Second Time the Charm?

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Lucille von Kill and my league Hard Breaking Dolls is exactly one month old. We're located in Prague, Czech Republic and are the second existing league in the country.

But let's back up a bit.

I'm not new to the roller derby business. For the past two years, I've skated with the only (as of then) league in the country, Prague City Roller Derby, and for year and a half of it, I was the league president. I've joined the league when it was just six girls and a coach and everybody was trying to figure out what's going on and how to skate exactly. Two years and roughly eight bouts later, I've moved on. To my new league.

Why? Why would I leave, when all I wanna do is skate and play roller derby?

My old league was getting too big, too impersonal. There was about 40 skaters total. I felt it was too much, too soon. I needed change. I needed..., well, I wasn't really sure what at first, but then I realized I needed to leave and start fresh. With people who would share my vision of what a roller derby league can be. So, after some debating, eight of us said, let's actually try doing this our way. And so we are...

But no matter how long you've been doing this, when you're starting out, some things stay the same. And especially when not many people in your country know exactly what sport you're doing. Finding a space to practice? If you call anywhere, they will usually hang up rrrright after you've mentioned roller skates. Or you'll hear the old familiar "sorry, we have no free space" or the free space is on a week day morning when half of your league is at work. And not everywhere is big enough to skate, not everywhere is cheap enough for eight ladies on a budget. After you've called every gym, school, whatever in your city, you discover there's about one, two, three (if you're lucky!) places that are perfect and let you skate. But to be fair, we've been lucky the first time around since we practice at the same place as my old league.

I guess, it was easier for us to start practicing since none of us were complete newbies. The more experienced from us took over the coaching duties. We know each other, we know where our strenghts and weaknesses are, what we need to work on. And thank god for the internet, there are so many drills you can use, adapt to whatever your skaters need.

However, finding a place to practice and starting to practice, may actually be the easiest part of the "starting-your-own-league" process. Good luck getting eight girls to agree on a league name, or god forbid, a league logo. It took us several hours sitting in a bar with a beer in our hands trying to figure out what we should call ourselves. It starts easy enough, "something with Prague in it?" "Prague City Rollers?" "what is the abbreviation... PCR?" "well, no, maybe without the City?" "what if we just don't have the word Prague in it at all?" My old league started as Prague Roller Derby, until we've noticed the abbreviation "PRD" means a fart in English.

And then suddenly, four hours and five beers later, somebody nails it. Hard Breaking Dolls. "It's a pun! Get it?" "Oh, cool!"

OK. You're halfway done! Now somebody needs to create a logo. Ours took about a month, countless Facebook discussions and several revisions to be perfect. And now you're just missing bylaws, and about zillion other things that need to be discussed on your first official team meeting. But let's discuss that some other time.

Starting your own league is not a easy thing to do, even if you already sort of know what you're doing. You want your league to be great, the best thing in your life since you will spend most of your free time with the people from your league doing something FOR your league. It's just the way it is. We want to the league to be ours, we actually have all the time in the world to make it whatever we want it to be. There's no need to be a big league, we only want to be a good league.

And I've always wanted to be a Doll.

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