Friday, March 23, 2012

Derby Dating: Coaches and Skaters

The final installment of this series is coaches and skaters dating.  It's not an easy relationship, and you are always being scrutinized by other skaters.  When I put the call out on Facebook about derby dating coach and skater stories, I generally got messages like the one below.
Our coach is dating a girl on our team. The favoritism she receives is just unfreakin believable.
If I ever sat out on a drill cause I was to tired, I would get shit on, she however spends more time sitting in the corner then skating, and no one ever says a word. Because if we do, we get "punished"
Dating in derby between coaches and players, is a big no no as far as I am concerned! We are updating our bylaws and it has been requested by more then one player that a section be put in saying if a player is dating a coach, then she cannot be on the team he is coaching.  (Anonymous)

I'm sure the above couple have no idea that they are getting the look of death from other skaters; they might even feel that they are successfully keeping favoritism out of the derby part of their relationship.  Unfortunately, their league does not agree, and they are considering changing their bylaws to stop it from happening again.  People, when someone puts a bylaw into the books because of how you have behaved, then something is TERRIBLY wrong.

Fortunately, I can leave you with a working derby couple, Heavy D and Kat Diablo.  Heavy D is the coach of the Carolina Allstars and the Debutante Brawlers.  Kat Diablo is a Debutante Brawler and a Bootlegger.  Both of them joined the CRG last year and have been put in some interesting situations, such as skater and coach.  I feel like they handle themselves extremely well in public, and when they are skating, they act like coach and skater, not husband and wife.

We came into derby at two different times she (Kat) was already skating when I decided to help out. The biggest obstacle for us and I assume most couples is to not take away from each others experiences. I have to be careful to separate derby from our relationship, especially at practice. Kat is getting better at it, if there is any corrective feedback. I still struggle when asked "how did I look at practice today" or "how did I do in the bout".  Might as well ask "does this jersey make me look fat?"

In the beginning the stress of trying to get as much knowledge as fast as we could, lead to travel woes and putting our personal lives on hold. Now just focusing on CRG events and an occasional bout or two in Greensboro to support our local teams has calmed some of the stress down some. Kat and I support each other in this sport and respect each others role in derby. Of course there will always be new challenges that come up, for instance we will be announcers together for the first time on Saturday for the GSORD bout. I have a goal of not being a microphone fiend and hogging all the talking time. Wish me luck and cross your fingers we don't get all married couple in front of the crowd.   Heavy D

They've been nothing but professional in front of me!
 So, what have we learned from all of this?  Being in a coach/skater relationship seems to impossible for most couples, but I would bet most leagues have experienced at least one coach/skater relationship.  Maybe you can handle the pressure, but chances are you can't.  I know it's tempting, but it takes a special kind of couple to handle this in derby!


  1. is that his wife to the right with the white helmet? She's all up on him!!

  2. No that is a skater, my wife is at the bottom right.

  3. I've been reffing almost 2 and a half years and have been dating a derby girl for the 9 months. so far we've had no problems with me reffing her bouts and scrimmages. of course, she's threatened to kick my ass if I show her any favoritism at all. the whole league knows and as far as I know there's never been a problem.

    of course, almost all derby girls think the ref is out to get them... lol.


  4. I appreciate this article and how it showcases both ways a derby relationship can go.

    When I started derby a little over two years ago, my fiance (who was then my boyfriend) laughed and said I was crazy but supported me more than anyone I know. Now I've moved to another city (his), and transferred teams. We joined the team I transferred to (he as a volunteer/NSO and me as a skater) together. Eventually he got asked to become one of our coaches and he agreed, then I became league president. We still didn't let our relationship affect our behavior on the track. I skate, he coaches, and ne'er the 'twain shall meet!

    Some couples grab for the power in a league and act like tyrants, I've seen it happen. We work extremely hard to keep our 'couple-ness' off the track. I've even had people join the team and skate for several weeks before they even know we're together, much less about to be married!

    Now, does that mean hide your relationship? No! It simply means act in a responsible fashion, and people will appreciate that. We act as professionals - as skater and coach - before we act as anything else. I think successful relationships between coaches/refs and skaters (or even skaters and skaters) can exist if you act like rational adults and not like hormonal teenagers. I've seen it happen both ways, but in my case, I think we're pretty successful. :)

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. That’s really nice as you shared the best of your experiences. The tips you have shared in your blog is really appreciable and it will help to date a girl. Definitely will be taking a lot more chances after reading this article, after all, life is finite. Great read!