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!