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.
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,
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?
|Photo by Badjon.|
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.
AKA - Crystal Cutt #217 (CQS) Columbia Quad Squad