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.



  1. This blog really doesn't seem to have much to do with explaining the etiquette behind choosing a derby name at all does it.

  2. I guess I could have called it "Standards On Which to Base Your Decision on Whether Your Team Name is Too Close to a Skater Name" but I think the link shortening site I use would have had a server meltdown processing it.

  3. "If TwoEvils rejects it, do what more and more skaters and teams around the world are doing and just ignore them."

    Is this genuinely happening? Because this happened to me. I sent a name in, a few days earlier someone else had sent the same one in. I had already bouted using the name before they rejected it.

    1. yes actually, lots of girls in our league are rejecting the two evils registry.

      We dont even register as a league any more, my name is up there..but we dont force the twoevils registry any more on our members

  4. We haven't announced our name or anything so I can't tell you all what it is. We are using the skaters name with permission from the skater. Our team name is also spelled differently from the skaters name. But, pronounced exactly like the skaters name. I will let you know how this turns out once we go to register. Please keep your skates crossed for us.

  5. "Is this genuinely happening?"

    Yes it is. The reasons why would probably be good fodder for another post. I'll be spending the coming weekend at a wedding for people I've never met so I just might write that article very soon.

  6. IMHO, You should always contact a skater if they have a similar name- even if you never plan to bout them or even if you think it's not as similar as twoevils does.

    It's a courteous thing to do and you get the opportunity to avoid future dagger eyes and ill will when the unlikely happens and you come face to face with your debryganger. When in doubt- ditch the unoriginal and find a name that inspires creative envy!

    FYI- I asked for the blessing of the late (and great) Bunny LePowski and got it! All she asked was that I spell my name with an "ie" rather than a "y" to avoid confusion. See? Everything could go better than expected!