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Published on October 8th, 2012 | by Margie Ram

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Besterns: When I Say Go, You Say Wasatch! Bay Area! Denver! Oly? Oi Oi Oi.

This was the most amazing season for us here at Wasatch Roller Derby. Breaking into the top 10 of the most competitive region in WFTDA was an accomplishment that could only happen with the strength, perseverance and great leadership we have on WRD. I know how hard these women have worked. Through it all, we’ve been able to maintain a real environment of respect and love, care and nurturing, with very little drama. This time is very special and, sadly, so often fleeting.

As a third wave feminist who fiercely protects everyone’s right to establish their own personal boundaries and definitions, I was quite frankly surprised by the controversy surrounding this year’s Westerns. Here in derby are the girls who always got along better with the guys because girls are catty, back-stabbing and deceitful. Girls judged and told you that you were too fat, too skinny, too tall, didn’t like your hair, make-up, clothes.

Derby embraces the outcast, the raunchy, smart and sexy American woman of today. It was reignited by people a little quirky, artistic, and fun, with potty mouths and tattoos, Harleys, and welding irons. Many of us, the brunt of the so-called mean girl. But not so here in derby. Here is the place to be accepted, to be lifted up when others have squashed your spirit and to finally save your soul. Right?
I find this whole transfer business interesting. Two of my own lovely WRD girls are mid-season transfers. They probably would never consider living somewhere that didn’t have derby so when they moved here skated right on to our all stars. What is the big deal that Olympia’s Rollers don’t live in Olympia? I know skaters that drive hours to practice in different states. How is this different, and why do I care?

When I got to Westerns, the stands were abuzz with hate for Oly. I was just really excited to see derby at its highest level, but I asked those around me why they are saying they hate Oly. I kept hearing that it was because they stacked their team, as this would be the only way anyone could possibly challenge Gotham for the Hydra. Therefore, I was told, the entire Westerns is ruined because Oly will simply stomp every team with their awesomeness. Apparently I have been teleported back to elementary school. I responded that there is no way Riot and Frida and the Goddess Mercy would allow a trouncing. I would be very surprised if it were that easy, I advised.

It was not easy. Not for them, not really for anyone. WRD fought hard and barely lost two out of our three bouts. It was so exciting and my voice is raw from cheering. We cheered for everyone. We attempted to lift everyone up and share our special unity with the Western Region. We even cheered for Oly and I loved watching Oly play. I really did. Yep, I LOVE OLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It pained me that everyone was booing them and wishing they would lose.

The Oly skaters were treated horribly – transfer or Olympia local. The hate was non-discriminating. On their deepest personal levels they were on the defensive and it showed. They won but they were obviously hurt by the hate. Like so many of us when vilified and misunderstood, we put forth a persona that we don’t care, it doesn’t bother us, we like it, blah, blah. Well I call bullshit. When the mean girls didn’t like me and talked shit, I talked shit back when really I was dying inside.

Over the course of the weekend, I talked to Oly, AZRD and everyone else about this. I know about the bad timing and the hurt feelings and the details of the drama but there is some serious shit going down right now in women’s politics and the West has a Hydra Trophy to bring home.

So while Pussy Riot is trying to get out of prison for exercising their inalienable right to choose to show their vaginas to their fans while protesting the Putin regime, or my friends are fighting for the right to marry whom they please, this hating here in derby has got to stop. Let’s take our angst out on the refs where the sometimes subjective nature of their volunteer positions makes them easy fodder. We derby girls, derby women, derby athletes must ride the fine line between bad girl and fucking bitch.

Good luck at Championships, my Bestern Trifecta. One of you will be victorious!

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