This month’s Gold Star Award for Excellence in Volunteering was awarded to the lovely Tyger Bomb. We were fortunate to learn exactly why she is so excellent.
Do you remember your first Rose City Rollers bout? Where and when?
It was sometime in 2007, at the Expo Center. Shortly afterwards I became a yellow shirt so I could be part of RCR.
Did you ever want to be a skater? Yes, immediately!
Merch sales, 2010
Why have you stayed involved with RCR? I volunteer with RCR because I think it’s important to give back. I have learned so much from skaters, coaches, officials, leadership, and other volunteers. I could not have had the incredible experiences I’ve had playing this sport if not for the hard work of so many people who came before me who helped to create modern roller derby, and everyone who helps to keep our league running today. I am so proud of the programs our league has developed, like Rent N Roll, to make derby more accessible to everyone.
What was your favorite volunteer experience?
Ava Skatrix was my first derby crush. During warmups for the first bout I attended, she gave somebody a leg whip and I just melted into a giant puddle of fangirl. Fast forward to a few months later – I was yellow shirting at a bout and she rolled up to me and thanked me for volunteering. It was like meeting a movie star.
Do you have a favorite skater and/or official or a great derby crush?
I think I could get myself in a lot of trouble if I start announcing favorite officials, so I’m just gonna say I appreciate ALL of our officials. They volunteer countless hours to do a really hard job and sometimes their only thanks is eye-rolling or tantrums. They are amazing. My derby crush of the moment is Freight Train.
Painting numbers on Rent N Roll helmets, 2014. Photo by Marybeth Olmstead
How has RCR changed since you began volunteering?
RCR has continued to grow and develop. We’ve had to create policies and programs to meet the needs of the world’s largest derby league, and sometimes we’ve had growing pains. But we have amazing programs now (junior derby, Wreckers, Derby Daze) that didn’t exist when I started. I am excited to see what happens next, and how much more we can grow once we get into a larger space!
Is there anything RCR could do better for its volunteers?
I think we can all make a point of saying thank you. Say it sincerely and often, to lots of people. Everyone in this league is a volunteer at some level. Everyone donates their time to be here and to make the league run. I don’t think people are doing that for rewards or recognition, but everyone should be acknowledged for their hard work.
I also feel like our photographers are kind of the unsung heroes of the league. Without them we would not have photos to show off in the old folks home to prove that we used to be badasses. Can we make them all cookies or something?
How does it feel to be a Gold Star Award for Excellence in Volunteering winner?
I am humbled and grateful. That sounds super corny but it’s true. I don’t think I’m doing anything extraordinary – I just try to help where I can. It’s kind of mind boggling to be singled out and I wish we gave this award out on a weekly basis because there are so many people who deserve it.
UCP event at Oaks, 2013
Do you think you will ever stop being a part of RCR?
When I die I will have myself stuffed and you can use me as a mannequin for merch sales. So no, I have no plans to go anywhere.
Any suggestions for new volunteers or those considering volunteering with RCR?
Speak up! It can be kind of overwhelming being a part of something so large with so many moving parts. What are your skills? What skills would you like to learn or develop? There is a committee or program that needs your help and in many cases you can get training or experience that you can apply in the “real world.” If you don’t like the volunteer job you’re doing now, ask around and see if you can find something that’s a better fit. When you find a volunteer job you love, it doesn’t even feel like work!
Everybody has something to contribute. The league runs because we are all doing our part. THANK YOU.