Archive for February, 2010
Last night at PVRD’s scrimmage practice, a skater participating in her first scrimmage accomplished an 18 point jam. Yeah, she got a lot of help from her pack. One of our best blockers was in the pack against her though and for me it taught a lot of lessons and reminded me again of some of the Promise of Derby.
Many moons ago I was in the car business. And, yes, for a while I was a salesman. For those of you not in direct sales, let me tell you a bit about what it’s like to be a car salesman. When you first get going in this, you’re trained by your managers and sales team. You have no preconceived notions about what sells a car and what the customer needs. You listen to the customer. You listen to your sales managers. You study the basics of sales. Then it comes time to get out on the floor.
New car salespeople generally do really well! After years in that business, I understand why. It is because they haven’t learned about “no.” New sales people look at each and every customer as a new opportunity to help someone meet their transportation needs and desires. They rely on their managers, as a team, to help them serve the customer best while meeting their own bottom line.
After about 6 months into being a car salesman, the new salesman thinks she has it figured out. She gets “smart”. She thinks she’s “heard it all before” and one customer’s needs and objections are just another version of the last. She doesn’t listen to her managers because she “knows it all.” These are the kind of salesmen who starve for a few months. At this point, she’ll either quit, or stick it out and remember how to be part of a team.
There’s a lesson here for derby as well. When we’re new and fresh we listen to our coaches and captains. We understand the principles of derby. We know about blocking and staying on our feet. We trust our teammates. When we run through a pack we’re not thinking about what it will feel like to land on the floor because we just haven’t had that experience. Everything is all new and shiny. We’re out there to give our best and show to our teammates we have what it takes to be a part of this amazing sp0rt and we want to, we deserve to, be recognized.
Then, for some reason, after a couple scrimmages and bouts, we “think” we have it all figured out and we, for a while, stop being part of the team. When we come upon a particularly challenging opponent we remember what the floor felt like after she blocked us there. When we approach the pack, we think about how hard it is to work through this set of blockers. We remember the time it felt as though our team was too busy playing their own game instead of helping us and we don’t trust them. We remember our failures and it holds us back. Worse than that, it holds our team back!
If you make it through a year of derby, like a car salesman, we begin to remember we’re not in this alone. One of the most amazing and inspiring aspects of derby is at least every two minutes we get to start with a clean slate. If you’re one of those skaters who is feeling as though you’ve reached a plateau, its time to recognize the rest of your team. Its time to trust in your coaches, Captains, and teammates. Its time to remember that this is a new jam and forget the last one – no matter how awesome or devastating it was.
Get through that pack. Trust your teammates to make holes for you. Stay on your feet – you don’t know what the floor feels like and even if you did, it can’t be that bad.
Every two minutes or less is a new jam. Make it the best one you’ve ever had.