Monday, March 4, 2013

Butthurt is in the eye of the beholder

I'm pretty sure by now that everyone who reads my blog knows I'm not a giant fan of butthurt in derby.  To be honest, I am disturbed about how many people seem bound and determined to play for Team Butthurt instead of Team Grownup in derby.  Yes, everyone has grumpy days and bad times, or hurt feelings, but butthurt is definitely different.  It absolutely bothers me that people say "Derby has empowered me", and yet I see so many people with their egos crushed under the wheels of Butthurt.   Butthurt is beyond hurt feelings.  Butthurt comes in many different flavors, and they all taste like poo. 

My new scrimmage shirt, care of
One flavor of butthurt comes from feeling entitled.  Sometimes leagues foster a feeling of entitlement in talented skaters; this causes them to think they don't have to try hard to make rosters, come to practice as often, or do boring league volunteer work, such as taping down the track every practice, or committee work.    People who work hard to earn their spots, come to practices and do their volunteer work have every right to feel butthurt about the entitled.  It's not fair that some people aren't being held to the same standards as the rest of the league, and it's just not healthy for any league to keep promoting this kind of caste system.

I blame this excusable butthurt on the league culture, and unless you want to be around some rightfully unhappy teammates for the duration of your derby career, then you need to change your league's expectations for all skaters.  I don't care how amazing your star players are, if they can't drag their butts to practice, then they don't belong on a roster.  If they can't do the expected work of the average volunteer, how can they expect to skate?  Be honest.  Do you really think it's ok for star skaters to have a different set of expectations? If you do, then you deserve all of the butthurt that comes with it in your league.  It's your legacy.  Here's a big ol' spoon, CHOW DOWN!

Another flavor of butthurt comes in the bad feedback receiver.  Ugh.  This seems to be a flavor that is most commonly eaten by newer skaters.  Some newbies come into derby with the best attitudes and take even the most brutal feedback with a smile, but a lot of newer skaters don't seem to be capable of accepting and understanding feedback.  "She's mean!"  "She didn't tell me I rocked in that jam!" Derby is not a gentle and nurturing sport all of the time.  Yes, there is an element of sisterhood, but it's a rough and tumble sport where people are hitting you; sometimes they do it legally!   Not everyone is going to give you glowing feedback, and that's not a terrible thing.  You can get seriously hurt in derby, and you can hurt others by doing something unsafe or clumsy on the track. Scrimmaging with newbies is tense for everyone involved, and sometimes the feedback you receive isn't going to given in dulcet tones. If you easily get your feelings hurt, then maybe this isn't the sport for you.

The final flavor of butthurt is the wrong self perception butthurt.  This flavor can be created when people aren't honest enough with skaters to give accurate feedback, and the skater herself has an inflated sense of her skills in comparison with the rest of the league.  Example: a newer skater is doing well, but she's not quite ready to make a roster in the next game.  Her captains, coaches and trainers don't want to discourage her, but none of them want to give her the brutally honest feedback she deserves, so when the rosters are announced, she's shocked and chowing down on a steaming bowl of butthurt.  In her experience, she's been told that she's doing well; why isn't she on the roster?

It's a good question, and I say it's a matter of a communication breakdown.  How honest is too honest for a skater?  Some coaches and captains feel awkward not being super positive with feedback, and I say that is the recipe for a big ol' cake made of butthurt.  People get butthurt when their expectations aren't being met by reality, plain and simple.  Are you as a coach or captain setting a skater up to have too high of expectations?  Be honest with them.  Let them know why they aren't going to be on a roster, or play a lot if they do make one.  COMMUNICATE with your players.  I know, I know, you don't want people mad at you; then don't be a coach or a captain!  Coaching and captaining is one of the hardest jobs in derby. You have to make tough decisions and stand by those decisions, even when they aren't the popular ones.  Communicate with your players honestly and consistently, and you can get out of the kitchen when Butthurt Cake is being baked.

If you have coaches and captains who are communicating with you honestly, and you don't make a roster, you are ALLOWED to be disappointed; I know it's hard.  It's public rejection, and you don't want to seem weak and weepy, but you also don't want to seem like you don't care.  I'm a private person, and I deal with disappointment privately.  I try and keep the disappointment to myself until I can work my way through it; you don't have to be like that, but try and not to be bitter.  People will be sympathetic to a point, but it really is only a game.  It's not life and death. It's not a job interview.  It's not cancer.  It's a game.  Put it into perspective.  If you can't help but be butthurt over such a decision, once again, this may not be the sport for you. 

There are other flavors of butthurt, but those three seem to be the most common flavors leagues deal with.  Butthurt doesn't taste good no matter what flavor you're eating.  Get it off of your league's menu!


  1. This made me giggle. "They all taste like poo" tee hee. But I do have to give myself this little pep talk quite a bit these days. I've been a big fan of 'working hard and sucking less' since I started derby... and It was a long road to get to where I felt people (and I!) were happy with my performance. Now that I am playing for a new team that has stricter WFTDA assessment rules, I have had to pull myself up from my bootstraps and bitch slap myself a bit! Suck less. Suck LESS. It's nice to feel myself growing as a player again -- I felt like I had stalled the last couple of months with my old team so derby is fresh, fun and new again! Sucking less on the daily;)

    1. Work hard and do better...should be everyone's motto.

  2. Thank you Q. Insightful as always.
    I personally have a motto of "no fucks given" if someone is pissed at me, but I try to remain mindful of what may cause butthurt to be fed to others in the league.

  3. Absolutely! My favorite is the "I hold a grudge due to my own twisted version of reality." I have assimilated to the eh whatever mode for most things but when it involves public humiliation of my family that does not simply slough off. Derby is a team sport and is competitive. So some may need to trade in their butthurt-stained girl panties for some clean and tough womanwear. Lol.