Sunday, March 16, 2014

Being Older in Derby

I started my derby career when I was ending my 39th year. Honestly, I've never been one of those people that has a bucket list, but I felt that my fortieth birthday should be momentous.  I was either going to jump out of a plane or join derby. Derby seemed to be so much less of a risk to life and limb; obviously I didn't know much about derby when I joined. I believe I actually used the words "should I audition?" please don't hate me too much, I was ignorant in the ways of derby. I no longer am, and have the scars to prove it.  In spite of being on the older end of the spectrum when it came to my league (most of my league was in their late twenties or early thirties) I can still keep up with the youngsters physically on the track, but sometimes it's hard to find common ground with the younger skaters.
Photo by A Boy Named Tsunami

I'm older than a lot of people in my league; I have learned that there is a bit of an age gap at times. It's totally bridgeable, but sometimes I'm too cranky to cross that bridge.

If you're an older skater in your league, and I know they're are a lot of you out there; see if these statements ring true for you.

1. Sometimes you're going to feel like the adult chaperone on the field trip bus. At times, I have to resist the urge not to roll my eyes when I see someone's world go crazy from drama. I have to remind myself of the old saying "In your twenties, you make big mistakes. In your thirties, you spend your time making up for the dumb things you did in your twenties. In your forties, you're too tired for drama." I added that last part, but seriously, things that seem so life and death when you're younger seem less agonizing when you get older.

2. You get cranky if you don't get enough sleep on a trip. Ah twenty-somethings are amazing; they can get two hours of sleep and bounce back the next day after coffee and a "quick three mile run." I lost that ability when I hit my thirties, and I'm ok with admitting that I need to sleep 6-8 hours to be functional the next day. Also, I'm not going to lie, I'm picky about who I room with on derby trips. If you're a night owl that wants to stay up giggling all night, you ain't gonna be in my room.

3. You take longer to warm up, but when you get there, you're able to skate longer than younger skaters. Don't ask me to run as a warm up; for my muscles to warm up properly, I need a little more time and gradual warm up. I'll run after I warm up, but reluctantly, and complaining most of the time, because running sucks. Yes it does. Yes it does. Yes it does.

4. Having life experience can help out with derby experience. We older skaters are better at handling our money, and planning our time. We know how to get things done, because we have had more practice at juggling all the things on the busiest of schedules. Seriously, when you're busy as hell, you tend to get your tasks done, because you have to be organized to do them all and not drown under a pile of crap.

5. Although nobody is rich, older skaters tend to be more financial solvent than younger skaters. I am NOT a moneybags, and I can't afford everything I want, but I do have some money that I can toss towards gear and travel if I make smart decisions. I'm not going to have to eat Ramen noodle soup for a month to do it either.

6. We're a focused bunch. Endurance isn't just physical attribute. Mentally, older people tend to be able to focus on long term goals. We can see the forest for the trees, so to speak. I personally would have never made it this long in derby at a younger age. I was pretty impatient about reaching goals. Age has mellowed me a little bit. (Just a bit though)

7. Afterparty objectives become food rather than boozing it up all night.  Want me to come out to an after party? Make sure there's food there, otherwise I'll find some place else to graze and then MAYBE drag my butt to the after party.

8. You get to call out twenty somethings that complain about feeling old. Look people, you have no idea what it feels like to feel old at twenty something. Talk to me when you're in your mid thirties and your knees pop when you're just walking up the stairs. Also, talk to me after your doctor sets up certain medical tests for you because you're a "lady of a certain age." Talk to me after you find your first grey pubic hair. Yes, I said it. Read that sentence again if you must.

9. Even though sometimes it's hard to bridge the age gap, I'm glad that I have the chance to skate with younger folk. Younger people have a different energy, and being around them let's me remember how to be optimistic, and sometimes just be giddy. Viva la diference!


  1. At an event the other week, I was asked if I was the team mom

  2. I ♥ you even harder Q!!!
    I started just before 41. Broke my ankle 6 mths in and came back after to still skate and finally make a team. And I'm not done reaching my goals yet!!

  3. I started at 45 and in my 3rd season
    Was never much of a skater. Only in highschool. Love derby. Love all the women I met that are just like me. I agree to all that you said.

  4. I started at 53 with my daughter. I am now 56 and she is 30 and I do totally agree with all you have said. I am still in derby and I love it! Enjoy meeting and skating with all the girls!


    not related to this post but saw it and thought of you.
    hope the link works. should be to a pic/meme that has the name of your blog on it.

  6. <3 I don't exactly fit into the older skater category as I am only 29, but the majority of my closest friends through derby, my betches and my derby wife all do, maybe I'm a little bit of an old soul or something. Love your articles, and this one is so true ;)

  7. "Derby seemed to be so much less of a risk to life and limb; obviously I didn't know much about derby when I joined." Love this quote! I joined when I was 40. Although there are younger skaters in our leauge, we are almost all at the same place in life, most everyone is a parent, is married and/or a professional. Those couple that don't fit in these catagories, however, I do feel sort of motherly toward them (chaparone on the field trip bus!)

  8. I agree with many of these points and being older gives me the financial security to afford this sport. I started at 46 and 3 years in had the goal to skate until I'm 50 and then ref but who knows! Taking hits can be rough on old bones but boy do I love to skate! I thin k what I love most is being around young people who are so open and liberated and inclusive. I'm never made to feel like an old fart and I find being around derby folks has made my life so much more interesting since some folks my age can be very narrow minded and unadventurous anymore - Not all of them but some. I don't feel anywhere near my 50 years and the fact that I can even skate a banked track with some proficiency makes me very happy and proud. I love my derby brethren and wouldn't trade the falls and bruises for anything! It's been so worth it!!!