Author Topic: Getting a Men's League Started..  (Read 278515 times)

erich.bennar

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Getting a Men's League Started..
« on: April 25, 2008, 01:53:51 PM »
Roller Derby man asked in a previous post:

Quote from: "roller derby man"
i chris christine want to start a mens team in van buren arkansas if you can help me out i would be very greatful

You've come to the right place. This board was organized by men's derby leagues: Harm City Homicide, New York Shock Exchange, and the men's division of Pioneer Valley Roller Derby. These leagues have nearly 4 years cumulative experience organizing and running their respective leagues - so we can hopefully provide you with some valuable insight.

Also - there are guys from all over the country who have founded men's leagues and can also jump in and offer suggestions.

The first things you'll want to do is to recruit and then find a place to practice.

Recruiting:
There are lots of ways to go about this:
 - Get an email address and (ideally) a myspace account for your new league. Your myspace account will allow you to post 'up to the minute' information about your league: practice space, events, pictures, info about your league.

 - Schedule a time and place for your first meeting - where you will talk about what you are doing. and how you plan to get it going. This shows people that you are SERIOUS about organizing. And gives potential recruits a definite time/place to gather and meet up

 - Put up paper flyers in area hotspots: roller rinks, music stores, tattoo shops, basically anywhere. talk it up. Make sure the flyers have your email address, and links to your myspace, and the time/date of your first meeting. People may travel up to 2-3 hours to practice. I believe, the Midwest Men's Roller Derby league has an interesting setup where they practice in different cities for each practice. So THINK BIG. Post your flyers as far away as you can.

 - You can advertise online - on craigslist, or other internet resources. post HERE on the Men's Derby Coalition boards. There are other yahoo groups, and forums related to roller derby that might be read by guys in your area who want to play.

Find a place to practice:
Until you have a group of people who can chip in and pay dues, it might not make sense to look for dedicated practice space that costs $$$. When PVRD was starting out, we went to open skates at our local rinks. Mainly we were learning how to skate. Some of our more experienced skaters taught our inexperienced skaters. We also took skating lessons as a league. Once we got the basics, we reached out to our local women's derby teams for help with drills, and gameplay, etc. As you get more established, we can definitely help you with that here.

You can also find outdoor locations (through the summer). Skating in public places (legally) will also drum up interest in your league. People will stop by and say 'hey what are you doing' and then you can hand them a flyer.

Depending on how fast your league is growing, it might be prudent to start talking to local venues (rinks, sports complexes, warehouse spaces - basically anywhere with hard wood, sport court, cement or any other suitable skating floor). You should find out how much they charge and see what it would take to afford that space. Shop around.

That should be a good start. Anyone else have suggestions?

slim

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2008, 01:47:20 PM »
This is all great info, Dr. Spankenstein.  Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

I really must re-iterate how important it is to have regular practices, even if it just means three or four guys meeting up in a parking lot outside somewhere at 9 AM on a Saturday morning (hey, that's how Homicide got started!).  Find a time that works for you and get the guys you do have, whether it's three people or ten, used to coming and working out together.  If you can find coaches among experienced derby skaters, all the better.

If not, focus primarily on endurance, form, and basic derby skills (falls, maneuverability, etc.) for those first practices.  Continue making a presence at local open skates, also, where you can practice the simpler stuff.

Eventually, you will start picking people up, people who see you at open skates or derby events or in a bar and are intrigued by what you're doing.  This is where those regular practices will come most in handy.  Already having some experience under your belts, a regular time and place to encourage folks to meet up at, and the ability to work together will really aid in early recruitment.

Also, if you're in a city with a local derby team, I can't stress enough how much it has helped us to work with them whenever possible.  Our girls provided us with coaches early on, gave us opportunities to skate in a real rink far before that was within our budget, supported us at fundraisers and events, everything.  We forged a close relationship early on, based on ground rules that we set up together (protocol re: approaching each other's sponsors, when it is and isn't OK to share a practice, basic rules of respect), and because of that, we were able to grow together.  When we grew a bit bigger, that early relationship later allowed us to do things like host double-headers, make financial commitments together, and even appear together in front of crowds of 1500+.

Of course, you don't need a women's team in order to function - but if you've got one, work with it!  There was some initial resistance at first, but eventually we all realized that we're doing this because we love the sport.

