Published on August 1st, 2011 | by Em Dash8
Em Dash by Hale Yeah
8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Play Roller Derby
#8: You are too busy. Like, really too busy. Like, you have six kids and two full-time jobs and you live an hour away from the nearest league and your mom is sick and you are also passionately committed to your garden, and you just can’t make it to 2 or 3 practices a week. Roller derby is incredibly time consuming, and on top of practice, you’ll have league committee work and bout production and promotion to do. Even if that doesn’t sound like a lot, it is. Roller derby will completely take over your life, and what’s more, you’ll let it. It’s that awesome. But if you don’t have the time to commit, then you’ll be letting down your teammates and leaguemates who depend on you to be at practice and help your league run.
#7: You can’t take a hit. No, really. If you can’t take being hit, sometimes illegally, this is not the sport for you.
#6: You just want to wear fishnets and glitter. Roller derby is a real sport and we train hard. If you’re not interested in being an athlete, you should find a different hobby. That said, if you want to train hard AND wear fishnets and glitter, then this definitely IS the sport for you.
#5: You can’t afford to. You don’t have to be rich to play derby by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s an incredibly expensive hobby, and there are some things you will just have to pay for. Dues, for example. They tend to range from $25-50 per month, depending on your league. Skates and safety equipment can get expensive very fast, and when your pads wear out, they need to be replaced. If you’re on a traveling team, expenses can really soar. Before you commit to joining a league, ask a current skater to tell you what her yearly derby expenditure is, and then make sure that’s within your budget.
#4: You aren’t a team player. Roller derby is incredibly co-operative, and a team of moderately good players who are totally in sync and work together well will usually beat a team of awesome skaters who are lone wolves. You can be a star in derby, but usually, it’s your teammates who help you shine.
#3: You have a bad attitude. This is part of the whole “be a team player” section, but nothing brings a team down faster than one skater muttering on the bench, cursing at the refs, or just generally skating around with a storm cloud over her head. This is not to say that you can’t have a bad day or get frustrated–we’ve all been there. But if you can’t shake it off and approach the sport with a positive attitude, you’ll hurt your team’s morale. Your teammates are trying hard to learn and play the sport–don’t distract them with your negativity.
#2: You can’t take criticism. If you’re coming to derby for the first time, there is a LOT you won’t know. It’s not a sport any of us grew up with, so even if you have a skating background or a team-sports background, there will still be a lot about rules and technique that you’ll have to learn. And that’s OK! It’s one of the things I like most about the sport–constantly feeling like I’m learning and growing. But part of the learning process is knowing how to accept feedback, even critical feedback, with grace, and how to take that feedback and use it to get better. Sometimes you’ll get bad advice, and that’s OK, too. Everyone is still learning how to play the sport, and different people have different styles. Something that works for you might not work for someone else. Just keep an open mind, try everything once, and always remember to say thank you when someone gives you advice.
#1: You can’t afford to get injured. Unfortunately, injuries do happen, and when they do, they can be very expensive. If you have a physical job (construction worker, dog walker, babysitter, massage therapist), an injury can make work impossible for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. And even if you have good insurance, a lot of stuff isn’t covered–co-pays, bandages, crutches, physical therapy, acupuncture, etc. If you don’t have insurance, you can end up owing thousands of dollars even for a relatively minor injury. It breaks my heart to include this one, but it’s true. If you can’t afford to get injured, you shouldn’t play derby.
But if these things aren’t true, then you definitely SHOULD play roller derby. It’s hard, and it’s time-consuming, and you will sometimes cry with frustration, but you’ll get to spend your time doing something really fun and rewarding with an incredible group of people. After four years of playing, I can’t imagine my life without roller derby.