Archive for October, 2010

DIY

One of the more unusual things about modern women’s roller derby is how much it aligns with the DIY ethic. Leagues divvy up responsibilities between committees, from fundraising and sponsorship to bout production and interleague communication. Of course, that means that skaters must get involved with their league, participate in decisionmaking and work to make the league run.

Admiring the work of the training committee, and with some attention to being a newbie who’s not a freshie, I asked to join the training committee, with a particular interest in training fresh meat. As with other aspects of this league, the committee is smart and engaged, and they seem to work really well together. Fresh meat training is a combination of basic skills instruction and derby culture induction, and I can’t wait to see what these new girls bring to the league. But also like other parts of running the league, it’s a time-consuming endeavor! And this is how roller derby takes over your life. It’s not that I wake up every morning wanting to skate, or wear derby-themed stuff and talk derby all day. But building the league takes a lot of work, and a lot of sustained energy, and a lot of people to make it happen. And that’s something that new recruits may be unprepared for; that the commitment to derby is more than skating, more than becoming bout-ready. It’s about coming together as a community and building something that none of us could do on our own. It takes every single member.

New Girl

I moved my derby self, in order to be closer to home. My new league is fabulous – sort of like the sorority you always wished for, one where every girl was respected, and where you really can just be yourself. They’re organized, motivated, and just adorable. I came in during their first major tryout recruitment, which was so successful that it looks to have doubled the league’s size, to over 50 skaters!!

First league practice was about a week ago, and I was relieved to find that I wasn’t an outlier on skills. And that practices were productive and well-run! Cheers to the training committee, they’re really on the ball.

So the girls are welcoming and friendly, the league is well-run, and I think I’ll keep up just fine. And yet, I’m the new girl amongst more than 20 new girls, and I don’t shine in that type of arrangement. I’ll make new friends slowly, one at a time, and that’s ok. In the meantime, I have a lot of skating to do.