Involving the Community to Promote Growth

A Roller Derby Weekly Editorial by Heather Bennett

Let’s be completely honest with ourselves, despite the incredible growth roller derby has experienced, we are still hindered by the negative image shared by much of our local communities. I know I helped to contribute to this image with my role as Heather “The Gun” Gunnin in the nationally televised show, RollerJam. I was the “bad girl” on the evil team, the New York Enforcers. While the skating was fierce and competitive, it was obviously a scripted production, unlike the true roller derby we all love and share.

What can we do to change these perceptions?  I would like to propose these steps as a beginning:

  • Publicize your league and teams. Go to the local media be it newspaper, TV, or radio and try to get them to run a human-interest story. Public access TV is especially useful towards this goal.

  • Become involved, support a local charity. Hold bouts and fundraisers where all/part of the proceeds go to the chosen charity. I recently met a woman from Ohio who runs a Pantry and resource center know as MASH, which stands for Military And Service Heroes. Her name is Amber, and she told me she would love to work with a local team to assist her in her goals. Hint, Hint, to teams in Ohio, her pantry is in four cities, check out her website for all the details. In the past several months, as I researched the idea of starting this newsletter, I viewed well over 1,000 websites and Facebook pages. Many of you are already incredibly involved in your communities, but many more are not.

  • If you don’t have a Junior Roller Derby program, start one! Our youths are the real future for our growth.

This is only the tip of the iceberg and I am sure many of you have many more ideas. Please share them with us and I will add them to the list of suggestions.

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