At my old league one person asked, “What is a good level of emotional involvement in derby?” Some of us gave our answers. As a league, our favorite answer was “7.” (Thanks Brawler D Lite) My answer was, “be a good girlfriend to derby — have an outside life so that not every little thing on-skates ruins/makes you.”
Which led me to the thought, “what makes a good girlfriend?” This question came up last night when my real-life gf and my new derby friend and I went out. My new friend said she tells all prospective partners that they have to understand, “derby is my primary partner.”
SOOOOO …. What does [sexist, awful, I know] AskMen.com say makes a good girlfriend? (I could have picked any woman-hating magazine on the Internet, this was done by Google search) Well, I’m taking their top 10s and derby-fying them. I present: 10 traits that make a great girlfriend [to roller derby]!
10. She’s independent. So this goes to the heart of what I wrote above. Derby needs you to have other things going on in your life. If every committee vote and play on the track makes or breaks your day/week/year, Derby is going to feel a little … strangled to death. It hurts the relationship.
9. She’s intelligent. Duh. How is this number 9 on this list? Derby needs you to be a smart lady, making great choices on the track, in your committee and off the track (nutrition, cross training, etc). Derby smart people watch footage (develop common interests with Derby!), implement what they learn in practices, etc.
8. She’s sexual. Hahahahahahahahaahahahahahahaha! So, for your relationship with derby we’re going to have to adjust “be sexual” to “be a loving partner.” Being loving is important, firstly to yourself. You have to be kind to yourself. If you’re not loving to your skater-self, skating will be less fun. Derby needs you to be loving to your teammates too, because people who are loving are, according to sex columnist Dan Savage: Giving, Game, Good. You have to have the basic skills to be good at derby (not be great, but be willing to practice what will make you a good player), Game to try anything — new skills, new drills, new plays, and giving (of your time, your advice, yourself).
7. She’s beautiful. When I think what makes people beautiful, I often think of smiles and eyes. And I think part of what makes smiles and eyes so beautiful is that is where we can see happiness in a person’s heart. So, to me, being beautiful to Derby means to find and express your joy. My favorite players are the ones who look like they are having the time of their lives while in skates.
6. She respects you. This is a lot like #10. Derby needs its space from you. That, in part, is respect. But respect also means devoting quality time to derby, respecting your body, respecting the rules and the refs and showing respect for your teammates.
5. She lets you be a man. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I like this list, as a derby list. She let’s you be a man … well Derby, let’s see …. [making something up…. ummmmmm]. Yeah, I’ve got nothing. So here is AskMen’s super sexist “how to be a good woman, bitch make me a sandwich” description of how you should let your partner [Derby] be a good man…
“Do not — I repeat — do not get involved with a woman who tries to get you to eat cottage cheese and fruit for breakfast and insists that you give up poker night with the guys. You will end up resenting her more than you can imagine. A good girlfriend lets you be a guy in all your glory, poker night and all. If she’s a great girlfriend, she’ll even bring you and your buddies a couple of beers and make you some of her famous sandwiches.”
What the fuck.
4. She doesn’t nag. I’d rather phrase this rule as “picks battles wisely.” And that’s important. To be a good girlfriend to derby you can’t nitpick every little thing. That means sometimes in your committee meetings you let things go that you think could be done differently. You don’t nag your teammates who don’t understand something, you explain it to them kindly. And you don’t nag (beat yourself up) yourself for things you could of/should have done, you just resolve to be a better athlete. And then you do that.
3. She gets along with family and friends. Derby’s friends and family include: refs, NSOs, fans, coaches. Being a good girlfriend to Derby means being nice to those people who help make derby happen where you are.
2. She loves you. Awwww! Love the sport!
1. She makes you want to be a better man. What would make Derby want to be a better sport? Trying the new ruleset and supporting it. Giving great feedback to your league about changes in the sport. Watching the game and financially supporting leagues by buying merch, bout tickets. And by being the best player you can be elevates the sport that little bit.