Feb 132011
 

I’m about to do something taboo. Not like having sex with your twin taboo, but taboo nonetheless. I am about to admit, right here on the interwebs, that roller derby isn’t all camaraderie and fishnets. This may seem obvious, but we derbies are pretty protective of our sport and our teams and talking shit about either is just not what we do. Except when it is.

Don’t get me wrong. Roller derby is, indeed, one of the best things that ever happened to me. But it’s not just because it made me get into shape and gave me a brand new group of girlfriends. It’s also because my love affair with derby caused me to completely ignore and/or destroy other parts of my life and the lessons I’ve learned from my derby sisters, both positive and negative, have forced me to grow as a person. We derbies sometimes like to think of our world as this fabulous feminist utopia in which women from all different backgrounds get together to kick ass. Which it is. Except when it’s not.

Sociologists love derby for its sexy feminism, acceptance of seemingly contradictory ideas about beauty, femininity, and athleticism, and the way it bonds women over something besides stuff. Bigger girls are prized blockers. Skinny bitches can kill you with a can opener. These women actually want to have big booties, and they’re not scared to show them off in the tiniest panties ever. These women will be there when you need them. They’ll help you move, be your shoulders to cry on, and even hold your hair back while you vomit. Except when they won’t.

In my year plus playing, I have made more girlfriends then I’ve probably ever had before in my life. I’ve bonded with doctors, lawyers, hippie theater types, conservative engineers, Catholics, students, teachers, and motorcycle riding instructors. Every one of them has taught me something, and as a whole, knowing them has taught me how much difference can be brushed aside. I have never experienced such a profound sense of belonging with  a group of women.

On a personal level, I never would have survived the past year without my team. When my husband left and I needed a place to stay, where was it? At a derby’s house. When I totaled my car and needed a ride, who picked me up? A derby. When I had to move everything I own in twelve hours for under a hundred bucks, who helped me? Derbies. My team has been there for me in ways that are above and beyond the call of on-the-track camaraderie.

The thing is that that’s not the end of the story. There’s just more to it than that. Because who do you think it was that gossiped about the demise of my marriage and said extremely unflattering and unforgiving things about me? A derby. Who said she was a friend and fled at the first sign of personal weakness? A derby. Who made me feel like shit about my lack of derby engagement when my life was falling apart and I was sitting at home with a broken hand? A derby. Who made out with my girlfriend after the after party? You better believe it was a derby. Did these experiences effect how I relate to my team and perform on the track? I want to say they didn’t, but they did.

So, what does this tell you about roller derby? Not much, really. It’s a complicated culture is all. Just like it can’t be reduced to a catty little world in which attention-seeking sex kittens kick each other’s asses, it also can’t be upheld as a perfect example of what happens when women support each other unconditionally. There’s no unconditional in roller derby. There’s only conditioning. Roller derby is a world that you must be acclimated to. So, if you’re new and in the first blush of your derbyverse crush and you think the magic will last forever, it won’t. But if you’re a bitter pro who’s been around for years and can’t get it up to smile at the girl on the track next to you, you’re not just part of the problem. You’re also the solution.

Don’t worry, I’m not gonna get all rah-rah, “we can all get along if we just work together” on you. That shit is for cheerleaders. Recognizing that we are not all going to get along all the time is a step towards being able to work together. There is simply no way that women from physically, economically, socially, and politically diverse backgrounds are going to get along all the time. People are not going to fucking agree with you all the time. You are going to be on a team with people of varying ages, levels of ability, and commitment. Fucking deal with it.

At some level, being an athlete on a team isn’t just about working well together on the track, it’s about working well, period.  It’s hard to work well on the track with a girl who just bit your head off because her girlfriend didn’t call her back today or because you wanted a black uniform jersey and she wanted blue. It’s hard to respect the girl talking if she never shuts up when you have something to say. None of these things would be okay in any professional situation, and if you’re like most roller girls and you want derby to become a respected professional (or at least well-sponsored amateur) sport, then you’re going to have to start acting like it already is one.

That old saying that there’s no “I” in team is a load of shit. That’s the problem with teams, there’s a whole fucking bunch of  ”I”s and only the one little “we”. It’s simply not possible to ignore that teams are composed of individuals. But individuals need to realize that, in the team setting, everyone’s participation is equally important. Obviously, some players are better than others, but the best players are few and the spaces in between them are filled with girls who are just good. Shit, maybe they’re only okay. But, if only the best players on the team get props, they’re going to be the only motivated players. Do you really want your weaker players to also be less motivated?

