On the road with the Furies

Take fifteen skaters and add in a coach and a ref. Toss in three fans for good measure. Stuff them in five cars filled with snacks and you’ve got a roller derby road trip.

This isn’t my first road trip with the Furies. This isn’t even my first road trip as a non-skater. I’ve been named as an alternate before. But that time I prepared like a skater – just in case. This time I’m not on the roster. I’m just coming along to help.

There’s something about a road trip. It’s exhilarating and exhausting; boring and outrageously funny; often all in the same ten-minute span. You’ve got a purpose on the way there. You’ve got an opponent to defeat. On the way back, well, sometimes it depends on how the game went. And other times it doesn’t matter, you’re on the high from playing together no matter what the outcome.

I never played team sports as a kid. I never had the inside jokes or long car rides with a cooler full of snacks, playing word games to pass the hours. And though I wish I had experienced that when I was younger I’m so glad to have it in my life now.

We often talk about that vital concept: “team.” So, how do you make that magic? If it were an easy answer we’d have a handful of Super Bowl wins and Stanley Cups in this town.

I guess I would say that one important part of the team recipe is to have a common goal; something everyone (well, how about a good majority) is working towards — winning a game; pulling off a successful party (or tournament); or learning a new skill or strategy.

But what makes a strong, effective team? I think it’s more like cooking than baking. When you bake you need to follow a recipe, it’s more science than creativity. Ever cook a meal off the top of your head, have it turn out spectacularly, and never be able to recreate it again?

A winning team is not always accidental (though it can be), but there is no guaranteed recipe for success either.

I joined derby because I loved to roller skate. But I stay because of the team. And by team I’m not just talking about my home team or the Furies but QCRG as a whole.

Think about it: QCRG is a team made up of smaller teams.

I was in Queens Court; which certainly felt like a team to me. I was drafted to a home team. I made the travel team. I’m on different committees (some of those are bigger teams than others). Some of the smaller teams have different goals: it’s not always to win a game, but we all have the same overarching goal – to make QCRG better.

I do know that despite the ingredients of the team, everything has to blend together well or it’s much harder to get that win. You might, but it isn’t going to taste quite as sweet.

~Vile Love It #644