As this year closes, we decided to reach out to some of the skaters, fans, support staff and writers from around the derby community and get a cross-section of the moments that had stuck with them from 2010 action. Thanks to everybody who responded! This is what they said.
Scribe, Minnesota Rollergirls
I live in the Midwest where we donâ€™t tend to have roving groups of derby supporters like Nashville or BADâ€™s fans…but at the 2010 NC Regionals, I began to see that same intense love for road-team roller derby in the fans and players from the TC metro.
I think in particular of Detroit v MNRG, where members and supporters of all five of the Twin Citiesâ€™ leagues were screaming their heads off for Minnesota. Â No outdated MNRG/NSRG rivalry bull, no male v female derby factionalism. Â Instead, you saw an unbroken wall of fervent, opinionated fans. Â (…and even better, the MNRG reciprocated that love when the NSRG SuperNovas hit the track the next day.)
But back to Detroit/MNRG. The crowd had reached a fevered pitch when Minnesota took the lead early in the second half, but a shout from a new quarter came when Juke Boxx went to the line for Minnesota. Madisonâ€™s supporters joined in their voices as that former Dairyland Doll took it to Detroit. The fans on both sides of that match were fantastic, loyal … and serious about their sport. When the supporters have that level of passion, I think weâ€™re doing something right.
Skater, Boston Derby Dames
My favorite derby moment of 2010 was the Rocky/Gotham game at Galaxies/Nationanimals in Chicago. Â At the time it was maybe the saddest derby moment — my region’s champions were getting their collective tushies handed to them. Â Yet in retrospect, this game only reinforced my belief in the importance of stellar pack work. Â Historically, Gotham’s pack is incredible, but Rocky simply did it better that day. Â
The game has evolved and this season the best teams don’t have a superstar blocker or jammer pulling everyone along. To win, every pack in every jam has to be working cohesively to be greater than the sum of their parts. Â Time and again this year, jammers have been choked out by revolving doors of death, blockers have been isolated and rendered useless, and offensive plays have been shut down by unified packs. Â Fast, weeble-wobbly,Â acrobatic jammers are fun to watch and absolutely integral to a successful team, but a congealed, bispeedual pack will win my heart â€“- and Champagneships â€“- any day.
Captain, St. Louis Gatekeepers
My most memorable moment of 2010 wasÂ competing in May’s Spring Roll with the StL GateKeepers.Â Being only six months old as a league and havingÂ just one previous bout under our belts (a 40 minute one at that!), we defeated two established men’s teams to make it to the Championship bout.Â Â n the Championship, we battled back from a hugeÂ point deficit against Puget Sound to lose by only one point.Â In the final jam, we were a jammer up with lead jammer andÂ were 30′ away from scoring the winning points when the jam was calledÂ due toÂ the GateKeepers having too many players on the track (we unknowingly started the jam with a player in the box).Â Though the loss was heartbreaking, it also sparked my love for derby like it hadÂ never been before.Â Â It made me very excited for the future of men’s derby and theÂ sport of flat track roller derby as a whole.Â Underdog wins and nail bitingÂ finishes areÂ what makes sports so riveting and Spring Roll had it all!
WFTDA President / Skater, Brewcity Bruisers
The best moment in derby this year was the massive rise of derby internationally.Â Talk about getting a derby fix 24-7.Â Getting to wake up at the crack of dawn and flip open the computer and watch derby played by people halfway around the globe made me proud of being a part of this movement!Â Viva La Derbyloution!
Eric Powell, Belligerent Nashville Fan
Artist & writer, The Goon
My best moment by far as a derby fan in 2010 was watching Nashvilleâ€™s win over a tough Atlanta team in the South Central tournament that sent Music City to their first Nationals. It was their goal this year and they achieved it. I slept a total of 3 hours the night before that bout. I was that anxious. They had to deal with a lot this year. Getting screwed in the rankings, decimating injuries and transfers, finding a new venue, a massive flood â€¦ but they never stopped fighting. I was so proud of them. Itâ€™s still kinda unbelievable. Itâ€™s like a shitty uplifting Disney movie but with more ass kickinâ€™ and less singing animals.Â
This year has been truly fantastic when it comes to derby for me. On the one hand, it was awesome being a cheerleader for a few amazing teams; on the other hand, it was truly wonderful being able to cover derby nation with the podcast… So, in that respect, I have two completely different memories to share, both from West Region Playoffs in Sacramento.
