Improving your Derby Experience by being a Sports Fan

OK boys and girls, let’s hop into the “way-back machine” and travel to Austin, Texas, 2006. I’m standing in one of Austin’s favorite taco stops, enjoying the night, when a thought I had been trying to dislodge from my brain finally surfaced.

Here’s the scene: The skaters from Texas Roller Girls and Mad Rollin’ Dolls had left for the night. They had to skate the next day. Remaining were a few announcers, photographers, and officials. One of the photographers reminded me of someone sorta famous. Doesn’t that drive you nuts? Dude has a well-known doppelgänger I can’t put my finger on…until the late-night SportCenter, on ESPN, appeared on the bar’s TV. SportsCenter was my nightly show and it triggered the answer to “who is his doppelgänger?” I blurted, “Hey! Dude! NOW I know who it is you remind me of! Charlie Steiner from SportCenter (though he wasn’t on the broadcast that night). Don’tcha think?” Expecting a rousing, “Good call Bob. He’s a dead ringer for Steiner,” instead I got crickets (silence). Being Bob, I always assume I’ve not gotten a reaction because I wasn’t heard (I have that much faith in my humor/clever observations), so I repeat myself, louder, only to receive blank stares. Confused, I ask, “Do any of you ever watch SportsCenter?” The unanimous answer was “no, we don’t follow other sports.” I gave them that look I would if I was told they’d been abducted by aliens, because I couldn’t believe it was true.

That night, in 2006, was the first time I realized the lack of general sports knowledge in derby. At the time, this was rampant throughout the sport. It wasn’t just skaters. It was officials, coaches, and, yes, announcers. I’m not suggesting the environment is the same 11 years later, but there remains a sizeable chunk of you out there who have never followed a sport. I’m asking you to adopt a professional sport, learn the rules, find a favorite team and player, and see how this affects your derby experience. Coaches, I also think this is a reasonable request of your skaters. After all, isn’t this what we ask our fans to do with roller derby?

I have practiced what I am preaching. As a young Bobby, the Noxious family was not sports oriented. Pop Noxious knew only motorsports. I wasn’t thrown a ball in the backyard because Pop couldn’t hit a barn from three meters. Watching him attempt to catch anything looked like an effort to swat flies with a pencil. Grandpop Noxious was a big baseball fan, which gave me my first sports outlet as both a fan and participant. I was thrilled to be an incredibly average little league player and an avid Milwaukee Brewers fan. I was far from a sports freak until my university days, thanks to a roommate who watched all sports. NFL, college basketball, NBA, NHL, I absorbed it all. ESPN was in its full glory in the 90s, becoming a household staple. While some wanted their MTV, I wanted to see sports highlights. As an adult, when I found myself better suited for recreational sports. I was an avid volleyball player, casual basketball player, did a bit of everything until I retired to make room for roller derby.

So, all of this to say, “Hey! Find a mainstream sport, pick a team, pick some players and follow a season.”

There are many great reasons to learn the dynamics of other team sports:

The mentality of an athlete

Watch the ups and downs of a sport’s greatest athletes. There are plenty of DOWNS! If you think having an off night is something only an amateur can have, you’re very wrong. To watch a game where your team has a pivotal player who is contributing little most of the game, only to find the mental focus to be a part of a last minute winning touchdown, basket, or goal is amazing. Sometimes it’s a major slump mid-season that lasts for weeks or months. Players may revisit their technique, learn new moves, or get into even better shape to get back to their potential.

The dynamic of being a team player

Mainstream sports will display, in a hurry, who is and is not a team player. It could be basketball players who, like John Stockton, took pride in his passing and set the all-time assist record in the NBA. Football quarterbacks who, instead of raising hell with the coaching staff after being pulled out of a game for poor play, immediately grab a clipboard to help his replacement succeed. Soccer players who choose to pass to a teammate with a better shot instead of taking the lower-percentage shot themselves. Interviews after games can tell you a lot. Team players deflect the questions of their own accomplishments to remind fans of their commitment to the team and winning, not necessarily individual performance.

On the flip-side, you’ll see players who refuse to pass and like to shoot every time the ball is touched, costing their team easy points. NFL players who spend more time complaining about not getting to carry, throw, or catch the ball as many times as they feel they should. Others who blame failure on teammates, the coaching staff, and officiating instead of owning their performance. Soccer players who are a distraction to the team by always contesting their fouls instead of accepting the call and focusing on play as the clock is running.

The challenges of coaching

The focus for coaches is to get players prepared for the next game, push teamwork, and manage both play and personalities during the game. You will see how star players can help the coach, or be a destructive force during the game and locker room if they cannot keep their ego in check. Watch decisions where generally strong players see less touches or time because they are having an off night while someone else is “on fire.” Understand that teams very much have role players. Players who are not starters, but are brought into situational play because they excel at those moments. The protection of players with a high foul count, using others who are unlikely to foul very often. All of this is done with the need for a coach to remain focused on the game, without distraction from emotional players.

