Sep 2015 07

My Love Letter to Those That Make It Happen

by Laur’n Disorder

Roller Derby representation in the mainstream media remains unfortunately predictable. Sometimes dubbed (mostly by me) the “By day/By night” phenomenon,  you can depend on media coverage of Roller Derby to focus exclusively on the skaters. All the flash and skill of the game, all the fun of the sport with the occasional (somewhat reluctant) nod to the athleticism and commitment of the players. People unfamiliar with the sport tend to focus solely on the game happening on the track.

The truth is the bout is the result of the tireless efforts of people who will often not get any of the glory. Leagues make the effort to recognise these people, they work like dogs and without them there is no Roller Derby. This is just my attempt to express my gratitude (in no particular order) to the following people:

The Non Skating Official (NSO)

These are the people you see around the edges of the track and clustered in the middle not wearing skates or team colours. In a screaming crowd they must remain totally neutral. They will be wearing what our league has lovingly termed ‘Beige Face’, the gently bland facial expression they must maintain even when their team is so fabulous they can’t stand it. These are the score keepers, the penalty trackers, the box timers. They need to know the rules, interpret what is happening on the track and react instantly. NSO’s can be ridiculously undervalued for the work they do, the bouts and tournaments we love would be impossible without them. Considering they do such vital work it must be really frustrating when they are left unacknowledged or worse are left to cop a lot of the flack.

As a role, NSO is also a great way to get to grips with the sport, but every week it can be a struggle to get enough people to have a proper scrimmage.

I would therefore like to thank the NSO’s for their quiet awesomeness.

Photo by Double Time Imagery

Referees

Team Zebra, where would we be without you?

In Roller Derby referees are a precious commodity. Many spend their nights and weekends travelling between different leagues training sessions, not to mention coaching skaters on the rules and checking we are all safe. These people work hard to keep on top of the intricacies of Derby, and believe me Roller Derby gets complicated. They can also be the subject of under appreciation and sometimes even outright hostility. Yes, there are very occasionally calls that as a skater you may not agree with. But there are also great calls, there are hours spent reviewing rules and training so that the game can function. I think that the referees can get a lot of negativity directed at them that they absolutely do not deserve.

Those that enforce rules are never popular but without them there is no Roller Derby, only girls on skates beating the crap out of each other.

I would therefore like to thank the Refs for their tough love.

 

The Committee

The Roller Derby world runs on committees. In S2D2, committee members are so good at their job it often appears effortless.

These are the people who spent hours upon hours sourcing venues, trainers, chairs, tape, equipment, endless jobs that all need to happen before anyone can even put on skates. People who dedicate themselves organising schedules, plans, events. People who will face a endless well-meaning feedback over any decision they make but are the only people willing to get up and make decisions. Committee work often seems thankless, even to those of us on the outside. It is not just the actual physical work that needs to be done but the management to get the best out of everyone, making all the tough decisions for the good of the league.

Without the Committee the league is just a group of people that don’t know when to meet and are without a venue.

I would therefore like to thank the Committee for their superhuman patience.

Training at Menai Indoor Sports Centre

The Trainers and Coaches

The people who go out of their way to see that we level up as a league, not just committing to their own training but putting in the time to help others. It’s easy to forget sometimes that the trainer or coach who might be pushing you more that you’re comfortable with is doing it because they believe you can do better. Every session requires hours of thought and preparation, even the most well planned session must be fully adaptable. These are the people who forgo their own training time to help others improve.

I would therefore like to thank the Trainers and Coaches for believing in us more than we sometimes do.

 

The Volunteers and Supporters

The families, friends, and allies. The people who pay to watch us bout, buy the merch, donate their time and skill, and provide an unwavering support that get us through. The people who bake goodies for cake stalls, work behind the counter selling, and the usually pay for a treat when their done. The people who convince friends and family to come see the awesome sport they follow, who make signs, sit for hours to cheer their teams.

I would therefore like to thank the Volunteers and Supporters for their ongoing commitment to the Darkside.

S2D2 Supporters

South Side, Strong Side!

 

There are more people than I’ve listed here (photographers, sponsors, charity partners, and venues all come to mind) that should be thanked more. I hope that we continue to benefit from their work, we should certainly take the time to express our gratitude!

Thankyou!