Miss Print. What a witty chick.


Her blog marks the 75th anniversary as well as the 4 year anniversary of her team, the Cincinnati Roller Girls' first bout. The article provides a touch of nostalgia as Miss Print remembers her first bout and gives a shout out to famed derby promoter and son of roller derby: Jerry Seltzer. I can only dream that 4 years from now I will have the opportunity to write a similar blog.

Not surprisingly Jerry Seltzer himself wrote a blog as well about the 75th, which has seen more than 3,000 views and growing. I suggest you visit it.


I also made J. Seltz this gift on behalf of East Bay Roller Derby and will give it to him at the official 75th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco in October.

Thanks for everything Jerry, you're the best!

...and I hope everyone got some skating in today!

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