Roxy Rockett

Rollergirl AWOL-knowing when to say when

“If such and such doesn’t happen, then I’m going to quit!”

First off, never pose the threat of quitting. Saying that one word shows the level of commitment you’re willing to give unless you receive the demands you feel are owed. When I hear ladies say such things I merely respond (in my own head of course), “go!”. No one is making you stay and do something you hate.. something that makes you miserable. If you get to the point where at every practice you leave on your pity raft floating down the river of your own tears, then my friend, you might want to rethink your decision to remain in derby. If you’re coming to practice only to bitch and complain about things that should be happening rather than getting on the rink and making them happen for you, then you might want to call a travel agent and take yourself on an extended vacation to some place that doesn’t house a derby league.

The first time you threaten to quit, the response may be a nice loving beer fest after practice where everyone tells you everything you do right and how important you are to the league. The second time you might get those 2 people that actually care about you and want you to stay because they believe in certain aspects of your personality. Aspects that fueled devotion in times past. The third time, do everyone a favor and just quit.

Crying derby wolf doesn’t make the league care. Communication about your concerns and demonstrating your efforts to change your mood and take charge of those concerns, that will show that your intentions are true. In return, you’ll gain support from skaters on the BOD to those that just made try-outs, all wanting and willing to help you overcome these feelings of helplessness.

“Damn, I hate coming to practice… I can’t stand going to all these meetings… I can’t make money cause I’m traveling so much for derby… My body hurts from all these unhealed injuries.. my family misses me/I miss my family. I think I need a break”

Now, if you have gotten to a point in a conversation where one of the above has been inserted, then the steps to recovery definitely lead down a different path. If you have been in conversations with ladies who have muttered those lines, then take it upon yourself to suggest a break from derby. Giving all you have over a long period of time leads to ladies getting burned out. This is the time where I say, tell the training committee, tell your captains, heck, even tell your close friends and folks you see walking down the street; “I’m going away for a few weeks. I will not be at practice. I will not attend any meetings. Do not ask me to do last minute shit you always burden me with.. I’m taking a break from derby!”. Ahhhhhhhhhhh…. That simple.

You owe no one a detailed, hand written letter explaining why you need this break. If you’re league is so damn stern and doesn’t allow this type of ‘behavior’, then you might want to organize a derby union and start advocating skaters rights!

Damn if this isn’t a volunteer sport. Decide not to volunteer for those 3-4 weeks. Or if you volunteer, decide your limits. Say, “I will go to endurance practice but I will not scrimmage.” Have limits for yourself and stick to them.

Having said all that, I do, however, suggest you communicate with your training committee, coach(es), and/or captains about your decision to take a break. Knowing when the right time to take a break is an important subsection that needs to be added into the equation(ie. not during the interleague season. But if you need too, by all means, do it). Also, make sure you know about any/all policies your league has in place about leave of absences and what you may be required to do upon returning (ie-attend so many practices before you’re able to scrimmage again). Just leaving with no communication whatsoever is not an effective way to take a break. First off, your league will be wondering if they need to rearrange teams and secondly, you’ll be stressing cause you don’t know what the response will be on your return. Communication is key ladies.

Also, training committee, take it upon yourselves to mandate a break during an month that allows it. It’s your job to train these ladies to skate well and be healthy. Taking time off would fall under the “staying healthy” category.

“You bitch, you’re always trying to tell me how to skate when you don’t know yourself”, or “If you hit me again with your elbow, I’m going kick your fat ass!”

Ugh, I’m sure we all have overheard tidbits like these during/after practices. This is what we call anger management. Knowing when and where to let yourself go. In my experiences, some ladies just don’t see eye to eye. Or better yet, they are way too much alike and both refuse to give an inch and end the madness. I’m to the teaching, “let it out!”. You’ve got something to say, say it. I hate yelling and being yelled out. But, what I hate worse is, someone repressing their emotions for so long that it comes barreling out in its unoriginal form and aimed for the unintended skater. As of late, I can hear ladies talking during scrimmages. Folks getting pissed and belching out ‘thank you’ letters while in the pack. “Nice forearms”, “nice back blocking”, “wanna try to hit me instead of trip me?”. Believe it or not, this is a form of derby therapy. Communicating to that skater what issues are present at the time of administration, allows you to release the anger and move on. If you happen to be the one receiving these poetic one liners, take it and keep skating. Watch those forearms. Be careful about the back blocking. Try keeping your legs in when you give a hit/fall. If it pisses you off cause this one skater is constantly bitching about something, give it back to her. 9 times out of 10, most people don’t eat the shit they spurt. Go ahead and politely give them a spoonful of their own medicine and be satisfied.

I’m not encouraging a full out league brawl, but rather, opening the door to ‘bitching and be done’ philosophy.

