1. The more time I spend around derby people from different leagues, the more I realize we all are struggling with the same issues. Whether it's training, finding and keeping a practice space, recruiting, getting sponsors, putting on bouts, drama, and intra-league relations, we all are dealing with the same shit. It's funny, since I put TimeHop on my phone, I can see my posts from when I first joined derby; guess what! They're the same complaints I have now. Shocking. Nobody is 100% happy in any league at any time; there are money worries, equity issues, interpersonal dust ups and everything in between. No league is perfect, and they all take a lot of work to keep up, which brings me to truth number 2.
|The mythical "I just want to do BOD work and you all can skate" unicorn.|
3. Having better equipment doesn't necessarily mean you're going to skate better. Ok, I know my friend Ballz has a saying that you can shamelessly improve your performance through better equipment, but the longer I'm skating, the more I know that this isn't a truth for me. I mean, you should have gear that works, but for the most part, it doesn't really matter what you put on your feet after a certain quality level. I mean, look at Seahorses Forever, that man skates in peanutbutters and crap bearings. I don't think anyone would argue that Seahorses Forever isn't an amazing skater, no matter what he's wearing. I've even seen a picture or two of him wearing two different boots in a game. Seriously. Look, derby is a business, and people are going to try to sell you the next and bestest thing they've created, but you have to figure out what works for you. This weekend, I skated a great game on brand new plates, and even though I only had one practice in them, I knew I'd play well no matter what I was skating on. It's so important to worry more about your skills and your basic abilities than the newest and greatest boot evar. This doesn't count when it comes to helmets though, so don't even try to skate with a crap helmet when I'm around.
4. Derby peeps need to learn more about skate maintenance. The previous post doesn't excuse the dirty bearings, crapped out pivot cups, rotting bushings and the general use of duct tape to hold skates together. Keep up with your skates. You should all own a set of tools that work with your particular plates, and be able to take apart your trucks to switch out your bushings. Every time I hear a skater say "Hey, does anyone have a skate tool?" I die a little inside. Go get the appropriate tools! Also, be proactive about skate maintenance and supplies. You know you're going to need certain consumables, so have them handy when your skate needs to some TLC.
5. Diversity is necessary in derby. At work, some of my office mates were discussing a diversity training they had to attend, and the take away point was that diversity is necessary in a group. It keeps people from thinking we all come from the same place and the same experiences; it keeps a group healthy. Diversity means that there are people from different races, different cultures and differently-abled people. I think that derby accepts people from different races, cultures and sexual identities, but after reading about the ridiculous comments made by Team NZRDA's coach about dealing with a hearing impaired player, I think we have to strive harder for diversity. I myself have played with hearing impaired players, and leaguemates who spoke English as a second language without issue. Communication, trust and cooperation are the ideals we should be striving for no matter who is on our team or in our leagues. Learn to embrace diversity, derby; it will make our sport better.
Just some thoughts.