I am a roller derby photographer and my 2016 season started last Saturday. I usually photograph at The Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California where light imitates art … or art imitates cupcakes. I forget.
Bay Area Derby created two “united teams” to compete against Sacramento’s Sacred City Derby Girls and the Santa Cruz Derby Girls. My son was unsure which team to support, so he chose his team the same way he chose his cupcake. (He chose the blue one.)
Before the evening bouts, I took my children to the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. We would have watched the junior derby “Golden Goblet” earlier in the day, but my son played his first baseball game Saturday and my daughter danced earlier that morning.
My kids enjoy derby as much for the community and competition as the cupcakes and cookies.… Read the rest
Last week I met sports journalist Justine Gubar. She wrote the book “Fanaticus, Mischief and Madness in the Modern Sports Fan.” The book is about crazy fans. Last night I watched the Major League Baseball playoffs. Toronto fans threw beer cans and other debris onto to the field after being upset with an umpire’s call (but mostly the fans hit other fans, including kids). Toronto eventually won, otherwise the fans might have thrown kids. Last weekend, I photographed the Bay Area Derby Girl roller derby league championships. Some fans cheered. Some drank beer. Some fans brought their kids (or some kids brought their parents), but nothing unusual happened… except that The Berkeley Resistance won their first league title.
You can view more photos of Berkeley’s first league celebration and 161-143 victory over Oakland at the gallery here.
This post might turn out like my dinner tonight. I grilled a cheese sandwich with turkey, garden tomatoes and avocado. The sprouted bread fell apart, the crust became hard and the inside became mushy and cheesy. It tasted good, but I would not serve it to friends. While I rushed my dinner, I have spent several days trying to write this blog post.
I have yet to digest my emotions from last Saturday.
Before I attended Saturday’s bout between the Santa Cruz Derby Girls Bombshells and the Bay Area Derby Girls Team Gold, I planned a simple post that included galleries from two previous bouts. I would discuss the community based organizations that the roller derby teams supported at recent events and I would mention how my children love attending roller derby too.
Then I met Bryan Stow.
I am a Dodger fan. I have loved the Dodgers since I was a little kid and moved to Fresno from the San Fernando Valley.… Read the rest
The Bay Area Derby Girls opened the 2015 regular season on International Pi Day. Berkeley won the first bout against San Francisco (photo gallery here), and Oakland defeated Richmond in the second bout. (photos here.) Four people competed in a pie eating contest, which the audience won. The derby and sunset were grand, as was the marching band. I searched for circles.
Pi Day is a real thing. In case you forgot the formula for measuring the area of a circle or cylinder, you can find it on the page International Pi Day page. I learned the origin of the joke that “Pies aren’t square; they are round.” I also learned that there was a such a thing as a Pi joke.
I am too literal to laugh at math jokes. I tried to photograph the first several numbers of Pi, but I couldn’t find the necessary skaters after #31.… Read the rest
Last Saturday, the B.A.D. Girls held their 2014 women’s flat track roller derby regular season championship. Roller derby has become a popular sport throughout the world. B.A.D. is one of the top leagues in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, or WFTDA. The WFTDA lists leagues on their website.
I am an official photographer for the Bay Area Derby Girls. I really do not know why I don’t smile more often. After bouts, I post photos to my photo site (www.AflatTrackMind.com and to my little facebook site). I write blog posts here. I am going to write less this time and just post links and photos.
Derby fans are wonderful. They really care. The best derby fan is probably an eleven year old girl. She is just off to the right of this picture. You can find her in the photo gallery if you click the picture or go here.… Read the rest
I first published this blog post on Saturday July 19, 2014, one week after the Bay Area Derby Girls regular season double header at The Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California. The bouts decided which teams will skate for the regular season title on August 23, 2014. You can see the entire photo gallery here.
I chose photos that highlighted the work of the officials. I liked the idea of my post, but my words bored me. I wanted to say something better to honor the contributions of derby officials. I do not know if my edits will improve the article, but at least I can think about how I can express myself better for the next time.
At derby bouts, I wish I could follow myself around and take my picture. Nearly everyone who participates has a derby name and persona. I am P Giddy. P Giddy is a great name, but I struggle putting on my persona.… Read the rest
Today, April 29, is my childhood friend Steve’s birthday. We met in second grade. Today is also Uma Thurman’s birthday. If you read my post about Bout 1, you realized that I quoted Mia Wallace, Uma Thurman’s Pulp Fiction character. I am not sure if I am old or if I have a good memory. Pulp Fiction was in theaters in 1994.
(Keep reading for the complete bout 2 slideshow, which is at the end of the post.)
