I'm beginning to feel like I keep repeating myself over and over again. I was sure I had written a blog post about the last time ShEvil and Oakland played each other back in February but that was before I started this website. When your league only has three teams and you have to play each team two to three times a season, EVERY season....it all starts to run together.
While this is the second and probably last time that the Outlaws and ShEvil will meet this season, they have played each other umpteeth times before. In their earlier match-up this year, Oakland won 123 - 52. In 2008, Oakland also took the wins and both bouts against the SF team (96 to 70 in July 2008 and 103 - 66 in April 2008).
These original two teams have been sparring against each other since B.A.D's very first bout in October 2005. In the inaugrual opener, the ShEvil Dead won. Throughout 2006 and 2007, the teams traded victories and losses. While the scores from those seasons are no longer accessible online, I remember that both teams seemed to win and lose to each other an equal amount.
While the teams were once evenly matched, a lot can change in four seasons. With the 2008 addition of our third team, the Richmond Wrecking Belles, the skaters from the original two teams were re-distributed. Since then, it seems like ShEvil has not been able to recover their formerly solid reputation. One roadblock is the high turn-over rate on the team. In the last month alone, the San Francisco team had lost three veteran skaters (Motley Cruz, Messy Jessy, and Bliss Bomb'her) to early retirement. Both the Outlaws and the Wrecking Belles have also recently lost more skaters to retirement or fatigue in the last few weeks as well.
We all know roller derby takes a serious toll on our personal and professional lives. With practice three to four times a week, league meetings, committee meetings, committee work, bouts, fundraisers, and travel, the brave women who play have a lot on their plate. There comes a time, usually in the middle of the season, where people to start to drop out. We often refer to it as burn-out. Despite the desire to play, the reality of your private life snaps back into view and many people find that they just can't keep up anymore with the demands of their hobby.
In January, the B.A.D. girls had three teams with 21 - 22 people on the roster. We also had a pool of ten or so skaters who were not yet placed on a team since all three were full. Just six months later, we have under sixty people. Not even enough to have all three teams hit their maximum allowance for players on a team.
Unlike professional sports, we can't pick up a free agent from another league or call up someone from the minors. Whoever is on your team is what you've got to work with. In instances like this, where a large amount of girls are suddenly gone, there doesn't seem to be enough time to bring the newer, greener girls up to speed to adequately replace the older talent. And all the remaining skaters are much more pressed for time as they have to takeover the roles that their former teammates left behind.
So what do you do? We have try-outs every year and always take on more than we have room for. But year after year we end up short for players again. How do you avoid losing a quarter of your league every season? Is committee work optional? I don't see how it could be! Everyone needs to put in their share to make sure these DIY organizations succeed. Perhaps what is needed is for someone to be employed by the league in order for a lot of the work to be taken off the skaters shoulders. But in this economic climate, who can really afford to do that?
I'd love to sit and ponder some more about the best ways to beat the burn-out, but honestly, my brain is feeling a little fried today from all the derby message boards and my last two back to back practices. Besides, I need to do my chores that get routinely ignored on practice nights.I know you know what I mean! :)
Oakland Outlaws Roster: Bad Ass Mofoe / Bonnie Doom / Flash Morgan / Frank N Hurter / Jane Hammer / Jennacologist / Killer Vee / La Chica Mala / Lemmy Chokeya / Polly Puredread / Roughhouse Rhonda / Sharon Needles / Sinnocent / Taxi Scab
SF ShEvil Dead Roster: Belle "Right" Hooks / Boo YaYa / Kimfectious / Knock Knock / Luv U Longtime / Mexican Jumping Mean / Minnie Peril / Sassy Slayher / Skatzophrenic / Sugar Pusher / the Dakota Kid / Windigo Jones / Zipp Gunn