As a podcaster & derby correspondent, my favorite memory was roaming around “backstage” interviewing players, coaches & announcers. It was so exciting to be sitting there next to the track, watching the action, then running as fast as I could to get around to be able to grab Rob Lobster or G Money for an interview at halftime. The adrenaline rush I got when asking Demanda Riot how she felt after defeating Rose City to secure a spot at Nationals was simply spectacular. Getting to talk to some of my favorite players about the sport they love so much was something I couldn’t ever replace…
However, as a cheerleader & huge Rocky Mountain fan, my favorite trackside memory was standing in the corner off of turn 3 in Sacramento, while RMRG was facing off against Oly with Val Capone & Demanda Riot. We were standing next to the Bay Area D-Bags section, and Oly had just taken the lead again. I started chanting RMRG’s patented “pump, pump, pump it up!” and soon had the entire BAD section chanting too. DeRanged was on the jammer line, looked over at us cheering, did the “pump it up” motion with her hands & went on to win the game.
Both of those memories are tiny snippets of my year, but I’ll never forget them. Thanks to everyone in Derby Nation who’s helped to make 2010 an awesome derby year & who will make 2011 even better.
I got to see more amazing derby than ever this year â€“ home games, tourneys, scrimmages, Rollercon, you name it.Â But, I say of everything,Â one really stand-outÂ moment was the tailgating (tailgating?Â I mean tailGREATING!) before Suzy Snakeyesâ€™ wedding to Mike Snakeyes at the Doll Factory in LA.Â Rolling into a wedding, gizzard deep in Booneâ€™s Farm, in force with Jackie Daniels and Val Capone from WCR, Skatum Oâ€™Neal, Iron Maiven & Tawdry from LADD, B-Train from OC, and Mad Dog from AC/DG to see this derby super couple (whom, ahem, I introduced) finally make it official on the track in front of families both derby and biological, complete with a minister dressed as a ref, was something that will always remind me of all the amazing things that this sport has created for all of us not just on the track, but also when the skates come off.
Announcer, Boston Derby Dames
The derby road-trip is a rite of passage everyone in this sport eventually takes. While I was driving the car to Easterns, it was the Reverend Al Mighty who was our carpoolâ€™s own Raul Duke. His bizarre outfits, frenetic work ethic, and desire to give his all to calling each assigned game (17!) were amazing. But what was most memorable was his impassioned, thoughtful speech about the importance of teamwork to a hotel room of skaters. At the time, Reverend Al was clad only in his white Perry Ellis boxer briefs, confident that the message was as simply stated as his ensemble.
Justice Feelgood Marshall
Managing Editor, Derby News Network
If I tried to pick a favorite memory from a bout I watched this year, it would be flatly impossible; I was lucky enough to see a whole lot of last-jam nailbiters, amazing comebacks and stunning upsets over the course of the last twelve months. However, picking a favorite memory from actually playing this year is pretty easy: getting to play a full-length boys vs girls game with Team SeXY against Team Awesome at Rollercon. We’d played twice before, but the first game was a 20 minute expo out on the deeply weird Fremont Street track and the second had us playing shorthanded on San Diego’s banked track, so it was the first time we’d gotten to have a full-length game where both teams were really in their element.
Getting to play against that crew (4 members of the Rocky Mountain team that’d go on to win Championships! Dahmernatrix, one of my longest and best friendships in derby! Trish the Dish, who at any moment might suddenly decide to actually literally kill you!) with my crew (Quadzilla! Magnum P.I.M.P.! The Rev! Holy crap!) was great enough in and of itself, but what really made that game for me was the crowd — a truly international cross-section of skaters from all skill and experience levels who knew the game, knew the participants and were REALLY into it. Definitely the best energy from a crowd that I’ve ever played in front of, and the game was back and forth all the way through, with neither team ever having a commanding lead. We didn’t come out with the win, but many many people came up to me that weekend and told me it was one of the most entertaining games they’d ever seen. Ever since I saw my first derby bout in late 2004, that was exactly the type of experience I wished I could have, and I feel pretty damned lucky that I got to have it.
Skater, San Diego Derby Dolls
The game clock said 43 seconds left, and I anxiously gripped the chair in the penalty box. We were only a handful of points ahead, and had been crawling our way out of an early deficit for most of the game. I wanted to get out of my seat and whisper to my two teammates lining up to the line, â€œJust run! Burn time!â€ Â but I knew the penalty of communicating from the penalty box had recently been stiffened. So while sitting for a fourth minor I negligently committed, I watched several inconsequential obstacles block us from victory â€“ each of them completely surmountable except for when they all happen together in the last jam of a close game.
After being fairly defeated by a team I frequently become their number one fan, because if they continue to do well and beat other good teams you donâ€™t look so bad. Â I was pleased to see these girls stun the rest of the derby community this season with their solid performance against Denver Roller Dolls and Rose City Rollers. Congratulations on your amazing season, Bay Area, and fuck you for getting Lead in the last couple of seconds at The Big One.
Announcer, Charm City Roller Girls
I suppose that I’d be in the vast majority in citing Uproar On The Lakeshore as my favorite derby memory of the year. However, a trip to an unfamiliar city with an excellent public transportation system at the end of Daylight Saving Time allows for the sort of epic drinking binges that are simply not feasible in one’s hometown. Oh, and this may not even technically count as a memory, ’cause I blacked out.
