This season the All Stars went all swanky and got us a Team Manager!

With this month’s WFTDA Rankings release showing our All Stars ranked at number 41 in the World, our highest yet, here at ARRG we’re reflecting on how much hard work and dedication it takes to build a team and support a team -we’re grateful to our league volunteers who work hard relentlessly to help our team be the best we can be, but we want to celebrate one special person in particular today.

Unphased by an unfortunate training injury following two seasons as an All Star jammer, MJ relentlessly hobbled along to team training every week on crutches to assist with training, support the team and NSO her socks off, so it’s no surprise that the team voted her into the newly created Manager’s position when it came up.  That’s right, we got ourselves a Team Manager! Level Up ARRG!  MJ brought the team tons of in- game experience coupled with a knowledge of all of our quirks (we have many), plus unlimited expertise in street food, bad rap music, horses and the best selection of footwear ever. Who could ask for more?

Having MJ as part of the Leadership team to ‘organise stuff’, has made a huge difference to the team this year, not just in the run up to games but also on game day where she can be seen masterfully operating our new walkie talkie system to relay game information to our bench coach. Captain Sasha says ‘Manager Johnson is the single best Manager I have ever had.  Having her there to help steer the good ship ARRG with her wisdom, efficiency and offers to cut a bitch has been the business, we will miss her so, so much’.

With the news that she’s moving ‘down south’ to take up a fab new job, but thankfully continuing her Team Manager role from a distance, it’s a great time to say THANK YOU to Manager Johnson for everything you’ve done this year – we salute you ma’am!  We asked MJ a few questions about her role so far…

Team Manager is an unusual role for a league’s travel team to have; traditionally it’s really only been national teams who have a Manager; we kind of made up the rules ourselves for this role, to suit the team needs this season;  What prompted you to apply for this role?

Simply put, I broke myself. After having done so, I wanted to stay involved because ARRG is a family of sorts and just because you can’t do the role you always have done, in my case jamming, doesn’t mean there’s not a place for you in your league.

I’ve never been a fan of passive healing – I kept breaking and training ponies with my arm in a cast when I was younger (my only other broken bone was also from skating) – and I wanted to have a reason to keep going to practices and scrims. Plus, I tend to have time in the mornings to do the documents, emails, and organising things that goes into the role.

And how did the team take to you in your new role?

‘My team is great. Full stop. They were 100% supportive and understand that part of this role is to chase them if needs be. Everyone has been on board with having a manager and that’s great.’

There isn’t much information out there for Team Managers; any advice for teams thinking of getting one?

Firstly, consider why you need one. Lay that out. Does your team travel a lot? Are your captains and bench crew spending all their time chasing people, emailing and doing small things? Secondly, think about how and where you would recruit? Would you do it in the league? In the team? Would you try to get retirees, or those who are not on a team at all? For us, it happened to work out that I couldn’t play and I was keen, but I wasn’t the only one who wanted to take on the role; competition is good. Also keep in mind what the trajectory of the manager will be. If, like me, they are coming back from injury, how will that effect the skating/manger crossover on game days? If it’s a lower level skater who eventually wants to move up to the top team, think about that too.

Overall, I think it comes down to workload and stress among the leaders, and the team having the knowledge that there is someone who works within the timeframe to get things done in the run up to games. If your team needs this, then I’d say go for it. Set up a year-long role. Trial it. See if it helps.’

What’s been the best moment of the season so far?

‘Watching our team kick everyone’s asses at Euroclash. We smashed it! I was so proud! I yelled so much.  I have to say that this is on the back of the games we played at the end of last year, also at Newcastle, and they were hard going! I was quite hobbly then, several of the team were unwell or unable to go…then at Euroclash we turned it around 10000% and showed everyone how formidable a team we are.’

What do you put on your feet as well as skates?

‘Cowboy boots and boat shoes.’

 Fave post workout snack?

‘ALL THE FOOD. No, I’m actually quite bad at post workout snacks. The adrenaline usually takes any hunger away until later and I need to actively think of getting food. That being said, I love a cold, crisp apple and yogurt after a run’.

And the question on everyone’s lips… who is the hardest team member to manage??

‘My lips are sealed!’

The sole of discretion; she’s got everyone’s back 🙂

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