Team practices should motivate everyone, and it’s your job to help make that happen, even if you’re not in charge. If you don’t think it’s your job, you shouldn’t be on a team. That’s not just about how you behave at practice, either. Talking shit about your team mates in a small social circle is fucking stupid. Save it for your derby widow. Save it for your mom or your best friend. Save it for your cat. Because that girl who you’re judging out loud to another team mate is gonna find out about it somehow. Hopefully, when she jams, she’ll still know she can trust you to block the big bitches from knocking her over and she won’t be all nervous about playing with you. Hopefully, when you jam and she’s sharking in the back she’s still gonna protect you to the best of her ability. But really, why risk it?

Roller derby is voluntary and it should be fun. But it’s the kind of fun that’s a lot of work. Not just physical work, either. It takes a lot of emotional effort to be part of something bigger than yourself. If you want it to work, then you’re going to have to let go of your ego a little bit. You’re gonna have to let go of some of your “I wish” and “I want” and take a look at what “we need”. We, your team mates, need you to shut up and smile sometimes even if you’re the kind of girl who calls it how she sees it. We need you to not call the new girl a bitch when she trips you. We need to know that if we’re not as good as you, we can only get better with your help. We need to know we can trust you, on and off the track, if not to be a friend, at least to not be an enemy.

That was a lot of words, my derby friends, and I’m not sure all of them were necessary. Sometimes I get on a rant and just can’t stop, especially when it comes to derby. I’m sure you know what I mean. If it seems like I’m trying to uphold myself as an expert on team mate-ship, I’m not. Honestly, I’m just trying to figure it out. I’m not a joiner and I’ve never been on a team before. And I am guilty of all the things I’ve ranted against. But I’m trying to be a better player, both physically and psychologically. So, if I snapped at you when you were new and just trying to be nice, I’m sorry. If you heard that I said that you were kind of a slut, sorry. Your sex life is none of my business. If I wasn’t welcoming when you were a clumsy new girl, sorry, I’m a bitch.

On the other hand, if I told you to stop apologizing or stop crying or to get the fuck up off of the ground, well, I’m not sorry for that. That, my friends, is just the game. If you’re not ready to play, you’re a liability. My goal this season is to support all the girls who come to practice ready to play and to try to ignore the ones who don’t. My goal is to try to have something nice to say and to shut up when I can’t. My goal is to not talk shit to anyone but those closest to me (gotta be realistic), and to make sure I don’t work myself up into any grudges that effect my behavior at practice. My goal is to let go of any grudges I already have. My goal is to keep my ego in check and to think not about what RSRD can do for me, but what I can do for RSRD.

Hey, also check out Villainelle’s follow up post, “Overcoming the Dark Side of Roller Derby, Pt. II: This Feminist Darkness“.

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  52 Responses to “Overcoming The Dark Side Of Roller Derby”

  1. Fuckin love this m/
    I’m so glad that theres someone else out there that Derby has affect not only in a good way, but bad to…
    In the begining Derby saved me in so many ways, but ended up nearly destroying me…
    It’s taken me over a year to pick myself back up and try getting back into Derby again…
    Those bunch of fuckin I’s and what I thought were friends have a lot to answer for…

    Serious Kudos for this post
    Love it
    xXx

  2. love this, lived a little too much of it, going back for more. Hurts so good

  3. Thank you for saying what needs to be said. This should be required reading for anyone involved in derby.

  4. that’s a really great write-up about the post-derby crush! thanks for the heads-up

  5. omg A-FUCKIN-MEN! WELL PLAYED MY FRIEND….WELL PLAYED.

  6. thanks for all the props, y’all. i’m feeling a whole lotta that eyes-wide-open derby kind of love, and i am so digging it.

  7. Very wise words. It’s what we all know and live, but don’t talk about. Derby creates alot of passion, and that swings to the pros and the cons. When you have that many females trying to work together, of course there will be drama. Like you said, fucking deal with it! I LOVE derby!!

  8. oh so true.. brutiful!
    sigh.. and tonight is one of those practices…

  9. I totally agree with most of what you said,
    there are definatly pros and cons to derby..
    and I’m glad someone has the balls to talk about both sides!