If you want to know my favorite roller derby memory that I remember, it goes all the way back to mid-October, when I had the distinct privilege of announcing at the first-ever Men’s Derby Coalition championship bout.
You see, I am an old man. As such, I believe that everything used to be better. The regional and national WFTDA tournaments are very exciting and I still look forward to attending and announcing, but I still feel nostalgic when I look back at the olden days back to ought-sixâ€”when roller derby was hardscrabble, threadbare, and could only barely hold together for the length of a double-header.
So it was a magical night, yes, a magical night, there in Hagerstown, MD on October 16, 2010. It was a legitimate championship, the culmination of the MDC’s inaugural season, and it took place in a genuine roller rink in front of almost no one. It was second in my mind only to the time I saw Nirvana open for the Pixies, which is a memory that I just made up.
Lisa â€œLeft 4 Deadwardsâ€ Edwards
Skater, Old Capitol City Roller Girls / Blogger, “Deadwards in Derbyland”
In our second season, the Old Capitol City Roller Girls became a force to be reckoned with against teams who had been around longer than us. The potential of our skill was obviously showing but our concept of strategy was still pretty minimal. In September, a few of us trekked up to the Minnesota Rollergirls for two days of grueling dryland, awesome drills and insightful strategy talks. Getting outside of our team, Iowa and the same faces weâ€™ve skated with or against was probably the best thing we ever did.
We had just watched MNRG place third at regionals (on DNN of course) and after getting past being a little star struck, we soaked up every bit of derby we could and brought it back to Iowa City. In the following weeks I could see that switch in our team, from just skating together to working together cohesively in playing the game. That moment of finally seeing it all come together so clearly and having it push our game forward â€¦ that was my favorite moment.
Jerry Seltzer, “The Commissioner”
Owner of original Roller Derby league, 1959-1973
Iâ€™m afraid I cannot restrict it to any one reflectionâ€¦â€¦.this really was the time for me that I could see and appreciate what has become of my fatherâ€™s original creationâ€¦..so I will try and give you just a few instances:
The game in Richmond, CA between the B.A.D. girls and Cincy where everyone was so great to me and I know it was a tribute to the history of the game.
The SVRG match in San Jose with the Treasure Valley team, seeing the great Pia Mess in action.
Rollercon, of course, where I saw and made friends with dozens of great people and Val Capone and I headed a seminar in a packed and overheated space.
The Western Regionals and then the Nationals. I felt the Derby women had perfected the strategy of the game, which is in the pack.
The teams and people at Red Red where it was all about giving back to the community and Derby Love.
A few weeks ago when one of the newest teams who hope to join the WFTDA came to my house for their sock exchange.
And of course the response to my blogs at www.jerryseltzer.wordpress.com and the constant communication with me and my 3000 friends.
And God bless Derby News Network; Â not only do I get to see action from all over the country but from Australia, London and Germany. Â I donâ€™t know how you do it.
I am not certain anyone can understand what this means to me: Â I was alive at the birth of the sport; Â I saw it die 37 years ago, and now it is in its period of greatest growth. Please everyone stay with it in some form or another! Derby Love!
Rettig To Rumble
Skater, Oly Rollers
â€˜Twas the week before Christmas, when in my inbox I did see
A note from DNN asking for my favorite 2010 derby memory;
But a word limit brought to me much strife,
â€˜Cause this derby year was one of the best of my life.
It started with Oly, those bitches are pushy,
They told me without skating my life had become cushy.
I argued Iâ€™d retired from life in the fast lane,
But just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in again.
The ride that they took me on went across many states,
From coast to coast; everywhere on our skates;
I spent time in Boston with those crazy Derby Dames
and Justice Feelgood avoiding duck flames.
Portland, and Philly, Tucson and Sacramento,
Each team left me with a very special (black & blue) memento.
But itâ€™s the last tournament that really lights the fire inside-ya,
The chance to play for the coveted Hydra!
So on to Nationals the Oly girls rolled,
And Chicago glittered with Dumptruck in gold!
With Val on the mike and Ozzy in blood,
The crowd was releasing its cheers in a flood!
The skating, it rivaled the best ever done,
Right from the time the bout had begun,
Athletes from both teams pulled moves that would stun,
And each team went on an incredible run,
Everyone jumping and screaming with fun,
And in the end…it was Rocky by one.
Though I wanted to win, I tell you truthfully,
That I heartily congratulate the ladies of RMRG!
And I also take pride in those who skate with me,
I literally could not be more happy for Sassyâ€”WFTDA MVP!
The teams that we played and all the tons of volunteers
When I think of their passion, it moves me to tears.
Iâ€™m sad that itâ€™s gone, this yearâ€™s been pure heaven
But, fuck it, letâ€™s get on with 2011!