BE­YOND PIX­ELS

Amie Colosa shares how par­tic­i­pat­ing in women’s roller derby em­pow­ered her to im­prove her web-de­sign strate­gies

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Amie Colosa shares how roller derby helped im­prove her web-de­sign strate­gies

With my starter roller skates in hand and a few hours of prac­tice un­der my belt, I walked into the rink anx­ious but ex­cited for a new ex­pe­ri­ence. It was a re­cruit­ment event for a lo­cal roller derby league just start­ing up. I pre­pared my­self to ob­serve from the side­lines but some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent hap­pened – when I got there one of the women con­vinced me to put on my skates and safety gear. ‘Get out there!’ she said while push­ing me onto the rink. This be­gan my roller derby ca­reer.

I pri­mar­ily play the point-scorer po­si­tion called jam­mer. Jam­mers have to be speedy and ag­ile to fight their way through a pack of skaters on the op­pos­ing team be­fore their Jam­mer does. I quickly found that in or­der to be suc­cess­ful I had to learn to be re­silient and flex­i­ble.

Flex­i­bil­ity is im­por­tant in roller derby and the creative process. I used to be stub­born in start­ing every­thing from scratch and do­ing things the hard way – I was reluc­tant to utilise re­sources that would help my work­flow. Now, I wel­come work­ing smarter and be­ing open to new tools and ideas. Sim­i­larly, in derby, you can’t have tun­nel vi­sion or you might miss the help of your team­mates.

There is a mis­con­cep­tion that roller derby isn’t a ‘real’ sport – that there isn’t ath­leti­cism in­volved, even though it is full-con­tact. When you’re a spec­ta­tor watch­ing, it’s easy to look past the sport as­pect of the game and just see girls in fish­nets skat­ing around. But what the at­ten­dees of a game aren’t see­ing is the hours of prac­tice we spend work­ing to­gether and per­fect­ing our strate­gies, which is sim­i­lar to prep­ping to de­sign a web­site. Like derby, mak­ing a web­site has rules and in­volves a lot of work be­hind the scenes. All of the re­search, UI/UX decisions and lines of code are not ap­par­ent to the end user.

Play­ing roller derby has im­proved my self­ef­fi­cacy. I can di­rectly see how gain­ing a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of game strate­gies makes me a bet­ter team­mate and skater. This con­fi­dence has trans­ferred into my life and es­pe­cially my ca­reer. This quick-think­ing sport has em­pow­ered me to trust my judge­ments and my skills to work with oth­ers to­wards a com­mon goal. When you trust your­self and fully col­lab­o­rate with a client or team­mates, that’s when the magic hap­pens.

Amie (@amiegrrl) is a mul­ti­pas­sion­ate de­signer, front-end de­vel­oper and DIY en­thu­si­ast.

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