If you don't have a ready source of experienced skaters to aid you in initial coaching, don't be afraid to ask folks from afar.  I know I personally travel for derby almost every weekend, and find myself in a different city every time.  With such a supportive and connected community, you're never as far away as you think you are from personal support and coaching during those rough early months.

I still find myself bursting with pride when I think how far Homicide has come since those days of skating around in circles in an old parking lot, pretending not to be hungover.  I also can't believe how far other men's teams have come in an equally short period of time.  Whenever things are discouraging, think of that, and remember that you are never alone!

Virginia Slim
Captain, Harm City Homicide (Baltimore, MD)

Offline Bazooka Joe

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2008, 12:35:30 PM »
Since Dr. Spankenstein pretty much covered everything I would have offered from our experiences, let me just add:

Be Patient

I believe strongly that this is key to the success of any derby club. Do not rush things. Resist the urge to bout right away. Develop your skaters, develop your club. Work on skills, work on your club's structure, work on your relationships with other leagues. Do not go off half cocked. Every derby league's success or failure has an impact on the community as a whole. This is especially true for the guys, since there are relatively few of us.

Thank you
Thank you

Bazooka Joe
Pioneer Valley Roller Derby
Northampton, MA
http://www.pioneervalleyrollerderby.com

Roller Jock

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2008, 06:05:24 PM »
Hey guys,

Has the Pioneer Valley team thought about starting a men's team in the Metro Boston area?   A lot of us in Boston don't have cars so getting to Northampton is really tough.

Jurasskick Park

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2008, 06:42:10 PM »
Hey Roller Jock -

We can put you in touch with Wrench, who comes out from Boston to practice with us regularly - I'm sure he has room for more!

I don't know exactly where he is coming from, but it might be better than not playing roller derby at all...

-JP

Offline Bazooka Joe

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2008, 12:32:20 AM »
Quote from: "Roller Jock"
Hey guys,

Has the Pioneer Valley team thought about starting a men's team in the Metro Boston area?   A lot of us in Boston don't have cars so getting to Northampton is really tough.

I have certainly fantasized about setting up a Pioneer Valley Roller Derby - Eastern Division. How deliciously ironic it would be to have something in Boston run by an organization based in Fascinating & Mysterious Western Mass.© (as someone who grew up in Metro Boston and has spent the last 8 years West of Worcester I am officially qualified to say that)

Unfortunately, until scientists get off their asses and perfect that machine that inserts 12 more hours into the day, I'm afraid we aren't in a position to branch out that far.

Last I checked, there were plenty of guys in Boston and Providence who would like to play Roller Derby. The problem thus far has been getting someone to take the lead. Big Willy of PRD has stepped forward to try to get something going in Providence. You can reach him here on this board.

As JP mentioned, Wrench, a ref from Boston Derby Dames has been practicing with us for a few months and will be playing with us in our upcoming bouts. I will send you his address. You can talk to him about trying to get something going in the Hub, or perhaps you could hitch a ride with him to a practice or three out here.

Thank you
Thank you

Bazooka Joe
Pioneer Valley Roller Derby
Northampton, MA
http://www.pioneervalleyrollerderby.com

Rollerjock

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2009, 07:02:07 PM »
What's up guys?

I love in Boston, and really want to play Roller Derby. I know there's the PVRD, but I don't have transportation to get out to Northampton.  Do you think PVRD would be interested in helping to start a Metro Boston team?

erich.bennar

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2009, 08:46:05 AM »
Hey RollerJock,

We'd love to help get something started out there - but it seems like nobody really has the time to take the helm. There is a league forming in Worcester - Central Mass Roller Derby. Reffington Steele is the guy you'd want to get in touch with there.

Alternately - there are a few guys (like Wrench, and Fresh Eddie) who commute from Boston to Pioneer Valley. You might be able to catch a ride with one of them.

I'd definitely love to get you more involved - its clear that you still want to play! Private message me if you have any specific questions or if there is anything I can do to help facilitate.

Reffington Steele

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2009, 10:55:58 AM »
We'd love for you to come skate with us over in Worcester, but I don't think we currently have any members coming from Boston. I'm guessing if you can't make it to Northampton, you can't make it to Leominster where we practice either. If you ever get a car or a friend with one, we're having practices every Sunday for the month of March at Roll-on America (http://www.rollonamerica.com) and we'd love to have you.

Wrench

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2009, 03:31:47 PM »
Hey RollerJock.