In 1992, I remember that my friend Steve could celebrate his birthday on the same day that a court acquitted Los Angeles police officers charged with crimes against Rodney King. (If you remember the tape, please forgive my sloppy explanation.) After the results were announced, there was a riot. Sometimes I hear people use the term riot when they really mean “altercation.” By the way, when I see the woman with white makeup, Demanda Riot, I consider her an athlete.… Read the rest
On Saturday March 1, I attended two season openers. One was a campaign and the other was a sporting event. There is probably a cheap joke here, but neither event felt cheap.
In the morning, I attended Libby Schaaf’s “Libby for Mayor Oakland Campaign Kickoff.” (I took a few hundred pictures; here is the edited photo gallery.) In the evening, I photographed the Bay Area Derby Girls Season Opener. The events felt similar. There was music. There were people from different ages and backgrounds. Young people held signs. Older people cheered. Everyone seemed committed. Positive.
As someone who pretends to be a journalist, I do not officially endorse anyone, but I support many people and causes. I support Libby. Before she was elected to City Council, she supported my kids and neighbors. I support people who help my kids and neighbors.
People at derby support me and my kids.… Read the rest
When I review my photos at the end of each year, I am always surprised. How did I get so lucky? Yesterday I recalled meeting track legend Tommie Smith. Today I am overwhelmed that I photograph women’s flat track roller derby for the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls.
The league has four regular season teams and one traveling all-star team. The Golden Girls, the BAD Girls all-star team, are ranked second by the WFTDA, as of November 30, 2013. BAD finished 3rd at last month’s WFTDA Championships.
I photographed most of the BAD Girl local bouts. I also traveled to Santa Cruz when the Santa Cruz Derby Girls opened their new downtown facility. My wife and children came with me. Our friends from Monterey met us at the arena with their two children.
Many of my favorite photos included children. While being a father might preclude me from traveling every weekend to a derby tournament, it does not interfere with being a derby photographer.… Read the rest
A Bay Area teacher friend drove to Brooks Institute this week for The Teachers’ Workshop. When I worked for Brooks, veteran high school photography teachers often shared stories about Brooks’ summer workshops in Santa Barbara. Teachers enjoyed meeting other high school teachers and the Brooks instructors. A few teachers recalled sailing with the founder Ernie Brooks off the Santa Barbara coast. Across the country, teachers would ask about the summer Brooks workshop and our instructors. Teachers thanked me for the work of David Litschel one of the founders of the Photo Imaging Education Association.
By the time I worked for Brooks, high school teachers had less contact with Brooks faculty and more contact with people like me. While I benefited, I knew that high school teachers would understand more about Brooks if the high school educators visited the campus and met our instructors, so I argued that the college reinstate the summer teacher workshop.… Read the rest
During half-time, Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan proclaimed May 11, 2013 as “Bay Area Derby Girls Day” for the entire city. I have known Mayor Quan since she served on the school board (and later as my City Council Member). I have always been impressed with her visibility at community events. At derby, I was impressed by her ability to adapt. She pronounced the San Francisco ShEvil Dead’s name correctly. She asked questions and talked about her mother attending derby.
Mayor Quan also got close to the floor and photographed action. I think she is ready for her own derby photography persona. (She can probably have mine since I am not really using it.) After the bout, she spoke to reporters and fans.… Read the rest
I am like an official women’s derby photographer now. I am more than a little excited. I’m running and I won’t touch ground. Eva Menace, the PR person for The B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls, invited me into Saturday’s season opener on March 2, 2013 at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California. Now I can take photos of REAL LIVE DERBY GIRLS like Lulu Lockjaw. Lulu actually let me take her picture. Wow. What’s a boy to do?
I think I have a found my derby persona too. As I understand derby personas, they are like an alter egos. My derby alter ego uses the word “like.” He also has the exuberance of a respectful high school sophomore boy who happens to drop his camera and damage his lens. (Assuming this never happens again, it was worth it.) If you are one of the five people who read my blog, you know that I usually take my self way too seriously.… Read the rest
Since the top two teams at the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association West Region Tournament automatically advance to the national tournament in Atlanta, the third place game between the Bay Area Derby Girls and the Rose City Rollers was probably the most dramatic of the tournament. The bout was especially exciting since the BAD Girls hosted this year’s West Region Tournament.
The bout was close the entire game (though not as close as the seventh place game) and there were very few two minute jams. (To those who have not watched roller derby, there were not many penalties nor big scoring plays… a lot of field goals.) The home crowd was excited to be returning to nationals. Portland fans are cool too.