Unfortunately, I've been noticing a scary trend lately on Facebook posts from other leagues. People are bringing back Jell-O wrestling or spaghetti wrestling or baby oil wrestling for league fund raisers. I've been thinking about this trend for a while, and I absolutely hate it. HATE IT! So what, Q? Who cares what other leagues do to raise money? Well, I do, and here's why.
|For eating, not wrestling.|
First of all, I know that we are all hurting for money for our leagues. With the WFTDA changing the the procedure for rankings, leagues are traveling further and further to play the games they need. Sometimes this means that a team has to travel far away for up to two to three times a year just to get a sanctioned game that will count for rankings. That also means that sometimes leagues are packing two or three games into a travel weekend, which means they might have to extend their stay in a city, which also costs megabucks. Couple that with many leagues seeing a drop in attendance at games, and you have an overwhelming need for money that can drive even the most respectable league to consider selling their respect in order to earn money.
Yes, I said it. When your league succumbs to doing something like Jell-O wrestling to earn cash, you are trading in on everything you're striving to accomplish in roller derby. Why are you traveling that far to play those games in the first place? Is it because you feel like you are an athlete and want to be respected as such? How do you reconcile rolling around in Jell-O with another skater, usually scantily clad, with being a respected athlete? If you belong to the WFTDA, you know their catch phrase is "Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary." Do you think any of these words describe Jell-O wrestling? Do you think the spectators who come to watch derby girls roll around in food products think "wow, that's a real athlete in there" or do you think they're there to hopefully see someone pop out of her top? Jell-O wrestling is spectacle, and it puts our sport right back to the level it was in 2004.
Have you thought about what your sponsors think about Jell-O wrestling? Leagues live and die by their sponsors, and if you have one that is very family oriented, then they may not want to reup their sponsorship next season. You might be shooting yourself in the foot in the long run to rake in short term cash. That's not necessarily a great financial plan.
But, Q, it's none of your business how other leagues make money! Actually, it is. Every time you join the words "roller derby" and something shady like Jell-O wrestling, you're impacting every roller derby league and derby player. What you do as a derby league has ripples and consequences for all of us. Derby is finally stepping away from its past as a "spectacle" and moving towards sport, and if your league decides that making money is way more important that dignity, then you are making it tougher for the rest of us to be respectable. Please don't bring the rest of us into the ring. If you as an individual want to Jell-O wrestle, fine. Go ahead and do it! Just don't drag roller derby into it.
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