Memphis Roller Derby - In 1939

An old program shows how Roller Derby was conducted in Memphis as early as 1939.

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Quit your crying

No one cares about modern derby or the cult of the amateur. Most of these "serious players" would get smoked in by low level boys hockey team. Just watch and you can see they have no speed, no power, and no agression like a real sport.

Disappointed you are quivering and retracting honest opinions to appease some uppity SJW's. God forbid you have your own opinion, wouldn't want to hurt anyones fragile emotional state. These are "adults" who haven't grown up and have skin thinner than rice paper. Don't cave to these losers!

Only good thing is this fad is finally over and it's dying out everywhere you look, so hipsters can go crawl to the fad and ruin that next. Militant feminism is dying out and so is their crappy sport.

Juan 305 days ago

A response from Vance Lauderdale

Now look. Anyone who has ever read any of my columns will surely know that I make fun of myself, my family, my relatives (even my dear old grandmother in this particular column), my tumble-down home, my dishonest servants, my cars -- everything around me. I'm a cranky old guy with a warped sense of humor. Nobody should take me seriously. I'm astonished you did so here.

The only point of this particular column, as "ill-researched" as so many of you seem to think, was simply to share an early Roller Derby program, and if I thought the rules were just a bit confusing, then I certainly said so. My column, my opinion. It was never meant to be a definitive account of the world of Roller Derby, how the sport has progressed into a legitimate enterprise, or the good deeds the members do today.

Nothing that I wrote was designed to insult the women of America, and I'm sorry anyone took it that way.

Your humble servant, Vance Lauderdale

Vance Lauderdale 314 days ago

Found some pics of Honey Thomas

A good looking woman. Here: https://www.scribd.com/document/98846487/1930-s-Roller-Derby-Scrapbook#fullscreen&from_embed

J Yuma 318 days ago

Ill Researched

I'm sure anyone at Memphis Roller Derby would have talked to you. You could have emailed or called and gotten an interview with someone who could explain the rules in a way that even you could understand them.
This article could have actually been interesting, but instead you just googled "roller derby" and added your own offensive opinions. You missed an opportunity to talk to some amazing athletes and support your local roller derby league.

Jessica 318 days ago

You forgot to mention your correction.

Even if you don't have the courage to issue an apology, AT LEAST have the journalistic integrity of mentioning that you replaced this sentence:

"I think back then, just as today, the whole purpose was just to watch pretty girls skate around and around and around and smack into each other."

to this one:

"I think back then (unlike today, when the sport requires considerably more skill) the whole purpose was just to watch pretty women skate around and around and around and smack into each other."

Not mentioning your redaction does a great disservice to your readers, and you should know that, Vance. But you're one of the editors, so that doesn't matter, right?

Sarah 318 days ago

Missed Opportunity

That's an interesting piece of history. Having my current understanding of the sport, it's neat to read about how far the rules have actually come. I would have enjoyed reading a piece comparing today's sport with the one from 80 years ago, and maybe your readers would have learned something about the current incarnation as well.

Instead the commentary framing the history is just another "girl on girl action!" and "who even understands the rules haha!" piece that's been done over and over and over to death. The only trope you left out was "By day, she's a [blank] but by night she's a lean mean derby queen!" If cliches are your bag, make sure you get all of them in next time.

Sara 318 days ago

Idiocracy

Love love love that you found this old article and posted it, quite interesting...however, it's too bad you delivered it in such a way that you made yourself look like a total douchebag.

BLOWNFUSE 333...MEMPHIS ROLLER DERBY RETIREE...PrissKilla Prezley...played this serously hard core sport for 11 years, trained newbies for 4 years, will serve my community FOREVER!

Teresa White 318 days ago

Idiocracy

Love love love that you found this old article and posted it, quite interesting...however, it's too bad you delivered it in such a way that you made yourself look like a total douchebag.

BLOWNFUSE 333...MEMPHIS ROLLER DERBY RETIREE...PrissKilla Prezley...played this serously hard core sport for 11 years, trained newbies for 4 years, will
Pplserve my community FOREVER!

Teresa White 318 days ago

Irritated

This article in Memphis Magazine by Vance Lauderdale misses the dedication and support Memphis Roller Derby serves by a vast margin. How insulting that the women and men of derby are measured in sub-par evaluation by an individual who has taken little time to learn about the modern organization and those who live it.

Irritated 318 days ago

Hack Should Go Back to the Drawing Board

I'm sorry to see that you have failed to do thorough research and I'm sorry that an amazing group of tough, intelligent, athletic hard working women will suffer because of your innacurate and rather insulting comments. In future, please refrain from writing articles when you clearly have no intention of fully researching the subject at hand.

Barrett 318 days ago

Ridiculous

Just because you don't understand the rules of the game you bash it? I'm pretty sure every sport has added more rules since 1939. The people who work hard at making this a popular sport again do not deserve your down talking. Every single team member pays dues and volunteers hours to the community just to play and keep the league going and definitely don't deserve your insulting remarks.

Abby 319 days ago

Insulted

I'm married to a former Memphis Roller Derby skater. You owe her and all of MRD an apology. "I think back then, just as today, the whole purpose was just to watch pretty girls skate around and around and around and smack into each other." Are you lobbying for a job in the Trump administration?

David Lindsey 319 days ago

For posterity

Someone edited the article. Glad you captured the original quote, David

Sara 318 days ago

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Vance Lauderdale

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of four books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine’s History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine’s History Expert (2011), Vance Lauderdale’s Lost Memphis (2013), and Vance Lauderdale’s More Lost Memphis (2014). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards (including “Best Blog - 2017” from the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards), the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den.

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