Sunday, January 26, 2014

Things to Think About When Asking for Money

Derby is expensive, I mean really really really expensive!  Gear is expensive, skates are expensive, league dues are expensive. Derby on the most basic of levels can cost, even if you never ever plan to travel for derby ever, an average of a thousand dollars per season, depending on how long you keep your skates and how much gear you go through.  Seriously though, that's a lot of cash for a hobby.  Now, let's add in traveling for derby.  Hoo boy....I think I just scared my monthly budget to death.  It's great how derby opportunities are growing, especially with the new leagues joining the WFTDA and the ranking system, but it can be extremely draining on both a skater's and a league's coffers. "Come to fill in the blank and play our team!"  I'd love to, but we just don't have the money!  But wait, the interwebs can give us money!

Every day it seems like I see more and more Go Fund Me causes pop up due to a league's need to travel. In fact, you can't seem to swing a dead, electronic cat without hitting one of these websites or appeals for money on FB.  "Our team is traveling to Whosety Whatsit Roller Derby Tournament and we're asking our friends and fans to donate money."  Great.  Good. I'm glad you're traveling and you're comfortable with asking for money from your friends and fans.  Fantastic!  But really, is it? What exactly do your fans get out of you traveling?

Think about it, most of your fans aren't going to be able to travel with you; ninety percent of them don't care that you have to go and play certain teams to gain a position in your ranking. They want to enjoy the spectacle of you skating close by; they may be passing excited for your national ranking, but if they're your true fans, they'll come and see you because they love your team regardless. Asking people who will never see you travel to foot the bill is kind of, unfair, isn't it?

Some teams seem to do it right when they ask their fans for money.  Bay Area asked for money for traveling to Champs, but they gave their supporters a one of a kind designed t-shirt for their troubles.  Leagues that ask fans to fund travel should really consider what you can do to make it worth your fans giving you money so you can play far away. Maybe your league can host a watch party if the bout is being broadcasted, or give them some kind of unique merchandise, or tickets to a home game.  Give them SOMETHING that shows you care, instead of waving from an airplane window, or only thanking them on Facebook.

Just a thought.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Butthurt Form. Part 2

Someone reposted my butthurt form, and that made me think that I needed to update it for even more butt hurt.  This particular form concentrates on getting your FEELING hurt, and by feeling, I mean your pride.  That's usually the feeling that gets hurt during derby activities.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

When You Hate Your Teammate, or She Hates You

Photo by A Boy Named Tsunami. Me and Punk.
Everyone wants the perfect derby experience, team bonding, friends forever!  Of course, so many different kinds of people get into derby for so many different reasons, so the chances of running into someone you don't like or won't like you is pretty high. It's ok! You don't have to be bestest friends with everyone in your league!  Every once in a while you might run into one person that isn't going to want to be your best friend. Sometimes people end up on the same team, and they can't stand each other on a personal level.  Is it the end of the world?  It doesn't have to be; because you have a common goal, you should be able to work through it, right?  Right?  Well, it can be hard, but you have to figure it out for the health of your team.

First of all, figure out what the problem is, if you can.  Sometimes it's political views, maybe one of you is a vegan and the other is a life long worshipper of bacon.  Who knows?  Well, you should try and figure it out, because it might make it easier to relate to her if you know what the problem is. When there is a problem a relationship, it's usually a fifty fifty problem, and that means you have to be honest about exactly what it is you don't like about her.  Could it be that you're jealous of her ability? Maybe you've made assumptions about her that aren't substantiated.  Maybe she actively doesn't like you either, but that might be because you sent her your crappy vibes first. Be honest. I can't repeat that enough. And, if you're honest, you can admit that sometimes you just don't like someone at first sight. Is that an asshole thing to say? Maybe, but it happens.

If you hate someone, it's emotional.  Guess what, emotions aren't always rational either. The question is, what is the emotional issue at the heart of the problem?  Anger is just a covering emotion; it's safe to be angry or outraged, and it's too vulnerable to feel sad, or betrayed or weak.  Is this person always rude to you?  Is she truly bitchy for no reason?  Maybe you feel hurt because of something she said or did, or maybe she's reacting to something you said or did. Look at your emotions, are they running you or you running them?

