Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chapter 9: Freedom?

"Don't let a win get to your head or a loss to your heart." ~Chuck D.

The final step of the hunt was now at hand. There were three candidates in the running (if you count your prick of a narrator): the assistant coach, the B team coach, and myself. After however long it took for the team to vote, I get a phone call right after B team practice telling me I had lost in the vote. I wasn't surprised obviously, but that doesn't mean hearing that you've been successfully attacked politically in the shadows is any easier to hear either. There had been 19 votes in total for me (8 yes, 10 no, and 1 abstain), but this is where it gets even more interesting.

In the following months, I would find out that at least two of the skaters never even voted at all. So consider this math equation. There are only 20 people eligible to vote (supposedly), I received votes from 19 of those people, and yet 2 people never voted. 20-2=19? And that's just the two I know of; there may have been more than that as a few of those skaters were terrible about doing anything computer related. You're probably thinking how would that even be possible because a Yahoo poll or a forum poll don't even really allow for that to happen. Well, that's why you use Survey Monkey instead. Because you can give that link to someone not on the team to cast a vote or because you can just use a different computer to vote again. Of course something like this was how it all ended too. 8 chapters of a political, cowardly witch hunt and they can't even vote ethically? Yep.

So now you have me bumped out of a team I had a huge hand in building. So now you also have the former assistant coach as the head coach. A person who never contributed a drill to the team. A person that while a likeable guy, was never passionate about derby. A person that avoided conflict consistently and had been constantly in my ear that I should just wait because these last few months (the previous 7 chapters) weren't what I thought they were. I was just making shit up I guess. Truth be told, I brought him into coaching and he had successfully ridden my coat tails. He now was the head coach of a team he hadn't done much to build. I'd say that must be nice, but I personally can't even fathom ever doing that because I'm not wired that way. It is what it is though. The team voted him in and I guess being better liked instead of respected counts for more when a witch hunt is afoot.

And then there's our B team coach, who is the live-in boyfriend of Alexandra (former captain B). It's truly impossible to overlook this conflict of interest considering all that Alexandra had done to spearhead this whole cowardly episode. But what's a little taint afer all the team and its leadership had already done? It's totally cool at that point; why not? Our B team coach was at least passionate about derby and that I can respect. But I never cared for how things happened between MHC, the A travel team, and the B travel team. New MHC drills would show up at B team practices with new names because Alexandra would tell him about them. He didn't ask me or even Sukie (former captain A) what the drills were for or how they applied to our team and everyone knows that Alexandra doesn't know that shit. Then he would just throw them out to his team, making it seem like they were his ideas. He never stuck around after a scrimmage or came to an MHC practice to see new drills. Guess you don't need to when your girlfriend co-captain is just feeding you everything at home. Also never saw what to look for in a drill either; derby always seemed to be more like a fantasy sport for him. Having not played anything competitively on skates, it always seemed like he lacked the insight into what contact was like and what it was like to be in the action.

I do have to say that such intellectual thievery really bothered me and Sukie because it wasn't done ethically; we're all the same league, but at least ask the people who know what they're doing what new drills they have and then have the common courtesy to give credit where it's due. But that was never my experience in 4 years with the league when it came to anything under the DRD umbrella whether it be drills, committee work, or whatever else.

I realize that folks outside of that team probably think I'm just jealous or that I'm bitter about losing the vote in speaking about the two current coaches. That is not the case. It's a case of watching something you sweated blood to build, on and off the track, being given to people who did nothing to build it. It's a case of watching that same something play the exact same way all season in 2011 because they lacked insight and vision.

So you can say I'm jealous or whatever else; that's your personal right to have an uneducated opinion if you like. But anyone that thinks that should try putting in hours of your time earning respect and building a team on and off the track. A team that went winless in the first 6 months of 2008 to a third place medal at nationals in 2009. And then watch as that same team backdoors you and hands all of your work to others. If you can go through all of that (plus a team-initiated witch hunt )and then be warm and friendly to the people that did that to you, you can say whatever you want about me. Of course, if you go through all of that and respond like that, you probably are a living miracle because I would think having absolutely no spine would lead to death.

Just to wrap up the rest of this story (I'll post some final thoughts on this whole episode in another day or two), I submitted my two weeks notice to the league the same day as being told I had been voted out. I couldn't accept a lesser coaching role in a league where this type of thing could happen nor could I expect to peacefully co-exist with some of these cowards either. I didn't go out in a big ball of flames by telling this story to my league or filing some grievance against these people. Not because I'm that kind of awesome, but because I didn't want to put some of the skaters I cared about and respected through all of that.

And just to be crystal clear, I personally do not claim to be perfect. I make mistakes in judgment and in actions like everyone else. I also don't believe I should've been automatically voted back in as a head coach because I had always been the head coach or because of our past success. This story is also not the crucifixion of St. Angus. Even though I'm not perfect or worthy of being called a saint, I don't in any way believe that makes what these people did okay either. Anyway, this is the bulk of the story. Chapter 10 will follow with other thoughts and experiences since all this happened.


  1. I'm looking forward to the final chapter. It sounds like you've gotten a bunch of personal issues off your chest. Now comes the important part: what can the rest of the world learn from your experiences? There's gotta be more of a lesson to all this than just, "These people suck and I hate them." Please tell me there is some constructive advice coming in the final episode!

    Also, am I the only person reading this? I noticed I'm the only one who has commented on the blog so far.

  2. Every person in the derby world is reading this....commenting without writing your own long, sad story seems inadequate and the thought of writing it out will cause some of us needless pain in reliving the miserable experience.

    His is just one example (this happens in one form or another in every league) of the unsavory side of derby. I call it "Rebels Without A Clue" syndrome. It those that cause an uprising within a league for no other purpose than a simple narcissistic need to get what they want; at any cost.

    There are many selfish, thoughtless men and women in derby. But then again, there are many more wonderful, beautiful people in derby; it is for those, that we do what we do with love, selflessness and much personal sacrifice of time and energy.

  3. You hit the nail on the head, sister. Wonderful interpretation.