  10. Wow. Thank you so much for this. Sometimes I think I’m a bit delusional in thinking my old league is just a bunch of bitches with no girl skills, who are heartless and talked behind my back- saying some of the most hurtful things that have probably ever been said to me… is the only league that is like that. I plan on moving to another city, for school, at some point and taking up derby again. And when I visit other leagues it seems that everything is great and positive, but after I read this- I realize, that idea of “unconditional derby love” is a dream. There are so many things that are great about derby, they definitely outweigh the negative. I’m such a strong, better person for having spent years playing derby.
    I miss the way it felt when I was new. I wish, or wonder, if there is a way to balance it.

    I’ll find out whenever I relocate and hopefully join a new league. Maybe the second time around, I’ll know what to keep to myself and what to ‘show’.

    It’s a shame though that I crave the sport so much, yet I feel like I can never go back and be truly, 100% myself.

    Maybe women in derby [I can't comment on the dynamics of merby], is a hyperactive/over the top version of regular female relationships/groups.
    There for you- when yes, you need to move in a bad situation or when you blow a tire out on the side of the road- when a family member dies, etc.
    But one too many drinks at a crazy afterparty and you’re an alcoholic, or that one girl that just can’t seem to ‘keep a boyfriend’ because she’s x, y, or z, or let’s all talk about how so and so is a huge cokehead but nobody actually reaches out to help her. I’ve seen all that, and it is disheartening. After a couple of years ‘gone’, I scrimmaged with a new league recently that is fresh enough that there isn’t a whole lot of drama…. and it was one of the most freeing, happiest moments I have had in years.

    Sometimes I felt like I was the only person who felt this way, and it’s just -me-. It is nice to see that at least a few others, maybe other bitter ol’ vets, have some [at least] similar feelings.

    I was sent this link from an old derby friend, and I’ll definitely continue reading. You really expressed a lot of what I had been feeling. So, thank you for that.

  11. Hey, BlargityBlargh – I’m with you 100%. I miss derby so much. Maybe, one day, if I move, I’ll give it another shot. I hear the atmosphere in my old league got a lot better after certain people left. But… I still don’t feel like I can go back.

    trACDC, thank you for this post!

  12. I love this. I’m from Hub City Derby Dames, and this is really true. Roller derby has helped me a lot since I started.. I lost weight, I changed bad habits, I got confident, and I made new friends. But it has led to heartbreaks (boyfriend slept with my derby wife). This helps me to get over and try to move on. If she decides she wants to come back, I could be okay. Thank you!

  13. This is an absolutely amazing piece. You’ve put into words so many feelings that so many derbies have and it feels good to be able to own something with words. I always felt like the phrase “derby drama” demeaned the actual feelings and things that go on within leagues, or like it just doesn’t tell even a quarter of all the stories, your post encapsulates SO much more and really hits the nail on the head. I really appreciate you writing this and talking about something that happens all the time but no one seems to want to openly discuss anyway.

  14. I’m fresh meat and have to say I’m glad to read this. It’s still all sunshine and lollipops, but it didn’t seem realistic to me that it will be like that forever. I won’t worry so much if a little bubble gets burst now and then. Thanks!

  15. I’ve been talking shit about a team-mate…..stopping now….grr…thanks for the reality check!

  16. The f*ckin BEST.

  17. I really enjoyed reading this, I too felt like I was the only one who has ever felt negative towards derby and that there was something wrong with me.
    the hardest part for me was after devoting many years to my league and team, when life got tough and was having major financial problems and had to get a 2nd job and could only make 2 of the 3 practices a week. I got told that i either had to change my work schedule or quit derby.
    I ended up quitting derby. my job is what payed for my house and put food on my table….and payed my derby dues!
    now its like i was never there, and all the derby best friends i had made “lost my #”
    the heart break over derby is so bad. I want to go back to derby, perhaps in another city. but its been a few years now and I know I’m not at the skill level i was and well I’m afraid to love derby again.

  18. Schpanx for sharing, so true so true, Derby has helped me not only get into shape when I didnt realize I was actually exercising, but give me a sense of belonging and be part as a team playa. I wasnt comfortable and never bonded with gals b4 I was more one of the guys, so to speak, Derby has helped me get outta that comfort zone, and form a bond with my fellow ladies, as well as learn 2 sk8, enjoy, kick ass and take names!

