Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Pet Peeves of Roller Derby: by Motown Mayhem

Once again another guest blogger has stepped up and taken the helm of my blog for a week. Enjoy! Q

The pet peeves of roller derby

By Motown Mayhem

Roller derby is one of the most awesome things I’ve ever been involved with athletically.  I
Hey Joe, whaddya know?
frickin’ love it, and plan on playing until I absolutely know I can’t anymore. I’ve been playing roller derby coming into my 5th season. I have played on the same team for all those years, before my league’s first real season. We’ve had many of the same players, and we’ve had the same coach for all those years.  However, over all this time I have to say I’ve developed many pet peeves. I think they’re kind of universal though. With that said, here are some things I see happening in roller derby that I absolutely cannot stand with all the deepest part of my soul. Solutions, suggestions, and/or recommendations are greatly appreciated since this is something that has bothered me for some time. Enjoy!

1.  “Work the drill!”

You’re learning a new drill, or doing a drill that has been done before. It’s being shown, and then it’s asked “anyone have any questions?” Usually, there is always questions if it is a new drill.  Totally cool and understandable. It’s when it’s a drill that’s been done for some time, practically years, that when people want to ask questions for 5 minutes I get bothered.  Same question asked 5 different ways with same explanation said 5 different ways  just to come to this saying, “Just work the drill.” Why not say, “I don’t have any more time to explain this to you because you just don’t get it.” Why not have your athletic leader’s take the people who seem most unsure and questions work with those people during the drill. Why does the whole team have to listen to the same drill being explained because either a. said person hasn’t been at practice enough or at all to know the drill, or b. said person just like a theoretical explanation because you enjoy lecture, or to make the athletic teacher look like a fool. We only have a couple hours to practice. Deep questions should be explained during cool downs or after practice if it comes down to it. A team meeting going over the drills before practice may be helpful. But don’t blow it off with “work the drill.” I hate that shit. 

2.  I want to play but I can’t make it to practice to get requirements.

I get it. Derby is a very demanding sport if you want to play. You got to meet requirements of sorts, and that means you have to be present to achieve this. But time and time again I have heard people moan and groan about how they want to play so bad, and then never come to practice.  And I’m talking about once every few months, if that. Or they’ll pop in for a while, make requirements, and then fall off the face of the planet when they make roster.  Yeah, that was helpful to your team. If you can’t commit, then you can’t commit. Don’t say you want to play and then flake out. I never doubt people’s team spirit, but derby = dedication on a team level. If you can’t do it, that’s fine. But don’t go competing for a spot if you can’t do it, absolutely, through and through.

3.  Hi, I’m new to this team, and I’ve played for eternity with other WFTDA teams and I think your team needs to change their plays to play like me.

Welcome to our team transferring player! Good to have a teammate who knows the rules and has developed skills. Awesome stuff! Can’t wait to train together! Oh wait, you don’t like our plays? You don’t like how we play? Okay, I get it. There are players who don’t think fast on the track as others. I mean, all teams have players who are quick to act and think and use their team, and then there are others who need to be reminded and coached at the same time while playing. That’s fine, and completely acceptable. So a transferring skater comes in and wants to change everything that has been taught for some time because it doesn’t  make sense to them? Why not tweak the plays you see where there needs a strengthening? Why yell at your teammates when they are playing the plays they have always played when they don’t work with you? Being the loan blocker doesn’t help the game. Work with your team, and be a team player. And if you’re new to a team, the team doesn’t adapt to you. You adapt to the team. That’s being a team player. I know, I know, you think we suck. But we can’t suck too damn bad if we’re an established team who does win games. Take it or go make your own “Team USA” since you’re so grand.

4.   Arguing with the coach/athletic trainers during practice.

I don’t know about anybody else, but I don’t pay dues to stand around for 5 minutes for a step by step argument on something like “I didn’t break the pack, they did, and you just don’t like me” or some other bull.  I’m sorry, but unless I’ve got popcorn and a soda in my hand I don’t want to watch a drama unfold.  I didn’t pay for that.  I pay for the team to train, and learn together.  Argue after practice, but I damn sure don’t want to be involved in your soap box issues.  Time is money, and I think all derby teams can agree that money is tight when it comes to some things.  And that includes practice time.  Nothing good comes from trying to compete for intellect in derby.  I think we can all agree not everyone is an expert in derby.  Get over yourself, and get back to practice.  Because I don’t know want to get creamed at our next game because cumulative time was burned up having some “tift” in the middle of practice. 

5.  “My name is so-and-so, but I’m bitching like Bonnie Thunders and think your technique is wrong” persona

There is and will only ever be one Bonnie Thunders, Atomatrix, Demanda Riot, Wild Cherry, Urkn, Queen Loseyourteetha, and the list goes on and on. And you know what else? There is only one you!  Be yourself. Don’t put your skills off as exactly like someone else.  Guess what. When players like that play together I promise you that they don’t give a crap about the positioning of your arms when you form a wall. All they want is you to know how to make a good, strong, solid wall using your skills that you know when in a line, or you can get through a pack to score points legally. When players come in acting like they are badasses because they “study” someone else so much then hooray! But you aren’t them, you are you, and be you, because you are awesome, Ms. So-and-So. At least you were until you opened your mouth saying you know all of someone else’s moves.  I didn’t know you were someone’s doppelganger. Get over yourself, and come play. F.Y.I. you can watch the best players play all day, but I guarantee you that none of those players achieved what they have alone. They did it as a team. Watch the plays, not the just the player.

I have to say that this is just me sounding like I’m butt hurt because, well, I am. Derby leagues train real hard so that roller derby, in general, will become recognized on the level it very well should, and I do that with my team. Derby leagues struggle, and gosh darnit, fight for those athletic people sitting at ESPN to take them seriously. When you throw in a bunch of bullshit it just makes the dream that much harder to see. The dream can become a nightmare. People quit because they can’t handle that kind of stress. And then there are people who hang with, but still have the stress. You’re only as strong as the players on your team. If people act like a bunch of condescending assholes then you’re getting weak. If someone has problems learning the team’s plays then you’re getting weak. If people enjoy arguing over stuff that can wait then you’re getting weak. If you think you’re the Michael Jordan of derby then you’re getting weak. Pet peeves come and go, and boy could this list continue.  But I think I will just leave it at that.