Do you know who designed the flier for your last bout? Or who made up the program? Or who booked the venue, arranged the ticket sales, updated the website, put your name on the IBRF (do you know what the IBRF is?), advertised your debut on the radio, put up fliers, took down those fliers, arranged interviews with the local campus, announced your bout, refereed your team, took down stats for paperwork (which means your league can remain WFTDA), put together your gift packet, made contact for your travel bout, or arranged your NSOs?
If you answered “yes” to the above, please enjoy this faery-kitten and move along:
Did you answer “no?”
Find them. Be one of them. At least know who they are, because they made this happen for you.
Did some mysterious derby unicorns train up the new girls, gather equipment for beginners, arrange everything down to the bucket of temporary tattoos in your locker room, put your headshot on something, make all those awards, or take that picture you are using as your header pic on FaceBook? The scoreboard doesn’t magically update itself, does it? The stats are manufactured out of thin air, right? Where did these mystical beasties come from? KNOW.
Join the secret legion of unicorns.
Thank them. They’re your league-mate, or an injured skater who still wants to be a part of this machine, or a derby widow, or a new girl, or a superfan. Without you telling them that their efforts are appreciated, they will fade away. It is apparently much easier to say “you’re doing it wrong” than it is to just say “thank you!”
Everyone loves love and about zero* people like to have someone screaming in their face.
If you deign to complain about anything on your league, literally anything, let me tell you a secret: you can change it. That’s the magic of “grass-roots:” as long as you’re being reasonable and put your time in, things can be just as you imagined. It’s a “we,” not a “them;” an “ours” not a “theirs.”
Roller derby is a machine and it has lots of parts. Machines only work when all of those parts function in unison. It is a team sport in every imaginable aspect. It’s not smoke and mirrors; it’s people doing things for the greater good. What is a grass-roots movement without participation? Woodstock ’99, that’s what (it was a terrible time, children).
If you don’t like something and you don’t actually know the amount of absolutely time-consuming effort that went into training for a position, designing something, arranging something, then probably don’t write a scathing email or talk mad shit. You don’t know what you’re talking about and you are shitting on someone who decided to take their own spare time and use it for you. It’s not just someone knowing about a secret button and pressing it and out pops your bout; it’s loads of people foregoing sleep, obsessing over details, and trying to make something perfect for you out of love.
Find out how that thing works, get involved, help out, make polite suggestions, ask questions, get in there, be a part of it. This is your sport. This is your league. This is our hobby. Make it wonderful out of love for your sport and your league. It is all about you, but you are part of us. Let’s make it awesome together.