Monday, July 25, 2011

Derby Name Etiquette

On the subject of derby name etiquette, the following question was sent to your friendly neighborhood Derby Helper. With the explosion of new roller derby leagues around the world, I though others might benefit from the exchange so here you go:

HELP PLEASE........... Question: I am part of a new league and we have just broke into teams. We have thought of all kinds of great ideas for names, colors, and themes.... But, the names we like the BEST are already skater names in singular or different spellings. Can we use these or is it considered Taboo? We are using the Two Evil's registry to check names.

I think the key is whether or not there could be confusion generated by the name. If two skater names are too close to each other, you could conceivably mistake one skater for another. But if a skater name and a team name are equally similar, there is far less of a chance of confusion. I doubt anyone would read your posters and excitedly drive to your bout expecting to see their favorite player singlehandedly playing another whole team. (Though I would plunk down money RIGHT NOW to see any skater who could pull that off!) This is ultimately a judgement call you have to make but if the team name isn't completely identical to the skater name, and especially if this is for intraleague team names that will never play against other leagues anyway, I think you're relatively unlikely to receive any flack about the similarity. If TwoEvils rejects it, do what more and more skaters and teams around the world are doing and just ignore them. (Edit: That's not a rebuke against the efforts of the TwoEvils folks, just a growing acceptance of the reality that as the number of leagues worldwide climbs toward four digits and the number of registered skater names soars toward the mid five digits, there just isn't any point to not using a name in Ireland because someone in New Zealand is using it.)

So there's my opinion on the subject. Feel free to poop all over said opinion down below in the comments.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

That ref was LAME!

This is weird because usually they're just blind.


Monday, June 20, 2011

The State of Derby Helper

The folks over at Roller Derby Inside Track have a nice series underway right now where they are interviewing different people and organizations to get an overview of the state or roller derby. This sorta smacked me to awareness of the fact that although I am now more active in the world of roller derby than I have ever been, the Derby Helper blog has been sitting here rotting like an 8-track tape factory.

"Welcome to Derby Helper world headquarters!"

There are a few reasons why my efforts are not translating into new Derby Helper articles and I thought it would be a good idea to let everyone know why.

  1. Derby Earth
    The Derby Earth project takes a decent chunk of my roller derby time.  When someone submits an addition or change, I don't just blindly accept that it is accurate.  I dig around the internet to confirm the submitted information and often discover that there are pieces that missing or inaccurate.  My desire to make the placemarks zoom to the exact building location when double-clicked can lead to a ridiculous amount of searching around in Google Streetview to find a real position that was obviously wrong when the address is punched in to Maps.  Basically, my own anal-retentiveness makes Derby Earth marginally more useful while simultaneously condemning me to hours of tedious busywork that I probably could get by without.
  2. Coaching Juniors
    Rather than continuing my old modus operandi of sitting on my internet high horse writing articles about how everyone else should do things, I finally put my money where my mouth is and co-founded a junior roller derby league that I help to coach and operate.  I can happily say that this has been one of the most wonderfully rewarding things that I have ever thrown myself into.  I can't even explain to you how fulfilling it is to me to have a new girl show up for the first time unable to even stand up in skates, to work with that girl on skating fundamentals 2 times per week and to see that same girl 6 months later playing jammer in a drill taking hits and giving them right back with a look on her face like every minute of practice is the best minute of her life.  Junior roller derby is probably the main reason why Derby Helper has been on unintentional hiatus, simply because that is where the majority of my available roller derby time gets spent.
  3. Health
    My whole life, I've had a pretty high constitution (in nerd-speak, I rolled about a 16) so my whole adult life I never had to deal with any serious wellness problems with my self or anyone else in my household.  Until the last 12 months that is.  Suddenly in a ridiculous flurry of infirmity reminiscent of the Old Testament's Book of Job, I lost use of an arm, discovered I had a tumor, had to rush my wife to the emergency room multiple times, was told I had cancer (incorrectly thank goodness), took my wife in for several surgeries for the same problem, had surgery myself to fix the arm, shattered my tibia and fibula (kinda like this, if you're brave enough to watch it) , had two MORE surgeries myself and currently have to use a grandma-style walker to shuffle to the bathroom if I don't want to be forced to pee in a jug.

    Though come to think of it,  there is a third option...

    The upshot is that it's hard to come up with new insights in the world of roller derby to share with my reader base when I'm busy singlehandedly bringing the entire healthcare system out of the recession.  (If you work in healthcare and you've gotten a raise in the last year, you're welcome.)  I've been so physically and emotionally drained by all of this that it has been a challenge just to keep Derby Earth and the junior roller derby running.  The usual stream of ideas for article subject matter pretty much dried up as I sort of turned emo and started spending all my time feeling sorry for myself.

    They even made a t-shirt about me.

