Professor Jake Stratton retires after 10 seasons of announcing for the Rat City Rollergirls

Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof.

10 years of roller derby announcing. We came into this madness together in a small, humid, packed rink that smelled like beer and sweat. I was a sideline announcer at the time searching for my derby identity and he was already Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof. Soon I was calling right beside him and we would spend the next 10 years making this stuff up as we went along somehow convincing people we were the right people for the job. Maybe by virtue of that alone we were.

The first few years were bumpy for us. Ups and downs as we tried to figure out in a vacuum what was expected of us and what we needed from each other. There were good calls and not so good ones. There were fun bouts and not so fun ones (really mostly fun though). But we kept at it though, each of us trying to be the best announcer we could be.

Then, I dunno, one day, quite awhile ago actually, something clicked. We hit a stride and from that moment on we were able to work as one mind. All the bases were covered and every call we’ve had since then has been an absolute joy for me. It’s rare that two people are able to sync up like that. All of the sudden we just worked. Luckily for us and the Rat City fans, that happened a long time ago and we’ve had a long run of success.

Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof.

I admire him in so many ways and for so many reasons. Let’s start with announcing: It seems like any goofball with just enough vanity can dress up in a cheesy leisure suit and do what we do, and that’s a fair thought. But try, I dare you, try to walk into a room of thousands of people and hold them in the palm of your hand the way Professor Jake Stratton does. Seriously, I dare you. Try to do that and make it look like it takes no effort at all. Go on, do it. 99% of you would immediately be exposed for the fraud you are. No shame in that, we’re just not the Professor. Night after night, bout after bout the Prof would pull together thousands of people and whip them into a frenzy that is worthy of the sport we announce for. And when the action began his energy would keep the fans dialed in to the excitement on the track. He was the voice and excitement that would be a conduit from the brutal intensity of flat track roller derby that would allow the audience to experience it on a whole other visceral level. Roller derby announcers come in all shapes and sizes with all different types of skill sets… but no one, No One, [CENSORED] NO ONE in this sport is the emcee that Professor is.

And if he were just that… just that, that’d be quite an accomplishment! But noooOOOOooooOOOooo, that’s just the beginning of the legacy for this man. He is the Seattle King of alternative entertainment, and I defy you to find someone who has built as many unique and cool things as the Professor Jake Stratton. From announcing and being a manager for Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling, to singing/screaming for the literary metal band Blőődhag, who played in libraries and threw out Sci-Fi books at shows (should anyone want to dismiss them as a gimmick band, give them a listen and you’ll hear how true their metal is as well as how ferocious and varied the Professor’s vocals are) he was already a landmark in Seattle entertainment by the time he joined the Rat City Roller Girls. He didn’t (heck couldn’t) stop there. In the time I’ve known him he’s created Grudge Rock, a Family Feud style game show where bands play each other for the door money and World Extreme Pencil Fighting, which brings the spectacle of professional wrestling to the sport of the playground. Professor Jake Stratton is a fountain of new and innovative entertainment in ways no one has thought of and everyone is trying to catch up with.

Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof.

He’s leaving the Rat City Roller Girls. This is his last season with us. Rat City is worse off for it and so am I. He will leave us with incredibly big mutton chops to fill. I have been nothing less but blessed and honored to work with him all this time. Rat City has been nothing less but blessed and honored to have him be their voice, their energy, their excitement, their announcer, their emcee and of course their wonderful suit. He will no doubt go on to continue to entertain and innovate all over Seattle in ways no one will ever see coming. I look forward to them.

Professor Jake Stratton. The Professor. Prof.

It’s been a hell of a decade with you sir. I’ve grown so much with you. There isn’t a bout we’ve called together where you haven’t made me laugh my ass off. It’s been magic through and through.

Ave Atque Vale

Jake Merriman
aka Randy Pan the Goat Boy

The Rat City Rollergirls send our heartfelt thanks to The Professor for his talents of announcing, his knowledge of derby, and his support of our league for the past 10 years.  Join us August 9th at Key Arena to laud the leisure suit, marvel at the mutton chops, and be there as The Professor takes the mic one final time.