Now we all know that there is a lot of love in Roller Derby right? We love our team, we love the sport, we love our selves for being part of this amazing experience. However some times it can be hard to keep 80 women and men happy and getting along. Bullying is a destructive part of Roller Derby and one that should not be tolerated in any way.
I strongly believe that as long as Derby remains a DIY sport where people pay to play, there is not one member of the league who deserves to be there more than another. At the end of the day if you want to pay your subs and only come to two sessions a month that is your choice. You wont make the team but that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to get the best experience that you can from the sport. And it doesn’t mean that other members of your league should judge you for it. Every one gets in to the sport for different reasons and should be able to fulfil their aspirations in a supportive environment.
One part of Derby that really makes me angry is what I consider to be covert bullying. By that I mean the rolling of eyes at a player who drops out of a drill, the whispered conversations that are not so subtle. The veiled comments that can be interpreted as a joke when they clearly are not. This behaviour is not only destructive but cruel and childish and is enough to put people off remaining with a league in the long term.
I would strongly recommend that every league has an anti-bullying policy and one that is adhered to. Most Codes of Conduct state that we must treat each member with respect so it is important that we keep to that ethic. And just remember that when your in a team with so many people, you probably won’t like them all or bond with every single one but you shouldn’t judge them. We see such a small amount of a person at training and it isn’t fair to make judgements as to their lives or personalities from seeing them 5 hours a week. If a team mate frustrates you, flush it or speak to your coaches. Don’t lower your self to negative behaviour. Not only does it upset them but gets seen by other members of the league and only makes you look bad in their eyes.
If we continue to support each other and encourage our team mates we will help this great sport to grow and progress with integrity.
This is sound and awesome advice from the lovely Judge Redd. Take note!