Friday, December 20, 2013

Things I Believe About Derby Part The Third

Derby is weird.  Derby people are weird too....don't lie, you know it.  People come into this sport for all sorts of reasons; they want a challenge, they want some excitement, or they want to meet new people and have new experiences. For whatever reason you joined derby, I know that there are certain inalienable truths that I truly believe about skaters and derby in general.  Of course, I don't have the science to prove any of them, but my experience tells me that they're true.  So now, I share them with you. Aren't you excited?

1.  Smart, strong, intelligent men and women lose at least ten IQ points temporarily when they strap skates to their feet.  I mean, seriously talk to your fellow teammates when they're off of skates.  They're intelligent, right?  You can have a conversation about higher and complex topics without them getting a glazed over look.  Now, talk to them after they put their skates on. Try having a conversation about simple strategy while you're all on skates.  Suddenly, you're all speaking gibberish and have various forms of shiny squirrel syndrome. This is one of the reasons that I'm a giant fan of taking a knee when having team discussions.  As soon as you try to talk about anything serious on the track at practice, and your entire team is on skates, most of their brain power will be dedicated to fidgeting on skates.  Why does this happen???? I know I'm smarter than this, and yet I still succumb to it.

2.  Some people don't know who they are before they join derby.  I think this is dangerous, because derby is chock full of dominant personalities, and people who don't know who they are before they join a team can find themselves under the sway of these stronger personalities.  I have seen it happen over and over again during my time in derby, and I find it troubling.  Derby is supposed to be a sport which empowers people; when I see someone who is meek falling under the power of a dominant personality and not realizing it, I think "that's not what this sport is supposed to foster." Part of the reason this happens is because people come into derby thinking it's a life style, which is why I often fight against that approach, but to each her own. Remember, you don't have to change who you are to be a derby girl or guy.

3.  Some people have a perpetual blind spot when it comes to the skills of certain players.  It's human nature to have certain perceptions about people. First impressions go a long long way, but if everyone stayed with their first impressions of derby players, just think of how much we would lose out on realizing how much people have improved?  When I started derby, like so many others, I sucked.  I SUUUUUCKED!  Over the years I've gotten so much better, and people have acknowledged that.  Not everyone did!  There are still some people who see me as the bumbling rookie that I was, and they'll probably see me like that forever, because they've formed a first impression of me.  Conversely, there are some people who started out strong, and people will always see them that way, even if their skills erode due to lack of understanding the present game, or lack of working hard. They still get a "buy" because people know their names and have a certain expectation of them.  Make sure you're really looking at people and how they've either progressed or have stagnated.

4.  People who have played team sports or worked in groups like marching band have a leg up
Who cares who hit her? The wall stayed together.
on people who only played solo sports or didn't play any sports before they started derby.
  People who are used to working with others, who sacrifice and not worry about the spotlight make such amazing teammates.  Sometimes derby peeps come into this sport without having any experience in working as a team; it's incredibly difficult to learn how to be a part of a team while you're learning skating skills and derby, but it is essential for your success in a TEAM sport.  Derby isn't about individual glory; it's about a team gelling together to create success.  The TEAM wins the game, the TEAM earns the accolades, and the TEAM takes the credit.  Even if the crowd has its favorites, you as a team need to not fall under the sway of the individual glory. This teamwork skill is just as important as any skating skill you can learn.

Just some things to ponder while you're enjoying your team's break. 


  1. You hit the nail on the head, again! Love your blog!

  2. Prrfection. Just what I was looking for tonight after practice/scrimmage.