Patronizing read

Victoria Morningstar

Dear sir:
Dan Falloon’s column last week (“Roller derby reaction mainly good, but . . .”) was brought to my attention by a friend of mine in Winnipeg, a woman who happens to a member of the Winnipeg Roller Derby League.
Being someone who was introduced to roller derby by the Winnipeg league, and who recently joined the Rideau Valley Roller Girls in Ottawa, I was disappointed in Mr. Falloon’s take on roller derby.
He says he found the family-friendly atmosphere “odd.” I realize that roller derby is not every one’s cup of tea; I know not every parent will feel comfortable taking their children to a game. But as a new parent, I plan on taking my son to bouts as soon as he’s old enough.
As Mr. Falloon said himself in his column on Sept. 15 (“Great weekend to be a sports fans”), “there was more sense of co-operation and solidarity than I’d ever seen at a live event.”
I’d like my son to learn the important lessons of co-operation and confidence that is evident in every bout. In fact, I would rather he grew up watching those strong female athletes than the fighting and animosity seen in the NHL and NFL.
One of the things that attracts me to roller derby is the camaraderie between team members, and even within the greater sisterhood of roller derby players and fans.
Mr. Falloon also mentions in both columns that the singing of the national anthem felt “out of place.” Roller derby is as legitimate a sport as hockey or baseball, and if either of those sports began a game without the anthem, there would be an uproar.
I’m not sure why displaying your civic pride would be inappropriate.
Lastly, Mr. Falloon’s column read as patronizing and sexist. He takes issue with the players’ nicknames, though I doubt any of the names are any more offensive than most kids hear on the playground.
His mention of the nicknames and of the “curvy picture” (perhaps referring to the revealing nature of the players’ uniforms) came across as Mr. Falloon being uncomfortable with women being aggressive, whether through the physicality of the sport, their attitude on the track, or in their choice of clothing.
His suggestion that it would be “interesting to see what happens if the local team is able to acquire a practice space, keep improving, and eventually host another event” makes the bout sound like a hap-hazard event while from all accounts (including his own previous column) it was a success.
When I finished reading the article, I couldn’t help but feel that Mr. Falloon had patted the roller derby community on the head and said, “That’s so cute, girls. Now go make me a sandwich.”
Victoria Morningstar
Ottawa, Ont.