Coming back from the break

After a few weeks of movie watching, beer drinking, book reading days, it’s time, once again, to dive head first into the derby pool. Saying hey to all those bitches you miss and asking them about the kids and family is a nice heart warming experience. It showed me the depths of my connection with this group of women.

When you return skating, the first thing you need to realize is, you are out of shape. Knowing that returning to the level of intensity you left at isn’t a wise decision (especially if you didn’t do anything active on your break). I would suggest to come back and do basic endurance and fall drills for the first few hours on the rink (just to get the body back into that mode of a high impact workout). Then, my readers, it’s derby boot camp 101. Put yourself in every jam possible. Exhaust yourself during skills practice and go to open skates and dodge falling kids. Also, work yourself back into meetings with a renewed fuse. Bring new ideas and energy back to the folks that didn’t leave. Make them love it again.

Categorised as: Rollergirl Maintenance


  1. eris says:

    Damn, you are like the derby Jesus. Amen!

  2. TrainWreck says:

    This is well put! I agree, if this is not fun to you anymore, then leave. In all honesty, I beleive we all join roller derby because we love to skate, workout, & meet like minded folks. Once this is not fun, move on sista!

    On the anger management thing: I have been right in the middle of this recently & was kind of shocked to be honest. Yes, I know I forearm, cock & block, & back block at times. I have & continue to work on these things (even while in the shower, poor shower wall). I get pissy with myself when I do it & that is the worst kind of pissed off, when you are angry at yourself. I take what every skater (that has been doing it longer or on interleague) says to me to heart & work on it. Even if it comes out all angry. Sometimes, we all must read between the lines (& cursing) & pick out what that skater was really trying to tell you. The thing I am saying here is this: stop taking things so personal in roller derby, we all know what we need to work, so work on it bitches!

  3. kasey bomber says:

    “When you return skating, the first thing you need to realize is, you are out of shape. ”

    Oh lord, so true, so true. On the plus side, having that extra padding on your ass from all the holiday cookies does help when your uncoordinated feet betray you into a batch of good takedowns.

    I’d say pretty good motivation for diving back in with renewed vigor is just do what I did. Casually step on a scale. If you took your break as seriously as I did, chances are you’re gonna see that number flashing and suddenly be available for not just every possible practice, but also for a few extra hikes, gym visits, spin classes, and very light lunches to aid in cross-training yourself back to fighting condition.

  4. frog says:

    I kept trying to figure out where the quitting smoking was coming in. I think the book cover on the myspace bulleting confused me. 😉

    You know, so many of your writings just apply to life in general, not just derby. And they’re always so motivating. Thanks!

  5. daisy rage says:


  6. Temper says:

    I wanted to add to your “bitching and be done” philosophy. I am DEFINITELY a shit-talkin’ fool out there on the derby track, pointing out every illegal thing that some bitch does to me in the pack – but I just wanted to remind bitches that what is said on the rink should stay on the rink. And if someone yells at you, remember that it’s just for the moment and like TrainWreck said, don’t take it personally. I, for one, will yell and yell, then come back and say “Sorry I was a bitch – let’s go have a beer!” Well … usually 😉

  7. Madame Furie says:

    Your blog is now required reading for my league. Did someone mention a book on myspace? Could we be so lucky??

  8. carmen geddit says:

    who else wants to marry roxy? seriously….you say what we all experience and don’t want to deal with!
    thank you derby jesus.

  9. chola says:

    I have a my own tag line about derby bitchers and people who don’t participate – Commit or Quit. Is brutal but true, if you aren’t committed and don’t participate – you are dead weight to a derby league and there are so many girls that want the opportunity… Love the blog Roxy.

  10. H BOMB says:

    Well Put. I love reading your blog.

  11. Mercy Less says:

    Excellent advice! What do you all do when a skater goes awol due to drug/alcohol abuse, with no warning or notice? Someone you love who’s obviously “taking a break” for all the wrong reasons (for many, many weeks…)? Do any of your leagues have policy to deal with a skater that goes this kind of awol, then comes back in the future, say, after rehab? Thanks!

  12. Krankee Yankee says:

    I totally agree about the shit talking on the track…what is said on the track stays on the track…it gets all your pent up anger out and in another way, kind of lets one of your derby sisters know that she’s elbowing or back blocking a little too much….and then when practice is over…’s over…..and we all still love each other like sisters
    Thanks for a great read!

  13. Envy miYoni says:

    What happens on the rink…Stays on the Rink!! Always – Thank you Woman!

  14. downtown_penny_brown says:

    so so true. i couldn’t have come upon this at a more appropriate time. i mean, what do you do when you have what i call “derby martyrs” who volunteer to do everything (even when you tell them, DONT DO THAT!), buy things and say no, no don’t reimburse me, it’s a donation. and then finally, after they complain for months and cry derby wolf like you said, and then leave, it’s the league’s fault? i guess i’ll never get that one!
    ps im printing this post out and bringing it to practice tomorrow night.