I emailed you before when you 1st posted. Please send me your contact info so I can keep in contact if we ever get something happening in the Boston area. Right now I have an injured knee and ankle and can't play derby but hope to be back shortly.

heres my email: macken5000@hotmail.com

-Wrench

Carpe Demon

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2009, 10:11:09 PM »
Hi everyone.

My name is Carpe Demon, and I used to skate for Harm City Homicide between 2007-2008.  In August of 2008, I moved to Portland, Oregon... which does not currently have a men's derby team.  There is a huge women's league here in Portland, the Rose City Rollers (RCR), and they have one of the largest league-memberships in the country.

Since moving here, I have encountered HEAVY resistance to the idea of men's derby in this area.  In fact, RCR just put out a survey that asked league members and fans if they would like to see men's derby in the future, and a majority said they had no interest.  I'm not quite sure where the animosity comes from, and though there are a minority of RCR skaters who are all for it, the majority I have spoken to seem to be afraid that men's derby will try and "take over" what they have built... at least that's the general gist that I have gotten.  And as much as I reassure them that is not the case, they're still not convinced.  Even a good chunk of the MEN associated with the league here have taken an opposing stance to men's derby, possibly due to the opinions of their friends/girlfriends/wives/whatever, and look down their noses and sneer at "the merby" (goddamn do I hate that phrase - I don't play "merby" any more than the ladies play "werby").  A lot of them ask me why I don't just ref and forget men's derby, and it's difficult to explain that I really don't want to ref... I just want to PLAY.  I really don't think I'd make a good ref, but I'll certainly knock the crap out of a few of them.  It's really quite frustrating, going from practicing and skating every week with Homicide to absolute nothing.  It's been a year now since I moved, and I'm getting tired of not skating (not to mention out of shape)!

So, lately there have been rumors amongst the RCR ref squad about starting up a men's team, "sometime in the near future".  And for a few months now, there has been an upcoming event planned for mid-September, that will feature a halftime men's event to play against/with Puget Sound skaters.  I have been expressing my interest for months, but the organization of this event has been in a constant state of flux, as well as any plans for a men's derby team.  So it looks like it has fallen to me to finally kick-start this men's derby thing into action here in Portland.

What I need is some some help and guidance on how to move this thing into reality, from those who have done it already.  I have at least eight guys who I know for sure are interested in starting something up.

Rose City has a dedicated practice space, which is available 7 days a week.  I have heard from my sources that tell me that if we become dues-paying members of the RCR league, we we could potentially get a time slot to practice, though the slot may be inconvenient. It would also enable us to attend RCR's endurance practices.  So I have an "olive branch" email out to the executive director of the Rose City Rollers to discuss things like practice space availability, insurance, dues, et cetera.  For the September event, it's far too late to try and pull together a team to play Puget Sound, so it'll probably be a mixed-thing with refs here and some Puget Sound skaters.  I'm not worrying myself about that so much.  The thing I'm most worried about is trying to convince the head of the league that men's derby is a viable thing that they should support.

I'm ready to make this happen.  So, does anyone have any advice or suggestions for me on how to get past some of this anti-men's-derby sentiment, and start making men's derby finally happen here in Portland?  Any advice on how to convince them that we just want to PLAY, and aren't going to try and take over?

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

Carpe Demon, #7734
AKA Lyle McNaughton
Formerly Harm City Homicide
lylemcn@gmail.com
« Last Edit: August 11, 2009, 02:59:32 PM by Carpe Demon »

Offline Jonathan R

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2009, 09:43:42 AM »
It sounds like you are making good progress.  Once you start regular practices, be they in a rink or abandoned lot, in which you are playing roller derby then more people will be convinced.  The actions you take are even more persuasive then words.
Jonathan R
MRDA Director of Games
New York Shock Exchange
http://www.nyshockexchange.com

Pitchit

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 08:02:12 PM »
Make a practice schedule and stick to it.
If you have to practice at the local elementary school basketball court, do it.
'If you build it, they will come.'

St00pidFast

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2009, 05:25:39 PM »
just stick to your guns, most of the men's leagues got hostility from the women's leagues when they started.... just keep at it, if you can get 6 people who are serious, you are on the right track, we were 6 skaters strong for at least 8 months before anything happened.....

just stick it out....

g/l man!

