Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shit Talkers and Track Squawkers

Ever have that game where someone on the other team is just running her mouth at you the whole time?  I think it's hilarious when a blocker or jammer on the other team is just talking non stop shit at me.  I relish it.

There is one fact that I've noticed after five years of playing derby, being around derby peeps and watching a lot of people play.  Approximately 90% of people who play derby cannot focus on derby and talk at the same time.  Yes, my findings are not scientific at all, but I'm telling you that people who talk crap are not focused on their game.  They can't. It's like that old saying "He's so dumb he can't walk straight and chew gum at the same time."  People aren't dumb, but derby takes a hell of a lot of concentration, and most people can't communicate and concentrate at the same time.  So, if you're on the track and the opposing blocker is just running her mouth at you, just smile and keep on doing what you're doing.  Her mouth is keeping her focused on you, and not your jammer.  That's a win win situation for any blocker.  Keep talking shit at me while my jammer gets your point, please and thank you!

  This is how I see squawkers. Image found here.
Unfortunately, sometimes these blockers can be on your team.  Ugh.  It seems like there is always at least one hot head in each league, and boy, she can be a real detriment at times.  First of all, I fully believe that mouthy players in games are mouthy players at practice.  They are on the track refs and critics and just plain mean to their teammates when they are playing against them in a scrimmage.  Everyone knows that one girl that nobody wants to block because they will get an earful of bitching and moaning.  I imagine people like this were the little kids that made up rules to the neighborhood games you played, and then changed them when they weren't winning.  Eventually they grow up to be track squawkers.

So how do you muzzle a track squawker?  First of all, make sure she's squawking, and not actually giving you good feedback.  If she's really a squawker,  you as a single player in your league don't have much power over her track talk, but you can control how you respond to it.  Don't respond.  Keep doing your job.  Don't acknowledge it, especially to her.  Use it as practice for a game where you're going to have to deal with an opposing team who is mouthy on the track.  If the bitching and moaning was unbearable, take it to your captain or coach, quietly.  Let the chain of command handle it, because if you get butthurt and react to the squawker, you're just a part of the problem.  Nobody wants that, except for the squawker!

Look, some people lose their mental crap on the track once in a while; it happens.  Be kind, it might happen to you too at some point.  Just don't let it become a habit!


  1. I loved this! I'm gonna share this on my team board.

  2. of note: if a person can, indeed, talk shit and skate then it can be used as an advantage. trash talking during sports competition has a pretty long and rich history... some players use it as a tool to get in their opponent's head. i only mention it because i think derby, in general, could make use of a thicker skin. we play a collision sport and it's not all friendly all the time.

    i will mention that experienced trash talkers leave it on the track. i've been involved in plenty of bouts where someone comes off like they're my sworn enemy and they hate the sight of my face... then after the bout it's back to derby family friendliness...

    1. Most high level players I polled all agree that if you're talking shit, you're not 100% focused on your game. Also, these same players all said "I let my hips talk shit in my game." I totally and utterly agree with them.

    2. Also it seems that people/teams who "talk shit/are agressive" are the ones that "lose their shit" easily. While they may think they are the ones getting under the other teams skin, I think they make themselves more vulnerable by being explosive and emotional.

  3. I used to play softball and I played all positions, but mostly catcher. I can talk the talk and not lose sight of the game. But there will be players who do talk and don't focus. I just had this convo the other night with my teammate about this, I may have to work on inserting my talk game at appropriate times.

  4. yes, Jonas! Exactly what I was going to say.

    Totally agree about the squawkers though.

  5. I LOVE when people talk shit to me on the track. It usually riles them up even more when I just smile and keep playing my game.