Hello Angel Fans,
It’s June 2017 and we haved moved fiercely into our third year as a league. We began 2017 with a small roster of bout eligible skaters, in March we hosted the Four Leaf Clobber drawing over 700 fans, in April we began a fresh muscle recruitment program tripling the size of our league, and in May we participated in Rockcoast’s Maine Event tournament. In the coming months we look forward to hosting another bout, volunteering in our community, launching our Derby 101 training program, and getting as many of our freshies as we can through their assessments and scrimmage-eligible. With so much happening, our leadership team has worked hard to harness all the growth and enthusiasm. The board held a retreat to review the mission and bylaws, to develop a clearer vision of AFA’s goals, and to create protocols that improve the functioning of the league. But the work of this league comes primarily from the membership who have labored diligently on committees and in management positions to make sure that our programs and events run smoothly, and so that we are becoming a noticeable entity in our community. We work hard and play hard, and we do so with a common set of values.
What are the Androscoggin Fallen Angel values?
Playing this sport with integrity, honor, and positivity is our standard of success. We hold these standards on and off the track with respect for ourselves and others.
We provide an environment that is professional and safe for athletes at all levels to develop roller derby skills and work toward their full potential.
AFA values and respects the power and strength in all women and provides an inclusive and diverse environment to support each woman exploring, embracing and expressing her true self.
AFA believes in the importance of community. We recognize the power of positive role models and the strength and success of supporting organizations in our community that are engaging in positive and impactful work. We embrace the strength and diversity of the Roller Derby community at large and our role as a participating league.
What does it mean to be a Fallen Angel?
A short while ago we held a recognition night to honor our members for their work. We deserved the opportunity to step back and congratulate ourselves on our accomplishments. Derby is not easy. Starting a league is not easy. Skaters lay their bodies on the line and committee members sacrifice much to make time for the work. But it’s worth the effort to do something that matters, and the members of this league believe wholeheartedly that roller derby, that developing a squadron of strong female athletes, that being a force in Lewiston-Auburn, does matter.
I tried to capture why roller derby matters to me in a speech during our league celebration. Here is some of what I said:
“The first truth about derby is that it is a culture of love, and this is how I define derby love: In derby and in this league, there is a place for every woman;… yes, we are tough, and we are fierce on the track, but we show a preference for compassion toward our derby sisters; we strive for inclusivity over exclusivity; as a community of women, we are one… When you work hard with a group of like-minded women for a common purpose, you can fall in love. This is what has happened to me. And it’s what I want for all the women on our team and in our community. This is derby love.
The second truth about derby is that it pushes against edges. The fact that we exist pushes edges. It pushes the edges of people’s stereotypes and notions of what makes a woman… It pushes the edges of what women want to do… When we push the edge of what is ‘normal’ for women, we set new precedents. We create new spaces in people’s minds… [derby makes girls and women] rethink their abilities… The fact that women are strong, and tough, and athletic, and competitive is now part of a new schema. By existing in this community we are setting a precedent… We are creating a space for women who want to do something different.”
So, what does it mean to be a Fallen Angel?
We play a rough and aggressive sport. We thrive on physical challenge. We love to skate and to bump each other. To fall and get up again and again… and again. Towards this endeavor we are supported by our league-mates and teammates and the whole derby community. To be a Fallen Angel means to support women. It means to embrace and demonstrate the values of sportswomanship, athleticism, empowerment, and community involvement. It means to push edges, and it means to have great big ladle of derby love.
Much thanks is due both to our membership and our fans. Thank you. Truly and deeply.
Androscoggin Fallen Angels
President of the Board