Since opening 2N1 Skate Shoppe
and starting my blog, Shocker Khan's G Spot
(the G stands for Gear, pervert), I've swapped one piece of equipment for something new and shiny that just came onto the market on a regular basis. At first, it was a bit unnerving to having to adapt to new gear, but once I started traveling to lead Roller Derby boot camps, I found myself having to get used to multiple new skating surface on a weekly basis. After sticking with this torture regimen for a few months, I realized I was adapting quicker to each change than the one before and was able to focus on the gear I was testing instead of just trying to keep my feet under me. For years I had always brought 3-5 sets of wheels with me when I traveled in order to be prepared for any track surface, now it's rare for me to bring more than one (unless the sets are for skaters to check out from 2N1's Wheel Library
Being able to adapt to a new situation is useful when it comes to different wheel harnesses or skating surfaces, but it applies to just about any changes you encounter. Employers appreciate workers who can quickly make rational decisions when faced with new challenges, group members idolize leaders who logically consider and react to new issues, and teammates value fellow team members who are able to overcome never-before-seen obstacles on the playing field. Adapting to change may seem completely logical in theory; however, many tend to have an instinctual reaction against change, even when it would most likely improve the current situation.
When the new WFTDA rules changes were announced, the groans could immediately be heard far and wide. From the pages of FaceBook to skating around the track, skaters complained that the new rules would cause more problems than they would solve or wouldn't be properly enforced by officials. The majority of gripes I encountered were illogical and voiced by those who had not yet even skated in a bout, or even scrimmage, governed by the recent changes. After skating in 3 bouts with the new WFTDA rules, I must say I absolutely LOVE them. The scores have remained lower and closer than they surely would have been under the old ruleset due to halving time spent in the box as well as the changes to cut-track and direction-of-play penalties. In fact, I have yet to find any negative repercussions from the new rules and attribute this to WFTDA's properly researching and testing them prior to implementation. Those griping about them likely either misinterpreted or had a knee-jerk reaction instead of actually trying to understand the changes or waiting until they tried them out on the track before passing judgement.
Changes from the WFTDA trickle down to leagues directly and indirectly and the speed at which leagues adapt to them can indicate how well they will adapt to other issues as they arise. Leagues that treat proposed changes like heresy and those that propose them as heretics only hurt themselves in the long run. Just like the athlete who stops pushing themselves to perform new and more difficult feats, organizations stagnate when they suppress proposed changes brought forth by their members. Now, I'm not saying all new ideas should be implemented or even seriously considered, but if there is a logical explanation and/or research behind the proposal, only the most controlling leaders fearful of losing power would dismiss it outright.
I recently encountered a group that was so vehemently opposed to
change, they wouldn't consider making changes to their policies when all
parties involved agreed the current policies were obsolete and
potentially dangerous. After realizing the group was set in their ways
and comfortable with their complacency, I quickly extracted myself. I
have no problem with mediocrity, as long as it doesn't take over
anything with which I'm involved. Those who are comfortable resting on
their laurels need to do so out of the way of those striving to improve
It's human nature to notice change. This ability helps us detect things in our environment that could be dangerous or cause us to act in some way, so many times our first instinct is to react negatively towards any change, even if it would result in a positive outcome. Once you get used to analyzing, researching, and discussing the reasoning behind proposed changes, it starts to become second nature. You stop reacting to new ideas as if they were root canals and actually start welcoming or even yourself proposing changes.
Trying out new wheels, being challenged with advanced and/or new skills at practice, or proposing changes to league policies should be embraced because better skaters, teams, and leagues are born through these actions. Next time you are faced with a new opportunity, try suppressing your first instinct and instead really consider the possible ramifications, positive and negative, before making a decision. The outcome may surprise you.
Until we skate again,
***Edited to add: I've heard from many who wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment of this article and want the message to be spread far and wide. If you agree, share this article with your friends through social media or post on your message boards then add a comment below. This will enter you into a drawing for some goodies from 2N1 Skate Shoppe!***