Strong Athletic is a company that exists to give people a platform in which they can tell the world things that are important to them. Announcers of the sport of roller derby do the same thing: they tell the story of the sport of roller derby, play by play. They are the voice that you hear at the venue and the voice that you hear on your screen when you're watching from home. They serve the purpose of telling people who are blind or visually impaired about what is going on in the game. They give context to what is happening. They help people new to the sport of roller derby better understand the rules, the strategies and the plays.
This shirt was created after a request came in from the derby community that some announcers wanted their own shirt. They didn't feel passionate about using the word "athletic" and instead wanted one that they thought better suited them. They came up with the three words: "Loud. Charismatic. Announcer." Strong Athletic owner Nadia Kean, aka Smarty Pants, has much appreciation for announcers and commentators in the sport of roller derby. They've helped to narrate the story of the sport since its creation, and more recently its revival in the 2000s.
Nadia even credits the origin of Strong Athletic with her realization that she no longer wanted to be referred to as a "girl" by announcers when she was playing in bouts. She wanted to have a conversation with certain announcers about why it was important that they change their language about how they referred to athletes. Nadia's been inspired by all of the announcers who have come together to help to create a new language for how derby athletes are referred to. These announcers put the use of appropriate pronouns first. They make sure that they athletes that they are speaking about feel respected in their realm. They help to create the storyline for the future of our sport.
Not every announcer in roller derby feels that the three words on these shirts reflects them accurately. Some people would rather have other words describe them, and we respect that. Other words that we think describe roller derby announcers are: articulate, well-spoken, soft-spoken, excited, kind, open-minded, intriguing, curious, strategic, smart, knowledgable, dedicated, committed, funny, engaging, stimulating, and the list goes on. What words would you use?
Whether or not you identify with any or all three of the words on this shirt, if you're an announcer in roller derby, we thank you for everything that you do. This goes for the announcers of any of the many types of roller derby. Your time is valuable and we appreciate you sharing it with us.