Monday, September 30, 2013

I Used to Be a Super Hero: On the loss of derby by Crystal Cutt

This was submitted by Crystal Cutt from the Columbia Quad Squad about her experience in dealing with retirement from derby.  Not everyone experiences retirement in the same way; sometimes it's by our choice and sometimes we are driven out of the sport by circumstances beyond our control, including injury or the intrusion of real life.  Whatever reason people leave our sport, the decision is rarely an easy one, and this is just a small reminder to enjoy what time we do spend playing derby.
I used to be a superhero. 
Photo by Joshua R. Craig

Indestructible, focused, resilient, brave, and timeless. I was on a flight of self discovery; and came out successful. I found the freedom that I had been searching for, I found myself. I found it in derby. But it was a super fortunate discovery that didn't come without a price. I felt as if were carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. It was heavy, it was hard, but it was worth it to be a part of something greater, and to find that same greatness in me that I never knew existed. For once in my life, I was separated from everyone else. My life had meaning beyond the mediocre. I was a chosen one.

We all dream of flying our entire lives. What it would be like to feel the wind beneath us.  But in those dreams, we never think of falling. We never think we will stumble. We never think life will pull us from the clouds. But it can. And it will. I was blessed that I had my chance to soar, but then I took the inevitable fall. To be a superhero, you have to give more of yourself; more than a normal being is able to give. You have to push harder, you have to fly higher, you have to take hits, you have to be knocked down..repeatedly, and in the end, you have to get back up; regardless of your your own feelings. Is it worth it? Is it worth all of the extra time and energy to be what everyone else needs you to be? Is it worth neglecting yourself and your family for such a temporary glimpse of glory? Deep inside, we are only human. We need our time. We get tired inside. I said myself too many times, "I can't do this anymore. I need to breathe. I've lost myself. I've forgotten why I started this fight." And life took its course.

Crystal and her family, by Gray Taylor
Losing derby is like death. You never know how it's going to end, but you know that it will. Still, you are unable to imagine the demise. It could be family, it could be your age, it could be an injury, your inability to continue the struggle within your mind. And you not only lose yourself, you lose a family. You lose all that you worked toward for years. You think back to the hundreds of people who would cheer you on; and you wish that just one more time you could have that support again. But it doesn't come. You long to feel the pain, the bruises, the headaches, the body aches, the cruel criticism of your coach screaming in your face. You miss feeling something. You miss feeling alive.

Its the excruciating pain of once again living like everyone else. Not standing out. And once again,
Photo by Badjon.
not knowing who you are. Daily, the images I carry slowly slip away. I'm no longer known as Crystal Cutt. The ones who knew I played derby have forgotten and the ones who never knew will never know. I am the Clark Kent without a cape. My skates gathers dust, and so does my body. I find myself despising the world around me for holding me down, taking away my talent and stealing my dreams. It's like someone has cut off my right hand. Many times I feel hollow. And it's an irreparable void. I am left with only memories and regret. I wish I had made it to all the practices that I felt too tired to go to. I wish I would've pushed through those shinsplints. I wish I could have seen through the burn out. I wish I would have treated everyday like it was my last. But I took it for granted, because I truly felt that nothing in this word could pull me away from something I loved much. How could I have been so naive?

All I can say to the living that remain, is to cherish what you have right now, because it is a golden opportunity that you will reflect on for the rest of your life. Take in every sound, learn all that you can, push yourself beyond your greatest ability, and treat every moment like its your last time on wheels. You won't regret putting your life into this, but you' will definitely miss it when its gone. I know, because I was once was a superhero.


Crystal Taylor
AKA - Crystal Cutt #217 (CQS) Columbia Quad Squad

8 comments:

  1. >>Is it worth all of the extra time and energy to be what everyone else needs you to be? Is it worth neglecting yourself and your family for such a temporary glimpse of glory? Deep inside, we are only human. We need our time. We get tired inside. I said myself too many times, "I can't do this anymore. I need to breathe. I've lost myself. I've forgotten why I started this fight." And life took its course.

    This speaks to me so strongly. I'm feeling this right now. I have 2 games left before retirement. I'll miss it, but I need to breathe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don't let the end of derby extinguish your light! Let derby be your keystone. You learned you were capable of greatness, and women who BELIEVE that are in sort supply! Apply yourself to a new task; find a cause, and empower other women to make positive life choices!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Q - thank you for posting crystal's story. I hope it serves as a reminder for many to cherish what we have in our lives at that moment. i know the words rang true for me the first time i read it. and i wanted to comment on what "hollimommy" said... she is right. retiring from derby isnt the end, just a new chapter in life to begin. you are right when you said... "You learned you were capable of greatness, and women who BELIEVE that are in sort supply!" i believe that very sentiment will be passed down to her children. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Retirement is scary for all of us. But, I feel that derby has enhanced my life, and it hasn't become my life. We all need to know that we were awesome before derby, and we will continue to be so.

      Delete
  4. This is so true Crystal! I feel the same way and I still have a really hard time hearing about all of my derby friends' wonderful adventures. <3

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's true - it's a loss you are totally unprepared for, and it hits you way harder than you would expect. Not all derby folk, but I totally get this. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Crystal will always be a super hero to us. I think our first bout was her first bout, and she captured us as fans from the first jam. I credit her with fostering our love of derby.

    ReplyDelete