How do you cope?  You have a couple of choices, and none of them are perfect, but they can keep you sane when you can't stand someone on your team. 

You can just stick it in an emotional proof box and bury it in your brain. Yeah, it's not the healthiest of choices, but sometimes life doesn't let us have a resolution to every conflict.  Sometimes you have to be the "Bigger man" and just let it go.  If you keep nursing the grudge with your leaguemate, you're just feeding a downward spiral.  Being emotionally detached keeps your emotions from boiling over.

Be polite and be professional.  This is derby, not The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, so learn to make peace with people.  They don't have to be your best friends, but you can be civil. Keep everything on the track professional and avoid spending down time with the person that annoys you. Don't make a giant production of it, just find something else to do.  In other words, be a damned grown up. Don't gripe about the person to others in your league.  It's just not good form and it will bite you on the ass eventually.  Keep your dislike to yourself, no matter how tempting it is to talk it out with others.  Now, this advice doesn't hold water if someone is threatening you, or harassing you.  That is a completely different kettle of fish.  That's a situation you need to take to your league rep, captain, or board members. Harassment is never ok, and a completely different matter.

Respect them for what they do on the track and in the league. Take the personal completely out of it. Hey, you may hate this teammate, but they have a killer hit to the outside, or hold a wall like nobody's business.  Maybe she's  really good at fundraising, or getting sponsors. Try to look at what they bring to the league. Maybe noticing her positive aspects will mitigate some of the hate you're feeling.

Keep the bigger picture in mind. Look, you both have the same goals (I'm assuming), and that's probably the best you can do for the future of the team.  You want to be successful, yes?  You want your team to kick all the ass, yes? Then let go of the petty and crap, cope with your hate and move on.  Besides, you should be too busy training to have time to hate, but that's just my opinion.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Self Assessment for Continuing Derby

When I was a teacher, I had an unrequited enthusiasm for the beginning of each and every new school year.  I loved all of the new supplies, seeing my new students, looking at my awesome new lesson planning book, and getting the bulletin boards all decorated. Yeah I had the new teaching bug bad, but happily, I still feel it when I start a new season with roller derby.  Instead of new supplies, I have new wheels and a new skate bag. Instead of new students, it's newbies!  Who doesn't love the unbridled enthusiasm of newbies to get your heart pumping again!  This time I'm not looking forward to making lesson plans, but I'm really excited about creating drills, planning practices and bringing the league to a higher level!

And that's what it's really all about, isn't it?  If I don't feel this way at the beginning of the season, then maybe it's time to take a break from derby.  This will be my sixth season, and I always make sure if derby is still worth it. I mean, I spend a lot...a LOT of money on derby and a LOT of time, and I need to know....IS IT STILL WORTH IT?  You have to be frank about how you feel about derby; being honest with yourself is the only way to go on this.

Do I still look forward to the break ending?
When I first started derby, my league had decided for the first time ever to start doing a short derby break at the end of November and until January.  What?  I was just starting to get the hang of this derby thing!  No skating at all?  It was terrible! Outrageous!  I went and skated at every other league's open practice that I could find, and went to every open skate session ever.  The next year was the same, and the year after that.  During the break between my fourth and fifth season, I sort of took it easier on myself. I went to a couple of invitationals, but then, I worked on my fitness, cleaned my house, went to visit people and NOT BRING MY know how crazy that can be.  This year, during break I ate all the things, went to an invitational, hung out with my friends and family, went to one open skate and started sweating to T25. Was I still glad that break was over?  Hell yes I was, but I'm definitely looking forward to them starting now as well.

Does the fun out weigh the drudgery?  
Roller derby has all the work ever.  I got home today after proctoring tryouts, participating in allstar practices, and watching bout footage with the league; when I got home, I spent another couple of hours writing emails, checking in with skaters and doing the general scut work that comes with any position held in a league.  Is skating still fun?  Yes.  Does it still hold more weight than the BS? least so far.

Are there more good memories than DRAMATIC memories?  

I hate derby drama.  I know that when you have a lot of human beings doing one activity or in one place, you're going to have some sort of drama.  Hopefully your league is one where drama is kept to a minimum; it never ceases to amaze me when a league allows the drama to overtake the sport; thankfully, most of my derby memories are healthy and positive.  Whew!

