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Published on February 13th, 2013 | by Hot Quad


The Pursuit of Derbyness: There Will Be Email

In the year it took me to learn how to skate, eventually join a league and be drafted to a team I read all the books I could find about derby. I scoured for tidbits of what league membership would be like. I spent countless hours talking to skaters about what to expect and how to be ready but even with all that time and effort there was one thing I wish I had been told and it had nothing to do with skating.

There will be email. Lots of email.

From my ever distractible and chatty teammates:
*ping* Who has the tablecloth for the fundraiser?
*ping* When and where is our next meeting?
*ping* Can we all get shiny purple helmets?
*ping* Mine isn’t shiny.
*ping* I have shiny hot pants.
*ping* I got a sewing machine last week.
*ping* I’m not any good at sewing.
*ping* I have an awesome new water bottle.
*ping* You guys are like ferrets with shiny objects. FOCUS!

From the marketing committee of which I am a lead:
*ping* How can we promote ticket sales?
*ping* What worked last year?
*ping* Facebook has changed their algorithm again.
*ping* Who has all the banners?
*ping* Did anyone follow up with that sponsor?

From my mother: Call me.

From my friends: You never blog anymore. Why aren’t you writing?

I am writing. I have the half-conceived layouts of poignant lessons learned and thoughts to be shared buried somewhere in my Google Drive in between the 2013 budget and the updated WFTDA rule set. I’m writing carefully worded emails to the merch committee, the skater relations committee, and the board of directors. There are kinks to be worked out, philosophies to be explored and the ever pressing scarcity of time and money to be dealt with.
*ping* The logistics will never work.
*ping* Your ideas are impractical and out of line with the history of this organization.
*ping* I hate everything about this.

There have been over 3,000 messages on over 500 threads in the past thirty days leading up to our first bout of the season. On the rare evenings off from skating I sometimes shudder to pick up my Android, knowing full well that somewhere between 2 and 15 new threads probably await and any one of those could demand immediate attention once read…

*ping* I need a decision on this today.
*ping* Approve or edit?

…and yet on the days when there’s nothing at all I have to admit that I stare at the phone, browse through my Facebook news feed and wish for some communication that’s meant for my own eyes. In a world where so much content is simply reposted and recycled I’ve suddenly gained access to a constant pipeline of innovation and community with a group of women who are ever more ‘my people.’

*ping* Wedding dresses!
*ping* Who’s up for lunch downtown?
*ping* Hedwig and the Angry Inch tonight!
*ping* What went well at our last scrimmage?
*ping* Which wheels do you use?
*ping* What’s your favorite derby video?
*ping* I’m going to high five you in the face!
*ping* Ferrets. Shiny objects. All of you.

The email is equal parts overwhelming, frustrating, gratifying and unifying. There have been times of despair when it seems that all I can do is throw my hands up and declare defeat in the face of what appear to be impossible hurdles burdened by 1000 different ideas on how to make them right. One wonders whether all the effort is worth whatever incremental progress can be gained or whether success is even within our grasp. Then a miracle happens. The season begins. The seats are full. The after party is fun. The programs sell.

*ping* I love this team.
*ping* Thank you for all that you do.

…and I’m hooked.

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