February 13, 2014

Handing Over the Reigns

I've been in management positions for most of my adult life; I've managed multiple restaurants and even have a degree in management.  After a few months of playing roller derby, I knew that I wouldn't be content not having some say in the organization of the league.  So, as a doe-eyed newbie I ran for captainship of one of the home teams, The Deathrow Dolls.  I captained the Dolls for almost a whole season before I decided to run for the Co-Captin of the competitive travel team, The MicroBruisers.  I captained the Bruisers for almost two seasons before finally deciding to step down at the end of last season and oh boy!  Has it been a ride!

When I thought that managing a team of roller derby ladies would be no different than my previous management experience, I couldn't have been more wrong.  This is no restaurant, we don't get paid and managing those ladies will be a challenge I will never forget.  Being a competitive team captain means a lot of things; choosing rosters (possibly leaving out skaters you consider good friends), writing lines, leading practices, championing the team in athletics committee meetings, keeping morale high and even disciplining unsavory actions (dun, dun, dunnnnnnn).  My co-captain, Slim Skatey (and later Miz. Eerie Bizness) and I have a special obstacle to overcome as well- it was just us.  No coaches, nothing.  The coaching staff was just two ladies that had to figure out how to be "The Boss" while still skating as a teammate.

I know I'm probably making captaining seem like the WORST.  IDEA.  EVER.  But, alongside the issues and stress, I had a lot of great times that far outweigh the hard parts.  I got to wear my captain "C" ) "A" in the beginning) with pride, because I knew that this was a team that I helped create.  I got the pleasure of being told, "Great practice, Sug!" after practices I have developed and put together (a very daunting task, btw).  I got to introduce new strategies and watch them succeed (or fail, but let's not talk about that).  When morale was high, I could turn up my chin and know that I had had a part in it.  I got to take my team to two tournaments!  And, finally, when we won...WE WON!

Now that I'm no longer a captain of any team, I find myself trying not to become the dreaded "backseat captain."  But, it's hard not to have a say in the team that, for two years, I worked so hard to build up.  Luckily, I couldn't have asked for a better coaching staff to hand the reigns over to; Coach Paul, Assistant Coach Hayl, and our two wonderful captain The Original Skankster and Princess of Wails are AMAZEBALLS and I am so excited to see what they will do with this team.  Their motto for this season is "Athleticism, Discipline, and Teamwork," wowza!

So, to my successors: Have fun wrangling us through the bountiful derby merch at Wild West to get to our bouts (FYI, it will be like herding cats in a room full of catnip).  Don't wallow in your defeats.  Enjoy your victories.  And, finally, soak in as much as possible, because one day you'll be like good ol' Suga Smaxx having to pass off the torch. 
Now, let me get back to my stress-free derby life...NOT!
Much love, 

Suga Smaxxx

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