|Or photobombed....dammit! BTW Ruth is nice.|
Most people have a derby crush. I personally have a new one every season. We study these players relentlessly; if there is footage easily available, we watch it over and over again. If they're putting on a clinic somewhere nearby, we're in the car at the buttcrack of dawn to get there and learn! We follow them on Facebook and Twitter, we read the interviews with them and we try to practice their moves when we have time at practice. We are their adoring, if not a little creepy, fans. We want to be just like them...yes please.
Unfortunately, not every amazing skater is an amazing person. Sad, but true. Some people are just incredibly talented at being on eight wheels; they're magical when they're on the track, but they fail as nice people. The question is, do they have to be good people for you to admire their skills?
This is a question that comes up in all popular sports; should we idolize people just because they're talented? The answer, of course, is maybe. I can want to skate like someone without actually liking who she is as a person. A skater doesn't owe me anything just because I happened to pick them out to admire, unless they're trying to sell me something. Hey, if you're trying to sell me something, you'd better be charming and nice to me in public. You can motherfuck my existence in private, but you'd better be a smiling and hospitable celebrity while I'm there and willing to buy your product.
What if we see our derby crush doing something douchey at an after party? It happens, especially after a tense derby tournament. People aren't always at their highest level of emotional maturity after three days of grueling derby. We may see them get drunk, flip someone off, or undertip a server. It happens all of the time. In fact, we see our league members sometimes do the same thing. The difference is, we don't expect our league members to be perfect, but our derby crushes should always be pristine. Is that fair? The answer is no, but it's how we feel. How quickly love and admiration can turn to scorn.
So, how do you keep your derby crush from getting tarnished? The best thing you can do, if you truly want to hero worship her, is never really talk to her. Get your picture, smile, cheer her on when she's kicking ass on the track, but don't go further than that. Keep your derby crushes light! Give them a high five, gloat when they pull off something amazing, and study their style. The only way most derby crushes can survive scrutiny is being at arm's length.
And remember, you might just be someone's derby crush too.