    Now that I've finally decided to cowboy-up, stop my personal pity party and grab life by the horns again, I'm hoping to start slowly but surely returning this space to being a consistent resource for useful roller derby information sprinkled with silly roller derby humor like it was in the good old days.  It may be infrequent due to points 1 and 2, but I plan to not let point 3 be a factor in it anymore.
So there you have it, the State of Derby Helper.  Thanks for all of your readership over the past 2 years and I look forward to doing everything I can to continue to develop and improve the body of information available to the world of roller derby for all of you. Remember, you can always send me your roller derby questions and you will get them answered either by my well-thought out, thoroughly convincing articles or by all the people in the article comments pointing out all the reasons why I'm an idiot. 


Friday, May 27, 2011

WFTDA loses longtime member league

Word came out this week that Dixie Derby, Huntsville Alabama's longtime WFTDA member league will no longer be participating in the WFTDA. I know several people involved with that league but this came as a shock to me. I tried to reach the various contacts I have gotten to know over the years but received no reply. The only thing I have found that vaguely resembles an explanation is this picture from the sports section of their local newspaper that was taken at their last bout on May 21st:

On the bright sidee, there are some kickbutt deals for skates and accessories listed on Craigslist in the Huntsville area right now.

(Thanks to Dixie Derby's eRacerX for sending me the pic!)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Perils of Empowerment

Form junior roller derby league:

Teach junior skaters to play roller derby:

Empower junior skaters by letting them come up with their own name:



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stay Classy NZ

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but sometimes I think a picture should be worth 50 lashes. The logo for Viagros Roller Derby in New Plymouth, New Zealand is one such picture.

I can't decide if that's the best slogan in roller derby or the worst.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


If there's ever been a Facebook status that better exemplified modern roller derby, I'm not aware of it:

Roller derby - It breaks your body and heals your heart!


Friday, March 25, 2011

ASCAP vs Roller Derby part 2

My longtime secret girlfriend Anonymous left me a comment today on last years post regarding ASCAP representatives demanding money for playing music at bouts:

We told our ASCAP guy that we were covered by the rink licenses and he said we are not. The rink owner told us he would kick us out if he found out we had paid ASCAP. The rink owner has a different ASCAP representative. Any advice?

This isn't all that surprising.  To reprise the earlier post on this subject, ASCAP is a legitimate organization with legitimate benefit to songwriters and publishers but in the past few years, some of their representatives have become highly overzealous and occasionally make payment requests that are legally questionable.  To sum it up, "different ASCAP representative" clearly means that a second guy is trying to make a commission on the same venue.  If the facility has paid a site license, public use of music in that facility is paid for no matter who is playing the music or who is listening to it.  Next time he whines for money, give him an address where lawsuits can be delivered and tell him that he needs to sh** or get off the pot.  I suspect he will keep nagging and threatening but the subsequent lack of a legal summons means he knows he's trying to double-dip and has no legal basis for his whining.  For fun, take a picture of the ASCAP sticker on the front of the skating rink with the current year on it, send it to him and ask him why it doesn't have "except for roller derby!" anywhere on it. 


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Photography and Roller Derby

Today's question is one that many a roller derby league and roller derby photographer has wondered about.

I've been a roller derby fan for about a year now, and I bring my camera to bouts to take pictures. Mostly I've been shooting the Old Capitol City Roller Girls, but I've been branching out and watching other leagues as well. What are the generally accepted practices for derby photography? Mostly I've gotten reactions of "Yay! Someone's taking pictures of us!" but I've also seen the "Only WFTDA-certified photographers with signed releases" rules at the championship tournament, and I'm wondering where things change. What if someone wants to use one of my photos in a publication (online or in print)? Where can I go to learn about my responsibilities, and what people expect of me? Can you help me find this information?



This subject is covered by basic copyright law and while my grasp of the photography particulars isn't perfect (since I'm not a photographer), here's my quick summary:

In almost all situations, if you shoot a picture, you own the copyright. Unless it is a specific kind of work-for-hire (such as a portrait shop that employs you and provides the equipment and film), you can do whatever you want with any picture you take, derby or otherwise. A league can opt to not allow cameras in to bouts or practices at their discretion but as long as you're able to take pictures, you own them. Where law leaves off and etiquette takes over is that if a league likes one of your pictures and wants to use it for a brochure or their website or something like that, it is a generally accepted practice that you allow them to use it without compensation as sort of a "donation to the cause". That's not a legally enforceable demand, it's simply courteous compliance with roller derby's "Don't be a douchebag" rule. There are circumstances under which you could potentially owe a photography subject residuals if you publish a shot for money but I THINK that that does not apply in a situation like a live sporting event. I'm admitedly shaky on residuals so don't take my word for it. Hopefully I can get clarification from all you from the veteran photographers out there in Derbyworld.

If any of you have additional or better knowledge on photography rights and laws, put 'em in the comments and I'll add them to the body of the post under your name for everyone's benefit.

Edit: This only covers US copyright law. If any of you have insight on the laws of a different country, please post in the comments!

Edit 2: Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong. Let's see what Wet Spot has to say on the subject.