  19. There’s a lot of truth here and its important to talk about stuff like this. I have 2 thoughts on the topic:
    1) not all lessons learned from derby are learned together. Dealing with personal challenges and growing from them is one of the most valuable things we get out of the sport.
    2) derby will eat you alive, spit out the bones and move on to the next person if you don’t have your OWN goals and set your focus on them.

  20. Thank you for writing it. Just… yeah. Nailed it.

  21. Hannah, I couldn’t agree more that you get what you want out of derby by knowing what you want from it, and that a lot of what you take away comes from introspection, from acknowledging and dealing with your own personal struggles and demons. That’s kind of the topic of my next post.

  22. awesome job…

  23. I enjoyed reading the article. I agree with many of the points made. In my 2.5 years of playing derby, I’ve noticed that many people who experience a ton of drama are the ones who invite it into their lives. I’m not saying that this is the case for any of the above commentators or the writer…just something I’ve noticed in my own league.

    I dated a ref, and it didn’t end with roses and buttercups. Did I learn my lesson? Absolutely. When I yell at a teammate on the track, and it’s snarky, do I apologize? Absolutely. When I got into a fight on the track and disappointed my entire team, did I apologize for leaving them a skater short? I didn’t want to, but yes. I learned some hard lessons, but I contribute those lessons to personality clashes, my mistakes, and bad judgment.

    Nobody’s perfect, but often there’s a way to end drama (or the “bad stuff”) before it gets to a destructive place. It does take a ton of honesty and communication…and maybe even deciding that you don’t like a person, but that they are still your teammate.

    Anyway, I’ve never felt bitter towards derby. I’ve been angry at refs, skaters, teammates, and rivals, but I haven’t lost my derby crush. Derby may be a catalyst, but it’s rarely the problem. There is a dark side to derby, but there’s usually a dark side to pretty much everything. I remain pretty optimistic!

  24. This is a great post I feel you so much on this. I’ve been playing for a year and a half and it has been a roller coaster ride of extreme highs and lows. My team has inspired me, encouraged me and got me through some really hard times. And they have also talked shit about me, made me feel bad about about my skill level ( it seems like no matter how good or bad you are playing someone is going to make bitting comments about how you are doing). This year I decided I would no longer allow those things to affect me, last year my playing really suffered because I let drama seep into my confidence and weigh me down. I truly think derby is as much mental as It is physical and If you don’t believe in yourself out there on the track you will not play well. I know there is no way to stop the shit talking and undermining comments people make but I try to combat it with being positive and not taking everything people say so personally. I’ve come to realize that some of the more critical girls on the team are just as critical of themselves and that its quite possible I’ve said hurtful things to people without even thinking about it. I would be a liar if i said I never said anything negative about my teammates I have to keep in mind we are all capable of being gigantic assholes and we are all capable of being encouraging and honestly the latter takes a little more work sometimes but It is worth it if you want to have a successful team.

  25. Thanks- your goals are mine, just put into writing. I’m going to print them out and hang them up. This is a really great piece.

  26. Thank you for this post. I left derby a year ago. I won’t go into the details. But I will say that I became overwhelmed by the constant pull of everyone else being right and demanding me to fix things the way each person wanted it. There are only so many directions one can be pulled. I left because I felt the league would be better if I accepted the role of scapegoat so that they could pull it together and work together. I left because my friends made it very clear they were no longer my friends for upholding bylaws they wrote. The league is much better now. They are wonderful. I’m proud of them.

    But it still hurts. I loved derby, even the bad stuff. I always thought I’d leave with an injury or because I had another path to choose or because I simply stayed long enough. I didn’t think I’d leave because I had fallen and shattered into a million pieces. I hope that I can get over it and let it go. Because I don’t love derby anymore. And I miss that.

  27. If you haven’t, you all should watch _Hell on Wheels_. After watching the documentary, I will never complain about my league again…it’s pretty rough. The doc will put a lot of derby stuff in perspective.

