Roller Derby and the Case of the Shameless Request For Money

This post does exactly what it says on the tin. I’m gonna be talking about roller derby. And I’m gonna ask you for some of that sweet sweet cash.

What we’re doing

My derby team, the East Coast Cyclones, are doing something seriously awesome this month. We’re hosting our very first national derby tournament- which also just so happens to be the first of its kind in the country. The Queen Bee Tournament is Ireland’s first competition for establishing teams and B-teams.

I know. Kind of a big deal.

Why would you do that?

Why would we put ourselves through organising a tournament? Why an establishing/B-teams tournament?

You see, derby has kind-of exploded in Ireland in the last couple of years. While there are a few teams that have been around since as far back as 2008 (I’m lookin’ at you, Cork Firebirds and Dublin Roller Derby), most of us popped up in the past two years or so. Loads of us have just started playing actual games in the past year. And while we love watching the established A teams kick ass on the track (and oh gawd do they kick ass), we want in on the action too. The derby action.

So we’re hosting a tournament for the rest of us.

But, like, aren’t you guys like.. less good? Why would I support less-good?

It’s true. There are skaters in this country (especially on those A teams) who could destroy the likes of myself in a matter of nanoseconds. At least, there are right now. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t put on a good show and fight some hardass derby. We’ve all been training our butts off and, let me tell you, the standard of derby in the newer teams in Ireland has gone through the roof in the last few months. It’s going to be a hell of a show.

Also? There’s nothing like watching a tournament with teams that are pretty darn well matched to each other. The Queen Bee is up for grabs and I have no idea where it’s gonna go.

How awesome is that, like?

You mentioned a small matter of cash? Money, dollars, euros, pounds? That kind of thing?

Doing this kind of thing is expensive. Pricey. Not cheap. And a small-town derby team like the Cyclones? We’re not exactly rolling in cash. We’ve got halls to rent, tape to buy, mile-high stacks of sandwiches to make, and a million other tiny things that add up to a hefty chuck of currency to make this happen.

So we’re gonna do what we always do. We’re gonna skate.

Tomorrow evening, we’re taking to the Bray Promenade for a 10-mile sponsored skate to help fund the tournament. We’re gonna skate our bums off! And in return, all we’d like are your sweet, delicious donations.

Do us a favour? Click on the picture below and throw a coupla quid our way, won’t ya? And if you haven’t the cash (I know the feeling!), give us a share and get your loaded friends to support us. G’wan. Do it for the derby.


Roller Derby and the Case of the Shameless Request For Money

Broken screens, the lotto and how exhausting it can be to be broke.

“buy yourself a lottery ticket. The universe owes you one”

That was a friend of mine’s response to my litany of all the small things that went wrong in the past 40 hours or so. FYI, that was this: my plane being hours late so I didn’t get home in time for anything but (some) sleep, being woken up by my neighbour’s alarm far too early, feeling ill yesterday and missing training, that incident in the shop where the other guy took my bin tags and it took us 15 minutes to sort it out, my ereader’s screen breaking (moment of silence for my wonderful bookmachine, please), and then being kept awake by thunderstorms and- you guessed it- my neighbour’s goddamn alarm an hour before I had to get up. Again.

Obviously I don’t think that buying a lotto ticket would do much good in any practical sense. I am well aware that the universe doesn’t owe anyone a thing. And that the chances of winning the lotto are vanishingly tiny.

I’m still tempted.

I’m tempted for the same reason that people light candles for people. Because I’ve had a complicated time lately (eh, in more ways than the last day!) and I need to remind myself that hope is a thing. That things can get better. Not that they’re horrendous right now, but with a lot of things on my mind and less resources than I’d like to deal with them, life can feel pretty damn exhausting. That’s a thing they don’t really tell you about, isn’t it? How a tenner’s worth of bin tags can scare you when you’re short of money and know you’ll stay that way for months. How a broken screen means just another thing to do without, and how goddamn frustrating it is to see all the little things break and know how long it will take to get anything fixed.

