Locker Room elektraQtion by Joshua R. Craig

Published on December 14th, 2012 | by Elektra Q. Tion

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The Skaters You Should Avoid Being at Practice

All illustrations by Elektra Q Tion

The 2013 season is fast approaching, and along with every fresh start, it’s a great time to make resolutions about your role in derby and your league. I started thinking about who would be coming back to derby next year, and of course there were some skaters I am excited about returning, and then there are some skaters I wish would come back, but with a little change of behavior and attitude. With as many strong individuals in each league, personality conflicts are bound to crop up from time to time, but wouldn’t it be great if we could all step back from our behavior and see what we could change about ourselves? I have made an over exaggerated list of skater personalities that sometimes make practice time not so much fun. Remember, it’s an exaggerated list, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have bad behaviors at practice at times; maybe it’s time to see how we can curb some of these nasty traits for 2013 and make our leagues a better place to be.

1. The Flip the Switch Skater. I think that most leagues have one of these. This is a skater who is trying super hard to be positive about everything in derby, because she has a temper. If things don’t go her way, she throws the switch and goes from being over positive to skating off the track and possibly throwing her helmet down in frustration. First of all, you’re damaging your helmet by throwing it on the floor, so just stop that right now. Secondly, you have to knock off the hissy fits. You are part of a team; you’re not a diva. People get just as frustrated with you, and yet they don’t throw their helmets or go stomping off of the track. Grow up.

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2. The Doom and Gloom Skater, AKA the Sulker. Some skaters can really screw up a practice by sulking after either not doing well in a drill, or not getting their way on the track or during practice in general. All of us have had a crappy moment at practice where we’ve removed ourselves from scrimmage or a drill to get our heads back in the game, but this skater tends to upset the emotional balance of the entire league by doing it. She’s doing it to make a point. She wants people to notice she’s upset and to either be uncomfortable, or go over and try to coax her back on the track. Please don’t be this way at practice! If you need a moment, take it and regroup, don’t make a federal case out of it!

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3. The De-Motivator. Whoof. This one is hard because I am a firm believer in “tough love” in derby, but the De-Motivator is all tough and hypercritical without the love part. The De-Motivator thinks she’s helping you by hounding you constantly, but having someone constantly point out your faults without giving you any positive feedback ever just beats your spirit down. Nobody is perfect, I get that, but nobody is constantly screwing EVERYTHING up. You might be a de-motivator for someone, so really think about the feedback you’re giving out to your team.

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4. The Chronic Denier. Now I know most of us have been this skater; we get called on a penalty and we immediately say “No I didn’t.” It’s ok, we all have a bit of the Denier in us, but a chronic denier gets pretty old pretty fast; she NEVER thinks she’s committed a penalty, even if every ref at practice or in a game says she did. The Chronic Denier has a core belief that she couldn’t possibly be cutting the track that much, and that the rest of us are completely wrong. I always want to ask the Chronic Denier what the color of the sky is in her world, because she’s obviously living in another reality.

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5. The Maverick. The Maverick is a really skilled skater who just won’t play by the same philosophy that the rest of the team is following. She is such a great skater, that people have allowed her to do her own thing, but she never wants to follow the team strategy, tends not to work in a wall well, or takes over any drill and does what she wants instead of what the objective of the drill is. If you are a maverick, reign it in! You’re a part of team, they don’t follow your lead, you WORK with them.

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So there you are. Did you see yourself on this list? I hope not! If so, clean your act up and get with the program! If you see you teammates on there, maybe send them this link and hope they get the clue!

More writing and illustrations by Elektra Q Tion can be found at her blog, You Picked A Fine Time to Leave Me Loose Wheel.

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