This is the latest installment of my roller derby for beginners series. Go back and look, and make sure to tell me if there’s anything I’m missing. Here to serve, derby friends.
So you’ve tried out and you’ve made Fresh Meat. Ta-da! You made it! Just kidding – it doesn’t necessarily feel like you’ve made it very far, has it? All leagues are different, but in Rose City, we hold drafts about four times a year to the home teams. If you don’t get drafted, you stay on Fresh Meat. After a year, you get kicked out of the program (removed, I suppose) unless the captains vote to keep you. With 20+ people on Fresh Meat and normally only a few spots available in each draft, it pays to stand out.
Disclaimer: The below is what will make you stand out to me and to the team captains I happen to know and gossip with. I have no idea what goes through some captains’ minds when they’re drafting. Great skaters get left on the table and sometimes so-so skaters get picked up and the rest of us end up scratching our heads.
Show off your strength
Become the fastest, or the hardest-hitting, or the one who does that cool spin move. White Flight jumped over someone in her first team scrimmage. You’ll be noticed if you knock down the best player in the league, or jump the apex, or beat Scald Eagle during sprints at endurance.
Okay, you’re never going to do that. She makes EVERYONE LOOK SLOW. That jerk. That beautiful, towering jerk.
Tell a team captain that you’d like to be on their team
Please don’t kiss up. But a text or email or conversation saying, “Yo, I had a great time skating with you, thanks a bundle, I’d love to be a Farm Fatale/Break Neck Bettie/Furious Truckstop Waitress if that works out,” is friendly. And don’t tell all the captains that they’re your first choice or anything dumb like that, okay?
If you’re potentially being drafted for your ability to contribute in a major way to a team right now, you probably don’t need to read this. Most people are drafted for their long-term prospects. Maybe the team had plenty of jammers this year, but they know one or two of them might retire in next year and they’re looking for people who are willing to jam. Offer to jam. Listen carefully to feedback. If you don’t like it, let it soak in for a day or two before dismissing it. Be positive.
The kiss of death is when a captain opens up the draft packet and asks, “Who is this? I’ve never seen this girl before.” It happens more than you’d think. Put your name on your helmet. Smile. Be personable. Volunteer in the league and go to events – not everything, but don’t be a hermit. Stop acting like you sneaked into league scrimmage, and act like you belong there.
…but be yourself
You’re (probably) awesome the way you are. If you try to conform your personality or your skating style to what you think others want, you’ll be miserable in the long run. My personality is far from the stereotypical “derby personna” – I don’t swear that much in non-derby situations, I don’t have any tattoos or piercings, and I just want to be nice most of the time. I’m a nerd who reads the rules. So what? What matters is your skating and your willingness to work hard to get better.
Take bout tear down shifts
If it’s between you and another girl who doesn’t seem to want to do her share of bout tear down shifts – a team will take you in a HEARTBEAT.