Eight years. 350 posts, dozens of pages and around 400,000 words.
It’s been a heck of a run, and to confirm what a few of you have speculated in recent months, as of December 31st, 2017, I am officially retiring the Derby Nerd blog. Don’t worry! The site will remain open as an archive (though the derbynerd.com shortcut will soon expire), and I’ll maintain it as much as I can so that it remains accessible and readable.
I’d like to point out that I am not retiring from the game. Although my announcing schedule was significantly condensed this season (and will be next), I’m still announcing locally with Toronto Roller Derby and Durham Region Roller Derby (and can be counted on to be at the Beast of the East), and even joined the (extended) bench staff of ToRD’s Death Track Dolls for the 2018 season, so I’m still very much involved in the game. But full-time teaching and my current immersion in a potentially big writing project (stay tuned!) are both demanding so much of my time. And honestly, writing about something for eight years—even something you love and believe in—can take a lot out of you. It’s time to step back and listen to what everyone else has to say.
Since my first post in 2010 to my last after this year’s Toronto Roller Derby house league championship, the sport of flat track roller derby has gone from being a simple game of skating fast and turning left played primarily in North America to a heavily strategic pace-control game played in every corner of the globe. Having the opportunity to write about a sport in its infancy and through the primary moments of its evolution has been an absolute pleasure and privilege. It was also a responsibility that I did not take lightly.
I want to thank everyone in the community for their support and readership over the years: when I first started obsessing over derby stats and putting my own internal narratives to the page, I had no idea whether or not anyone else would care to follow along. I truly am grateful for the support.
I would also—as loudly as I possibly can—like to thank all of the photographers whose work has graced this site over the years. There were numerous photographers, and I am truly appreciative of them all, but I am particularly indebted to Kevin Konnyu (Fifth Business), Derek Lang (Bagel Hot), Joe Mac, Neil Gunner, and Greg Russell, whose work has been featured on this site more than any others.
I also want to give a special shout out to Justice Feelgood Marshall, Hurt Reynolds, and Gnosis. The Derby News Network showed us all how this sport could and should be covered, and its DNA is in every blog, website and streaming service that has existed since. While I’d like to think I still would have done what I did without its influence, I’ll never truly know.
Flat track roller derby is in a fascinating place right now and while the kind of hyper-local coverage that I often provided hasn’t necessarily taken off as much as I’d hoped (shout out to Muckety Muck in St. Louis and Jammer Line in Ontario!), the broader coverage of the game is in great and capable hands with Derby Central and The Apex. I look forward to much continued reading.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you all once again.
See you trackside,