We often forget that in our team and leagues we have thousands of opportunities to showcase teamwork, sportsmanship, and good game play. In light of the Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup this weekend I thought it was a great time to talk about leadership on and off the track.
A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a Team New Zealand skater who I respect immensely about game play. She was mentioning a teams actions at the D1 finals and how some of the players weren’t being respectful.
“How could they act that way?” she asked, “They are elite players who are looked up to all over the world.” This was a skater representing her country and her heroes were letting her down.
My response was simple. They were unsportsmanlike and she could do better. All players must lead by example. Players on a national and global stage should be representing everything good about derby and acting as advocates and role models for our sport.
So today I wanted to remind you that each and every one of you is a hero to someone.
People gearing up the nerve to put skates on look up to Freshies.
Freshies look up to league members, refs, NSO's and home teams players.
Home team players look up to All Stars.
All Stars look up to global leaders in the sport.
Global leaders look up to their peers and wish for their talents at this or that skill.
Today I ask each player at #RDWC and at home in their living rooms to think of those people looking up to them before they act and to think of a few simple things each time they hit the track.
- Sportsmanship: Cheer on a good play from your team, but don’t forget to acknowledge the work of your opponent. Tantrums are unacceptable. Period.
- Team work: No player is on the track alone. Respect those that sacrifice themselves for the point, and offer yourself to the derby gods when it is your turn.
- Be an off track leader: Injuries, track time, and team strategy may put you on the bench sometimes, but don’t forget to keep cheering for your team. Build them up, don’t weigh them down.
- Be gracious: Most of the people making games happen are volunteers donating their time and skill. Saying thank you is one of the most powerful things we can do for one another.
Congrats to players, support crew, coaches, and those cheering at home! 30 countries have come together to showcase our sport.
Double congrats to my home country #Canada and my adopted country of #NewZealand for being awesome and showing us what great sportsmanship looks like.