You're right and you're wrong.
Yup, the photographer owns the copyright and no one can take that away from them.
HOWEVER! This does not mean they can sell their work. If there is a model or subject in the photo or even if the photo is in a private space (venue is considered a private space) the photographer needs to get model releases and venue releases.
So if you take a photo of a jammer then you need to get that jammer's permission to sell that photograph and she may request a cut of the cash in exchange for permission.

Wet Spot

Edit 3: Here's an Australian perspective.

I'm a derby girl from Central Coast Roller Girls, Australia and a photographer who works at a major newspaper in Sydney.

In some cases if you publish or sell a photo of a person you require a signed model release from the person in the photo.

A league can say if they want photographers in a bout, hand out media passes and get them to sign a release, basically saying whatever they want. ie: the league can use any photo, league must approve publication of images, copyright can even be signed over to the league, most leagues wouldn't go this far, as photographers and leagues work together, but always read the fine print of the release so you don't loose copyright of your images. (Lots of bands make photographers sign similar releases when shooting gigs)

Photos on facebook can be used by anyone. For example, if there is a person who has committed a crime and we can legally name them, we sometimes grab a pic from facebook of the person. If its up there you can use it. Also if someone dies and there is a major news story going on we go on facebook and get pics of the people, not so nice but thats what happens. Check your privacy settings people :D And photographers, watermark your photos. :)

Bruises, Linda. xx


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Help Me Help You

As the creeks run dry before the rains eventually replenish them, so likewise do I occasionally out run out of ideas for roller derby blog subject matter. Please irrigate the crops (so to speak) by emailing me questions so that I can help improve your overall roller derby experience while simultaneously taunting you in an uncalled-for manner.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New World

Januaries always bring us the opportunity to be introspective. They give us all another calender year to look back on with 12 months of hindsight.  If you're reading this, you no doubt are looking back at normal-life experiences sprinkled liberally with derby-life agony and ecstacy.  My experience was similar for the most part but this particular January has been a little more introspective than average for me.  Hopefully as I explain, you'll find some motivation to drive you to do the things that could make 2011 a year that you will look back on and be proud of.

I'll cut right to the chase.  After initially thinking I had a non-serious problem, I was told by a doctor shortly before Christmas that I had a huge tumor and that a particular spot within it was cancer.  Spoiler alert:  It turns out that I do NOT actually have cancer.  Don't freak out, I'm fine.  But for a 17-day period spanning over Christmas, a mis-diagnosis by two different specialists had me thinking that I had a cancerous cyst.  I bring this up for the simple reason that potentially life-changing information like that tends to make a person rethink their life just a wee bit.

In the same way that this is "just a wee bit" of snow.

What I found myself thinking about most was the things I had done that have had an observable impact.  What had I done that was useful, helpful or significant?  Who out there had had their life improved in any way as a result of knowing me?  What had I not been doing that I wanted to or knew that I should?  Had I changed anything, anywhere for the better?

The good news during those seventeen days is that I had some specific accomplishments to look back on in 2010.  I had helped start a junior roller derby league and was privileged to watch as girls from all walks of life (some of whom couldn't initially even stand in skates,) worked hard, learned quickly and bonded together over what was clearly the most exciting thing they had done in their lives.  I had shared information in this blog that I have since discovered had helped some people form new local leagues and had helped others reorganize and rebuild theirs.  I had launched a resource that helps roller derby lovers discover and learn about leagues all around the world.  These and several other things from my real life gave me comfort in knowing that I had had some sort of tangible, positive effect on people.

There were regrets too of course during this time period but I'm dwelling on the positives here for a reason and it is NOT so that I can sit here like a douchebag wallowing in a pool of self-aggrandizement telling you how cool I think I am.  I'm telling you all this because the things that I was proudest of and that made me feel significant were the things that I had accomplished, things that I actually got off my butt and DID.  Any one practice with my junior derby girls was better and more important to me than all my couchbound random internet surfing combined.  Every "thank you" on Derby Helper or compliment on Derby Earth meant more to me than all the video games I beat or shows I watched.  Now don't misunderstand me, all that stuff has its place in life and it is still part of mine.  But I hope that those of you who randomly surfed your way here will take a moment to consider what you would be thinking about if you had spent 17 days with the C word hanging over your head and suddenly had it wiped away clean.  What do you wish you had done last year and could you do it this year?  What would be cool if it existed and could you be the one to make it?  What could you be finishing six months from now if you started it right now?  Whose lives can you make better?  In roller derby terms, this line of thinking might mean you finally go to that derby 101 class and try out for the team, it might mean that you finally fill out the paperwork to organize that junior derby league you've been thinking about or it might mean that you start a new intense training regimen to carry your team to the championships.  In real life terms, it may mean you quit the crappy comfortable job you have to pursue the career you've always dreamed of or it may mean that you and the spouse start saving up the money to do the adoption you've talked about for years.  Whatever it is for you, I encourage you to get out there and do something this year that will make you proud when you're looking back at it in January 2012.

A very happy and healthy new year to you all.


Feel free to put your "something" for 2011 in the comments below.  Sometimes making something public gives you the kick in the pants you need!  :-)