I know that everyone always says that derby is the most accepting of sports, but I absolutely disagree. This sport is not for everyone, at least not at the levels that it seems to be reaching for. Even casual teams who don't aspire to play on the level of Gotham, probably shouldn't take everyone who is interested in derby. I know this sounds counter to the whole DIY philosophy of derby, but hear me out. Derby, is not really for everyone, and certainly not for everyone at every time in her or his life. If you are actively recruiting for your league, maybe you should consider some of these reasons not to play derby before you get all gung ho and rabidly recruit people.
Reasons not to encourage someone to play derby
1. They are the sole provider of income for your household. Look, derby is dangerous. Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous. Yes, I know you can hurt yourself pretty terribly in real life, but you're upping your chances when you play derby. Not only have I seen people screw themselves up learning to skate, but I've seen just about every other kind of injury during derby. Spiral fractures, popped ACLs, shoulder injuries, elbow injuries and the ever sneaky concussions are just a few of the possible injuries waiting for you in this sport. It's hard to support your family when you can't do the basic requirements of your job. Some people have amazingly understanding bosses, some people do not, and some people are self employed. It kind of sucks when you're taken off of your feet by an injury, and you're self employed. I understand that people have to make their own decisions, but sometimes people don't really understand just how hurt you can get in derby.
2. They don't have a lot of money to dedicate to the sport. As derby has developed, it's gotten way way more expensive. A good set of skates can cost $500, and wheels can be up to $120 per full set. Now, pile on top of the "start up fees" league dues, travel money, gas money and jersey costs. Derby ain't cheap, and it's just getting more expensive as teams are forced to travel further and further in search of ranked games. Maybe derby isn't the best idea for them at this time. Does that mean forever? No, but it might be something to think about.
3. They don't have a lot of time for the sport. How long does it take to create a good derby player? I'd guess, even the most talented of skaters take a while to marinate in derby juices until they're at their peak of flavor. Ok, that was gross, but that's how I think about the developing of the derby skater. If your potential recruit is playing another demanding sport, working 40+ hours a week, and has a lot of familial obligations, derby might not fit into her or his very busy schedule at this point. People don't necessarily comprehend the time drain that is derby, and they just can't really dedicate themselves when they do figure it out. Nothing sucks worse than training someone, seeing that spark, and then having them realize that they can't actually commit themselves to the sport.
4. Their fitness level is low or non-existent. I can hear it now, "But Q! Derby loves all body types!" Of course it does. Who am I to describe what a successful skater looks like? What I'm saying is that if a person who hasn't worked out ever in life wants to join derby might have a long haul ahead of him or herself. I have always said in my blog that you don't play derby to get into shape, you get into shape to play derby. Derby, at any level, is physically demanding. Ankles need to be strong, cores need to be tight, and the leg muscles need to be ferocious. Derby demands a certain level of physical fitness, cardio and endurance, and if there isn't a couch to derby app, someone needs to make one.
5. They don't take criticism well. If your potential recruit is a delicate flower when it comes to feedback, then derby is really not a great place for him or her. Many times derby either gives you too much criticism in unpleasant tones, or none at all. People have to be self directed and self aware to strap on the skates. If the recruit you're talking to is in a delicate and vulnerable place in his or her life, maybe derby can wait for less tempestuous times.
Yes, I know, everyone is a "grown ass adult" but sometimes people who haven't had much experience with derby don't necessarily know everything that goes into it. Be a good guide, and be honest with your recruits.