  28. I have only played since Sept and I have already dealt with this since the beginning and I have almost quit several times but I love the sport so much I push past the feeling because someday I hope that it will change
    thanks for writing this

  29. the sadness of derby is when a team sport becomes a non team effort. I joined a FM team over a year ago. Being the newbie, I did suck and I wasn’t great. Long story short 6 months later I could do almost everything. then plateaued. no guidance no love no nothing..all the glitter an glam was gone with the coaches just saying “BRING IT” and I did..but what skills did I need how could I improve. where was that side of coaching. doesn’t it take a good leader to make a good derby gal. I had the attitude..I would never quit. I would always get up and it was the best thing in the world. But was TAKEN from me cause of “derby drama” some how a bad word got out about me from a bad practice I was labeled unstable, even though in the next few days my weaving drill was perfected and I could jump through the line in an out one step all the time, and nailed it. Still after that, was removed after my year so a hole group of Freshies just taken could have it…..I did not take up space I did not lack PASSION and I loved every moment even though yeah it was rough. Though all in all I deserved a chance but did not get that. Still I have to not give up. I love it. It’s me now. I will prevail.

  30. Fantastic post! You have some really fantastic insight and I’m happy to see thoughts that I know most of us have had in writing.

    For all the commenters talking about how your old league were bitches, I hope that you will reread and understand that part of the responsibility falls on you. It is ALL of our responsibilities to create as positive environment as we possibly can. Instead of holding grudges and concentrating on the past it’s time to get back in the saddle and create the environment that is good for everyone.

  31. Fucking awesome. If it’s not raw and honest, it shouldn’t be in a blog. This more than meets the criteria. Keep the keys at your fingertips. <3

  32. Wow. This is a keeper. Totally true all around.

  33. I am currently experiencing my first foray into the derbyverse with a team in NY. We’re a brand new team with a supposed “no drama policy.” You ma’am, have hit it directly on the head what is happening even with our small league of 25 skaters. I could bitch about it all day, but you’ve gone and done it better. Thank you for letting me know I am not going fucking crazy. I wish you luck on your season. Much derby <3.

  34. i am SO in luv with derby! as far as a male spectator can be. you are more than quite insightful. this sounds EXACTLY like Narcotics Anonymous and life in general (except when it doesnt).
    i love your ‘ take no prisoners style.
    thanx
    wayniac

  35. Absolutely loved this. No league is perfect.

  36. This is such a brave and accurate post! It’s true of all female sports I suspect. When I was in a synchronised ice skating team I felt distressed when we weren’t all harmonious and hair braidy. I wish I could’ve read this post then. I think girls take more time to learn that you can still be productive without everyone being BFFs. I guess it’s just the way we’re socialised. Thanks for putting this out there!

  37. thank you for sharing how we all feel!

  38. i understand and agree with most of what your saying. but in alot of leagues including mine, all that matters is the I’s and winning. along with the elite inner circle of our “management”.
    nobody was there during my divorce, when I came out, when I found out I had cancer, through multiple surgeries. not one of them. when I broke bones for them suffered concussions and contusions. went out of my way to be there 100% and give members I didn’t particularly like rides to practice because the whole is what counts. I was the fastest girl on the team for a long time, 25 laps in 234 appx. In the close to 4 years I skated for them only lost two. I laid girls out like you wouldn’t believe. but because of the utter lack of humanity on my teams part coupled with my desire to not be in traction ever again, I’m no longer actively bouting. and it sad. for everyone involved.

  39. Powerful shit lady . . . I think it’s sorta a rough fall once the honeymoon stage is over. I always say that derby is one of those things in life that makes you take a long hard look at your personality defects and you can either choose to change them and be apart of something bigger then you, or you leave. I’m very blessed to be on a league that has minimal drama and even more lucky to be on a team with a bunch of awesome chicks where our overall goal is to lift each other up.

    xo

  40. Great article, and really great comments, too. I’m loving reading all the stuff girls have posted and impressed with everyone’s insight and competent writing abilities (hard to come by on the internet sometimes.) I just wanted to maybe throw in another point that if a derby sister to comes to you with some drama, or any kind of shit talking, listen to her and maybe just chalk it up to venting. Everyone needs to vent, and sometimes we all say mean nasty things when we’re worked up… don’t betray your derby sister’s trust by ever repeating what she said to you in confidence.

    Everyone gossips, men and women, even if it’s not healthy we usually can’t help it. It is important to try not to gossip or talk shit about team mates but it’s also very important to keep in mind that when a derby sister says something to you she may not mean it. She may just be venting, she might think it over that night and realize it wasn’t a big deal and be totally over it the next day. If you go tell that other girl, or anyone, you’re simply creating a problem.