Zach12

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2009, 10:01:19 PM »
I live in Reading, PA.  I would love to see a mens team in Reading.  IS there anyone near or in Reading that would like to help out with setting one up and to get  a good strong team together.  Would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks
Zach

RwStan

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2011, 12:29:30 AM »
I will have to keep this post noted. I am having a hard time getting a co-ed started. The women are so stubborn. One lady had the nerve to ask if she got paid and if so how much!!  :o

Yeah, Let me just write you up a 200k a year contract with a 150k signing bonus since you are so darn special. :roll:

Offline Jonathan R

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2011, 09:12:48 AM »
Quote from: "dr.spankenstein"

There are lots of ways to go about this:
 - Get an email address and (ideally) a myspace account for your new league. Your myspace account will allow you to post 'up to the minute' information about your league: practice space, events, pictures, info about your league.

2011 Edit: ...and (ideally) a facebook account for your new league.
Jonathan R
MRDA Director of Games
New York Shock Exchange
http://www.nyshockexchange.com

Carpe Demon

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2011, 01:33:49 AM »
I've been wondering how people feel about this issue with Facebook.  I've seen people start Facebook pages for their leagues, as if their league is a "person" -- so they can spam friend requests to everyone in the derby community and get lots of friends.  Then there's the "sports team" type of page that you can "like" and suggest your friends also "like", but you can't ADD friends to.  I personally find the "league masquerading as person" pages less of a representation of true fans, but at the same time I can block their spam with filters -- unlike "liked" pages.  How does everyone else view this topic?

~Demon

Offline Magnum, p.i.m.p.

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2011, 09:40:53 AM »
It seems like people do that because they don't know any better.  The GateKeepers started as a person page and wish we would have done like page.  I have been told that a person page maxes out at around 5,000 friends.  I do like that you can tag a person though.  That is one thing I would change about the like page.
Magnum aka Scott Meyer
StL GateKeepers

Obi Quad Kenobi

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2011, 06:33:12 PM »
I prefer the "like" over the friends page. To me it is more important about what they post on FB. I like reading posts about major events like bouts, draft, etc. I don't like the pages that also use that forum for mundane team communication. I don't need to know that a team I "liked" is changing which bar they will be having the next team meeting at, use a yahoo group for that.

-Obi Quad
Capital City Skull Crushers

Carpe Demon

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2011, 06:43:20 PM »
Our league started a private Facebook group that includes all members of our league that are on Facebook, so we can have conversations out of the public eye.  It serves as a good supplement for our forum.  I think it works pretty well if most of your guys use Facebook!

~Demon

Johnny Rollmone

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2011, 07:57:49 PM »
Read through everything and it's all fairly straight forward. However, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or knowledge pertaining to getting a Mens College team going. Obviously it seems like something that would fall into the intermural category or possibly a club sport, but is mens derby starting to spring up around any colleges? I haven't had much luck finding info on any programs.

skatebreed

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2011, 11:04:28 PM »
Not that I'm aware,think its still too new but really surprised no womens has yet

RaginRhyno

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2011, 02:01:04 AM »
A lot of the College Students I know that skate just skate with the local Derby Team. I haven't heard of any College or University starting a just college based Roller Derby team. But that might all be changing soon here you never know what is around the corner for this crazy and fun sport.

Well I actually did some digging and a friend from the state of Louisiana told me about this and I thought I would share it since we were talking about colleges having a Roller Derby Club:
http://www.lsu.edu/departments/gold/2011/02/derby.shtml

potomacripper

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2015, 04:24:29 PM »
Ok, we've done steps 1 and 2.

Got 10 people, 7 of whom have even passed MADE and/or WFTDA contact assessments

We've secured practice space by going the PVRD route and being on board with an established women's league and infrastructure.

I'm getting us coaching from experienced WFTDA skaters for our baby step first practices.

What's my next step?

Offline Jonathan R

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Re: Getting a Men's League Started..
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2015, 10:31:53 PM »
Ok, we've done steps 1 and 2.

Got 10 people, 7 of whom have even passed MADE and/or WFTDA contact assessments

We've secured practice space by going the PVRD route and being on board with an established women's league and infrastructure.

I'm getting us coaching from experienced WFTDA skaters for our baby step first practices.

What's my next step?

Great!  Now try to schedule a game (i.e. against another new team within driving distance) so your league has a tangible, timed goal to practice for.
Jonathan R
MRDA Director of Games
New York Shock Exchange
http://www.nyshockexchange.com