1. What anyone else thinks doesn’t matter
I see a lot of people reaching out for validation when they’re considering a name. But remember: it’s your nickname – if it works for you, then absolutely go for it.
It doesn’t matter what your partner says, or your friends, or even your captain. Who cares if your dad doesn’t ‘get’ it, or some random internet stranger thinks it’s lame. Go with your instincts because at the end of the day, you’re the one who’s gonna be hearing it day-in day-out. Choose the name that’s right for you.
I will caveat, that leagues may choose to enforce restrictions on names, for example to prevent skaters from selecting offensive or explicit names. Obviously while it’s your right to pick whatever name you wish, be considerate of the impact on those around you.
2. It doesn’t need to be unique
For some people, individuality is really important; that’s fine. But don’t be discouraged from a name you love, simply because it’s registered against some skater halfway across the planet.
Once was the time when a derby name needed to be completely unique in order to be registered on the, then definitive, database, TwoEvils. However, an explosion of uptake in roller derby meant that the list very rapidly became delayed, and later obsolete.
Now unmoderated, unique derby names are no longer a requirement; however, databases such as Derby Roll Call do exist for skaters to publicly list their name and number.
If you do have your heart set on a registered name, it’s only polite to try and contact the skater and ask to share. The chances are, they won’t mind, or will request a slight variation. And even then, there’s no way of enforcing a claim on your name, short of registering a trademark.
3. Numbers matter more than names
Some skaters worry about picking a name which is too similar, especially if there’s a risk of encountering that skater in a bout or scrim. However, remember that ultimately, derby names have no impact on the gameplay. Numbers on the other hand, are used by officials to unambiguously refer to skaters on and off the track.
4. It doesn’t have to be hilarious
Many skaters picking out their derby name gravitate towards witty names which riff on celebrity names, skating puns, or innuendo. It can be very fun trying to come up with a clever, funny, badass nickname encompassing your interests and personality… But don’t stress yourself out if you’re struggling to find one that’s ‘you’. Some of the coolest nicknames in derby aren’t double-entendres – but they still sound awesome: Suzy Hotrod, OMG WTF, Kamikaze Kitten.
5. You won’t hear it in full
Sure, you’ll probably scrawl your full name all over your scrim tops, Facebook profile, and all your derby gear – but most of the time it’ll get cut down to a syllable or two.
Because let’s face it, in the heat of a scrim, your team-mates won’t have the time or breath to shout out “Mary Queen of Squats”, or “Tyrannosaurus-Becks!” to get your attention across the track. So think about how you’ll cut your name down to a few syllables, because if you don’t, you might get it shortened in a way you never intended, like “squat” or “trannie”.
6. It’s completely optional
It’s almost a given that when you play derby, you’ll adopt an alter ego and pseudonym. Let’s face it, that’s half the fun! But it’s not for everyone. If you like your name and you’re happy to skate under it, then go ahead. There are plenty of top-tier skaters who choose to go by their birth names, such as Stef Mainey and Loren Mutch.