Monday, June 30, 2014

A Tale of Two Teammates (kind of a love letter)

Photos by Joshua R. Craig
I have been in derby since 2009, and for the most part, people come and go from this sport, but when you're lucky, some stick with you. During my time on the Carolina Roller Girls, two teammates stand out to me. Both of them for different reasons, and they're both incredibly different, but both exceptional in their own way.

Beth Row has been a close friend of mine since we bonded during some derby travel in my rookie year. Up to when we traveled together, we really hadn't talked much, but when you share a fold out bed with someone, you get to be friends or the worst of enemies. Lucky for me, we became friends, and we've been each others reality checks since we've been in the league.

Beth is one of those amazing people who is a tireless work horse. She's stubborn as hell and won't let anyone tell her that she can't do something. Before she came to me league, some skaters at her original league told her she would never play derby, and yet here she is, seven years later, playing derby like a demon. As a fellow BOD member, she's kept the league on the right path and kept me from losing my damned marbles every other day. She's the yang to my yin, logical whenever I want to be an irrational jerk, and she
 speaks her mind like nobody's business.

When I first met her, I thought she was an uptight sorority girl, but she's proven me wrong so many times. What can I say, the girl defines moxie. One of the many many reasons I think she's an excellent teammate is because she is fatalistic and stubborn, and yet she never lets anything defeat her. She's my Roman Gladiator with her "we who are about to die, salute you" attitude, and I am damned happy to have her on my team.

Jojo Gadget, is a a completely different kind of teammate. When Jojo came into our league, I helped come up with her name. She's always been a positive person and teammate, and although I have only been recently been able to appreciate just how positive and amazing she is on the track.

If you haven't been living under a rock for the last five years, you've heard of Jojo. She's a formidable player on the track and blocks like nobody's business. When I have had to play against her during home teams, I've wanted to just throw in the towel. She's almost impossible to get around, and she's an agile menace. Even after taking a season off to have her adorable baby (yes, she's an amazing mom too) she still hits like a brick house.

The reason Jojo is an excellent teammate is because even though she's probably one of the strongest players on our team, she doesn't have a sense of entitlement or super star issues. If we need to bridge, Jojo is one of the first who will drop to bridge. She communicates and makes sure everyone knows what is happening on the track. If someone in the wall says "jammer is on the outside line" Jojo always answers so you know she's heard. I love it when there's that kind of communication on the track; it makes my heart grow three times bigger. Once again, even though she's one of the most talented players on the team, she never makes other players feel small and insignificant.

Why have a written about these two great ladies? Well, I think it takes all sorts to make up a team. You don't have to be best friends with every single one of them, but they all bring something necessary to the table. What are you bringing to your team's table? What's your strength, and how are you making your team stronger?

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