Roller Derby Information and Distinctions

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 27, 2006

Dear Editor,
    In response to Belinda Acosta's Jan. 20 article about the A&E series Rollergirls [“TV Eye,” Screens], we are compelled to offer some facts about roller derby on the local and national levels. We can answer Ms. Acosta's question about "what's going on ... in other cities,” but first we should clarify what's going on in this one.
    Austin is home to two roller derby leagues: the Texas Rollergirls Rock'n'Rollerderby, Austin's flat-track league, and the TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls, Austin's banked-track league (featured in Rollergirls). Both organizations came about in 2002 following a split of Austin's first organized roller derby skaters, who trained and played on the flat track at Playland Skate Center (where the Texas Rollergirls still train and play today). The vast majority of original skaters established the skater-owned-and-managed Texas Rollergirls Rock'n'Rollerderby, and are not affiliated with the banked-track league in Rollergirls.
    As Ms. Acosta implies, the roller derby revival has spread to most major U.S. cities, almost entirely as a flat-track sport using standardized rules. Today, nearly 40 competitive flat-track leagues across the country are using the game format and business model that the Texas Rollergirls formalized in 2003. Thus, we are pleased that Ms. Acosta would like to see "more derby time" and "hardcore play" now that serious, athletic flat-track competition has become a national movement.
    The Women's Flat Track Derby Association is a national organization that unites flat-track leagues and governs the rules of interstate play. Next month, from Feb. 24-26, 20 WFTDA leagues from across the U.S. (including the Texas Rollergirls' all-star team) will compete at the first national flat-track invitational tournament in Tucson, Ariz., to crown the first Flat Track Derby National Champion.
    With these efforts under way, it is important to the Texas Rollergirls and to WFTDA that the public be informed about the nature of the roller derby revival, and which league is featured in Rollergirls. Many of the criticisms commonly voiced about that series are precisely the reasons why Texas Rollergirls turned down the show's producers when they first approached us with a proposal for a reality-based television series.
    Without question, the present (and future) of roller derby is as a competitive flat-track sport, and we are amazed by how fast it has swept the nation. The Texas Rollergirls Rock'n'Rollerderby are unspeakably proud to call Austin home, and represent it at the national level of tournament play.
Jen Loving, aka Ellis Dee
Marketing director, and
Manda Clair Jost, aka Derringer .44
WFTDA representative
Texas Rollergirls Rock'n'Rollerderby
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