I moved a couple of weeks ago. We’re still living out of boxes, between the toddler and the heat and the lack of time and the fact that we can’t use our stove anyway due to electrical issues. You want to hear all about it? Do you know anything about grout?
Fine, we’ll skip the New Homeowner chat and get to roller derby. Let’s talk about moving leagues: transferring.
I’ve only made a move from a small league (my class doubled its size to maybe 30 skaters) to a large one (Rose City, which was once and may be still the biggest WFTDA league there is). And I’ve seen all kinds of transfers come in from all kinds of leagues to Rose City, with varying degrees of success.
Let me tell you about my experience moving from a small league to a big one, then you can tell me all about what you learned when you transferred. Cool? Cool.
Remember, when you’re transferring, your new league might know next to nothing about you. They might ask for proof that you left your previous league in good standing. They might ask you to try out with all the other newbies. They might not. Just like I tell all new skaters: Find out as early as possible. If your new league has a strict tryout policy and they only take skaters twice a year, you don’t want to find that out a week after the cutoff.
Prepare to adjust the volume of your voice.
One of the strangest things about moving from a small league to a big one was that no one cared what I thought anymore. That’s overstating it, but when you’re one of 40, you’re expected to have an opinion on just about everything. You have league meetings where everyone can express an opinion. When you’re one of 100, 200+, you need to trust more in representational democracy.
Expect an adjustment period.
Your new league will probably have a different culture, and a different organizational chart. What you might think of as “the way roller derby is” might be completely different across town or across the country. I’m going to age myself here, but when I started, a lot of terms, moves, and strategies were very regional. We learned things in Indiana a different way… and sometimes, I found out later, in a really weird way. The internet is the great equalizer these days, of course, but people in different leagues still use different terminology and slang.
Beware big fish, small pond syndrome.
I don’t mean to scare you, but if you’re moving from a smaller or less-competitive league to a bigger or more competitive one, you might get a bit shocked at first. Unless you’re a superstar with a reputation that proceeds you, you’ll have to work to prove yourself as soon as you arrive. A superstar jammer in a small league might show up to scrimmage at a top-ranked WFTDA league and find themselves very frustrated, very quickly. If you want to play in the big leagues, it’s going to be a steep learning curve, but if you’re into the challenge, it’s a great opportunity.
On the other hand, if you’re going from a competitive program to one that’s less so, you can’t go around yelling at everyone because they’re not executing a strategy the way your old teammates would have. You’ll need a bit of patience, but your new buddies will appreciate your experience.
Have you transferred? What was your experience? Let’s chat in the comments.