Sunday, February 19, 2012

A rose is a rose: The fine art of choosing your derby name.

So you've joined derby, and now you have to think up a derby name, or maybe you don't.  In the last couple of years, derby norms have changed.  Many skaters have decided to skate under their "real" names in order to help legitimize the sport.  This year, at the World Cup, the majority of Team USA skaters skated under their real names, but not everyone did.  So, for now, derby still uses derby names for the most part, and I'm NOT going to start an argument about whether derby names keep us from legitimizing the sport.  I want to talk about the decision making process you might want to consider when and if you do choose a derby name.

1.  Remember, what you think is funny now, might not be funny in two years.  Sooooo, you've thought up the perfect political name parody to skate under...awesome!  Remember, names that are based on political parody tend not to be as accessible in a couple of years.  The same goes with pop princess names, or internet memes.  Picking a name off of any reality based show falls into this category, so no Snookies please!  Jersey Chore?  SNORE!

2.  Offensive names are going to cause issues.  This year at Rollercon, I met Fist F***er, who by the way was a very nice lady, but she will have issues skating in certain bouts and venues.  Our league is family friendly and we will not tolerate that kind of language on the floor, and many leagues are the same; you have every right to be vulgar, to be threatening, to be offensive, but you will also have to deal with a lot of scorn.  Is it worth the hassle?  Only you can decide that.

3.  Your name is so obscure you constantly have to explain it.  Sometimes it's fun as a fan to try and figure out what the name is referencing.  I have had the "ah-ha" moment in my own league with some people's names, but seriously, if you have to explain how your name is the sublime combination of Schrodinger's Cat meets Scooby Doo, then your name probably has a target demographic of one.

4.  The name is funny because you are being a little immature.  Granted, for some people, having a derby name can be a license to be immature which can be fun, but hopefully you will be skating for more than five minutes.  In the two or more years you will be skating, do you want to be known as "Dingle Berry?"  Try to think of how you might feel about that name in a season or two, when the giggles have worn off. I think a lot of skaters change their derby names because they "outgrow" them.

5.  Your family will be associated with your name if they come to a bout.  The ONE time my parents came to see me play, I got them shirts with their own "derby names" on them.  My mother is Ella Q-tion and my father is Papa ShoQue, which made them smile.  I don't think they would have been smiling if my name was Fist F***er.  You do the math.

6.  You base your derby name on your location.  This one is an easy pitfall to avoid.  Remember, we live in a mobile society and you might be skating in a completely different part of the country in a year or two.  You can represent your city, neighborhood, block, whatever, but remember it might not be relevant if you move from Chicago to Costa Rica!

If you ponder and consider your derby name carefully, it might actually survive the test of time!  I have been skating under my derby name for four seasons now, and I love it.  It really has become my second and more loved name in my life. Hopefully you will create the perfect derby name for yourself!

I love my derby name...just sayin'.


  1. This came at a great time for me because I have to decide my derby name soon. I have played around with a few ideas and have decided mostly on one but it's such a hard choice! Also you have to consider what people will shorten it up to call you during practice/etc. :) Thanks for the advice!

  2. I love your name because I can sing a song to it too!