Of all major sports that have been able to sell-out 50,000-seat stadiums in the US, only 3 have been invented in the US. The history of roller derby is deeply entwined with the history of Chicago, and the history of sport in America."
Chicago, Illinois (PRWEB) August 03, 2017
The first annual World Roller Derby Week, celebrating the history, the future and the community impact of the only sport invented in Chicago, and one of the few major sports created in the US will be hosted by the Midwest All Stars, Northern Illinois Junior Roller Derby and Brown Paper Tickets, Sunday, Aug. 13 - Sunday, Aug. 20.
Roller Derby was invented by Chicagoan Leo Seltzer who debuted the sport at the Chicago Coliseum on Aug. 13, 1935. Seltzer and his son, Jerry, grew roller derby into one of the most popular spectator sports in the US, producing weekly games in cities from coast to coast and broadcasts on 272 television stations with higher ratings than hockey or the NBA. At the apex of its popularity, roller derby was selling out games held at professional baseball stadiums, including a game that sold out Comiskey Park with 50,118 fans on Sept. 15, 1972.
Knock-off leagues tried and failed to cash-in on roller derby’s popularity. Amateur athletes revived the game 25 years later, and evolved it into an accessible, challenging contact sport that builds strength, community, and a sense of empowerment while generating excitement for fans. Today roller derby is played in every state in the US and in 65 countries around the world, and has been considered twice as a contender for a future Olympic event.
“Junior leagues are the future of the sport,” said Jane Van Stelle Haded, co-organizer of World Roller Derby Week and an organizer for Northern Illinois Junior Roller Derby League. “The great thing about junior roller derby is that the roller derby players tend to be from very diverse backgrounds, so these juniors get all the benefits of playing a youth sport (fitness, confidence, setting goals, handling challenges, working with others) but they also get to play it an environment that is very accepting of differences."
“Of all major sports that have been able to sell-out 50,000-seat stadiums in the US, only 3 have been invented in the US,” said Jerry Seltzer, former commissioner of roller derby and sales outreach representative with Brown Paper Tickets. “The history of roller derby is deeply entwined with the history of Chicago, and the history of sport in America.”
World Roller Derby Week events will include:
Sunday, Aug. 13: A Free Roller Derby Birthday Party
12:30 – 2 p .m.
Corner of S. Wabash Ave. and E. 14th Place
Chicago hall of fame sportscaster and former roller derby play-by-play announcer Chet Coppock will emcee a free Happy Birthday Roller Derby event on the anniversary of the day the sport was invented, at the place of it’s debut in 1935. With roller derby and roller skating demonstrations, photo opportunities with roller derby athletes in uniform, free birthday cake and party favors, appearances by legendary athletes and a pledge-to-donate blood drive for the American Red Cross, this roller derby birthday party kicks-off World Roller Derby Week.
Saturday, Aug. 19: Time Hop: A retro-style roller derby game with 1970s rules and uniforms
Fleetwood Roller Rink
7231 W Archer Ave
World Roller Derby Week’s capstone event will be a commemorative roller derby double-header game with play-by-play hosted by Chet Coppock and color commentary by Bob Noxious, a “Doer” with Brown Paper Tickets who travels the world announcing and helping to organize roller derby events globally. The signature event will be a retro-style roller derby game played under the 1970s rules and the classic uniforms of the Midwest Pioneers and the Chicago Westerners, followed by an invitational Junior roller derby game featuring top junior talent from leagues around the country. Between games fans will enjoy several skating demonstrations including Chicago’s own JB skaters from The Osiris Initiative, figure and speed skating gold medalists, and the Moxi Skate Team, on their National Dream Tour, who will debut a new music video promoting and inspiring their street skating and lifestyle brand. A limited number of tickets are available online through World Roller Derby Week partner Brown Paper Tickets at http://timehop2017.bpt.me/.
Sunday, Aug. 20: Gold Medal Workshop for Roller Derby Athletes
World Gold Medalist roller derby athletes Nicholas Becker and Michael Thornton, skating for Team USA, will teach a workshop on offensive strategies for junior and adult roller derby athletes.
Daily: Make ‘em Bleed: the largest roller derby blood drive series in the US
Daily donor sign-ups are being promoted by dozens of roller derby leagues across the Midwest who will be hosting a blood drive Oct. 29 at the Red Cross headquarters in Chicago; one of several being hosted by roller derby leagues across the country. Go to http://www.redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: DERBY to pledge to donate. Anyone may register for the Make ‘Em Bleed roller derby blood drive series, or help the leagues to spread the word through social media to attract more potential blood donors to help save lives.
Daily: Roller Derby games around the world celebrating World Roller Derby Week
Find the nearest World Roller Derby Week game or bout in your area on this online map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dzwz07i3xc6WUpKXfI_Cr2AdilU&usp=sharing
Photo Credit: Roller Derby Hall of Fame: Roller Derby sold out Comiskey Park with 50,118 roller derby fans in attendance on Sept. 15 1972.