Thursday, September 20, 2007

Derby Name advice for Newbies

Aside from actually trying out for roller derby, nothing is more nerve-wracking than trying to figure out your derby name. Here is some good advice all potential rollergirls should take to heart.

Via Derbytude:

So, you’re trying out for Derby and you already have a name in mind. Names are a huge part of roller derby. We pride ourselves on them, and what they mean to us. Especially since we know that no one else will have the same one. Well, here’s a few rules of Derby Name Etiquette that you may or may not know.

First off, if you are about to try out for Roller Derby, then you do not have a Derby Name. Period. To clarify: do not walk into try outs and introduce yourself with your derby name. Do Not have it plastered all over your clothing, skate bag, pads, etc. Do Not go out and buy custom clothing and items with your name all over it. This will come off as cocky, since you haven’t even found out if you’ve made it past try outs. Go ahead and chat with other girls and let them know what you’d like as a name, but do not introduce yourself as anything other than what is on your birth certificate. A Derby Name is something that you earn, as is the status of “(…. Your League) Roller Girl”. Don’t be one of those people. Now, there are exceptions to this. People that have already been accepted to the league, but that have not tried out to be a Roller Girl (ie: skater that was injured before being drafted, but that made it through tryouts the year before, referees, stats crew, etc.), may use their “Derby Name” that they used during the season, as long as their league is ok with this. We had a few in our league that already had names when they came through try outs. Most likely, your league will have you on a probation period after you’ve made it past try outs. When that period is over (in our case: 90 days), and they know that you’ve made your commitment to the league, they will register your requested name.

Second, make sure that no one else has already picked your name. If someone, anywhere in the country, has the same name, then most likely, your request for that name will be denied. To find out if anyone has the name you want, visit and go to the Derby Roster section. There, you can put your name into the search, and it will cross reference it with anything that sounds even remotely close to the name you want. It will even rate names from Very High (most likely to be rejected) to Very Low. It’s a great resource when choosing your name. Now, if you have a name that is very close to someone else’s, you can always try to contact that player and get written permission from them to use your name. They won’t always grant permission, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Also, this list is updated monthly, so keep checking back to make sure that your name is still available.

Third, Don’t freak out if you can’t figure something out. We’ve had girls that went through 4 different names before they found one that wasn’t taken already and rejected. We’ve also had girls change their names from season to season. Talk to other people in your league, get some ideas of names. Peruse the list of names, and see if they spark any creativity. Many people use characters or celebrities and just change parts of their names (Hurt Reynolds, Jodie Faster, June Carter Crash ) or they use places or things and change out words or add names that sound similar (Aimee T. VilHorror, Aja Consent, Slugs ‘n Kisses).

Fourth, Don’t get bent out of shape if your name is already taken. A derby name is a very organic thing and can just manifest itself when you least expect it. In my case, my derby wife - before she was the wife - started calling me by a name. And since she was the loudest, she won. ;) Up until that point, I was giving myself an ulcer because I couldn’t figure out what my name should be. Some people were spitting out lists and lists of 100’s of names, while I was struggling to get just 1. I thought I’d never figure something out. Then, without any effort of my own, I had one. It took a little while to grow into it, but now it’s who I am.

Having a derby name is a fun part of derby. Especially when you see it on things like shirts, uniforms, hoodies, helmets, and rosters. Be patient with it and just relax. And if next season, you’re still not quite feeling it, change it up! :)


Sevo Floor'em said...

I can agree with some of your comments such as, do not get your "probationary" derby name plastered on all your stuff. Not because its cocky to do as a newbie, but because someone might steal your name before it officially hits the national roster. My league runs a little different. As a newbie,girls are encouraged to pick and use a derby name from the get go. It was a form of respect, the people who trains has a derby name so therefore the newbies should have one as well. I think going about it that way gives us more of a sense of companionship and belongingness in the league. We were all accepted by the league before draft, after draft passing WFTDA testing or not. Our league prides ourselves on that. Even though some of the girls may not make it to be a rollergirl that sense of beloningness created by the league encourages them to do other things that are so important such as bout production, stats, refing or even becoming one of our "beer" leaders.

Anonymous said...

whats the rule of using symbols?