My dad bought a copy of Lead Jammer because I was on the front of it. I asked him what he thought of the magazine and he said “It’s just shit. It’s all about how bloody great roller derby is.” It’s fair to say he’s not target audience (he used to come watch me skate because he fancied my team mates) but I think he might have a point.
We tend to hide the negative stuff that happens in derby. It’s because we love it. And I get that. You never introduce your new partner to your friends with “This is X, they snore and once told me I looked fat in my favourite dress so I have never worn it since”. But it’s got to the point where we need to be more honest and stop covering up the bad stuff that happens below the surface.
I’ve noticed a lot of vocalisation lately of the plight of officials and the bullying they receive – and it’s something I hadn’t actually experienced until recently. Thankfully it’s taken me to this point to experience it as a ref (congrats to everyone I have dealt with so far in life for being a pleasant human being). But it’s happened nevertheless.
My problem, aside from the frankly disgusting behaviour I witnessed towards an official and myself, was that it was almost assumed it could be swept under the carpet and ignored because it’s “what refs put up with”.
Trust me when I say this. WE DO NOT HAVE TO PUT UP WITH BULLIES.
I’m in the middle of dealing with this one situation so I can’t post too much about it. But if you spot someone in your league abusing another skater/official/anyone at all CALL THEM ON IT. Don’t think it’s fine to have someone shout “That ref is shit!” because it’s NOT.
I remember being at the first men’s euros and hearing my team mates boo. I told them if they continued they were out of the league for breaking the code of conduct. They stopped. They apologised. They didn’t do it again.
If you don’t like a skater, don’t TELL THEM YOU WANT TO KILL THEM. Because that is deplorable. And it’s real-life illegal.
If your partner used to date someone, if you used to date someone and they have a new partner, if you wanted to date someone but they don’t want to date you… whatever red-mist inducing situation you’ve found yourself in… act civil and bear in mind you carry the reputation of your entire league on your head when you lash out. If you punch or spit on someone, you’re a let down to yourself, your league and roller derby.
Before you try and tell me that as an official I should just put up with being treated with disrespect and disdain, ask yourself if you would think it was alright if it happened at work, or in ASDA, or at your place of worship. No? Right, well don’t expect me to put up with it on bout day. Oh, and don’t ever try and do it to a friend of mine. Ever. They’re all too bloody wonderful to ever deserve that.
To everyone who has experienced this utter bullshit, I send my love. Please share your advice on how you have dealt with things like this – it would be nice to hear some stories with happy endings.
Also check out: http://derbyfrontier.com/2014/02/23/get-on-your-toe-stops-and-stand-up-to-bullying/