The Lessons that Derby Has Taught (or Reinforced for) Me

November 7th, 2013 | 0 comments
Honey Nut Fury-Os

Fury strikes a pose for her headshots.

I decided to come to Fresh Meat in May of 2013 and haven’t looked back since. In that short time, I’ve learned some valuable lessons.  What’s that, you say? You want to hear them? Well, okay then. Behold: the magic of derby and life, unlocked here for you and your reading pleasure!

1. We all have strengths and weaknesses.

This is true in any setting, but it has become especially evident for me as I look at life through the lens of derby.  Maybe I can’t turn to the inside all that well yet, but I am a pretty stable skater.  I can’t do backwards crossovers, but I have good track awareness.  Some people are amazing jammers.  Some people hit like a truck.  Some people are great Mama Hens, who can guide their teammates to the places they need to be. Together, we are all part of a team, and we all get better by watching the people around us.  The same goes for people behind the scenes, which brings me to…

2. Everyone’s experience–socially and athletically–is different.

We all have friends in and outside of derby.  Some people form instant friendships at derby and hang out in different settings all the time.  They might even have derby wives (derby wife=your best derby friend). Others go to practice and love to skate, but have other obligations elsewhere (jobs, children, families, etc).  You can drive as hard you can in practice, fall down and take hits, and feel exhausted (but also, remarkably stress free!) at the end of the night, or you can simply come and watch and learn (sometimes you have to ask first, but still–ask!).  No matter the amount of space in your life for something else, there is a place for you here.  What if you only have a few extra hours a month?  You can come to Fresh Meat or NSO at bouts or serve on a committee.  What if you are terrified of skates?  First, we can help with that, but second, guess what?  You can STILL be involved. We have team members who do not skate in bouts or practices. It is still a valuable and fascinating experience to be a part of the team. And the team takes lots of people to go around…

3. Running a team is hard work.

There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes.  As a Fresh Meat skater it is a challenge to see the whole picture all at once. So here I am

Honey Nut Fury-Os

Fury skates hard as jammer for the Downtown Maulers in this season’s IntraLeague bout | Photo courtesy of Dan “Jugglenaut” Purdy

*click* taking one for you.  From finding sponsors to scheduling bouts, from working on finding that ever-elusive place to skate to building teams and training athletes, refs, and NSOs, there are some seriously hardworking people on this team (and all skater-owned derby teams) who put in hours to make the operation run seamlessly. We have management and committee heads and everyone pitches in. Once you join a committee, and then become a member and gain access to the forum, you will see (and read!) what I mean. At 8:00 AM, when I get the digest of posts from the forum, I get a little thrill of excitement as I see what kind of important stuff is going on and being shared in a true democratic spirit.  *Sigh* if only work went the same way…but actually…

4. Derby is real life, but it is also a microcosm of real life.

Just as in your life outside of derby, people play all different kinds of roles.  There are leaders, athletes, questioners, jokers, thinkers, problem solvers, funlovers, friends, mothers, sisters (even brothers and fathers–we have male refs!)–and, in many cases, many of these at once or in many different settings.  There are people you love, and people you might not get along with.  Sometimes, you feel a certain way about someone–maybe intimidated or indifferent–but over time and with more interactions, it changes to something more positive. This is life; it is beautiful and messy.  Embrace it: do derby.

Post by: Honey Nut Fury-Os

Leave a Reply