Monday, June 20, 2011

The State of Derby Helper

The folks over at Roller Derby Inside Track have a nice series underway right now where they are interviewing different people and organizations to get an overview of the state or roller derby. This sorta smacked me to awareness of the fact that although I am now more active in the world of roller derby than I have ever been, the Derby Helper blog has been sitting here rotting like an 8-track tape factory.

"Welcome to Derby Helper world headquarters!"

There are a few reasons why my efforts are not translating into new Derby Helper articles and I thought it would be a good idea to let everyone know why.

  1. Derby Earth
    The Derby Earth project takes a decent chunk of my roller derby time.  When someone submits an addition or change, I don't just blindly accept that it is accurate.  I dig around the internet to confirm the submitted information and often discover that there are pieces that missing or inaccurate.  My desire to make the placemarks zoom to the exact building location when double-clicked can lead to a ridiculous amount of searching around in Google Streetview to find a real position that was obviously wrong when the address is punched in to Maps.  Basically, my own anal-retentiveness makes Derby Earth marginally more useful while simultaneously condemning me to hours of tedious busywork that I probably could get by without.
  2. Coaching Juniors
    Rather than continuing my old modus operandi of sitting on my internet high horse writing articles about how everyone else should do things, I finally put my money where my mouth is and co-founded a junior roller derby league that I help to coach and operate.  I can happily say that this has been one of the most wonderfully rewarding things that I have ever thrown myself into.  I can't even explain to you how fulfilling it is to me to have a new girl show up for the first time unable to even stand up in skates, to work with that girl on skating fundamentals 2 times per week and to see that same girl 6 months later playing jammer in a drill taking hits and giving them right back with a look on her face like every minute of practice is the best minute of her life.  Junior roller derby is probably the main reason why Derby Helper has been on unintentional hiatus, simply because that is where the majority of my available roller derby time gets spent.
  3. Health
    My whole life, I've had a pretty high constitution (in nerd-speak, I rolled about a 16) so my whole adult life I never had to deal with any serious wellness problems with my self or anyone else in my household.  Until the last 12 months that is.  Suddenly in a ridiculous flurry of infirmity reminiscent of the Old Testament's Book of Job, I lost use of an arm, discovered I had a tumor, had to rush my wife to the emergency room multiple times, was told I had cancer (incorrectly thank goodness), took my wife in for several surgeries for the same problem, had surgery myself to fix the arm, shattered my tibia and fibula (kinda like this, if you're brave enough to watch it) , had two MORE surgeries myself and currently have to use a grandma-style walker to shuffle to the bathroom if I don't want to be forced to pee in a jug.

    Though come to think of it,  there is a third option...

    The upshot is that it's hard to come up with new insights in the world of roller derby to share with my reader base when I'm busy singlehandedly bringing the entire healthcare system out of the recession.  (If you work in healthcare and you've gotten a raise in the last year, you're welcome.)  I've been so physically and emotionally drained by all of this that it has been a challenge just to keep Derby Earth and the junior roller derby running.  The usual stream of ideas for article subject matter pretty much dried up as I sort of turned emo and started spending all my time feeling sorry for myself.

    They even made a t-shirt about me.

    Now that I've finally decided to cowboy-up, stop my personal pity party and grab life by the horns again, I'm hoping to start slowly but surely returning this space to being a consistent resource for useful roller derby information sprinkled with silly roller derby humor like it was in the good old days.  It may be infrequent due to points 1 and 2, but I plan to not let point 3 be a factor in it anymore.
So there you have it, the State of Derby Helper.  Thanks for all of your readership over the past 2 years and I look forward to doing everything I can to continue to develop and improve the body of information available to the world of roller derby for all of you. Remember, you can always send me your roller derby questions and you will get them answered either by my well-thought out, thoroughly convincing articles or by all the people in the article comments pointing out all the reasons why I'm an idiot. 


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