Tales From the Track

The new wave of edgy women roller derby skaters, and their uncanny knack for business organization and promotion, are served up in punk rock defiance by skater turned author Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan in Rollergirl, Totally true tales from the track. In a volume packed with action, photos, and real life thrills and spills, all female roller derby for the new millenium is captured in all of its pain and rolling glory. All female flat track roller derby is not what tradtionalists in any sport had envisioned for athletic competition. Combining provocative outfits, alternate name personae, and a flair for the dramatic, the women owned roller derby leagues have turned the concept of league ownership and management upside down. Skating as "Melicious" in the top ranked Texas Rollergirls league, Melissa Joulwan is a major part of that women's sport revolution. The traditional sports ownership model usually involves an owner, an ownership group, or the team owned by a major corporation. Roller derby had a similar history, with the difference that one man owned the entire league, including all of the member teams. When that single ownership ended, the entire sport disappeared along with it. Using a skater owned cooperative business model, the leagues are operated by the skaters for the skaters. With over one hundred similar leagues in business, the loss of one doesn't endanger the entire sport. As Melissa Joulwan makes very clear, the women are now doing it for themselves.