Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Derby Gives Back

In lieu of having anything particularly earth shattering or, let’s be honest, even interesting to say in the direct derby line, largely due to the resurgence of this flu-like mung that’s taken hold of my body and chest, I thought I’d share a bit of what went down this weekend.  And don’t worry; it actually does include some derby references.

As some of you may recall, for the past month or so I hosted a bit of a fundraiser in effort to help raise some funds to help a program based out of our local Easter Seals organization called Project Rainbow. Just FYI, and because I never knew this up until a few years ago when we became more acquainted, Easter Seals is a nationwide non-profit that exists to support and work with adults and children with developmental disabilities.

The Project Rainbow program is one that’s based out of our local affiliate and that seeks to help provide respite care for families raising developmentally disabled kids. And they do a tremendous job. My wife, the amazing Coupon Clip-Her, and I have had the opportunity to work with this program off and on for some time and are constantly amazed at the quality work, passion, and love this program has provided to so many families in need.

Well, to keep the story brief, as you know, this year the program (as I’m sure many non-profit programs have found themselves) found itself short on funds, particularly as it geared up for it’s big run at the end of Christmas. In addition to providing the respite care, the program also provides gifts for those families as well as throwing a big bash, complete with bounce houses, food, caricature artists, face painting, and, of course, a visit for dear old Saint Nick himself.

Well, putting it out there to the derby community was a beautiful thing for me. While I’m the new guy, I was more than thrilled, not to mention so thankful, for the response. Every little bit helps and we came up with a good bit more than a little bit to help out this great program out. Thank you so much for your help and support in this; derby really does care!

And that care was evident even more as the Project Rainbow party rolled around and my wife and I were joined by none other than quickly up-and-coming rookie, Punchline, helping to wrap gifts. And I don’t know if you’ve worked much with the developmentally disabled crowd but it’s one of the most rewarding times you can have. Despite their challenges, and some have many, most if not all of this population have such a joy and a wonder for life that is so terribly refreshing.

Laughing and smiling, we each handily wrapped gifts, chatted up kids and parents, and, at least from my point of view, had a great time serving.  And, to some degree, that’s something I’ve learned about the great sport of roller derby and its amazing group of participants. Sure, there’s always going to be those who are just there to serve their own self interests but, by its very nature, derby requires self-sacrifice and devotion.

I mean, where else do you have a sport where people pay to play, where they’re volunteering to referee for God’s sake? I remember playing volleyball tournaments when I was younger and loathing having to ref; in derby, people actually enjoy it! Coaches largely go unpaid and players work hard at their various positions on boards, committees, and the like, all for the glory of the game. They serve so that others, and sure, themselves, may benefit.

This weekend I continued to see that heartbeat in action and this time it was helping some beautiful kids in need. I pray that it’s not the last time I get to be a part of that great derby passion.

(Please note, this post is written under the heavy influence of over the counter cough and cold medicine as well as some antibiotics, coupled with a mind that is attempting to do some massive multi-tasking along the way; thus, if any of this is dull, uninspiring, or clearly doesn’t make any sense, you can understand why…)

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