Every time I get on the jammer line, I have to pass gas. It's become kind of joke in my league, but should I claim the fart during a game?
Dear Hoof Hearted,
Yes, everyone tends to have some sort of gas issue in derby; if you fart on the jammer line during a game, you don't have to claim it unless you want to. Do you think it will throw the other jammer off? Would you rather be a silent but deadly ninja? That's up to you and your style. You don't owe the other team any kind of explanation or love until the game is over. Remember, you can always blame it on the refs.
My teammate is awesome, but her gear smells like a cross between a decaying corpse and an open sewer. Many people in the league have asked her to wash her pads, or at least air them out, but she doesn't. It's gotten so bad that I don't want to be in a wall with her. How can our team deal with this issue without being jerks?
Stuck in Stankonia
Dear Stuck in Stankonia,
There are some people in this world who truly don't believe that they smell bad, and you teammate might be one of them. The best thing you can do is beg your captain to lay down the law to her, since you aren't the only one having issues with her pad smell. If that still doesn't work, you can bring a spray to practice and spray down her gear; you can be sneaky about it, or obvious, since she doesn't seem to care about what kind of impact she's having on everyone else.
My teammates are always borrowing wheels or bearings from me right before a game, and half of them never seem to give them back. I don't want to be an asshole about this, but I can barely afford to keep myself in wheels; I can't keep supplying the whole league, but then I feel guilty if I say no because it affects my team.
Wheelin' and Dealin'
Dear Wheelin' and Dealin'
First of all, I'm sure your teammates haven't meant to hold on to your wheels; if the exchange happened right before a game, they probably were distracted and forgot about it. It's ok to remind people that they have your stuff and you need it back. You don't have to be a jerk about it at all, but if you run into some "repeat offenders" you don't have to feel bad about not lending them wheels again. Trust is earned, and giving someone a set of wheels is definitely trusting on your part. If they don't hold up their end of the bargain, then you don't have to offer. If you're like me, and sometimes forget that you've lent someone some wheels, keep an index card in your bag and just jot down the transaction as a reminder; it's not a legal document, but it can help jog your memory when you're trying figure out what happened to your set of Stingers. If you want to be a jerk, you can always pretend you're Golem from Lord of the Rings and scream "My precious!" while you clutch your extra wheels to your chest. They might get the picture then.
At the beginning of practice, our league kind of has set places where we all sit to gear up; lately, we have newer skaters who haven't figured out that everyone has "her spot" and it feels like they're invading. I don't want to be unfriendly, but I like the spot I'm in! As a newbie myself, I had to find a spot that nobody wanted and claim it. Am I wrong to say something to them?
Dear Seating Chartered,
There are a couple of ways to deal with this issue; you can be direct, or you can be sneaky. I prefer direct, but be prepared for butthurt to happen in response. Just let the newbie know that she's in your spot; she may take it well or she may call you a bitch behind your back, but at least you were direct and honest. The other way you can deal with this is get to practice and your spot early, and scatter your gear all over; she probably won't sit next to you or in your spot if there isn't any room. I prefer the direct route, but it depends on your personality.
Derby is a weird and closed society, and every league is different and has strange and quirky rules of survival. The answers I gave to these questions, and yes, they were real questions, are from my experience only. If you want to ask me a question, you can email it to me or message me on FB.