    So, of course, I agree people shouldn’t say anything nasty or unkind about their team mate’s but it’s going to happen from time to time, especially when everyone is around each other this much… it’s like a family. So, just like you wouldn’t want your parents to fight, don’t contribute to your team mates fighting. Just listen to them and understand that most of the bitching you hear is just frustration misdirected.

    But like you said, I could blab about derby all day and night. I’ve been in derby for almost 4 years, I try not to talk about that much because it sounds like boasting I think, or trying to one up someone else’s time in derby. I’ve seen many many ups and downs and many teams, and to the girls that have left teams and are hurt and confused and dismayed over the thought of joining another team… please, join another team. I was asked to leave a team, a team I loved dearly, and it absolutely crushed me. I know your pain. But then I moved to another town and I helped start another team, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    Damnit I was trying not to be one of those commentators with giant comments! But good work to everyone, always love and support your team mates! You just never know who is secretly going through a divorce or who just lost their job over derby. Every girl counts.

    You derby girls look for The Notorious B.I. Itch on the track!

  41. [...] I read this and it made me realize that I wasn’t alone in my feelings. It also made me take a step back and [...]

  42. Thank you for writing that. I needed to read that today.

  43. Very true! I need to share this with so many people!! Maybe I’ll be able to make it through the next few Team and Board meetings after all!!

    Luv Luv!

    ~Yankee

  44. Excellent read, I love complicated characters and plots…Good thing I’m hard to kill..The truth is within. You are realizing that the experts and the gurus aren’t any more intelligent than you are, and you may be more “wise” in the ways that matter. Trust what you know to be true, deep down in your heart. A thimble of common sense today is worth a ton of over-educated claptrap. Thank-you!

  45. Thank you for writing this. I remember looking for a forum for ex derby players when I left the league I helped found and there was nothing. It seemed like no one wanted to say anything negative about it for some reason, perhaps they felt guilty or didn’t want to whine idk but this article and the responses it garnered really made me feel less alone with my feelings. It crushed me when my league changed it’s priorities from the skaters to the scores, the crowd to the crown. It was sad, it still is sad and I miss it but can’t go back to what they’re doing. Yeah, my “bffs” never called and I was quickly labeled a quitter or whatever by girls I inducted, and it hurt. It still hurts.
    Anyhow thanks for putting this out there.

  46. I am so effing honored that this article struck a chord with so many people. Derby is a beautiful thing, and it should be honored in its complexity. Thanks to all of you who have read and shared your own stories and experiences! xoxo

  47. This is a great post thanks for the brutally honest yet awesome honesty you brought. :D

  48. This was brilliant, thank you.

  49. I’ve only JUST passed my test, but I already see people gossiping and trying to be political. I fully expected this to happen because I’ve been around large groups of women my whole life, but I am so glad that people seem to get along more than try to knock each other down emotionally. But there are days I want to tell people to shut up and skate.

  50. I enjoyed the article very much. I have been with a league steady for six months now, I took a leave earlier in the year for work before my leave I was there for about 3 months. Since coming back it has been a lot of ups and downs. The downs coming from me being critical to myself and also just seeming like I just don’t fit in?? My league ladies have recently picked their a team..I not being one of them. At first disapointed..but after a day I figured I just have to put my time in. But ..in the mean time do you just keep keeping on and doing what you have to do in practice and out of practice to get better and the main thing as a veteran skater..when is it that you decide yeah shes cool ..maybe now it is o.k. to acknowledge her? Just wondering. thanks.

  51. Sorry. I’ve seen too many skaters get berated for choosing to take time off of derby to raise their newborn child.
    There’s life outside of derby, and too many things that are more important than derby. Yes, there are.
    People need to make different choices, and if you’re not willing to drink the Kool Aid, or if some other part of your life needs to take precedent, then derby seems like it’s ready to spit you out.
    Derby is a HOBBY. It does not pay your bills. It is not your family and children. It is a huge time commitment. It can also be a huge support network. It can empower you. It can push you to do things you never thought possible. But it is a HOBBY. Once the hobby starts taking over your family and career and your future, you have to take a step back and reassess if you REALLY want that to happen.
    And, yes, it’s as cliquey as high school. I’ve seen skaters on teams that couldn’t keep up pack speed, while others who were middle range skilled who couldn’t get drafted, period.
    Derby is like several other groups I’ve been involved in. Some people want to take it too far. Those are probably the ones who are driving it forward faster than anyone else, but they’re also the reason why leadership positions have massive burnout rates.

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What is 5 times 5?