What’s in a name?
Skater names precisely. They set us apart, granted I’m just an official, I do have a skater name. But are they necessary? Whether they are funny, crude or play on their own name, skater names make it slightly easier to know/associate with someone derby. I say slightly because when I mention that I’m involved with derby, (why I can’t help you move this weekend) and they invariably get excited about it and want to know more about it. Then they hear my derby name and get a confused look.
You see as a ref, on or off track, skaters are just a color and number and in some cases, just gear to my eyes. Granted I’m friends with a few outside derby, yes I do manage to have a few friends. Sometimes I text or call a friend for various reasons. Such as a skater with a real life skill or job, and I know someone else that could have a use for said skill that is beneficial for both. So of course I recognize a those skaters that are my friends in gear or civies (civilian clothes for y’all non-service members). Even though skaters wear a uniform top (color), sometimes they are slightly different from their teammates. Maybe they’re a founding member and have an older logo design or didn’t spend the extra cash to have her name added above her number. Or they wear multi colored derby skinz shorts, color coordinated L&S shorts, panties with ruffles over tights and on and on. Whatever the reason, every skaters “color” is still distinct. Why? because almost everyone wants to be an individual.
Generally I don’t know many skaters by name, skater or real. Even seeing a picture of them isn’t helpful. But if you tell me what league and a skaters number I’ll know who you’re talking about. Only if I’ve reffed, NSOed or announced for that team… at least twice. I often remember the “odd” numbers, four plus digit numbers, alphanumeric, fractions, decimals. You just painted a target on your back because I have to “think” how to say your number when I call a penalty.
On rare occasions tops, bottoms and helmets match, (TXRG Hell Mary’s) then the gear has some variance. To have some individuality. I quickly recognize a certain color helmet or jeans shorts or a sticker-plastered-helmet or multi-colored wheel combo than I would recognize a skaters Facebook profile picture with her real name. It’s one of the tricks I’ve developed to separate a mash of color A and color B when counting a Jammers points or when blockers are breaking a pack and other such rules related scenarios
(derby) Household Names
Sure I know *of* Suzy Hotrod,
Demanda Riot and Smarty Pants and could recognize them on or off track in or out of gear. I mean, they’re effin famous.
Olivia Shoot’n John only in gear, Atomatrix same thing, Deranged and Psychobabble gear. They’re frikkin’ famous as well,but they can sorta blend in crowds, if you know what I mean. The list could go on, but they’d be mostly skaters within 300 miles of the Houston Metro area from “renegade” leagues.
A new trend is using real names, or rather reverting to real names from a skater name. Such as Hockey Honey, her real name escapes me at the moment, but she went by either at a Certifiable Derby Training event in Denton TX January of 2011.
Now there are a few skaters I’d recognize in or outta gear on or off track. Kiki Urhaz, Scarbie Doll Lap Dancer, Rosie The Ribhitter, Claudia Van Damage, The Angie Christ… they’re all kinda hard to not notice, er miss
because dat azz
So should we use our real names? we do after all want to be recognized as a real sport, right? No matter the perception, we enjoy our individuality as well as the sense of community we get from derby. In the end there is no right answer but what works best for you. Sure there might be a couple hundred Jessicas, Jennifers, Ambers and so on. Maybe even two on your own team. But a name isn’t going to affect how well the game is played… or in my case how the game is called.