Welcome to another Ask Kevlar! A completely ANONYMOUS roller derby advice column dedicated to discussion about topics that are more often discussed behind closed doors, out of earshot from others. Be you a new skater or a well-known, established member of the greater derby community, if you’d like to engage in conversations about the very real ups and downs, conflicts, dilemmas and issues within the sport, please feel free to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. NO topic is too much! League drama, personal/athletic rivalries, skating/officiating/interacting with people you do not like, dealing with negative people or abuse/bullying from teammates or support staff, ANYTHING!
It has recently been brought to my attention that a league has been planning a bout for sometime (an invitational) and recently another league in the province announced another invitational on the same day and then another league had a game scheduled and recently announced an invitational to make it a double header! It seems to me like the ‘sisterhood’ of derby is going downhill when leagues are intentionally creating events on the same date.
I have no doubt that with three games officials will be running short as well. Will an event have to run with 4 refs? I’m not sure exactly how many officials there are in the province but I doubt there is enough to fully take on three games in one night.
So, my ask Kevlar question is simple. What is your view on leagues planning multiple events on the same night with a limited amount of players and officials in the province? Do you feel that this hurts derby in our province or shows that it is growing?
Hello, Growing Pains!
Personally, I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt to event organizers in that they are likely not choosing dates maliciously so much as they are choosing dates out of necessity. Many teams do not have much leniency in their home bout dates due to pressures and restrictions put on them by venue owners. So, while it is unfortunate that so many invitational’s are happening on the same weekend there are a number of factors that could have played into that. Perhaps that date was their only opportunity for a bouting event at their venue for the month. Maybe they have had the date held for a long time but it was only recently confirmed and they could not secure a team to play due to everyone else being so busy, which resulted in them having to make the event an invitational.
That being said, this certainly brings up the valid concern of staffing that many leagues in the province struggle with. Unfortunately, it is a much larger issue than one may think and there are no quick or simple solutions. I feel that an enormous part of the problem really comes down to the fact that roller derby in Saskatchewan is still extremely grassroots. The “derby community” here consists of about 14 leagues operating independently of one another with their own unique goals, priorities, visions and their own ideas of what the sport means to them, their membership and their community. They are all on their own page and while that can be empowering at times it can carry with it a number of frustrations, communication issues and logistic nightmares as well. Add in the fact that there is also not (YET) an established provincial association or organization to provide services, guidance and aid in regards to things such as scheduling, staffing, etc. and it is not surprising that things like this continue to happen.
Luckily, the Saskatchewan Roller Derby Alliance is slowly starting to get on its feet and hopefully leagues from around the province will be interested in getting on board to work together toward improving communication, sharing resources, developing less strenuous season schedules, bringing in bigger training opportunities and just generally working more towards a healthier future for the sport here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: forget the “do it yourself” sentiment, it’s self-defeating in the end. If you want the sport to see a strong future then the province needs to “do it together“. Also… a province wide officials recruiting campaign! Seriously, it’s long overdue and a few Saskatchewan based photographers have already expressed interest in doing it.
In the mean time, it would not hurt to reach out to the leagues closest to you in order to make every effort possible at alleviating situations such as this. Talk to one another, share your plans, share your resources, share your schedules and work toward a common goal to benefit all of you. You may not be able to change the province today but with some hard work you can certainly work toward it by making the changes you want to see in your area!
Thank you for writing in, Growing Pains!
Look through the Derby Advice category to find old Ask Kevlar posts!