In the past, I have had a coach actually pull me aside during a game and tell me to stop “showboating”. Excuse me, but when I am getting booed, not from the audience, but from the OTHER TEAM, and not for committing penalties but for simply being a good athlete, I am perfectly justified in giving them a “nanny nanny” sign.
This is what I did:
You’re just lucky I didn’t give them the bird. I honestly cannot believe I was told to STOP playing to the audience. Stop hamming it up. "Stop being entertaining Auntie. You’re pissing off the other team. You’re causing too much attention." The audience LIKES when you pay attention to them. Is that so wrong? You should be promoting that behavior. They are your paying customers. Also inexplicable to me was the fact that I was instructed to stop raising my arms to pump up the crowd because the motion was being confused by the refs as me calling off the jam.
I’m sorry that you have never seen a real roller derby skater before who plays to the crowd, but I should not be punished for it. In all honesty, I do have the athletic ability to earn me the fans, but it’s Auntie Social’s raw aggression and awareness of their presence that makes them like me. And in addition, I love and respect the sport. I have NEVER gotten heated enough on the track to break out into a brawl, (and will never*) but sure I’ll give you the finger or call you a name if you push my buttons. And I do it fully understanding the consequences. If I am out of line let the ref put me in the box. But in my opinion, you are out of line by telling me not to “showboat”.
Basket Casey of the Rat City Rollers reinforces my belief while discussing the dynamics of derby in the documentary Blood on the Flat Track. “You’ve got to have both [athletes and showboats] and I think the crowd likes it, and the crowd that doesn’t like it likes the sport, and the crowd that doesn’t care about the sport likes you know, the other parts of it. Like, ya gotta have the mascots cause they’re fun and they kind of bolster the crowd and I think it just gives it, …I mean, …it’s just neat. It gives it more of an event type feel, so ya gotta have both.” Cute and petite and one of my favorites from the Rat City documentary, Dirty Little Secret #007 goes on to say “I think that’s the beauty of [Roller Derby], you know, all different types. We’ve got our athletes and we’ve got our showboats, we need ‘em all!”
My personal preference would not be to have a derby name that is too sexualized, but each team certainly has a token #69. I would not prefer to associate my name with drugs but there is always an Anita Valium or player with the number 420. Unique characters are a deep seeded part of roller derby’s history. Turn me into a villain if you must, but don’t take away my right to be who I am, on the track.
*only in self defense