Does my body still want to skate?
Hey, there may come a point when my body is like "Hey brain, this skating thing isn't going to be happening anymore....just wanted to let you know." I know that age and injuries will eventually force me into giving up my sport, but as the modified quote goes from Game of Thrones "What do we tell retirement?  NOT TODAY!"

Not today.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Motivation or Notivation?

It's January, when everyone and their brother decides to make all kinds of resolutions and head for the gym, head for the healthy diet, or head for the various video exercise programs. Yea for first of the year motivation!  But, as we all know, sometimes that motivation doesn't carry over past January, so how can you keep your motivation going for derby practice day in and day out? Derby practices are usually held after long days of working, or at crazy hours early on Sundays, or just plain inconvenient times. We cram derby in whenever we can, and sometimes it's when we're exhausted, tired, grumpy, overwhelmed or just super cranky.  How do we drag our well worn carcasses to practice night after night?  I'll try an counteract all of the nasty little things we say to ourselves to get out of going to practice...I said I'd try!

1.  I had a horrible day at work.  Well, before I found the great job I have now, I had a
My notivation face. Photo by Glenn McGregor
RIDICULOUS job with a really jerk-boss.  I'm not exaggerating. He was a jerk, and he completely tried to break me down every opportunity he had; work was daily hell for me. Some days I would sit in the parking lot before my job and just gather my strength to take the five steps to go from the car into the office. It took a lot of gathering, but there was one thing that kept me going was I had derby practice to look forward to.  I kept all of those angry, defeated feelings bottled up so I could keep that shitty job and not murder my boss.  Derby practice helped so much with my anger control, and it kept me able to take those five steps every day for over two years. Just remember, if you had a shitty shitty day at work, then derby practice just might be the ticket to turn your mood around. Remember, derby is a great way to get those endorphins going.

2.  I'm too tired to go.  I often have this argument with myself.  I feel like I have an extremely lazy person living inside of me and I'm at constant war with her. Every time I struggle with my inner lazy chick and I win, I feel like I deserve a mental medal. I know nobody else is keeping track, but I am. My inner lazy chick is a stubborn and devious foe who tempts me to sit on my ass and watch tv, or sit on my ass and stare at my toes, or sit on my ass and eat bon bons. I know I should go to practice, but my inner lazy chick whispers in my ear "There's an ANTM marathon on all day today on Oxygen.  Just staaaaaaay home."  She's insidious, and she knows my weakness.  The best way I've learned to to win over my inner lazy chick is to not sit down in the first place. If I stay out of her territory, she can't work her wiles.

3.  It's SOOOOO EARLY!  Once again, some derby practices just suck for their timing.  We used to have an 8:00am practice on Saturday mornings that just about let that inner lazy chick win. Sometimes getting up for that early practice is easy, motivation at warp factor five, Mr. Sulu!  But right around February, when it gets rainy and cold in the morning, getting up becomes that much harder. The only way I power through the temptation to stay in the warm, snuggly bed, is routine.  The night before, I have all of my gear ready, my outfit for practice together, and hell, even my breakfast is ready for me to cram into my mouth before I shuffle off to practice. Go to hell, lazy chick. Just shush.  Besides, after an early morning practice, I feel awake and energized! I can get my errands run and then head home and be as lazy as I want to be.  Naps are always great after an early morning practice.

4.  I'm not excited about having my ass kicked tonight. Either it's going to happen through some horrific drill, some really rough scrimmage, or soul crushing endurance, but you know it's coming.  In fact, I'm really surprised so many derby peeps have the gumption to actually go to practice on a regular basis knowing what they know about derby. Whenever I know that practice is going to be specifically brutal, I remind myself that I will definitely learn something,  no matter how uncomfortable the learning is.

When all else fails, I have to say that reminding myself that I'm on a team and people are counting on me to show up to practice. We all help motivate each other, and sometimes I can be the wind beneath someone's wings, and sometimes they're the wind beneath mine. Sometimes I drag my ass to practice with absolutely zero motivation, and being around my teammates lifts me up, and hopefully I do the same for them too. Remembering that I am not alone in my notivation, and when it hits me, I have my team to pull me out of it.