Monday, June 20, 2011

Make sure you can chew what you've bitten!

Ah, to be a derby girl! There's nothing quite like it! Hard hits during a game, followed by hard drinking at the after party - fun, right? Everyone, in their secret heart of hearts, wants to be a badass! So you scour the internet for information on tryouts and start haunting the local roller rink at every opportunity. You buy yourself some fishnets, start planning that tattoo you've always wanted, and fantasize about your new rock star image. The day finally comes - you go to tryouts and skate your guts out. A few days later you get the call: you're a roller girl!!!

But pretty soon you realize something. Roller derby isn't always fun. Sure there's body aches, bruises, strains, and sore muscles, but you expected that! What you didn't realize is how much WORK goes into the business of running a league.

Don't get me wrong - roller derby is worth it! But as a grassroots phenomenon, it takes a huge amount of time and effort from everyone involved. Most people recognize this isn't a professional sport. Generally the players, officials, and trainers don't get paid. We do this in our spare time, working it in around everything else keeping us busy in our lives: from spouses and children to school and work. What most people DON'T realize is that making roller derby happen is not just a matter or practicing a few times a week and playing games. Nearly everyone in the league wears more than one hat. To give you an idea, here are examples from some of the Furies:

BLITZ VIXEN is on the Training Committee, the Rules Committee, and is a trainer/line coach for the Junior Gems (the local youth league). She has just exited her positions in the Sponsorship Committee (Sponsor Liason) and Bout Production Committee (Signage).

RePSYCHO is on the Bout Production Committee, responsible for overseeing the creation of bout posters and program inserts, as well as the season program. She is our Sustainability Coordinator, making our bouts green by providing recycling and composting at games and by printing all bout materials on post-consumer recycled content paper. She is part of the Training Committee, helping train our newest skaters (Bloomin' Doom). In addition, she's part of the Sponsorship Committee, developing sponsorship relationships.

APHROFIGHTY is one of the Captains and is Head Pivot for the Flat Track Furies. She's also on the Hospitality Committee, welcoming visiting teams. She's the outgoing Director of the Junior Gems (still transitioning to the new Director), plus an occasional trainer for the Gems.

VEXINE just finished her term as a Captain for the Furies. She's currently our den mom and a Furies coach/trainer. She's a member of the Board of Directors for the league. She's on the Training Committee as well, training Doom.

JENESIS O'SIN is our brilliant blog mistress. She's the Head of Training rep for the Furies on the Training Committee, plus she leads Bloomin' Doom, All-League, and B-Team practices. She's the liaison for visiting skaters and potential transfer skaters from other areas. She's also the Furies' interleague liaison, organizing games with teams from other leagues, including contract negotiation and gathering insurance information.

TERRIN SKIRTZ is the Furies rep for both Attendance Panel and the Bitch Patrol (the league's mediation panel).

FRANKIE FACEBREAKER is the outgoing Director of the Sponsorship Committee, where she oversaw the entire committee, plus recruited sponsors and maintained sponsor relations.

F-BAUM is our league ombudswoman, which means she coordinates the Bitch Patrol and sits on the Grievance Panel as needed. She's also a trainer for the Junior Gems.

KATARINA VAN ROTTEN is our other current Furies Captain. She's on ECRG's Board of Directors (which leads to many other league responsibilities). She's the Travel Team's Secretary. In addition, she is on the Training Committee, helping with Doom training. She occasionally trains the Junior Gems as well.

MEDUSA HARM is responsible for our bout posters, including coordinating volunteers for poster distribution, maintaining the list of poster locations, and distributing posters in several neighborhoods not covered by other volunteers.

LADY LUMPS finished her term as ECRG's president, but keeps herself busy on the Board of Directors, the Bout Production Committee, and the PR Committee. She's also Secretary for the Furies, our announcer liaison, and most importantly, is our team's choreographer.

DIEZASTER is the league's Merchandise Coordinator, is on the Bout Production Committee, and is the Furies' Team Sponsorship Director. Previously, she's been on the Rollerball Committee and a bout volunteer.

SUGAR HOOKER is our team's Ticket Wrangler. For every bout, she's responsible for distributing tickets to the team for sale, and later collecting the money and unsold tickets.

KIKI O'KEISTER (that's me!) is on the Bout Production Committee as the league's Ticket Maven, ordering and distributing all bout tickets. I'm also on the Training Committee helping to train Doom.

Some of our busiest teammates aren't represented above (I didn't have complete lists for them). So here's a partial list:

-Blue Ruin rules over the Training Committee and is responsible for organizing the league's practice schedule, which is a HUGE job, among many other things.

-Noble Savage keeps Attendance for both the Furies and the entire league, and is the Merch Person and is on the Grievance Panel for the Furies.

-Boldy Knocks has been our Bout Director, a position she's happy to be passing to new hands. She's also currently on the Training Committee.

-Stormbird is our team's Treasurer.

Roller Derby is fun and fantastic. The punk rock awesomeness is still there: I love flashy socks and my tattoos. But roller derby is far more time consuming than one might expect at first glance, and very hard work (not just of the muscular kind). Just remember that roller derby is definitely worth it. And all that stress can be worked out on the track - goodness knows there's nothing more therapeutic than beating the snot out of your best friends!

Yours cruelly,

KiKi O'Keister