I wrote a letter to the entitled a while ago, but I think it was too subtle. People didn't get that I was talking to them, so here is a new and more pointed blog post. Entitlement is a giant problem in our sport, and I'm going to try to call some people out and give them a clue that they might be behaving like an entitled douchebag in derby. I can't necessarily define entitlement, but much like pornography, I know it when I see it. Remember, ladies and gentlemen, this is a team sport. If you want to be a diva, go play tennis or golf. That way the only successes and failures will be totally up to you.
1. Do you think your talent makes you above certain duties? You're the bestest jammer ever; you win every MVP and people love you, so that means you don't have to actually do volunteer hours, or lay down the track when everyone else does, or show up on time for practice. Guess what...you have to do all of those things. Get over yourself and stop treating other skaters as your entourage.
2. Do you demand special privileges? "I'm late to early morning practice, but it's only like ten minutes.....I need my coffee!"
3. Do you think thoughts like "I am...therefor I deserve special treatment" I have actually heard skaters say " I'm really good, so I shouldn't have to come to as many practices." My jaw hit the ground when I first heard it; this is a PRIME example of entitled and narcissistic behavior.
4. Do you expect major amounts of praise for doing your job on the track or in the league? Some people get butthurt because they don't get patted on the back for every thing they're supposed to be doing in the league...like showing up...or doing volunteer work...or showing up. Did I say that one twice?
5. Do you feel like the rules don't apply to you? You criticize fellow players or refs on the track, but you jump all over someone else who acts in the same way. Why? Because you're ALLOWED to do it; you're justified in your behavior, but your teammate is just being a bitch. I hate to break it to you, but you're a bitch too. Your behavior is just as crappy and you should be shutting your own mouth first.
6. Do your needs have priority over other people's needs? Do you really think that? Have you acted on those thoughts? Do you hear the sound of me rolling up a newspaper to swat you on the nose?
7. If people don't do what you want, do you make threats, get highly offended, or criticize them when you don't get your way? Threats can be anything from "I'm quitting derby" to "I'm not playing in this next game!" This is a classic narcissistic trait, and even if you aren't a diagnosed narcissist, you should probably stop acting like one because you're hurting yourself in the long run, and your league in the short run. Plus, you sound like a tantrum having bratty kid.
Do any of these criteria fit your personality? Are you a little embarrassed by your behavior in your league? Well, the good news is you can change! The steps are pretty concrete and spelled out below.
Ways to break out of being an entitled narcissist.
1. Believe that your position in the league is only justified as long as you contribute something of value. Contributing something doesn't just mean showing up and being YOU, it means working your butt off to make your league a good place to be.
2. Tell yourself you are responsible for making this league a better place for all players. All players, not just you. That means you must worry about the group before you worry about your individual needs. Start small. Show up early to practice and tape the track down. Sign up to help with Fresh Meat training; take on a league job that other people have avoided. Start doing the small things and your attitude will change over time.
3. Take ownership of your league and feel responsible for its successes and failures. Own it when your league does well, or when it does poorly. You aren't independent of the league.
4. If you see an inequity, then fix it. A lot of derby players focus on themselves and what they're doing in derby, but sometimes there are BLATANT inequities in a league, and people just shrug their shoulders about them. Stop shrugging your shoulders and do something about it. If you're as awesome as you think you are, you can make a difference and change a bad situation.
So there you go. If you feel like you're better and more amazing than your teammates, maybe you should consider playing a solo sport. That way you'll always be the star and special. Otherwise, learn to be a good teammate and league member. Remember, it's not all about you.