The great things about Derby and one complaint (not even mine)

I tend to get involved with things about Derby that I think are helpful:  advice, whether you want to hear it or not and groups and individuals that I feel are not only good for Derby but for all of us.

I love what “Derby against Domestic violence” has become:  over 2400 who tell their stories, listen to others and find ways to get support and guidance……I wish all of you would join.  Also check out “I choose when to get bruised.”

And now Derby over 40.  What an amazing group of wonderful people…..and some of their athletic and personal accomplishments will startle you….check out the site.

And here is what blows me away about the group:  there are 919 members who are active in Roller Derby (including a few good men) and their stories and experiences are worth listening to…..There are a few 60 year olds and Merby Dick at 73 and Bob Wright at 55 lead the men.

Sometimes questions are posed on Derby over 40 and the answers surprise me.  A recent one asked what about Roller Derby surprised them the most, and although many gave the answers of how they were renewed, gained confidence, lost weight, found new lives, etc, many gave the answer “the drama”.

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I think they came at it from the perspective of age: “stop whining”, “get over it”, “learn to work together and get along”.  Maybe one thing lacking in many of the leagues is a program as outlined by Donna “thehotflash” Kay on how to be good executives and curb the drama and the problems between the women, and maybe that is the main reason why there are so many splits going on even today.

For all the talk about sisterhood and empowerment, I get the feeling as an outsider that it is the internal relationships (in many, but not all leagues) that hurt this image.

There are no problems that are unsolvable, you just have to be aware of them and confront them.

Let’s make Derby Love a little more meaningful.  If there is dissension and problems, it will show in how successful your league can become.   Good executives know how to delegate and let go of certain tasks so they are not involved in every decision and action;  when you involve more people you usually get better results.

So much is happening today; heed the word of those in your world who are older and maybe wiser.  Do them a favor and curb the drama.  And also let’s find the other 81 people somewhere in the skating world to bring “Derby over 40” to 1000 joined, so we can all say look how little age is a factor in Roller Derby.

We are not bullies…..

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You would probably be surprised at the amount of messages I get on facebook from people I don’t know that well or have never met.

I sometimes feel that they kind of look on me as the court of last resort.

Many times before there is a team split off (as there was recently in Chico, CA) I hear from a participant in The Great Sport who feels he or she is being treated unfairly.

Now you all pay to play, so it is really different from if you were trying out for a sport or team and the coaches felt you didn’t have the talent to make it.  That is not what modern Derby is all about.  You can obviously participate on some level, but still have to conform to league rules.  I understand that.  But just last week I heard from someone who was in such distress because she felt she was being ostracized, humiliated and her friends were told not to associate with her because those in charge of the league were coming down on her.

There are two sides to every issue, and that is just hers.  But almost every association and sport team has similar issues.  The question is, how to deal with it?

I am sure many of the splits are because of personality or power issues, so what is the answer.  Personally, I would like to see each small market build around 1 league, but since no one is “franchising” Roller Derby and that is not what WTFDA does, there is no obvious solution.

Roller Derby has such a huge period of growth ahead and most of the leagues have been in existence a very short time.  It often takes years to establish yourself, get your skaters properly trained, build a following, and have a chance of success.

You all must face these problems often….how do you deal with them?  And how do you protect the people who choose to play with you?

No matter what the enterprise, it is the relationship between those involved that matters.