Monday, October 12, 2009

The Screams and Shouts when you get burnt out! Our (home) season's over!

The season ended with a triumphant explosion of pink and black as the Nutcrackers closed the season, defeating the Cosmonaughties 109-96. This was the third Championship game in BDD history and was the debut of the Fez Cup trophy. As I had mentioned before, my wife skates on the Nutcrackers while I am the mascot for the Cosmonaughties. Either way, I felt I had won. Watching that game, however, I realize that I didn't have the monopoly on that sentiment.

For the fans, they were treated to a tremendously competitive game, that became so nail-bitingly close in the last few minutes that I have bloody cuticles even now. As Macbook Pros are not liquid-resistant I can only hope I will continue this entry without getting a band-aid or using my iPhone to continue. Just kidding, my hands are raw from mini-golf. The indoor course was dry and hot! But I digressed far too much. I need to put the meat of this compliment-heavy sandwich below the happy -go-lucky word bun above.

Often, you put your business-face forward. We love our audience, we want them to be happy, enjoy their time and come back. Over each season, all of the leagues I know make Atalantean efforts to put on the best bouts imaginable. They do so nearly every time, but it's important to remember it takes work. Hard work. Hard, grueling, brings-out-the-worst-in-the-kindest-souls-I-WILL-KILL-YOU-IF-YOU-SIT-UP-THERE work. When you have a season that puts on two bouts every three weeks, it takes its mental and emotional toll.

My main job is to recruit, train, and manage the volunteer bout staff. It's a tough gig. The initial explosion of help at the beginning of the season means I have a decent pick of people. Super-fans, romantic interests of new skaters, and skaters from other leagues pop out of the woodwork. It works great. However, the challenge this year was to keep a reliable, large pool of people on staff for each event. In training, praising, and feeding my people, I was able to keep most of them. It's actually miraculous. In derby, people do forget that our volunteers are just that --volunteers. They're not paid to be yelled at for not knowing who your mom is, or to be a sudden expert at audio-visual equipment. Don't get me wrong, if a dude sucks, he sucks, and we get rid of him. Thankfully, the vast majority of derby dames this season made it a point to thank the workers of their bouts and even began feeding the volunteers at the end of the night.

Crappy events can wear on you when you're on the top of the heap. As the advocate for our volunteer staff I must do whatever I can to make sure crap gets done. And yet dealing with the social, logistical, and mental hiccups that occur from month-to-month is taxing.

Here is photographic evidence of me before and after a season:

Even with the nasty moments, which you find in almost every job, it's worth it. You shoulder responsibility in a DIY organization so the end-result is that people who come to the bout think it went off without a hitch. If they believe that, you've done your job. When working that hard, I have seen plenty of people tap out rather than go through the process again. The minutiae of the work overshadows why they agreed to do it in the first place. I don't blame them. Shit's hard.

The great thing about derby, however, is that I never forget why I do these things. I started helping out because I love my wife. I continued to help because I love my friends. I will continue to help because I love this game. I am I happy to report I ended the season with more "Woo Hoo" than "@$$% You."

Going into next season, I'd love to make it possible to drain the @$$% You out of everyone's brain meats.

Hooray. Next stop, nationals.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On Championship's Eve

This morning, I awoke to my wife, Dreadnought, sitting upright in the bed at 6AM and growling in pain. The clock's obnoxiously bright face told me it was five in the morning. Asking her what was wrong, I hoped she was merely having one of her bizarre nightmares where she sat up and, still sleeping, screamed out a warning to Harry Potter or attempted to fight the devil. Alas, she was awake and in the painful grip of a muscle spasm. Yikes.

Dread has always been unlucky in terms of injury or illness. Her father was shocked she had chosen roller derby given the various injuries she had suffered throughout her existence. To prove his worries wrong, she tried out, got in, and broke her tailbone. After recovering from that injury, she hurt her knee in a fall. Undeterred, she recovered and had become a vital member of the Nutcrackers. That fact was on my mind as I told her to stay home today, see a doctor and get a massage.

It turned out my instincts were right. A stop at Mount Auburn confirmed she suffered from severe muscle spasms. She is on a muscle relaxer tonight and should be all right for tomorrow. This was one of the first times we hit up the doctor to prevent further harm. It is a good thing. And as a skater husband, I want to do everything I can to see Dread in the championship.

Ha. The life of an athlete wife.