Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Men of Roller Derby

Let me be clear, I'm not here to talk about Merby (Men's Roller Derby), I'm here to talk about the men that help make REAL Roller Derby possible. Sorry, Merby fans, had to say it! :)

I'm not sure those that do not participate in roller derby realize what all it takes to maintain a league, put on games, and fund all of it. The league I skate for, Dead Girl Derby, is a skater owned and operated league. What this means is, we make the decisions, we dot the i's and cross the t's and we pay for all of it or raise the money to pay for it through our hard work, sweat and tears. Our league participates in at least two events per month that raise money for non-profit organizations and charities around the Metro as well as several larger fundraisers that stretch over several days and/or weeks. We also practice 3 times a week, host a game once a month from February through August and participate in other events and fundraisers as required.

All of this being said, Roller Derby would not be possible without the men of roller derby. The women of roller derby get all the spotlight and credit, but I will fight to the death with anyone that discounts the need for men in the world of roller derby. There are things that are required in roller derby that we just can't do. The obvious contributor is our refs. Most leagues have predominately male referees because, let's face it, women involved in roller derby want to skate in games and knock people around, not worry about calling penalties and keeping the game on track. That doesn't mean we don't have female referees for any number of reasons, but predominately in our league and most others, the refs are male. Additionally, it is impossible to announce our own games and skate them at the same time. Also, most of the coaches on our league and others are men. Again, we have some female coaches, but are predominately male. Another example is on game day when we are skating or getting ready to skate, we don't and can't worry about where people are parking, who is taking tickets and the many other aspects of game day operations. We call these people Horde members that help make game day run smoothly.

All of our Horde members, referees, announcers, and coaches are very imperative to the smooth operation of our league. However, in my opinion, the MOST important men of roller derby are the men that hold down the fort at home, care for the children, buy their significant others roller derby gifts and constantly take a back seat to the independent, strong, roller derby playing women they love. Without my QDP (qualified domestic partner; boyfriend just doesn't do him justice), Troy, I could not do derby. I have very few family members and even fewer that live close enough to help with all of the things that are required of Troy. I cannot imagine my life without him. Not only does he help hold the house and kids together when I have to be gone for derby, he loves me unconditionally and makes me laugh harder than anyone I have ever known. I am grateful every day for the love and support he shows me. He never gets resentful of the time I spend away from the family for derby. We try really hard to balance it out. Even on weeks that I have practice on Monday, an event on Tuesday, another practice on Wednesday and team practice on Thursday, he stands by me 100% and supports my decision to play roller derby. Those of us that are moms have to have a strong support system to be able to play roller derby. Mine happens to be wrapped up into one person that I could not live without and am so happy to share my life with.

When you see a roller derby girl and realize she is also a mom, don't forget about those men behind the scenes that help with the home and kids to make it possible for her to practice, attend events and skate her heart out in games.

On this Thanksgiving eve, I am thankful for the men of roller derby, but most importantly Troy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hitting all of the hot button issues today!

I have had this blog sitting in draft form for quite some time. I decided today was the day to hit all of the hot button issues, so here goes...

Democrat v. Republican; young v. old; black v. white; poor v. rich; educated v. uneducated...it seems like our society always tries to polarize issues and people to simplify very complicated issues. A lot of the time there is not a right or wrong answer to a question and to formulate a proper answer the issue has to be looked at much deeper.

The specific issue I would like to discuss is illegal immigration. I know this is a very polarizing issue, but I want to be really clear before starting this post, I do not want this post to become a chance to bash certain political views or ethnic groups. I would simply like to encourage you to think outside of the box when thinking about this issue and many others. Regardless of your opinion of illegal immigration, there are several facts I would like to point out:

1. According to the Department of Homeland Security we currently employ 20,000 border patrol agents, which is double that of 2004. There are a total of 1,954 miles and the U.S. has "effective control" of approximately 700 miles with an ability to prevent or stop illegal entry along ONLY 129 miles of that border.

2. According to a 2010 study completed by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the U.S. government spends $113 billion annually harboring illegal immigrants.

3. To build a wall and/or fence along the border has been conservatively estimated at $2.2 billion dollars.

So, here's the deal...why do we fight so hard to prevent people from coming to our country? Guess what?! We are all immigrants! Unless you are 100% Native American, your ancestors came from another country. You can claim that your ancestors came here "legally" and they jumped through the hoops they were supposed to, but the truth is, our ancestors KILLED Native Americans to claim THEIR land. There is no way around that. It is 100% fact. So, that argument doesn't work for me.

Remove yourself from who should and shouldn't be in the United States, and think about a solution. I gave you some statistics on the cost of illegal immigrants on our country. Here is my suggestion, why doesn't our country use half of the money they currently spend FIGHTING illegal immigration and improve the infrastructure of Mexico so they won't feel the need to leave and come to our country? It is a win/win situation.

Not to mention, what happened to NAFTA?! It was called the North American Free Trade Agreement for a reason. Why don't we send our outsourced jobs to Mexico instead of India? If they had greater opportunity in their own country, they wouldn't want to come to the United States.

