Friday, November 22, 2013

What Do You Do After Derby?

 My fellow fresh and meatie, Ballista Blockheart had her last official bout as a rollergirl last
2009 at Regionals
Saturday.  I was so proud of her in her last game.  I remember back when we both started derby...back in the olden days where people still lined up on the pivot line and the term "scrum start" hadn't been invented yet. My goodness, was that only 2009? Sheesh, derby time goes faster than regular time, doesn't it? Ballz, as we all call her, was my partner in crime. We both passed assessments at the same time, passed pack abilities at the same time, and played in our first games together.  I would not have made it through the roughest parts of my derby career without her good-natured smile and laugh. She has been my rock for almost five years, and I'm both happy and sad that she will no longer be derbying. 

But...BUT that doesn't mean she's hanging up her skates.  Ballz is talented shuffle skater and enjoys being on wheels for all reasons.  She's going to keep teaching skating at the local rink, and this lady can teach, because I couldn't do a mohawk turn to save my life before she showed me how. After her bout, Ballz made it crystal clear that she wasn't going to ever stop skating, and wanted to write a blog entry encouraging ex derby skaters to not give up on fun skating.  Below is her entry.

Leaving Derby? Please Don't Stop Skating!

We're older...and wiser? Maybe?
I often read about people “hanging up” their skates, or their skates “getting dusty”.

Um, what?  I find it hard to believe you spent any time in derby unless you love the act of skating. Lots of people retire from derby, but who says you have to stop skating? There are so many reasons (and so many ways!) to stay on 8 wheels...

1.  As you already know, skating is great exercise, so find a way to keep doing it. Skate at a local rink. (Be sure to find out which session is right for you.) Go to a speed practice (if available). Skate at a local park, on a greenway, or in a neighborhood. (Bring music!)

2.  Lots of cool and amazing people skate. Have you been to open session at your local rink(s) recently? Most rinks have a great group of “regulars”. If you haven't already, introduce yourself and get to know them. It's likely you will find people there to bond with, just like you did in derby. If the closest rink is too far away, go twice a month instead of weekly. It will be worth it. 

3.  You can skate with your kids/parents/significant other. There are so few activities you can do together with your family. Sign your kids up for a class. For that matter, sign your spouse/partner up for a class, too. (Get them some protective gear.) On date night, go skating and be sure to do the Couples Skate. :) 

4.  You might find some (gasp!) new kind of skating which you enjoy. Is there an adult night at your local rink? Try some shuffle/jam skating. Can you keep up? :) Are there “road skaters” in your area? Some of those groups do weekly trail skates. If your rink offers classes, you might even want to consider becoming an instructor.

 I don't think most skaters intend to quit, they just get out of the habit when they stop playing derby. Don't let that happen--find a way to keep some skating in your life!

Ballista Blockheart


  1. Happy Retirement to Ballz!! I hung it up this summer after 6 years and, once I'm cleared to skate (had a leg surgery in September to fix an old injury), I'll be skating speed. The idea of switching to inlines is a little intimidating, but I'm looking forward to a new challenge. Bought my inlines just before surgery, to give me a goal to work toward. :)

  2. Derby Lite is the path I'm going to choose. Thanks Queen B for giving me more derby I can do when I'm tired of being beat up by the harder hitting, faster, younger skaters.