Monday, September 16, 2013

How Much Ego Is Too Much Ego?

Ego is a funny thing in derby; if you don't have enough, you aren't confident.  If you have too much, you're a giant asshole.   It's a fine line to tiptoe across, that's for sure.  Half of roller derby is skill, but the other half is the confidence to put that skill into practice at the right time.  There are a lot of confident people in derby, but I think there may be a lot of egomaniacs too.  Egomaniacs can really disrupt the team dynamic; too many teams have to bear the burden of dealing with an egomaniac who seems to use derby as her personal stage.  It's hard to tell the difference sometimes, between a naturally confident person and an egomaniac, so here is a general guide that may help.

ME ME ME ME ME!!!!!!!!
Hints you might be dealing with an egomaniac in your league.

1.  They can't take a small joke at their expense.  She won't be able to kid around about her position or skill as a jammer or blocker.  They also can't deal with anyone besting them on the track, even if it is a fluke or a one time situation.  Obviously the ref wasn't watching carefully enough!

2.  Egomaniacs always are ready to talk about all of their accomplishments, without acknowledging that they were made because of the team's help.  They may be an incredibly amazing jammers, but they didn't score all those points without their blockers.  The idea of a team effort is so foreign to them that they wouldn't even consider it. 


3.  Egomaniacs feel that they will save the day, win the game, or make the play of the day. They're the only ones who can, don't you know? If someone else "saves the day" or gets mvp, it will seriously put a cramp in their enjoyment of the sport.  "Something just isn't right! I'm the best, not her!"

4.  Egomaniacs don't listen when other people are being praised.  It's just not that important to them.  If someone else is being praised, they don't want to know, and don't care.

5.  If they have to apologize for something, they will say it in a way that justifies their crappy behavior.  "I'm sorry I hit you in the face when you were jamming, but I was feeling so frustrated because you kept back blocking me and the refs weren't calling it."  Gee, thanks for your apology.

6.  They feel like they're above doing league work, like laying down the track, or off skates warm ups.  Clearly, they're too good for that sort of thing. 

7.  Egomaniacs constantly talk about themselves.  CONSTANTLY.  They will look for people to talk about how amazing they are, like little, tiny mirrors. You're only interesting if you're reflecting their greatness.

8.  Egomaniacs are never wrong.  Nothing they do is wrong, and they make no mistakes.  Even if they are proven wrong, they are RIGHT IN THEORY.

So, what if you have an egomaniac on your team, and you have to deal with her?  How do you cope?

1.  You can ignore the egomaniacal behavior.  This doesn't always work, and it's not always possible, but sometimes you have to do it in order to not end up strangling the egomaniac in the locker room with her derby socks.  I like to think of it as extinction.  Egomaniacs crave attention, and if you don't feed them, you're not adding to their growing hunger.  This is frustrating because fans, other players and announcers will probably feed their ego puh-lenty.

2.  Be assertive but not aggressive with the egomaniac.  Don't let them push you or bully you into doing things or making decisions you wouldn't normally make.  Stand your ground with an egomaniac, and even though they may not act any better, they might acknowledge that they can't just force you to do things their way.

Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of ways to deal with egomaniacs, short of just not being around them.  If it helps, try to remember that egomaniacs usually come from a background where they got little to no recognition in their daily lives.  They just want love and attention and recognition, but they don't understand the normal way to get those things, and so they come on strong and in a ridiculous fashion.  This doesn't make their behavior acceptable by any means, but it might help you feel a little less frustrated when dealing with the possible egomaniac in your league.



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