Get on Your Toe Stops and Stand Up to Bullying!

This upcoming February 26 is Pink Shirt Day, a campaign which recognizes that bullying is a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, communities, neighborhoods and all over the Internet. Bullying can touch people regardless of their age, at any point in their lives and yes, it even happens in roller derby. For the next week, February 24 – 28, Derby Frontier is calling open derby boys and girls everywhere to snap pictures while wearing pink either by themselves, or with their teams, while holding up a sign with a personalized anti-bullying message.

Send your pictures to admin@derbyfrontier.com and they will be posted to our Facebook wall and Twitter feed all week long. At the end of the week, all submitted photos will be added to a large mosaic picture that we plan to send to www.pinkshirtday.ca.

UPDATE (26/02/2014, 1:50 PM): Many have contacted us to ask if they can send their pink shirt photos in if they are not from Canada and the answer is: absolutely! We are thrilled to see the tremendous showing of support pouring in from all across the globe and we certainly encourage you to feel free send us your photos for inclusion in the Derby Frontier Pink Shirt Day Mosaic! Make sure to also tell us who you are where you are from as well!

DF Pink ShirtWill you join in by wearing pink this week and sending your photo in for the anti-bullying mosaic? Do you have a story about being bullied in roller derby or any other sport, how you stopped a bully or about how bullying has affected a teammate or friend? Share your experiences here in the comment section below!

UPDATE 1: Kevlar kicks things off with two powerful images that show the abuse and bullying skating officials endure in our sport.

“Skating and non-skating officials endure a LOT of abuse on the track. Depending on the event, or the participating teams, it can be pretty hard to stop the insults, verbal abuse, disrespect and degradation, tossed at you and your crew by skaters and coaches, from getting under your skin. Some may think that dishing out misconducts is the simple solution but that is much easier said than done. 95% of the time you have no idea where the slurs are coming from. Was it the skater that just got sent off the track? Was it somebody in the pack? Is it a member of the audience? Are all 4 blockers from the same team simultaneously screaming profanities at you? You often just don’t know.

There is so much to take in at a bout while you are officiating it between all the jammer movements, pack formation changes, gauging relative position and impact, avoiding knocked out skaters, hearing all the fans yelling, the announcers booming into their mics, the benches screaming, etc etc. So when those nasty insults, putdowns and verbal abuse come from skaters, you hear them nice and clear but it’s honestly difficult to pinpoint their exact origin.

I will say this though: no matter how many times I’ve had a beer bought for me after the game, no matter how many times I’ve been patted on the back and told “sorry, that’s just derby”, no matter how many times skaters and coaches have laughed and half-sincerely apologized for being disrespectful, none of it undoes the 90 minutes of bullying you’ve done. I’m not WFTDA certified. These games aren’t WFTDA sanctioned. This isn’t the big leagues. We’re all partaking in a glorified hobby and your officials are passionate VOLUNTEERS who have every right to walk away from your event and/or your league.

Why is bullying and abuse so often just considered “part of the job” for referees. I don’t buy that. It is NOT okay and there is NO excuse for it in this sport or any other. Having trouble recruiting and retaining officials? Maybe it’s time to reflect upon how you’ve been treating them at your bouts and scrimmages.

No penalty given during a bout is going to stop a derby bully from being a derby bully. That has to come from within and from their team putting their foot down to say: that behavior is not acceptable and you will not represent our club unless change is made.”

UPDATE 2: Some essential reading on the negative, damaging effects of bullying in sports. Be they professional or not.

UPDATE 3: Shreddy Crocker, Head Referee of Muddy River Rollers in Moncton, NB sends his support to Derby Frontier’s Pink Shirt Day!

derby respect

South West Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association out of Swift Current are also thinking pink!

Regina’s Pile O’ Bones Derby Club and Pile O’ Bones Junior Derby stand up to bullying not only in sports but in ALL areas of life!

Update 4: Thank you to all the supporters who have sent in their own anti-bullying photos from Fayetteville, North Carolina – Florence, Kentucky – Roanoke, Virgina  and Seattle, Washington!

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5 comments

  1. Thank you so much for posting about this. Bullying is never okay, and it is especially hurtful to a volunteer. I’m sorry you have had to endure this. I always make it a point to find every ref and NSO and thank them after any bout that I play or am at, but I never feel like it’s enough to counteract the treatment they get during the game. Thank you for speaking up and calling attention to this very real problem in derby.

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