Derby runs the gambit of being a hobby or a mania for players; ask anyone about their relationship with derby, and you'll get a rainbow of answers about how derby fits into their lives. Ask the same question on different days of the same people, and you might get a different answer as well. For me, sometimes derby is this amazing, cathartic experience which relieves all of my stress and makes me grin from ear to ear. On other days, I feel like derby is this horrible weight, possibly a GIANT SKATE MADE OF SHAME AND DRAMA crushing me down to the ground. Am I exaggerating? Maybe. A little. Derby can be an obsession for people, but not everyone is uber super duper committed to it, and those who are aren't necessarily committed to it at the same level each and every day.
As a derby player, you have to figure out what you can give to our sport realistically, and sometimes that will change with your life's circumstances. The question is, how do you avoid over-committing and then having to back out of derby obligations?
1. First of all, be realistic with yourself. Are you working two jobs? Are you trying to work, finish a degree in your spare time, and raise kids? Maybe it's not the most opportune time to sign up for extra stuff in derby, like invitationals, running for team captain, or heading a committee. (Yeah, committee has COMMIT right in the word, doesn't it?) Be very honest with yourself; you can't do ALL THE THINGS if you're already doing all the things.
2. Be realistic with your time management. Sometimes I want to commit to more activities in derby, but I look at my calendar and see how I've mapped out my time already, and realize I just can't commit to more derby stuff. Where would I make the cut? Cut down on family time? Nope. Cut down on work time? I wish! Sometimes you can't makes any more room for new derby stuff.
3. Can you realistically meet the expectations? If you're trying out for the travel charter roster, can you make the requisite number of practices? If you're running for a position in your league, can you perform the tasks required for the league to keep functioning? If you volunteer to do get something done for a committee, make sure you follow through and actually complete it. Don't wait until the last minute to say "Oh hey, I didn't get this done. Can someone else do it instead?" That's just a plain old dick move.
4. Be honest about your money. Sometimes your wallet is the one who gets to say no. There is no shame in that. Wallets control almost everything we do with our lives in the first place. Why should derby be immune?
5. Sometimes the answer is just no. No, you can't always up your commitment to derby, and sometimes that means you have to say no to more derby activities. Will you miss opportunities? Hell yes. Sometimes it will be an amazing invitational, or a great training, or a chance to take a leadership role in the league, but it is what it is. It's better to not make that commitment and then break it, but that's just my opinion.