We have to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders and fans

One week ago was my last official night as Fresh Meat Coach. While I’m still sticking around until we find an alternate replacement, I’m excited to be looking down the road and improving with my own skills & skating with the team full-time.

The outpouring of support in my decision has been amazing and I never really saw how I contributed to the league until I saw all the replies to this post. (Can’t see it? Friend me!)

Because of those comments, coaching fresh meat has been one of my proudest moments in derby. Because of my helpers during fresh meat, usually the injured skaters who couldn’t participate in a full practice, they made it easier and gave the skaters another perspective on learning a skill. Because of our intern student, Helina Handbasket, she took over coaching for a few weeks, which allowed me to skate full-time with the team. Because of Helina, she taught me some new techniques in coaching that I continued after she completed her internship. Because of the fresh meat crew who show up, using crappy loaner kneepads and skates with tiny wheels, the fact that you fearlessly fall and crossover on demand week-after-week inspires me.

So to all of you… once again, thank you!

Last week I also ran for a board position. Term two!!! (Can you believe we’ve been around for a year and have had our first official AGM?) The burden of a skater-run league weighs heavily on my mind sometimes. Well, a lot of the time.

Being buried within a group of talent, egos, nice girls, control freaks, mentors, leaders, followers, yings, yangs, A-personalities, B-personalities, XYZ-personalities, keeping everyone happy is a near impossibility. However, my personality wants to make it so. I want to fix everything. I want to be the ear, be the shoulder, be the mediator, be the nice girl. As a result I inadvertently find myself pulled into the drama; feeling pressured to choose sides, or feeling targeted when I don’t choose sides. It doesn’t happen ALL the time. But let’s be honest, it’s common knowledge that when you get a group of women together, disagreements happen and sometimes they happen in the public eye at practice or social events.

I seriously considered not running for the board again simply because being on the board throws you into a lot of conflict. I wasn’t sure if my heart could take another year of all the extra emotions involved. But at the same time I felt my job wasn’t done yet in pushing the league further in Lethbridge.

Then I read this and it made me realize that I wasn’t alone in my feelings. It also made me take a step back and look at my own behaviour. I acknowledge I have to change myself before I can change what’s around me. I want to adopt the mantra of asking “How can we make it better?” to the group instead “OMG I can’t believe that happened!” in a corner to another skater after practice. I want to be a role model for other skaters when it comes to fitness, attitude and dedication. I want to be approachable by everyone on the team and exclude no one. I want to be everyone’s cheerleader.

And finally, quoted directly from the above article because it’s such an awesome quote…

“We need to know that if we’re not as good as you, we can only get better with your help. We need to know we can trust you, on and off the track, if not to be a friend, at least to not be an enemy.”

Or maybe it’s all in my head. The fact is, I said to myself that I would keep riding derby until it wasn’t fun anymore. A few weeks ago I was really close to that point. I hope with some small changes in my behaviour I will never come close to that point again!

Thanks for reading!


One thought on “We have to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders and fans

  1. Cherri, Cherri, if you are ever in need of a cheerleader or fan, give me a call, I’ll quite happily be the crazy fan sitting in suicide row yelling ‘GO CHERRI!’ or whatever else may come to mind.
    You are a very important person, at least in my opinion, to the league, to the Dames, and to the freshmeat that you’ve passed your wisdom on to. My first impression of derby was through you, and it was because of you that I went back to freshmeat night. Yours was the voice that, no matter what, I could hear above all else, doing the meatgrinder, even doing our laps during benchmarks, there was nothing but your voice, and, sometimes, that was the most important voice to hear.
    I hope you continue to find derby fun, and if I have to do something entirely embaressing or amusing, or take an epic fall for you to keep finding it fun, I will fall for you, so to speak. I, personally, am very grateful to have you as a role model in the derby world, and outside of it. You’re not just that derby mentor, I look at you and go ‘yah, that’s someone I can look up to, someone I want to be like.’ Except no one can be like Cherri, for Cherri is one of a kind.

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