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Published on September 25th, 2011 | by Luludemon

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Dear Luludemon: Why Is Rotten Meat So Rotten?

Editor’s note: Got a burning question? Send to submissions@derbylife.com! Luludemon answers your questions here monthly on DerbyLife!


Question

Most of the girls in my league try to be as open and welcoming to fresh meat as possible but there are a handful who are cold as witch tits to the fresh meat. Why is this? Are they afraid of losing their spots on the A team roster? Are they insecure? Jealous? Shy? Inquiring minds want to know.

xoxo
Fresh is Best

Firstly FIB your league is not the only one that sees differing attitudes to Fresh Meat from your vets. Just as derby includes skaters from all different backgrounds, social groups and sexual preferences you get all number of different reactions to new members. So the short answer to your questions is: it could be any of reasons you mentioned, or a combination of them all or something completely different!

Shyness I think is definitely a factor when talking about roller derby skaters. It’s something that my non-derby friends remark on when they come to derby functions: “Why aren’t rollergirls more friendly?” I try and explain that derby girls aren’t always the most social of people in their regular lives, some have never played team sports before and some are just shy around people they don’t know or trust.

These cold old meat might also be protecting their roller derby family from potential threats. We all know how fragile league and team dynamic is – with leagues splitting faster than you can say “20 feet!” Or maybe it is something even simpler and closer to home; they don’t want these new girls to threaten their hard-won friendships and bonds formed with their team mates. No one wants someone to steal their derby wife.

Also remember that new skaters come and go. I know in our league we have on average a 50% attrition rate of new skaters. Injury, work, partners, pregnancy – there are all sorts of things that can take a skater away from derby. When skaters have been around for a long time they have seen the rows of fresh faces slowly disappear till only the most dedicated/crazy skaters are left. Maybe your old meat don’t want to invest time and energy into someone until they have proven that they are going to last longer than a pair of bouting fishnets?

But before you get your short shorts in a twist about their reactions to the Fresh Meat – do the FM even notice or care? I know when I was Fresh Meat I didn’t know half the league and was so busy trying to stay upright on my skates that I wouldn’t have noticed if someone was being the wicked witch of the west!

If the FM are negatively affected by these OM, try providing these OM with a chance to be introduced to the FM in a relaxed and informal setting, We have a “Meet the Meat” party once a year before the FM are drafted (so after they have completed their 3 month bootcamp period and have proved they are here to stay) where we give the OM questionnaires that prompt them to find out more about the FM. It’s a great way to break down barriers and overcome people’s shyness or competitive urges on the track.

So to conclude: don’t be too quick to judge an OM’s reaction to the FM, there are a million things that it could be and not all of them are negative. If it doesn’t bother the FM, then maybe it’s not something you should be worrying about. Try thinking outside the box when attempting to forge bonds between different generations of skaters. And if a particular player’s attitude is bothering you – then go ahead and ask them what’s the deal. They might be totally unaware of the attitude they are projecting.

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Luludemon

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