What Derby Can Do for You?

I’m a champion for the notion that you should come to this sport asking what you can do for derby, not what it can do for you.  It takes a village, seriously, to make this sport happen.  Just dealing with the number of people involved is an organizational headache, and though we all rely on models provided by our big sister leagues, part of the strong DIY ethic of roller derby is that you can MAKE YOUR OWN WAY for most everything.  Simply hosting a scrimmage requires 7 refs and 10 or so NSOs (a misnomer if there ever was one… these are all the officials that you need to keep time, track points, track penalties and lineups, all for ensuring accuracy and providing stats to the league so that they can assess their progress on goals like % of time certain jammers have retained lead status).  That’s 17 extra people!!  Recruiting refs and NSOs early on in your league’s development is important not just because scrimmage and bout production requires it — but because the level of your league’s skating will be improved by having this layer of assistance and accountability.

So again, I’m a huge believer in asking what you can do for derby. Get involved, join that committee, and make a connection between your skills and experience and the league’s needs.  Whatever it is that you do, chances are the league needs someone to do just that.  From artist to techie to crafter to statistician, derby needs you!  It’s something that sets us apart from rec hockey leagues, or rec anything leagues, really.

Now that that’s out of the way, what can you hope to get from derby?  It’s ok if that’s what was foremost in your mind when you joined.  You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t expect to get something out of it.  But really, what is it going to do for you?

I’ll tell you what it might do for you.  There’s a point where you get knocked on your ass for the umpteenth time, and instead of being angry, or frustrated, or hurt or insecure or whatever, you just growl.  And you reach for someone who can bring that reaction back by knocking you on your ass as many times as you can stand — a coach, a mentor, a trainer, someone to push you that hard every day, to continue pushing that button that you never quite found before.  Have I run before? Sure… 3 half-marathons, as many 10k races, and lots of 5k and 5M fun runs. But now it’s with a derby attitude and an eyeroll at the thought of crampy calf muscles stopping me.  Don’t even get me started on my step addiction in law school, or the many goofy themed workouts since — derby workouts are a whole different thing.  YOU PLAY ROLLER DERBY.  Gonna stop now? Would I walk off the track and leave my girls?  Not a fucking chance.

That’s what derby can do for you.

    • Tom Gerschick
    • March 31st, 2011

    Great reflection. Especially loved the last paragraph.

  1. Thanks 🙂

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