July 27, 2013 by alinedecat
Having some hesitations about opening your league to junior teams? Read this. Not only have they invented wheeled cuteness, they’re capable of way more than expected on the track.
1. For the kids
Kids play roller derby. They just play. If you have never seen a junior bout or scrimmage, let me describe it in a few words.
Besides the game itself that can be as much of a nailbiter than any adult bout you will ever see, including fast and mastered skating, impressive hits and advanced strategies, the most noticeable thing in a junior bout is definitely the fun you feel. I mean, real, true, simple, huge, fat F.U.N. Everyone in the place is smiling. Especially the skaters themselves. They’re glad to be there, happy to play, proud when their team does something good, and wowed when the opposing team does. The benches are quiet and focused, they listen to their coaches and do not argue. Neither do they yell at officials, or curse out loud. They’re just trying to do their best on the track.
And that is actually how every game should be, whatever the age of the players. Yes, we can learn from those kids.
2. For the coaches
Kids are the greatest coach trainers. If you can keep it simple, they will get it straight away. When adults usually have a lot of questions, sometimes even quite irrelevant, because all of them interpreted what you just said differently, kids will just hear what you said, and if they happen to have twisted questions, it will probably be because their brain is manipulating the information you just gave twice as fast, and right now they’re already one thought or two ahead of you.
3. For your supporters
What is the easiest way to make people interested -I mean madly into- in a sport they don’t know or do not really care about? Drag their kids into it. This is how a quiet, non-athletic and sedentary mother of three can turn into a loud, rageous and proud supporter who will follow her kids’ team wherever they go and play, cheering the hell out of herself from the front row to encourage her little wheeled rascals.
And when you will need someone baking cupcakes for a fundraiser, she’ll be glad to help, and proud to become an active member of what her kids are henceforth obsessed with.
And when the oldest turns 15 and starts to show more and more interest in the adult teams, guess who will be at all your own team’s bouts, with the whole family, cheering like you were already THEIR team? Because at that point, as a matter of fact, in their hearts, you will be.
4. For your officials
And this is how the kids’ activity becomes a family passion. Give their parents an official role, make them NSO or even maybe referees, you will gain some really dedicated officials, and you know how precious those are, and they will be rewarded with some serious responsabilities and the pleasure of helping their kid improve his(or her) game and their kid’s beloved sport becoming bigger and bigger.
5. For your team
Think about a 9-year-old who received rollerskates for her birthday. That kid would probably have been skating around for a while, and eventually it would become less and less, especially when highschool time has come, and the points of interest radically change at that age.
Now imagine, that instead of letting it go, at the age of 12, she discovers roller derby, and guess what, there is a junior team that is being started in her town at that time. Instead of leaving rollerskating aside, this kid litterally chose to dive twice deeper into it.
Now she is 15. Three years from now, I bet most of you will still be playing roller derby, and when she turns 18, and will be able to play in the adult team of your league, she will have been rollerskating for half her life and playing derby for 1/3 of it. And that is what you will call a freshmeat in 2016. She litterally grew up on skates into derby. Can you imagine how the general level of a team can make a leap forward with that?
6. For roller derby
I cannot believe I still hear people arguing about the fact that roller derby is too tuff for kids, do these people say the same to parents whose kids learn karate, rugby, or american football? Come on, we know how to play it safely, with an adequate skating level (see my entry about minimum skills), and yes, even despite this, some injuries will occur, but that happens in sports, I personnaly broke my wrist twice in figure skating and my ankle once because of horse riding, and I don’t think these sports are considered violent. Injuries in roller derby? None so far.
Also, refusing access to roller derby under a certain age is a nonsense when we are all fighting for the recognition of roller derby as a real sport. When so many other sports are proud to affirm they’re open to anyone willing to step in, why is roller derby still suffering from lame restrictive clichés like “girls sport” or “not for children”? Let’s smash those and show how open derby is!
Because it’s very hard for European juniors to find teams to bout. So if you’re a junior team willing to bout the Blackland Teenage Terrors, please contact us at rollerderbycharleroi [a] gmail.com !