Published on January 21st, 2013 | by Elektra Q. Tion0
Everything You Need to Know about Derby Travel
Derby can be a great opportunity to do a lot of traveling; traveling to play in a derby game is one of the most enjoyable and stressful experiences you can have, and the wrong travel companions can make it that much more of a travail. What makes a bad traveling companion? It depends mostly on your personality. What is a terrible match for some, is a match made in heaven for others. I’ll admit it; I’m a Type A personality on steroids when it comes to traveling. I find out when I have to be at function, and then I get there extra early, just in case. Yes, it’s crazy and control freaky, but I don’t care; it keeps my anxiety level low, and I NEED that before a game. I also am completely aware that my Type A-holeness can really irritate someone who is an easy go with the flow kind of gal. Below is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek guide to make traveling to away games a little easier than they could be.
1. Only road trip with people who have similar bladder capacity. Listen, this is a very truthful statement. I am a camel when it comes to road trips; minimal stops are on my agenda, and that’s how I plan all of my trips. Usually I try to gas up the car, grab some food, and use the facilities; if it is a four hour trip, I plan on stopping once, that’s it! Woe to anyone who travels with me who has a tiny bladder. Yes, I’ll stop for you, but I will think about how annoying it is getting, and why you don’t cut back on the coffee! It’s just easier to travel with people who have similar bladder needs, and not have the frustration of discussing potty habits. Plus, it’s really TMI. Ew. Please don’t dehydrate yourself for a game either; that’s not helping.
2. People with food restrictions should travel together. Derby is full of players who are Vegan, vegetarians, or gluten free. This can make a quick stop on a highway for food nearly impossible. I eat just about anything when I’m on the road, but if I see a Subway, I’m probably going for that. Not everyone can eat at a Subway, and I totally understand that, but I don’t want to have to search all over the unknown universe for a vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free fast food restaurant on the way. Do they exist? I don’t even know. If you have food restrictions and want to bring a picnic basket, there is always space in my car for you.
3. Smokers should stick with smokers. I don’t think any derby players should be smoking, but some do. Also, some smoke controlled substances; I remember planning a road trip with some derby peeps who asked me how I felt about certain illegal substances being smoked in the car while we were driving. “We promise not to hotbox you, Q!” I was very thankful they asked, but then I promptly found an alternate way to to get to the event. Hey, my job drug tests, and I don’t need any second hand smoke messing up my employment.
4. The sight-seers should convoy. If I’m going to a game that’s within a four hour drive, I don’t want to turn it into a five hour drive because “we need to stop at The World’s Biggest Fill in the Blank.” I think people should have fun, and experience ridiculous things, but please don’t drag me along. Now, if we’re going to be in a city for a couple of days, I’m willing to go and sight see as much as possible, as long as I don’t have to drive anywhere.
5. Partiers should travel and room with other partiers. Occasionally I will go to an afterparty; it’s a pretty rare occurrence, but it does happen. I don’t necessarily want to be obligated to be the designated driver because my travel buddies are going to “win all the afterparties.” Ditto with parties in the hotel room. I like to sleep during derby trips because that first night is usually a wash for me; I stay up thinking about the next day. At some point, I’m going to need to sleep, and if you’re up puking in the bathroom all night, I’m probably going to be cranky the next day.
6. Don’t be needy. If you’re in derby, you should be adult enough to handle yourself. Nobody should have to babysit you. I know, we all have moments of neediness, and that’s what teammates are for, but you shouldn’t need a handler for the entire trip. Get to places on time, know what the schedule is, have your gear together, and bring appropriate clothing for the weather. Some derby folk go on trips and become perpetually helpless. Be the opposite of that! Volunteer to help with driving, or gas up the car. If I’m driving that trip, I’ll probably say no to sharing the driving unless I’m exhausted, and I’ll only ask for gas money. Most people are like that. Also, if you’re driving late into the night with your teammates, try not to be ignorant and fall asleep when the driver is trying to stay awake! It’s so helpful to have someone there talking to you when you’re driving. If you have more than two passengers in the car, take turns!
7. Bring earplugs for your roommates if you snore. It’s ok. Sometimes people snore or talk in their sleep; when I travel and my sinuses dry out due to an airplane or crazy hotel air conditioning, I snore. It happens. You can soften the blow by bringing complimentary earplugs with you for your teammates. I always buy a pack of them and stick them in my travel bag, along with Benedryl and various aches and pains medicine. You’ll be a lot more popular if you offer a solution to a problem you’re bringing to the table.
8. Share your food. When I go on a trip, I assume that the food I pack is going to be communal property. That way I’m not going to get annoyed if I wake up one morning and find that someone has eaten two slices of my bread and had some of my low sugar peanut butter. Heaven forbid! I make an announcement at the beginning of the trip and say “Hey, this is for everyone. Please just let me have a couple of sandwiches’ worth by the end.”
9. Poop downstairs in the lobby bathroom. Hey, if someone is going to blow up the bathroom right before you have to take a shower, wouldn’t you like it if they went somewhere else to do it? Is it just me? Really? Moving on.
10. Turn off your cell phones at night, or at least put them on silent. Once again, it can be hard for people to sleep in a new place, and if you have your cell phone set to buzz, chirp or ring every time someone on Facebook updates the food they just ate, it’s probably going to wake someone up. You might be used to the sounds your phone makes, but the rest of us aren’t.
I am kidding a little about some of these things, but I’ve discovered in my five years of derby that if you can minimize the drama over everyday conflicts, you can make a road trip way more enjoyable.