I have met many amazing people in derby, people I may not have met otherwise, and I cherish their friendships. Some people become true friends outside of derby, but most people will probably remain just "derby folk" in my life, and that's ok. I understand that everyone will have to leave derby at some point, or at least not be as active in it. Life becomes demanding, knees give out, and eventually bruises and injuries become too much. Some people retire gracefully, and some people have it forced upon them, but either way, it can put a strain on the friendship of someone still in derby, and someone who has decided to retire.
I had quite a few of my derby friends and sheroes retire a year ago; I knew it was the right time for them to leave the sport, but it was really hard to go to practice and realize they wouldn't be there lacing up their skates next to me. When you skate with people for a while, you get used to them being there. I knew that these people always had my back out on the track, and I really missed them. At first, I hoped that some of them might change their minds, and then when they didn't, I found myself reminiscing about them to the newbies. I'm sure that the rookies were like "That's great, but who is it again?" Sigh. It was a hard transition to make for both the retiree and myself.
|Love these ladies!|
We all muddle through somehow, and even though they aren't active in derby anymore, my friends are super supportive of my derby choices. I hear them cheering me on in every home game, and I still ask for their input in my blogs and derby life in general. It takes a fine touch, but I think we have reached a good balance in our social lives.
|Of course, most of us aren't considered balanced in our "normal" lives.|
KG Bebe left derby a year ago, and has shared some of her experiences below.
1. Be prepared for a physical withdrawal. Endorphins are addictive, and so it may take you a while to re-normalize.
2. You will now have a LOT more free time. It's a good idea to find something else to fill it so you don't go stir crazy and lose it. Some of these things should involve other people. Being by yourself after having been in a large group for some time can make you paranoid and crazy.
3. You may want to give yourself some time before going to games. Chances are, you're going to want to be back out there. It's going to drive you nuts when you see people doing stupid shit on the track because they're out there and you're not. Don't torture yourself before you're ready to handle it.
4. It will be hard to sit there and talk about derby, particularly after you've long run out of stories that are relevant. It's good to figure out what other topics you and the derby people you want to keep in your life have in common.
5. Don't be afraid to admit that there are people with whom the only thing you had in common was derby, and it's okay to let those people go. Or in some cases, shove them away with great force.