Think about it, if Mexican citizens had access to proper infrastructure and good paying jobs, they would not risk life and limb to migrate to a country that is not their own, is away from their families and treats them inferiorly. Therefore, I think we need to cut our immigration prevention budget in half and use it to help our neighbors. If there is a concern about giving such a large amount of money to another country set up a repayment plan. Our country has done the same thing in a lot of countries, Iraq and Afghanistan being the two glaring examples.

I mean, seriously!! We are all hear because our ancestors brought us here, we were born here, our parents brought us here, we brought ourselves here. Whatever your story is, you are here. So, we need to make it work.

When are you getting married?

This blog originally began as an attempt to debate the issue of gay marriage. I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to change anyone's mind about the issue if they had already made their decision. I then began thinking of all of the times I have been asked "When are you getting married?" In my opinion these two issues go hand in hand. A same sex couples' right to marry is just as important as my choice not to get married. So, I'm keeping this post short and sweet. When this beautiful, completely in love couple can legally get married in all 50 states, Troy and I will get married. There's your answer, so stop asking me.

*Picture used with permission of Mary Harmon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When did I become OLD?

I don't mean in a chronological way. That's very subjective. If you ask my sister she thought she was old at 25. I think she even spent that day in bed. I, on the other hand, have never really cared about numbers. To me, they were just that. I have been told most of my life I was an old soul. Maybe that's why the age thing never bothered me. However, I have recently noticed that I am starting to do things that when I was younger I thought only old people did.

This all started to ring true for me a few weeks ago when I had to confront an older kid in my neighborhood for picking on my young children. After the confrontation, I came back inside and thought, wow, that is something my mom would have done. I never really viewed my mom as old (she died when she was 43), but she was my mom so therefore, must have been old! The fact that I am on the PTA and help out with things at my daughter's school make me feel old. I remember not too long ago walking into her school and thinking, I'm not old enough to be volunteering for a school party of a 1st grader. It's almost like it snuck up on me. It was happening all around me and I didn't even notice.

In the past couple of years, I have begun gardening. That's another thing that makes me feel old. I love it, but when I think about it, I remember my retired neighbor growing up working in his garden a lot. I also have a bird feeder that I worry about if it has food in it or not. I also a hummingbird feeder that I check constantly. The fact that I have tried for 3 days to get a picture of the oriole that is eating out of it, makes me feel old.

I care more about politics and recycling than TMZ and the latest styles. I care more about spending time with my family, than I do about going out to the bar. I care more about making sure my kids have fun than I do about what band is coming to town. I care more about what the weather is going to do so I know how to dress my kids than I do about how late I can stay up.

Things change. People change. Times change. We all evolve and grow. If these things make me old then so be it. I'm happier with my life right now than I have ever been. It's like my life has finally caught up with my soul and all is well with my soul.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why do we lie to our kids?

I originally started this blog as a way to follow my pursuits regarding roller derby. Two years later I realize that not everyone wants to know every detail of the journey nor do they want to hear me talk about my internal thoughts about it constantly. Therefore, I have deleted previous posts about derby and I'm re-starting my blog with what is most important to me, my kids. Have no fear, there will be posts about derby too, but I'm about a lot more than derby, so my blog will be too.

I am very passionate about this topic. I have never agreed with it and try my best not to do it, but every parent lies to their kids. My most specific concern is with holidays. Why do we lie to our kids about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc.? I understand the tradition behind it, and I understand the concept, but I don't understand why we have to make it so complicated. The kids would be just as surprised by the gifts under the tree the morning of Christmas or the money they find under their pillow even if they knew their parents put it there. Additionally, if you are a Christian, why would you want to taint the meaning of these holidays with fictitious characters that leave your children gifts instead of telling them the true reason for the season and celebrating that event. If you are not Christian and still chose to celebrate these holidays and traditions, why wouldn't you just tell your kids you are celebrating the end of the year or the beginning of Spring with gifts?

My problem comes in because my children are socially aware enough to know that not all kids get gifts for Christmas. We, as a society, have told our children (through TV, school and friends, if not from our own mouths) that if you are not good, you won't get any presents. So when they see or hear of children that do not receive gifts for Christmas, children assume those kids are bad and didn't deserve gifts. How do we teach our children compassion for those less fortunate than us when Santa Claus doesn't even bring them gifts?

My biggest dilemma as a parent regarding this issue is to not totally blow it out of the water for my kids, because I don't want my kids to be "those" kids that go to school and tell all of the other kids there is no such thing as Santa Claus. Instead of being bluntly honest with my kids about these issues, I simply don't speak those words in my house. My kids are old enough that they are aware of those characters. However, when they ask me specifics about any of them, I just say I don't know the answer to their question instead of trying to make things up. I think it allows my kids to enjoy the presents and act of giving and receiving without being confused or growing up thinking I lie to them about everything. So, instead, they will grow up thinking I'm stupid. Oh well, every parent has to deal with that regardless of how smart they are and how many endless answers they have for quantum physics questions.