By: John “Fragglepuss” Evans
It joys me to see so many women coming together all over the world and making the sport of Roller Derby increasingly popular. It is such a unique group of people in that a derby girl can move across the country into an area where they do not know anybody and almost immediately make friends with a whole league of derby girls. It’s a worldwide club of people that are excited to accept new members from anywhere else that they may come from.
However, women’s Roller Derby is a sport full of opinionated women. Does anyone disagree with me? They are so accepting, yet egos and personalities can crash into each other like two freight trains hitting head to head if not kept in balance. I hate to see when leagues begin to fall apart due to poison being spread around via the derby drama. Gossip, backstabbing, and going rogue are all too common in derby leagues across the nation. Skater A doesn’t agree with Skater B and the poison begins to spread. Skater A doesn’t agree with their team captain and the poison begins to spread. Skater A disagrees with league management and the poison spreads like wildfire.
The drama can spread because of many reasons, ranging from discontent, to jealousy, to simply thinking that your way is better. The important thing to remember is that spreading the drama will not help. I don’t care what you think, like poking at an open wound, drama will just make the problem worse. Someone once told me, “Don’t complain if you are not going to do anything about it”. In other words, if there’s a problem, fix it! Rather than letting the wound fester, treat it so it heals. If team members are butting heads, make them work the problem out.
In the end, those in charge need to play a large part in minimizing the drama and making sure that their team/league is run like a well-oiled machine. League leaders and team captains are put in place so that they can effectively lead those that they are in charge of. It is everyone else’s responsibility to follow their lead. That being said, leaders also need to be the voice of those they are in charge of. A leader that goes rogue and doesn’t represent those they lead will not be an effective leader and will be given the boot if they consistently ignore the thoughts and opinions of their followers.
A team or league that has effective leadership will go infinitely further than one that is poorly run and results in mutiny. I have seen leagues with many talented skaters fall apart before because of egos and it is a sad sight. Although Roller Derby is a sport, it takes a lot more than simply playing the game to be successful. Like I mentioned before, Roller Derby is full of strong-minded women and keeping peace is such a difficult feat to accomplish. When it is done correctly, the sky is the limit.