I know I’m not too badly off. I’m broke, not poor– I have enough money for rent, bills and food. I’m not scraping by on £10 a week to feed my family. I’m damn good at cooking food that’s both cheap and mouthwateringly delicious. If I’m careful (and oh, I never knew how tiring it would be to be careful every single day) I can afford to either have nice things every so often, or to get away for a few days sometimes. I’m lucky- I have a bike to drive around in, live in a city with parks, beaches, forests and mountains all within an hour’s drive at most. I still have a laptop that still works and I have wonderful friends and a park to go skating in not ten minutes drive from my front door. I have courgette (zucchini, USians. Zucchini.) plants out the back threatening to take over the world like baobabs from The Little Prince, I can barely eat fast enough to keep up with the spring onions growing next to them, and the mint plant I coaxed to life from years-old seeds doubled in size in the week I was away.

But I’m fucking tired of going to work every day and not being able to afford to replace the screen on my ereader. Which isn’t a dig at work, by the way- I rather like the place. I’m tired because a lot of why I missed training yesterday? Was because I really can’t afford to eat out or eat convenience food for a while after my week away and since my plane was so late I had no food in my house and hadn’t been able to cook a few days of food the night before.

Holding things together is tiring. Knowing that you’ll be absolutely fine- as long as nothing goes wrong- is tiring. Not having much time or money? Is exhausting, because living on a tight budget takes work. Living on a tighter budget than you need to- both with time and money- because you know that you need that little extra wiggle-room when things inevitably go wrong? Even more so. And when more than one or two small things go wrong and you see your weeks or months of wiggle-room knocked back in hours or days? That’s exhausting. Yes, there’s times when I just want to hide away in my room, shut the world out, tell them all they can go to hell and cry.

So maybe I’ll get that lotto ticket after all.

It’s the placebo effect, innit? You do things that symbolise getting better for you, and you feel better. You feel better, so you have more spoons to do better things. It’s a symbol, a statement that you really do wish for more. That you know that things can be hard, even when they’re also good. And that you haven’t given up yet.

Edit a couple of hours later: I got the lotto ticket. Wish me luck 😉

Broken screens, the lotto and how exhausting it can be to be broke.

A spectacularly middle-class kind of broke.

“Some people are money-poor and time-rich. Some people are time-poor and money-rich. Some are rich in both. Some are poor in both” – The Statistician, in the pub, the other day.

I am broke. Broooooke. Super-trendy-recessionista-broke. Paying the bills for the next couple of months is gonna be tight. I am forced to learn to budget with an iron fist, and I don’t like it one bit.

At the same time, my quality of life has gone through the roof.

I may be broke, you see, but I’m simultaneously privileged up the wazoo in so many little ways that make this possible.

Let’s start with time. I have a job four days a week. This, once I start getting paid for it, will give me just about enough money to pay the bills and have nice things every so often as long as I’m careful. I also have a bicycle. I can get to and from work for free and in a reasonable amount of time. I have three days off every week.

I live in a city where I have easy access on that bike to fresh, tasty produce. As long as I keep it seasonal, it’s also incredibly cheap. I have tupperware and a (small) freezer. I have access to the internet, and I’ve had access to this kind of fresh food all my life, so I know how to make it delicious. I can spend a tiny amount of money and eat very, very well.

I used to have more money than I do now, so I have things. I have my laptop. I have a couple of nice cameras. I have a giant pile of yarn, an e-reader, a ukulele. I have stuff. It may not be incredibly new stuff, but it’s the kind of stuff that I can have fun with.

My job may not be in my field, but I was able to get it. I was probably able to get it so easily because I was able to go to college, and because I look and act like the middle-class arts grad I am.

If push came to shove and I wasn’t able to pay my rent, I have a stack of family and friends who have enough resources that I know I could call on them to help me out if I needed. I know that I could get that help from somewhere, if I needed it. I have no need to fear being homeless or destitute. I sleep well.

Being broke sucks. However I’ve gotta say that this spectacularly middle-class, urban kind of broke-ness? This kind of broke-ness that means I’ve gotta be careful with money and I only have an old Xbox to play video games on? As broke-ness goes, it’s pretty fuckin’ sweet.

A spectacularly middle-class kind of broke.