How much time do you spend practicing a week? I've tallied up some weeks with 10-15 hours because I've gone to every practice and then attended other league practices. That's a lot of time for a sport, and even though it's not a normal week for me, I know that most skaters practice at least 6-8 hours a week. Now add in league meetings, committee meetings, public appearances, fund raising, travel time, open skating, team bonding and t-shirt making. Wow, how do we fit all of that into our lives? Well, like the old saying goes "behind every strong man, is a stronger woman", behind every strong derby skater is a partner who is shouldering a lot of the burden that derby brings to life.
When I first mentioned finding people to write for this topic, I got a lot of "I will add my thoughts, but I want to remain completely anonymous" comments. That made me stop and think that this topic should definitely be brought to the surface. I know for a fact that a lot of derby widows are afraid to really let their spouses (etc) know how they feel about derby, because they don't want to be thought of as unsupportive. Some of the comments made me sad, and some brought me a smile. Here are a few that struck a chord with me, and on a personal note, the following entry made me feel guilty, sad and incredibly introspective.
Imagine, if you will, that your wife is cheating on you. She's not trying to hide it. In fact, she talks about this other person constantly, and his name is Derby. She goes to see Derby three or four or five nights a week, leaving you to cook and clean and take care of the house. She comes home battered, sweaty and bruised, and so tired that she's got no interest at all in you.
She spends an unseemly amount of money on Derby, so things like family vacations and big purchases are out of the question. But, of course, that's not the same thing as Derby vacations, oh she loves those. She'll go out for a weekend, or maybe longer now and then. Nothing with just the two of you anymore, but if you want to come watch her be with Derby, well that's fine as long as you don't get in the way.
She's got a bunch of new friends, and they're all dating a Derby too! So now all your social outings are spent with other Derby girls, and their poor husbands and wives. You all know what each other is going through, but you're forbidden to speak of it. Because you all know, deep down, that if you make her choose, she'll choose Derby over you. Derby makes her feel smart and strong. Derby makes her feel like a powerful woman, and obviously you don't or she wouldn't need Derby in the first place. And because once she loved you, you stick it out. Through the bouts where you go watch her flaunt her relationship with Derby in front of thousands.. where you pay for that privilege. Through the injuries and the fights and the days where you don't even see each other.
And when she's angry at Derby, she comes to you for comfort. A few times, at first, and then more and more, until every night she's venting about Derby to you. Not that you should, not that you *could* even suggest leaving Derby. No no... you cook and clean and take care of the house, and you listen to her and be there for her, but you never, ever suggest she might leave Derby and come back to you.
Her relationship with Derby goes on for years. If you're lucky, someone who is somewhat like your wife might come back to you eventually, when she tires of Derby of its abuse. If you're not, then she'll stick with it until she's so injured you have to support her full time, or she leaves you, or you two simply split it.
I suppose I was 'lucky' in that, after a few years, she eventually came back to me. But she still loves to talk about Derby and reminisce, to forever remind me of where I really stand in her world compared to Derby. (Anonymous)
"I became a ref, so I could spend time with her. It's also a good excuse for checking out derby girls, and pointing and whistling at them, and I cant get in trouble cause its 'my job'. " (Ziggy)
For some couples, Derby is the thing that the wife can do that is great for her, while the husband is off doing things that are great for him. It gives them both 'me' time. For other couples, Derby is a chance for them to do something together as a family. This has been our (Punk Blocker's and mine) experience. So for any Derby widows who are unhappy about being a Derby widow: get involved. The sport needs you too. Of course, you then have the problem of Derby orphans... (A Boy Named Tsunami)
|Aren't they adorable?|
Here's what I've done to cope with long practices, away bouts, committees, all the derby talk-
Allison (AlaBAMison) and I were married on Oct. 23rd 2010. Instead of driving off into the sunset for our honeymoon, the next day she skated in a bout, I volunteered as a medical first responder. By the same time the next year, on our anniversary, skating in another bout, I was bench coaching her home team, the Mad Dollies. My new year's 2012 resolution: go into coaching 'full time.' I lead off and on skate fitness practices, still coaching with the Dollies, and run stats for Gate City. It keeps me exercising, keeps me involved, and introduced me to lots of wonderful people! Also, we can sit close together at home and have her talk derby to me.
Best way to deal with being a derby widow- get off yer butt and volunteer with the team! There's so much that goes on behind the scenes, support staff is always welcome. and don't make her choose between you and derby, 'cause you gonna lose! (Neverending Torry, GSORD)
|The couple that plays together stays together!|
My husband DID say to me the other day that I would pay more attention to him if he had the word DERBY written across his forehead! :D (Genea Morfeld Swan)
Want to acknowledge your derby widow? Derbylicious has some awesome gear you can get him! Try this shirt, these buttons or this sticker. Remember to appreciate your derby widow and let him or her know that even though derby is important, it will never be number one in your heart.