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.

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