Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Please welcome and thank Jackie Ow, co-captain of The Royal Pains, for today's delightful guest post!

If you have never anxiously waited to find out your fate, you are lucky. I think most people have experienced the anticipation to hear life-changing news at some point in their life. For some, it is waiting to hear about a new job opportunity, for others it is waiting to find out what grade they earned in a course, while others can remember a time they awaited test results from a doctor—but for derby girls, the most anxiety-provoking experience can be waiting to find out what team will be your new home!

Kansas City's Dead Girl Derby roller derby league recently held their draft selection of Newly Dead skaters. The Royal Pains were privileged enough to welcome Ms. Kelly Von Lunen—aka Mel Breakdown—to our team. All of the Newly Dead skaters put in great effort and showed immense determination, and Mel was no exception. Her determination, drive, fun-loving spirit and sweet heart made her an all-around great pick for The Royal Pains, and we are very excited for our upcoming season.

Let me give you a little background on how the draft selection works for our league. We have four home teams within our league. Each team tries to roster 17 skaters, with a maximum allowed of 20 skaters per team. At the beginning of our draft selection, we had one team with only 6 remaining players from the prior season, another with 10, and yet a third team with only 11 returning skaters from the prior season. The Lovely Lethals were lucky enough to have 14 returning skaters from their prior championship season. Needless to say, our league was in need of a lot of Newly Dead skaters this season. At our recruitment night, we had a turnout of more than 50 girls. Our league has a strict attendance policy and minimum skills testing requirements that help us to determine which skaters will be drafted onto a team. At the end of several weeks of training, there were 31 Newly Dead skaters remaining that had met both their attendance and skills requirements. Each team was then allowed to select the players they believed would be the best match for what their team needed.

Imagine you are coming to practice twice a week, two hours at a time, skating your heart out, giving everything you have and leaving it all on the rink, but at the end of the day, you don't really belong anywhere. It is excruciating to some and mind-numbing to others. You just really want to belong. You want to know what league members are going to become your teammates. You want to know what skills your new team is going to need from you. And most importantly, you want to know what color will instantly become your new favorite. I remember just a few months ago having all of those emotions. I just wanted to know who I was going to have the privilege of skating with and who I would be against. I just wanted to be on a team. At the time, I didn't care what team, just a team to call my own.

What a difference nine months makes!!! I am now not only in love with the color purple, but I am a co-captain for The Royal Pains and was able to help select the players that would be joining the Purple Power! As anxiety-provoking as it was to be a new recruit and not have a home, it was equally nerve-racking to know the fate of my team was in my hands. I had charts and graphs and notes and stats and spreadsheets, oh my! It quickly consumed my free time, and my not-so-free time. I didn't want to let my team down. I wanted to make sure we would continue to be a team that could count on each other no matter what. I felt a lot of pressure to make good selections for my team. In the end, I think our coaches and captains made some amazing choices and I'm loving our new teammates. There were girls we weren't able to choose and are sad about that, but look forward to skating with them as well.

So, whether you are the drafter or the draftee, drafting season is a tense time in the derby world. I am so glad it is over and so glad to have nine more girls to call my sisters and many more to call my extended derby family!

P.S. If you want me to sing your praises like I did for Mel, invite me to be a guest blogger for you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This... sounds just wonderful. I would give nearly anything to "belong" somewhere like this; I'm so glad you have that. I haven't had that in so long, I've forgotten what it feels like. I'm constantly in awe of what this sport does for peoples' lives.