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Kelly Mallozzi

Success.In.Print

By Kelly Mallozzi

About Kelly

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
 
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

 

5 Things I Learned from Roller Derby

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As some of you might know, I co-founded and used to skate with the Windy City Rollers, an all-women’s roller derby league here in Chicago. And, even though I got married, moved to the suburbs and had kids, the team is still going strong, enjoying packed stadiums and traveling the country in search of its first National Championship.

During the few years that I was actively involved in the league, I learned A LOT. So I had a brainstorm yesterday, and decided to see how I could apply the myriad lessons that I learned into something that you might find useful. Here goes.

1. Size Doesn’t Matter.—In this game, the small and the tall can dominate. Little wisps of girls can kick a giant’s butt, and I’ve seen some lightening-quick skating from girls that could be linebackers for the Bears.

The point is, you use what God gave you. Even if you are a one-person shop, you can be a huge success by your own standards. And, if you are a giant organization, you can still enjoy an intimate work environment with productive, engaged employees through some good communication and an open door.

2. It’s NEVER too late.—With such a physically demanding sport, you might expect to see athletes in their early 20s on the track. Not so. I myself was 35 when the league got going. In fact, my Dad said to me, “You know, most athletes by the time they are YOUR age are retiring.” Thanks Pop. A lot of the women that joined us said they had always been “searching for a place to belong” and this finally fit the bill for them.

Well, the same could be true for you. New technology, new systems, or even new customers could be just the thing you have been quietly searching for. Are your eyes open?

3. Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover.—Many of the girls in the league look different. There are lots of tattoos, bright colored hair, and fashions of all kinds. One of my favorite skaters sported all of the above and then some. The first time I saw her, my old brain said, “Why does she hate her mother?”

I judged and thought that anyone that was using these methods to “get attention” must be unhappy and angry at someone or something. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. She was simply expressing herself. Remember that the next time you walk in to a clients’ office and see someone who doesn’t look just like you or what you would expect.

4. Hitting Hard Feels GOOD.—The physical aspect of roller derby was the last thing that kept me from jumping in with both feet. I was afraid to get hurt. But what I discovered was that that physicality was great for me. Getting some aggression out did me a lot of good.

When was the last time you got to really release some of your own aggressions? Whether boxing, rock climbing or just a good old Rocky-style run up some steps—give yourself a chance to release some pent up energy.

5. Re-invention is Good for the Soul.—Almost all of the skaters use a pseudonym. Mine was Sister Sledgehammer. Finding that name and creating a persona was a great way for me to express myself; to be someone a little different than who I always was.

Sometimes reinvention can be something as simple as taking a route to work, or taking a new class, or going somewhere alone if you never do that. But a shakeup is always good for you. How would YOU take steps toward a little institutional or personal reinvention?

Roller Derby was most definitely my 15 minutes of fame. (Until I speak at GRAPH EXPO in September, which I am sure will be my return to notoriety and glory.) And I learned a lot. If you haven’t taken in a game in your town, do. I am sure there is a league somewhere nearby. See what you learn.
 

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Darren Gapen - Posted on April 26, 2011
Hey Kelly, Those were some great thoughts! Great writers as well as comedians make people relate the stories and the jokes to personal past experiences and a glance at life in general. I have always felt if more people would take a look at their lives and incorporate all of the good habits and practices and actually learn from the bad, their businesses would be much more prosperous. Keep up the great commentary. Lord how I know the many hours involved in writing good articles. And good luck at Graph. I hope to see you there.
john polvino - Posted on April 13, 2011
Kelly, You might be the girl of my dreams.... OK- great insight and thank you for being bold to share common sense.
Kelli Eizenga (Terra Fye) - Posted on April 13, 2011
Relating roller derby to 'everyday life' is something that I do a lot. You did a great job with this post and hopefully some people take your insightful words into consideration! (PS- Thanks again for bringing derby to Chicago and into my life....it really is a life-changing thing). Long Live Sister!
TJ Tedesco - Posted on April 13, 2011
Kelly - Even though I love this blog post, I'm now afraid of you!
Pat - Posted on April 13, 2011
Terrific article Kelly - as usual. Thank you for sharing.
Jon - Posted on April 13, 2011
Great article, Kelly! I think you were dead on regarding the importance of atmosphere in the workplace and the need to shake things up and keep life exciting! Here in Dallas, we're big supporters of Assassination City Roller Derby, who just moved into a gorgeous arena downtown (from the mom and pop rink they've been at for years). Again, thanks for the insight and good luck at Graph Expo!
Doug - Posted on April 13, 2011
Really? Roller Derby!
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Darren Gapen - Posted on April 26, 2011
Hey Kelly, Those were some great thoughts! Great writers as well as comedians make people relate the stories and the jokes to personal past experiences and a glance at life in general. I have always felt if more people would take a look at their lives and incorporate all of the good habits and practices and actually learn from the bad, their businesses would be much more prosperous. Keep up the great commentary. Lord how I know the many hours involved in writing good articles. And good luck at Graph. I hope to see you there.
john polvino - Posted on April 13, 2011
Kelly, You might be the girl of my dreams.... OK- great insight and thank you for being bold to share common sense.
Kelli Eizenga (Terra Fye) - Posted on April 13, 2011
Relating roller derby to 'everyday life' is something that I do a lot. You did a great job with this post and hopefully some people take your insightful words into consideration! (PS- Thanks again for bringing derby to Chicago and into my life....it really is a life-changing thing). Long Live Sister!
TJ Tedesco - Posted on April 13, 2011
Kelly - Even though I love this blog post, I'm now afraid of you!
Pat - Posted on April 13, 2011
Terrific article Kelly - as usual. Thank you for sharing.
Jon - Posted on April 13, 2011
Great article, Kelly! I think you were dead on regarding the importance of atmosphere in the workplace and the need to shake things up and keep life exciting! Here in Dallas, we're big supporters of Assassination City Roller Derby, who just moved into a gorgeous arena downtown (from the mom and pop rink they've been at for years). Again, thanks for the insight and good luck at Graph Expo!
Doug - Posted on April 13, 2011
Really? Roller Derby!