Sunday, February 9, 2014


I learned a new word today on the interwebs: poutrage. According to the Urban Dictionary, poutage is the combination of emotion and behavior that results from a possibly feigned or genuine outrage over some slight and pouting about it like a spoiled child.  I've run into poutage before, but I never knew what to call it until I read that definition.

Of course I've run into this in derby; who hasn't?  But Q, is it that much different than butthurt?  Yes.  The differences are subtle but important. Butthurt usually happens in a passive aggressive kind of way. You know, muttering, cryptic Facebook posts, and snide comments.  Butthurt is like the low mumble of a crowd in the distance; people tend to be butthurt to their friends, and it is like an infection in a cut.  You don't notice it right away, but it is there, and always present.

Poutrage is a whole different kind of league disease.  Poutrage is when people decided to publicly air their grievances; it's more like Festivus for the league, except it's usually coming from a small group of irritated people instead of the entire league.  Poutrage happens over roster selections, over new jerseys, over practice schedules and game schedules. Poutrage is demanding and needy and smacks of arrogance, but most of all, it's loud and insistent.

Yes, people should be allowed to complain, and speak up when they feel that their needs and rights are being impinged upon, but it really is a matter of when, where and how.  Below are examples of Butthurt and Poutrage and a rational response to three different, and yet common situations.

A skater doesn't make the roster.
The Butthurt response: The skater makes vague and resentful statements on FB and then denies that they're about the derby situation when approached by teammates.
The Poutrage response: The skater angrily emails the captains with a biting commentary about how there is favoritism in the league.  CC's the board of directors on the email.
The rational response. The skater is sad, and takes some time to wrap her head around not making a roster she really wanted to be on.  The same skater emails the captains and coaches and asks what she could do to make her skills better, and asks for feedback.  It's not going to make her feel instantly better, but unfortunately it is a part of derby life. Captains and coaches, if you want to maintain rational responses from your skaters, you are not allowed to blow off honest questions about improvement.  Don't blow off a sincere email, and really give them the feedback they need to improve.

A skater doesn't get elected to a position she wanted.
The Butthurt response: The skater unfriends the woman who won the election on Facebook and quietly undermines her position in the league by getting her friends to subvert her goals.
The Poutrage response: The skaters constantly and loudly objects to any suggestions made by her rival. She actively tries to derail her goals publicly.
The rational response: The skater takes the time to come to terms with the loss. It sucks losing a position that you really want, but you have to understand that running for such positions is a risk. Someone will lose. It doesn't mean you suck, but it does mean that more people voted for her this time. That doesn't mean that it's going to happen the same way next time.

In practice, a jammer doesn't get through the pack for a whole jam.
The Butthurt response: The skater quietly skates away and sits on the sidelines with her arms crossed. If people go over to see if she's ok, she only answers with "I'm never jamming again with that pack. They left me out there and did nothing to help."
The Poutrage response:  The skater throws off the jammer panty, turns around and starts yelling at her blocking pack. "Why didn't you do any offense for me! Nobody helped me! You all suck!"
The rational response: The skater goes over and sits for a bit to get back into her game mindset. It's ok to take a personal time out when you've had a crappy jam.

Don't get me wrong, being rational might be the last thing you want to do. It's soooooo tempting to throw a tantrum, especially during practice when you're mentally exhausted and emotionally raw. Just remember that giving in to poutrage or butthurt might feel good for about five minutes, but eventually you will regret letting your emotions get the best of you.

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