About Classic Roller Derby

On RollerDerbyNotes.com, Classic Roller Derby specifically refers to the historical period of roller derby from 1960 to the mid-1970s. During this era, Jerry Seltzer was the owner and promoter of Roller Derby, touring the country with the International Roller Derby League (IRDL) and his most iconic team, the San Francisco Bay Bombers. Other historical teams from this era include the Midwest/Chicago Pioneers, Eastern/New York Chiefs, the Cincinnati Jolters, and the Brooklyn Red Devils.

The “classic” era of the game began when Jerry took control over Roller Derby from his father, Leo. It is well-known that the roller derby of this era featured preset (scripted) plays and a good amount of fighting and rough play, but this was mostly balanced by the high level of skating skill present in games, particulary from The Derby’s biggest stars. This is the form of the game that the most older fans will remember, given its prevalance in and around major markets and regular airtime on local television stations across the country. Though the Seltzer era of roller derby officially ended in 1973, teams and players continued playing into as late as the 1980s, though as a shell of its former self.

Many of the modern aspects of roller derby came into existence during this period of roller derby history. Most notably, the blocker and pivot were invented and introduced by Jerry Seltzer, so as to distinguish their unique roles in the game, as was the idea of an initial pass for teams to earn the lead jammer position.

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