What Grinds My Gears Ginger Snap et al. by Joe Rollerfan

Published on August 5th, 2011 | by Ginger Snap


Ginger Snap et al. by Joe Rollerfan

Excuses Are for Douchebags

Everyone knows that whining is for douchebags. Yah, there is general whining that bugs us all. “I just want to skate! All this off-track stuff is too much.” “I can’t flyer because I’m not good with people.” “Practice requirements are too strict.” etc. I file these under “STFU and read Em Dash’s article, “8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Play Roller Derby.”

But this particular rant is about calls for the whambulance that happen on the track – statements and sentiments that destroy bench morale, make your leaguemates turn on you, and generally create unrest and even team losses.

To all you whining weaselbabies out there who I’d like to stab in the neck five times, or at least until you cry (and I might be talking about YOU, at one time or another):

It’s all about perspective and selfishness. There’s always something you can control about a situation, rather than simply throwing blame somewhere else because you are too fancy to take some responsibility. Focus on what you can control about the situation, instead of making excuses for yourself, or blaming others.

“She keeps fouling me!!”

You can’t control getting fouled. This is roller derby. Suck it up. If that girl has gotten into your head like that, you’ve already lost the battle. Yelling at her is going to distract you from that jammer coming around the corner and getting your point. What can you control? Re-focus yourself – keep calm and derby on. Play as cleanly as you can – your legal and lethal hits will frustrate her even more, and she’ll probably end up going to the box because she’s throwing a bunch of revenge hits on you because she’s so ticked off by how awesome you are! Now that’s control, baby!

“The refs are blind douchebags and don’t see anything!”

Similar to the above – you can’t control being fouled and you definitely can’t control what the refs do or don’t see. And yelling back at the refs isn’t going to help your situation. Every time a skater does that, I take it as an invitation to hit the crap out of them while they are distracted. It’s like getting a cookie, mid-jam!

Every moment is an opportunity to bring yourself back to the task at hand – connecting with your teammates, keeping your eyes on the jammer and getting your ass where it needs to be. Anything else is a waste of time and annoys your teammates.

Skater: Don’t hit me on this side – my shoulder hurts.
Me: Well, have you gone to the doctor?
Skater: No.

Asking someone to “take it easy on me” is an impossible request – everyone’s version of “easy” is different and you are just setting yourself up to get hurt. What can you control in this situation, instead of whining and being unproductive? Guess how you can prevent being a burden to your team, taking up a spot that should go to someone else who takes responsibility for their body.

“I didn’t forearm her! These refs are hallucinating!”

If the refs continuously think you are doing something wrong, it might be because you are doing something that makes it LOOK like you are fouling. That is something you can control. If they think you are forearming, maybe it’s your follow through that makes it look like you did it. Work on your form and don’t give them a chance to call you on anything. Ultimately, it’s useless to fight with them. Face it – they are not going to change how they call something in the middle of a game, just because you whined to them.

So what can you do? This is an excellent opportunity to practice control. If they think your elbows are out of control, use the time to work on your ass hits and positional blocking (which will probably be more effective, anyway). Skate right down the strike zone of perfect form. Work on partnerships to get the job done instead of trying to do it on your own. Not only will the refs have no excuse to call you for a foul, turn it into an opportunity to work on your skills, concentrating on controlled hits and clean play.

“You {teammates} need to help me more in the pack!”
“I can’t take a whip off you because you always fall down!”
“I could have taken a whip off of you if you had a belt!”

This one makes me specifically angry.

A: If your teammates don’t know what you need, they can’t help you. Talk to them beforehand. Communicate about what you need in the pack – don’t berate them afterwards when you could have told them what you needed in the moment.

B: If people are always falling when you grab them, perhaps you are grabbing them in the wrong place and actually causing the fall. Perhaps you should speak up and give ‘em a warning that you are coming. We can’t always be mind readers. Help them help you. Yelling at them is not going to make them more stable.

C: If you are finding that your teammates aren’t helping you, maybe it’s because you are yelling at them and being a dickwad. Don’t blame them for the fact that you can’t get your ass to where you need it to be. Whining about your teammates will only cause unrest and destroy morale on your bench.

D: Don’t even talk to me about whipping belts. See my article in Five on Five about how I think they are the biggest crutch in roller derby and should be avoided, at all costs, by everyone. Suffice to say – if you are relying on whipping belts, you are a lazy skater and you are going to cause injuries to yourself or others. Seriously, don’t get me re-started on that subject or I’ll take up all the interwebs.

“This floor/my wheels are too slippery/sticky.”

It’s a poor musician who blames his instrument. Take some responsibility and make the best out of the situation – don’t just chalk it up to your equipment and whine the whole time. Sure, there are extreme cases – anyone remember the floor at RollerCon ’09 where everyone had to buy the stickiest wheels available just to get the most out of their weekend? Yah, that kinda sucked. There was a lot of bitching about that floor, but I bet a lot of people who took on the challenge learned something. Just by dealing with the surface, I learned a lot about speed control and edging in my turns to keep from sliding out of control.

Another example: I remember skating as a visitor to the Windy City warehouse, which was super slick and there’s zero space on the outside of the track – just a semi-padded wall. I learned so much about picking up my feet and quick turnover in those 2 hours. If I didn’t adapt, I would have spun out and face-planted into the wall too many times to count. I couldn’t change the floor or move the walls – I could only change my perspective. I didn’t blame my wheels and sit down and sulk. I didn’t turn to my gracious hosts and complain about their practice space. I took it as a learning experience because that’s all I could do in the moment to get the most out of my time on the track.

Ultimately it comes down to finding a way to be a productive team player and working with what you have to make the most of it without whining and alienating your team in the process. Of course – in the end it comes down to the old classic rule #1 – don’t be a douchebag.

So what are your favorite comments from selfish twatwaffles who can’t take responsibility for their actions or their enjoyment of the sport? Come on – this is DerbyLife. Anything goes – spill it, folks.

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  • JAX

    My skates are too heavy, my feet hurt, my knees are knocked, I don’t like to be touched above the belt, only grab my belt, I can’t keep up, your too little to whip me, I can plow next to anyone, I can’t stop in a pack, I heard ALL of that and more from ONE girl tonight. She never stops complaining about anything ever. Always woe is me.

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