Smile! You play roller derby.

I love scrolling through my Facebook feed to see all the derby players excited about practice. Of course, this is usually because they had horrible days and just need to hit somebody… legally. At least, they are enthusiastic about something.

Enthusiasm is important to all aspects of roller derby. No one likes to show up to practice with a bunch of grumpy teammates. Likewise, no one wants to see a bout or hang around derby players who aren’t excited about what they do.

Flyon Maiden photographed by Melissa Renaud
Flyon Maiden photographed by Melissa Renaud

Houston Roller Derby’s Flyon Maiden is  great example of how enthusiasm can change a practice. I don’t think she knows how do anything without excitement. Last Sunday, she led the league in drills. Every drill’s explanation included dramatic and joyous gestures and sound effects. She was so excited about every drill that the rest of us couldn’t help but get excited as well. Of course, we should expect this from a teammate who once decided to wear onesies to 11 consecutive practices.

Day 11
Day 11

Enthusiasm with fans is also important. Savannah Derby Devils have a reputation for being the nice team. This used to mean they didn’t play aggressively, (an aspect they really worked to overcome while I was there) but it also means they LOVE their fans. They get excited when people spot them in public. They get excited when fans ask for autographs and pictures after bouts. They want everyone to be just as passionate about their team and the sport as they are. You can’t achieve this without enthusiasm.

Is practice becoming a dreary experience that you wish would end soon? Does every bout feel like the worst job you aren’t getting paid for? Maybe it’s time to get excited about derby again. Talk to your teammates and coaching committee about ways to get your league excited to play. Realize that the fans are judging roller derby and your team on how you present yourself. Get enthusiastic!


4 thoughts on “Smile! You play roller derby.

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  1. After experiencing a couple of consecutive mild concussions I found myself praying I would just make it through practice. Trainers like Flyon who don’t sweat the small stuff and Captains that make me laugh like when Mistilla told me the drill wasn’t a square dance and Heidi taking a second to sweetly cup my face and say, “no more ballerina piroettes”… It all just makes me laugh and remember… its only a game!!!

  2. I rarely, if ever, have anything to do with derby practice unless it’s a scrimmage or I’m skating in a ref lane for endurance. However it is quite amusing to see skater’s attitudes change from when they walk in the door. The troubles and drama from their day come off as their skates and gear come on. Sometimes they don’t shake it all off and keep it during practice but it just fuels their hits and blocks. That seems to knock the remainder of their grumpiness away.

    In all the different leagues I’ve had the privilege to ref or attend, from San Antonio to Lafayette and points in-between, I can’t say I’ve seen a single skater grumpy or in a bad mood from start to end.

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