Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thinking About the Inevitable: Derby Retirement

Due to the ending of our season (our eleventh month season) and due to the last entry I posted, I have started pondering the idea of my pending retirement of derby.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not planning on retiring any time soon, but sometimes you don't always get to choose the when and how you retire from our game, and I like to be as prepared as possible for situations. I'm not in denial, because I KNOW that derby retirement is definitely inevitable.  Some day, we all will have to walk, limp, or run away from this game.  But, if you're one of these players who panics at the very mention of retirement, here's a cute dog using a water slide.  Go watch that and forget about this blog today.

So how can you prepare?  Well, I don't think there is a tried and true method, so I'll share what goes through my brain when I think about leaving.  This is all of my personal opinion and process; I don't expect anyone to finish reading this and to say "By Jove, she's got something there!"  This is just my personal process; maybe you'll find something in my method to use when you have to make your own decisions about when you retire.

 When I ponder retirement,  I make two lists.  The first list is always of stuff I'm going to miss, and why.  Then I make a list of the crap I'm not going to miss, and why.  Eventually, the crap list will probably outweigh the stuff I'll miss, and that my friends, is when I'll willingly retire.
But first, here's some derby girls sitting on a rhino.

STUFF I'LL MISS (and junk)

1.  First and foremost, I'm going to miss my butt.  I do not have an awesome derby ass; people don't compliment me on my butt ever, but because of derby, I now actually have one.  I am a skinny white woman, and a perpetual sufferer of noassitol.  I'm not kidding, I could easily fit into skinny men's jeans before derby.  I have kept my crappy no butt jeans for when my butt deflates and it becomes a non issue again.  Also, I will miss my derby thighs.  Sigh.  Of course, I'll try to keep my butt by doing some fun work out, but I doubt it will ever be this....present...again.  No, I'll save you from the horrible butt picture I could have posted.

2.  I'm going to miss working out for something other than being healthy.  Look, I like to exercise; I actually joined derby to work out more, but most of my off skate workouts have become focused on how I can get stronger for derby, how I can skate faster, and how I can hit harder.  It's so much easier for me to do these face melting work outs for derby.  I don't know if I'll be as excited to kick my own ass for the sake of...well, kicking my own ass.  I'm pretty sure when I leave derby, I'm going to have to find something physical to do to replace it.  I had a brief love affair with some martial arts in college; it might make a good substitute for a while.  Hell, if I'm desperate enough, I'll try Zumba.  Don't hate, I just have no damned rhythm.

3.  I'm definitely going to miss hitting people.  I love hitting people, not going to lie about that.  There is nothing like leveling your opponent with a great, legal hit.  Nothing.  NOTHING.

4.  I'm going to miss the speed.  I love skating in general; it's the closest thing I can do on a weekly basis to flying.  I feel like I'm magical when I'm zooming around on my skates.  I'm sure you feel the same.  The closest I've ever come to that feeling is zooming down a steep hill on my crappy pink bike with my hands in the air, trusting my balance to keep the bike from crashing while singing "I'm Sexy and I Know It" at the tops of my lungs.  Don't judge me.

5.  I'll miss the awesome people I've met.  Derby has let me interact with a bunch of people I
When would I meet a purple clown?
probably would never  have met in my "real" life; mostly I wouldn't have met them because I'm generally a misanthrope.  I have friends of all ages now, and interests.  Derby has given me a sushi sampler of awesome friends, but I also understand that derby might be the only thing that some of us have in common, and we might drift apart when we leave the sport.  That's ok too; my life is much fuller having known them.

6.  I'll miss being a part of a team.  Being on a team is the whole reason I keep getting up to go to early ass practice, or sitting through yet another tedious meeting, or enduring endurance
Plus teammates let me draw them for my art
practice.  Gah.  The team is what keeps me motivated.  Moving together on the track, being able to communicate complex strategy with a glance, or the high fives on the track.  That will be really hard to replace.

7.  I'll miss drawing it and writing about it.  Yeah, I like it that much. I've turned it into a blog and art.  After I leave, I'm going to have to find a new muse.


1.  Drama and butthurt can both kiss my existing ass.  I will not miss the drama llama at all.  Go to hell, drama llama.

2.  I won't miss the money I pay in gas to get to practice and events.  I spend a LOT on gas, and I've put a ton of mileage on my poor car. Sometimes, when I'm in a masochistic frame of mind, I roughly calculate all of the money I spend on gas in a year, and then think about all the vacations I could take, that I probably never will now.  Sigh.

3.  I won't miss the toll takes on my body.  I had pretty feet, once.  I also had knees that didn't click and pop when I walked upstairs, or elbows that didn't pop out of joint on a whim, or an ankle that didn't sing Ave Maria every time it rain.  Derby has taken its toll on my body.  Did I mention my twice broken nose?  I won't miss the injuries, random bruises (why do they look like fingerprints on my arms????) and velcro scratches.  My body does not like getting its ass kicked every practice.

4.  I'm not going to miss the smell. 

So, there I am with my list.  So far the stuff I like outweighs the stuff I won't miss, so I'm planning on staying in for another year.  That's the plan, so far, but you never know what will happen down the track.  Maybe today would be a good time to make your own list, you know, just in case.


  1. Love it! But one think I will really miss is being 'the cool mom'. My teens' friends think it's super cool I play roller derby. Plus I get to talk wheels and helmets with my long boarder son. So I need to hold on at least until they graduate high school! :D

  2. Hey Q! Great blog. As a recently retired skater, this hit home. :) It was the best decision for me and my life, although it was a very hard one to make. I miss running into people like you on a regular basis, that feeling in your stomach you get when the whistle is about to blow, and teaching people how to skate. Although I miss my teammates, the challenges, and the competition often, I do feel they are such apart of me that even though I don't play roller derby anymore I am still greatly influenced by the experience in a positive and life affirming way. I will also forever be proud of the fact that I helped create a sustainable league that empowers women and played a sport that is opening doors for women athletes that weren't there before. I may have hung up my skates, but I will always be a bad ass boss bitch who can kick ass and take names. Roller derby will always be in my heart, as will my fellow teammates and opponents. Happy skatin' Q! The sport is better because of you.

  3. Nicely put. I am only too happy to be an illustrative example :)

  4. I love that you didn't have to expand on "I'm not going to miss the smell" :)

  5. I had to leave due to a lifestyle change, I miss it horribly, and in the time since I had to leave, my league folded into another league. I can't exactly go back once my life becomes more bearable. I didn't have time to ease into retirement, or leaving, it just happened, very suddenly and my team mates were angry with me, but life gets in the way. Love your list, and I agree with every aspect of it. I was nowhere ready to leave, but as they say, a clean break heals faster.

    1. Sometimes it has to be like a bandaid getting ripped off.