Monday, December 17, 2012

Transfer Skaters: Checking References

In one of the last blogs I wrote I discussed some things leagues can do to make sure their newbies are a good fit for the league.  Now I wanted to address transfer skaters, because in this day and age of derby seriousness, more and more skaters are transferring to more competitive leagues just to play derby  Yes, people are moving for one reason, in order to play derby!   It's no longer just a location thing anymore! Wowee wow wow!  Before derby got more serious, most people wouldn't even think about leaving their first leagues, unless they had to move, but in this day and age, leagues are popping up all over the country; sometimes people leave one league due to drama, or different goals, but sometimes people leave because they are forced to.

So, what do you do as a league if you get a transfer skater?  Most leagues don't have much in place to screen transfer skaters coming into their league.  As more leagues become more professionally oriented, they're putting guidelines in place to weed out the CRAZY!  Yeah, I said the C word, but you know it's out there.  Of course, not every transfer skater is a potential drama queen or mean girl, but how do you protect your league?  And should you? 

I personally feel like leagues should treat all transfer skaters like those getting a grab bag gift.  You might get an amazing skater and font of knowledge, or you might get the next disciplinary case.  Most leagues that answered my post on Facebook said they asked for a letter from the transfer skater's league.

Ava Gore is a great transfer skater! Photo by Steven Hewett
 Hmm.  I think this is a great idea in theory, but it does have its pitfalls. What if the league the skater is leaving is pissed because he or she has decided to step up to a higher level of play?  Would you trust a letter from them?  What if there is bad blood between the skater and members of the board, bad blood meaning personality issues, not league issues?  Some of the leagues volunteered that they accept letters from anyone on the league, not just the Board.  It would probably be a great compromise if your league asked for a letter from the Board and some letters of reference from other skaters.  It might paint a broader picture of the skater's previous situation.  Also, what if the league the skater is transferring from just doesn't have their stuff together and you never get the reference letters?  Most leagues will let the transfer skater come in through try outs and then they can figure out if the skater is good for the league the old fashioned way.

So, should your league have something in place for transfer skaters?  It's up to your league, but I'm sure the issue is going to be more common as more people get into derby.  Once you've been bitten by a crazy transfer skater, you might wish you had the guidelines in place before she ever skated into your league.


13 comments:

  1. Imagine if League A has had problems with a skater and know she's planning to transfer? They would write a GLOWING letter of recommendation, so that League B would take her and she'd get out of League A's hair...I manage an apartment building, and we don't even bother asking for recommendations from previous landlords anymore, for that reason as well as some of the same sorts of reasons you cited.

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    1. Well...the derby community is a lot more close knit and reputations should be protected.

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  2. i think transfer skaters shouldn't even approach a new league until they have their shit together personally. attempting to integrate into a new league while still dealing with living arrangements, job, family and so on doesn't make the best possible situation for either of you. not that i've seen the consequences of this or anything.

    Red Haute
    AZRD

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  3. Another fine addition in your dissemination of wisdom, Mz Q Tion!! However, I have one beef (jerky) about this whole letter writing thing. Letters about people whether they be nice or mean will only get your league sued just like in the housing and job markets. Instead of the board or a member of the organization writing such letters, it should be a close friend of the league (like me!) to write words of love and/or excoriation. This way your league can concentrate on Derby instead of legal issues. This whole thing needs to be about athleticism rather than drama....

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    1. Well...like i said on facebook, the letter can be "this is a skater in good standing." It doesn't have to be detailed.

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  4. What about leagues asking for out dated information before letting someone transfer? Isn't there a point where it just is redundant and stupid? I would hope every skater and league grows with each new challenge, although digging years back for reference letters in derby is not what this sport needs.

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    1. I think one transfer one letter...why would you go back further?

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    2. I don't really know but have run acrossed it, since the motives were unclear I naturally refused to comply. I asked questions and no one was willing to answer them. Although the questions were dodged like a "classic politician."

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  5. Not sure how our league handles this because we have had minimal transfers and they have all been geographic (we are a new league and attracted some people who had been commuting an hour plus). With all the issues outlined above, it seems like a probation period is the way to go when in doubt. It won't weed out every problem, but how many skaters who are disruptive to leagues meet attendance consistently, pay dues on time, are respectful of the trainers during practice, and do their required committee work? I am guessing not a ton.

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    1. Probation is definitely a great idea, but it sounds so punitive. :)

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  6. I know the leagues in my area GA/TN require you to pass their assessments and if you can't pass that then you are given the minimum WFTDA skills and then passed in Fresh meat for up to 90 days giving you a chance to come to the speed of the team. If you do come in and are an experienced skater and can pass assessments, then you are still required a 60-90 probation period depending on the league and you have to make attendance for 30 days and participate in 6 scrimmages before being given the chance to be rostered

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