Roller Derby Nirvana: Smells Like Team Spirit

Posted on June 8, 2011 by


In spite of the saying “if you can’t play nice, play roller derby”, roller derby is a team sport and team sport is all about playing nice with others.  Sounds easy huh? 

In my mind, you have this amazing bond with your team and your communication is via twin-like telepathy.  You support each other with whip assists, strategic blocks and ESP.  Then, like all good movies, this amazing team spirit leads you to a grand victory whereby someone is carried from the stadium on top of the team’s shoulders.  

Sounds grand doesn’t it?!  Sounds easy too.

But it’s NOT!  It seems team play is way more trickier than the movies make it out to be.  That ESP and telepathy stuff either takes time to develop or is utter crap! 

My first scrimmage, besides being a disturbed land of confusion, had none of that.  Aside from the fact that I kept forgetting which team I was on I just couldn’t work out how to help anyone out or how to get the assistance I needed.  Then I realized something – the last team sport I played was netball waaaay back in my early teens…  I stopped playing because of (a) discovering boys (b) finding booze more entertaining and (c) I decided that I preferred to be responsible for myself.  I hated it when someone else stuffed up and let the team down, by accident or on purpose.  Even worse, I hated it when I stuffed up and let the team down…

Since then my fitness pursuits have included boxing, running, fitness instructing – all solo stuff.  Oh there was tennis but it’s easy to manage with only two of you on the “team”.  I assumed that team sport would just happen but it seems it’s a skill that has to be learned – just like derby skating skills like blocking, whips and transitions.

I guess it’s hard too because I’m not in an actual permanent team as yet.  I team extremely well with Erica and Em because we’ve trained together for months now.  We can be intuitive with each other and communicate wordlessly as we know each other’s “derby style” and traits.

At the moment a scrimmage feels like this to me: 

I need more of this: 

I guess in time, once I’ve been allocated to a team, it will start to develop.  I liken it to the Pantene commercial – “it won’t happen over night but it will happen”.

Fingers crossed I can be put in a team with my derby wannabe skate sisters so that half the battle will be won!  Now that smells like team spirit!!

Posted in: LimboLand