Seriously. Put it down, forget it exists. And here's why:
This will surprise no one: roller derby is diverse. There are almost as many kinds of derby leagues as there are derby skaters. Some leagues love epic entrances, while others prefer to let their skating speak for itself. Some leagues use their given names only, while others revel in the opportunity to create an alter-ego. Some leagues like to get rock star wild at after parties, while others like to just chill and talk about the bout. Some leagues like to engage in tension-deflating play on the jammer line before the first whistle, while others completely stonewall their opposition. A few teams focus all their efforts on community building, while others work their tails off to play derby by a traditional sports mindset. Who among us really is perfect enough to say their way is the only way?
Every single derby league is unique in its own right, with its own set of skaters and supporters. Each league has the space to create their own traditions, training schedules, strategies, playing style, uniforms, and opportunities.
That is why this sport RULES.
When I hear of leagues splitting apart, or overhear a teammate or fellow skater hatin' on another skater or league, my heart breaks a little; especially because it reminds me of how much time I have wasted hatin' on chicks I don't know (especially when I could be using this time to be improving my skating technique). Roller derby is a middle finger to the patriarchal machine that is collegiate and professional sports. We were created by and for women. We embrace women on the full spectrum and are a LBGTQ safe haven that highly encourages participants to not only be themselves but to WAVE THEIR FREAK FLAG HIGH.
Seriously, wave that flag!
This is my rally call skaters. Stop gossiping in the middle school bathroom because the other team doesn't do things the way your team does things. Assume the best, because after all, they play roller derby too. Doesn't that kind of guarantee they are awesome?
The world can be a cruel and horrible place, full of heartache, disease, and oppression. Roller derby is the one place women can go and be themselves--any version of it they please. So lets stop the girl on girl crime RIGHT NOW. Lets start rallying behind other leagues because we need each other, build from each other, and can learn from one other. You can not improve or grow as a person if you only surround yourself with people that are just like you, so embrace the variety of derby women with open arms. We are all the better for it.
Say it will me sisters:
WE ARE ALL ONE ON EIGHT WHEELS, FIGHTING FOR GLORY. THERE IS NO LOVE LIKE DERBY LOVE. YOU ARE MY SISTER, AND I AM YOURS.
In love and derby forever and always,