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Published on June 15th, 2012 | by Wetback Attack

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No Such Thing as No Impact

By: Wetback Attack: AZRD

Inspired by Jennacidal

We impact each other. Whether you realize it or not, the time that you spend with other people in this community will leave a mark on them. You are touched by the dozens, possibly hundreds of people that you will meet in this community. And this intimacy – our ability to connect and affect each other – is not to be taken for granted.

Our sport affords us some incredible opportunities regarding our physical, emotional, and mental evolution. Because derby doesn’t exist without people playing it, it’s the people involved that make these opportunities possible. For this reason, I want you to think very carefully and critically about the impact you have on other people in this sport.

This effect is never more obvious than when someone in the derbyverse dies. I didn’t recognize the power of this connection until a former teammate of mine died unexpectedly in 2009. The community swelled to supply my former league with comfort, and the league itself spilled over with tears & compassion, reveling in the mark that Bunny left on every. single. member. After having quit derby in a huff, I was on the periphery, disconnected from my former team & former league, and tasked to digest the news as an outsider looking in. (I am reminded of that time now as I watch a friend-league process their loved one’s recent untimely death).

Upon recognizing what I had walked away from – the ability to be transformed by others, as well as the opportunity to contribute, I knew that I had to come back to the track. An attractive quality of our derby culture is that, when done well, we are permitted to be simultaneously our most vulnerable and most powerful. Ideally, we give each other the time and space to transform. We have the opportunity to cultivate our internal power and force in a new medium.

In the most ideal situations, when we are conscious of the impact we have on each other, every person within a league or team is concurrently pushing and raising up their teammates while unleashing their own innate greatness. This privilege is not to be ignored, nor trivialized. Lucky for me, I was able to return to the sport, offer some olive branches, and be re-embraced by the community that I previously isolated myself from.

You have impact, whether you want that power or not. The way in which you choose to wield that power is up to you. My advice (as someone who went from terrible ex- teammate to most team spirited) is to consciously use your impact to promote those around you, not tear them down. As a teammate, you are responsible for elevating your teammates as much as you are responsible for elevating yourself.

When you feel frustrated with your own team (which is to be expected, and will happen on occasion), you need to not forget this responsibility. You may not always have the privilege of being in this community, or worse yet, seeing your teammate again. What marks are you currently leaving on your team? Your league? The community as a whole?

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