Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Clickety click clique! Does your league have destructive cliques?

Roller derby leagues are a just like any group of people on earth; when you get forty plus people together, you're bound to have some people who instantly bond, some people who are casually friends, and a few that aren't going to get along at all.  It's human nature.  We are all united by our love of derby, but sometimes, that's the only connection two people have.

For example, I'm more than a little nerdy.  I know you're all shocked and outraged, but I like nerdy stuff and nerdy people.  I like comic books, steam punk, art, bad horror movies, and really violent music.  If you're amenable to that stuff, we'll probably hang out, outside of derby.  If you're interested in karaoke, college basketball, shoe shopping and listening to country western music, we're probably not going to be that close, and that's ok!  Just because we are in the same league, we don't have to be bestest buddies!  We just have to be kind to each other and have each other's backs.

Unfortunately, sometimes people take these friend attractions too seriously and start excluding other people in their league.  Allstars exclude B teamers, B-teamers exclude newbies, newbies cling together for support and get defensive, the cool kids exclude everyone else, the  the refs...well, refs are a different animal all together. As cliques develop in a league, they can turn cancerous and start affecting the health of your league.  Let your friendly groups turn into tumorous cliques, and you've got the perfect breeding ground for a mean girl, and ain't nobody got time for that!

So, what if you have one of these bullying cliques in your league?  How do you cope as an individual?

How do you deal with a vicious clique in your league?

1.  Don't try and impress them.   Cliques want you to want to be their friends. No matter how much you think it will help, don't try and impress them.  It's just better to avoid them and ignore them.  I know that's easier than it sounds, but if you try and impress them, they'll just feel more powerful and things will never change.

2.  Don't let your self esteem be reliant on other people.  Easier said than done, but if you are always looking to other people to define your self worth, you are always going to be easy pickings for a clique.

3.  Don't give them too much energy.  Be nice, be friendly, but be distant.  Cliques have an aura of drama around them at all times, and you don't need to get sucked in, even by accident.  Avoid the drama, concentrate on yourself and life in your league will get better and better. 

So, what can you do if you suspect your circle of friends is becoming a pus-spewing goiter of exclusivity?  You can ask yourself these questions, and answer honestly. After that, the next move is yours.

Are you a part of a clique?
Last time I used the Heathers.  This time I'm trying to appease the younger generation

1.  Do you deliberately exclude people from activities?  I'm not talking about an occasional night out once in a while, but do you exclude people on a regular basis and then make a point to mention the exclusion in front of people who are not in your group?  If you do, your group of friends may not just be a group, but a nasty little clique.

2.  Are you and your group of friends creating a pecking order in your league?  So, are you?  If so...guess click clique!

3.  Does your group of friends intimidate other skaters?  Let me ask that one again, do you intimidate other skaters?  Are they afraid to approach your group?  Do you like the fact that they kowtow to your group? 

4.  Is one of the favorite activities your group of friends has is making fun of other skaters?  That's not a good thing, people.

If you think you're in a clique, it's up to you to figure out how things got the way they did, and it's up to you to figure out how to make things better.  Are you going to remain an exclusive group of douchebags, or are you going to evolve into human beings and teammates?  I hope if you're reading this blog, you will be one of those who will step up and stop walking down the path of a mean girl.   Yeah, I said it.  You're on the way to becoming a mean girl if you stay in your bitchy clique.  Trust me when I tell you this, mean girls never prosper.