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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Support Local Roller Derby?

I haven’t gotten a chance to blog this week because I have kicked my derby dreams into high gear. August 13th is the official 75th anniversary of Roller Derby and taking my cues from Mr. Jerry Seltzer I decided to plan a celebration. I know you can’t have a good roller derby celebration without some roller derby, so I decided to host an interleague scrimmage to gain public interest for the sport and to serve as an avenue for local skaters to get together and celebrate the 75th anniversary of roller derby. 
(Here is the url to the facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=148156058527885). 

I sent an invitation e-mail to the surrounding leagues in the area asking them for support and participation, at the very least, to come out, have a beer and celebrate 75 years of roller derby. As a result, the captain and league president of one of these leagues sent her team an e-mail forbidding participation and accusing me of trying to “poach” local skaters from existing teams. This could not be farther from the truth. I have never wanted anything more than to better the sport for skaters and fans alike. It is beyond me why any derby lover would not want to participate in an event that promoted and gained interest in the sport. The captain and president of this league’s “honest and upfront” approach was not to send me the particular e-mail forbidding her skaters to participate that she had sent her team, but rather to send me this very short message that read simply:

Hi Auntie,

As per discussion with exec committee,  (Unnamed League) will not be attending the scrimmage.

Good luck with the new league.  It's a tough road but worth it.



On the other hand her answer to my August 13th event to her league came in the form of the following e-mail, which she sent to her entire team:

Hi All,

As I have had a few questions, executive committee has met and discussed the August 13th scrimmage hosted by Auntie.  As usual, here is our honest, upfront, head-on assessment of the issue. Here are the issues we considered:

First, we have a birthday bash the same weekend and we try our best not to book both your friday and saturday nights unless we can't help it.

Second, I have confirmed with a few peps that she is poaching our and possibly other leagues skaters.  Additionally, (Unnamed team) has worked hard for our rep and needs to not piss off other leagues.. if their skaters get poached too... By being closely associated could be bad for us.

Third, safety is a high priority.  So, a scrimmage where we do not know if there will be an experienced ref / nso team, EMTs, or insurance for skaters... All things that take time to build up... Is not our top priority.

Therefore, as per our handbook, this interleague scrimmage is not approved for participation.  Thanks for compilance.  In case of non-compilance, please schedule a meeting with executive committee or we will be scheduling one with you.

....on a different topic

If you are hungry for more scrimmaging, I would love to book some with more experienced leagues around is so that we can take on A team girls and bring our game to a whole new level.  However, at the last few we had very lite attendance and we need to go to scheduled scrimmages as a team and as a few individuals.

If you have questions on any of this, I am more than happy to chat with you on it.

On behalf of executive committee,


I assume what she meant to say was "...we need to go to scheduled scrimmages as a team and NOT as a few individuals." but I will not presume to edit her e-mail.
For your reference, some definitions of ‘Poach’ include: To trespass on another's property, to take something unfairly or illegally, to play out of turn or in another's territory, to encroach on or usurp.

To combat the gross misrepresentation that was made on my behalf, I forwarded my original e-mail invitation to participate in my open scrimmage to the entire league in question, subject line: “A message from Auntie Social”, which you can read here: (The first paragraph was included in my forward but has been edited to omit names).

My intentions have been misconstrued and misrepresented. This is the exact e-mail I sent [your coach and league president as well as all three other surrounding leagues in the area]. I am not trying to interfere with any existing league I am trying to be a cooperative developer of the sport. I think it is important you hear both sides and judge for yourself:

Hey Guys,

As you both know, I have aspirations of starting an East Bay based league. Like me, there are skaters in my area who cannot afford to make the financial or time commitment to commute, but would love to be a part of roller derby. I have always believed that promotion of roller derby anywhere is promotion of roller derby everywhere and wish to bring local leagues together to promote the overall success of the sport. August 13th is roller derby’s 75th anniversary and what better way to celebrate than to have a friendly and fun inter league scrimmage? 

I am hosting a free flat track exhibition in Pleasanton to celebrate 75 years of Derby and would love for you to participate. My goal is to gain local interest for a new league while drawing attention to the leagues that already exist around the bay. New teams mean more competition for current teams, as well as an increased fan base bay area wide, which is better for all of roller derby.  In addition to attracting new fans and having an opportunity to promote your league and future events, this event will bring skaters and derby lovers of all sorts together to celebrate one thing: the growing success of our favorite sport. It is also a great opportunity to skate with different levels and styles of skaters. Participants will receive a complimentary “I was at the 75th Anniversary of Roller Derby 8-13-10” button and the satisfaction of knowing they are a part of working towards the success of roller derby as a professional sport on a national level! (=

In true roller derby fashion, there will be an after party to meet and greet your fellow skaters and celebrate the night away. More details TBA.

This event is a black and white scrimmage. Skaters please bring one white and one black shirt with your name and number and arrive early. The scrimmage is at 6pm at the Pleasanton outdoor rink in the Val Vista Community Park located off Johnson Drive off the Stoneridge exit to I-680. I know that [a local ref] is really interested in getting a merby scrimmage together as well. (?)

Anyone is welcome at this event! It is FREE, seating is limited so bring your own!

Interested skaters, refs, NSO’s, volunteers or anyone else please contact me for more information or to let me know you are interested in skating at:

Or check out the event on facebook:

I hope you choose to be a part of this awesome celebration!
Derby Love,
Auntie Social

I could go through this and dissect each e-mail phrase for phrase, and point out the absurdity of every part of it, (like the comparison of the word “poach” next to my sentence about just wanting to promote roller derby, or the fact that a made-up bureaucracy thinks they have the right to forbid anyone from attending my event, or that I have the event approved by the city and have in fact taken innumerable considerations regarding safety, including event insurance) instead I will simply post the two e-mails side by side. Anyone can see clearly that my intentions were misrepresented.

I am posting this because I want to publically record the truth, and I think it is important for people to understand both sides to make an educated decision. From now on, I will not give any more credibility to this nonsense. Decide for yourself who is trying to promote roller derby and who is not.

You can stand tall without standing on someone.  You can be a victor without having victims.  ~Harriet Woods

 Derby Love Forever, 
Auntie Social


  1. By the way: Meet the skaters, (and buy us drinks) at the after party immediately following the scrimmage!

    The Hop Yard: American Ale House and Grill
    3015-H Hopyard Road
    Pleasanton, CA 94588
    (Next to the Sports Park)

  2. it's always like this too, tho. In a sport where it's all women, people get catty, say one thing to your face (or in an email) and then about it behind your back (in another email). Coming from a 'newly founded league that SERIOUSLY was founded JUST like that.. and experiencing it first hand.. I feel ya sister. TO be looked at and told that we (as the new team) would be BLACK balled and listed through out the derby community as back stabbers... all I can say is.. "REALLY?" I love Derby. I love my peeps. But the craziness of the foolish sometimes makes me want to hit them in the head with a truck key till they 'get it'.