This week I've had a lot of random thoughts about derby; long road trips give you time to ponder all things derbyish, and since I went to Virginia is for Shovers this weekend, I had a while to think the deep thoughts about the sport I love. of course, as always, these are my opinions. You can take them or leave them, but please think about them!
1. People who have their derby life in disarray also have a personal life that is chaotic. I know that real life gets crazy banana pants; I don't care if you're a roadie for an imaginary band of punk gypsies and live with the abominable snowman in a studio apartment, just make sure you have your life under some kind of control. The only time I care about your crazy personal life is when it spills over into your derby life and has an impact on the team. Seriously, I can't stress this enough; please get your personal lives in some kind of check. Almost every derby league deals with at least two people who are constantly falling to pieces because they haven't taken the time to get a grip on their personal drama. Once you get that fixed, then you can concentrate on derby. (You'll be a lot happier, and a better teammate too.)
2. Short skaters believe that they are the only ones who ever get high blocked. I'm not picking on the shorties here, but in the last six years I've had my nose broken three times, my lip split twice and a ridiculous shoulder to the face last year. All of these injuries were done at the hands and helmets of shorter skaters; I'm six feet tall and most women are at least a little shorter than me. I think shorter ladies underestimate just how tall I am, and when they block me, they think I'm Godzilla, when I'm just a Glamazon. I know that shorter skaters get way more face hits, but us tall folk still get our fair share. This third broken nose situation gave me in the impetus to finally buy a face shield for my hockey helmet. I don't know why I was putting it off, because it's really been an easy transition for me. After three minutes of skating, I forgot I had it on, and it's already saved my face twice during Shovers.
3. Players that can keep their heads in the game in spite of seemingly unfair ref calls and game conditions are the most successful players. You can be an amazing skater, but if your mental game is weak, you will never be as good as your physical skills say you are. I know so many skaters that get caught up the mentality of "that ref hates me" or "they aren't calling clockwise blocking" or "that girl keeps going after me personally!" Part of being a great player is being able to ignore the negative situations that happen in a game. Refs are going to make calls that aren't right, you're going to get it, and people are going to get away with penalties that should be called. No game is perfect, so learn to deal with the imperfections and keep doing what you do!
4. Speaking of refs, they're having more impact on the game than ever. It used to be that if the refs missed a few calls here and there, as long as the outcome wasn't changed (ie. Team A won decisively, then referee calls didn't really have an impact), but now with the WFTDA rankings, things have changed. Every point now counts in a sanctioned game, so even if Team A stomps Team B by two hundred points, if Team B needs to have a certain amount of points to maintain their rank or even go up in rankings, now every call counts. Refs need to really be on their game; if you're a jam ref, don't lose track of your jammer come hell or high water. Lots of jammers are trying to squeeze out one point before the other jammer enters the pack hot on her heels; you have to be ready with those whistles!
Just some random thoughts, have a great week!