The idea of introspection and humility

Mainstream sports sets up drama more than any movie could. There have been hundreds of highly talented professional athletes whose names were atop of their sport for weeks or months, only to disappear shortly afterward. Some, due to injury they never fully recover from, but many who play a long career with many different teams because they don’t “get it.” The team concept and ability to look at their own game play is overshadowed by their ego, so they become part of a trade when the team gets tired of it. One of the greatest lessons we can learn vicariously through sports is humility and introspection. Everyone has, or lacks, a certain level of natural talent. Those who have natural gifts which most others don’t, may go through a period where they feel practice, preparation, and their relationship with teammates isn’t that important. The truth is, whether it’s a sports team or the workplace, you are almost always better off without individuals of high talent that are also high maintenance. This is part of not “getting it.” The individual is not greater than the team. This is a common theme in professional sports, not just derby. If you create enough trouble, no matter your skill, you’ll will be, and should be, asked to move on.

Bob Noxious is a 13 year vet of roller derby, getting his start with Madison, Wisconsin’s, Mad Rollin’ Dolls is late 2004. Though known for lending his voice to the sport on an international level, Bob’s greatest contribution in recent years has been blogging and classroom sessions aimed at helping derby run their business. Working as a “Derby Doer” for Brown Paper Tickets, Bob welcomes contact and questions from anyone in the sport. You’ll find his blog series here . You can contact him at this email .

70 Replies to “Improving your Derby Experience by being a Sports Fan”

  1. F*ckin’ tremendous issues here. I’m very glad to peer your post. Thanks a lot and i am taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  2. I’ve been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours as of late, yet I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is beautiful value enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the web will likely be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  3. Greetings! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when viewing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!

  4. I like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site 🙂

  5. I would like to express thanks to the writer for rescuing me from such a setting. As a result of searching throughout the world wide web and getting concepts which are not productive, I figured my entire life was done. Existing without the presence of answers to the issues you have fixed by way of this site is a serious case, and those that could have in a negative way affected my entire career if I hadn’t encountered your web page. Your personal competence and kindness in handling the whole thing was very useful. I don’t know what I would have done if I had not discovered such a step like this. I can also at this moment look ahead to my future. Thanks so much for your specialized and sensible guide. I will not think twice to refer the website to anyone who would like guidance on this matter.

  6. I simply want to tell you that I’m new to weblog and actually enjoyed this blog. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You certainly have impressive writings. Thanks for revealing your blog site.

  7. Hi! I just wish to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post. I will be coming back to your website for more soon.

  8. One of the more impressive blogs Ive seen. Thanks so much for keeping the internet classy for a change. Youve got style, class, bravado. I mean it. Please keep it up because without the internet is definitely lacking in intelligence.

  9. Spot on with this write-up, I really believe that this web site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information.

  10. Those are yours alright! . We at least need to get these people stealing images to start blogging! They probably just did a image search and grabbed them. They look good though!

  11. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers?

  12. I have not checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  13. I’m excited to find this web site. I want to to thank you for ones time for this fantastic read!! I definitely savored every part of it and I have you bookmarked to see new things on your web site.

  14. This is a appropriate blog for everyone who is wants to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its virtually tough to argue along (not that I personally would want…HaHa). You actually put a new spin over a topic thats been discussing for many years. Fantastic stuff, just fantastic!

  15. Great V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task..

  16. Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a top notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and never manage to get anything done.

  17. This design is steller! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  18. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you ought to write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people do not talk about such subjects. To the next! Best wishes!

  19. After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you.

  20. In the great pattern of things you actually get an A+ with regard to hard work. Where exactly you actually lost everybody was first on your details. You know, as the maxim goes, the devil is in the details… And it could not be more accurate right here. Having said that, permit me inform you exactly what did give good results. Your authoring is certainly incredibly powerful which is most likely why I am taking an effort in order to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, whilst I can see the jumps in reasoning you come up with, I am not confident of just how you appear to connect your points which inturn help to make your final result. For right now I shall yield to your point however hope in the foreseeable future you actually connect your dots much better.

  21. I was just looking for this info for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your web site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this type of informative websites in top of the list. Generally the top sites are full of garbage.

  22. I cling on to listening to the news update speak about receiving free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the best site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i find some?

  23. You’re so cool! I don’t believe I’ve truly read anything like that before. So wonderful to discover someone with unique thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality.

  24. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going to return once again since i have bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  25. I blog often and I truly appreciate your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

  26. Can I just say what a comfort to uncover a person that genuinely knows what they’re talking about over the internet. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people have to read this and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you are not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.

  27. Your style is very unique compared to other people I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.

  28. Hi, I do think this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going to come back yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *