Be Your Own Hero - that's the tag line from Whip It which is a movie of which those involved in roller derby may be aware. I'll admit that I considered the phrase to be nothing more than one of those trite empowerment sayings that you see all over the place - much like aim for the moon and you'll still land among the stars, which, is astronomically inaccurate for starters. But I digress.
But recently I began to re-evaluate my thoughts on this, perhaps it is possible - at least on some level - to be your own hero... at least with regards to the rollerderby world. I was going through some old photographs, back from April 21st 2012 to be exact. That was the date of the Blocky Horror Picture Show, a double header hosted by the Dolly Rockit Rollers
where my old league, Southern Discomfort Roller Derby
, were playing the Cocked Tails. Now this was my last game with the SDRD travel team as I was in the process of moving to the US, and so it was my SDRD farewell.
Going into the final jam SDRD were up by 70 odd and we had a
powerjam. As a thank you I was given the jammer star and got to choose who my
two blockers would be on the track. As I skated to take up my position - and
I'll never forget this - Rollin Ston'r turned to me, shook my hand and said
thank you for everything you've done for the league. Most of what happened next
- aside from the schooling I got from Jammie Dodger - was a bit of a blur,
metaphorically and literally because I suddenly got all kinds of grit in my
eye. But I did hear the crowd, most of whom had no idea who I was, chant my
name. I got lead, scored 2 points, conceded 9, called the jam and was carried
off the track, triumphant, in the arms of my team. And for that I got my first
- and almost certainly only - MVP. As Ballistic said, "I don't think
I've ever been so happy to see a jammer score two points".
And this is where the be your own hero bit comes in. I never was - and never will be - a top derby player, nor even a mid tier one, but my contribution to the team wasn't on the track, it was off. I'd been one of the founding directors of SDRD and spent a lot of hours organising the rear end of the league with fellow masochists Sutton Impact and Henry the Sk8th, doing all the dull, grubby work so that the league could function and skaters could skate.
And that made me think about the line from Whip It once more: for every hero tearing up the track, be it Reaper, Stef Mainey, Bonnie Thunders, Hauss the Boss or whoever, there's someone who's been just as heroic in their own way behind the scenes, be that Danger, Bette Noir, Doc Skinner or Nicole Craft or countless others, most of whom may only be known to their on leaguemates. It's easy to forget all the work and effort that goes on behind the scenes and the countless hours that people put in to keep their league functioning and, if you think about it, the people who do that are just as important, if not more so, than the superstar players.
So there you have it and the next time you're on track, think back to the person or persons who may not be the greatest of skaters, but still put all their efforts into making your team as good as possible. Remember, while you're busy skating, they're busy being their own hero.
#f11 Jay Pegg