In the first in a series of interviews in collaboration with UKRDA, we’re talking to Team Scotland Roller Derby’s outgoing Team Manager, Jill Antonic.
Jill has been involved in Roller Derby since 2009, when she started skating with the newly formed Fair City Rollers in Perth. After 4 years with the league, including one year as Captain, she left to join Dundee Roller Girls in late 2013, where she remains.
At Dundee, Jill currently holds the role of Head of Social Committee, as well as being an active skating member (generally filling the pivot or blocker roles) of their A team, the Silvery Tayzers. In the past, she has also been Head of Fundraising, and has also co-captained the Tayzers.
Over her extensive skating career, Jill has skated in over 40 public games, including a host of charity and exhibition bouts. She was also Team Manager for the Scottish National Women’s Team, Team Scotland Roller Derby, for the period leading up to (and following) the 2014 Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup, in which the team placed approximately 13th.
Jill, while you’ve had a lot of experience in managing Dundee Roller Girls’ league matters, what led you to apply to Manage Team Scotland?
I applied to be Team Scotland manager because I wanted to help and also to be involved in the team. I had travelled to Toronto in 2011 to watch Team Scotland compete and wanted to be a part of that. I knew I was not at the skating or coaching standard to do either of those things, but as I’d helped to set up a league in Perth before I joined the Dundee Roller Girls I knew I could apply my skills to the managerial role instead.
Managerial Roles are a lot less visible, perhaps, than Coaching and Line-up. For you, what are the most important aspects of the role?
The most important aspects of being team manager are organisation and communication. There are so many things that the job entails, some large, some small, but too many to list individually really! I found the most important things I had to be on top of were communications with the tournament organisers and UKRDA, and also the fundraising and finance side of things. Everything else is important, don’t get me wrong, but I found these to be the essentials!
Just the fundraising and financial aspects of Team Scotland were fairly foreboding, what with just the travel and accommodation for Dallas being a large sum in themselves (quite apart from everything else TS needed). How did you approach this huge challenge?
One step at a time. We did discuss what our expectations were in regards to how much funding each person on the team would receive and how much would have to be self-funded. By far our biggest money maker was the merch we produced. Jenny [Admiral Attackbar] Gow designed a fab new logo for the team and we came up with slogans to go along with that. “Bunch of Fannies” was my favorite, although the amount of time I spent explaining exactly what that meant to the Americans while in Texas was fairly extensive!! We also organised several home games as fundraisers, this benefited the team two-fold, in that it both gave us additional funds, and also allowed the team to spend more time working together on track.
Staying on top of all of the committees and workflows involved in PR, fundraising and sponsorship, training, and even arranging uniforms!, could be overwhelming. How did you manage all of the various responsibilities of managing a National team?
Organisation and delegation!! I cannot stress how important these two things are within the managerial role. It’s simply not possible for one person to do all the work to get a National team to a tournament like the the World Cup, especially one so far from home. There are so many things to do that I’d never thought of before, so going through them one at a time and spreading the tasks across the different committees was the way to go.
What things did you learn about yourself through Managing a National Team? (and what was the best memory of the whole TS experience?)
I learned just how much I can achieve when I put my mind to it. One of my best memories from the tournament is singing the National Anthem. We’d been told we’d be singing it on the first day of the tournament, so arranged for local piper to come and play Flower of Scotland for us. Unfortunately, the organisers changed things round so that the anthems were to be sung on day 2 instead; we had to carry the tune for the whole arena!
Growing up watching rugby, the National Anthem is just such a proud moment, so to do that was amazing.
Although starting a kangaroo kidnapping war with the Aussies comes a close second!
What advice would you give the next Team Manager for Team Scotland?
Delegate, write lists and keep on top of things. and Enjoy it, it’s been one of the best experiences of my life!
If you would like to take on the challenges of managing the next Team Scotland, taking them into the 3rd Women’s Roller Derby World Cup in 2017, applications for the position of Team Scotland Team Manager are open until Midnight, Monday 7th March. The application details are available at the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-XTeOpUghUFWDBLQTRFdmVYa0k/view