Sunday, August 17, 2014

Let's ban the word "retired" from derby

Can I tell you that the word "retired" in roller derby is one of my pet peeves? I'm getting to the point in my derby career where my skating days are numbered. I'm an older skater, and I'm not sure just how much longer I want to keep putting my body through competitive derby. Maybe I have one more season in me, but maybe not. I'm listening to my body and I will go from there, but I can tell you that when I'm done with derby, I won't "retire."
Riva Derci photo by

Retiring, to me, means that you're old and no longer able to keep up with the other players; I can still keep up, the question for me will be whether or not I should keep up. I've put a large part of my non derby life on hold these last few years, and I'm itching to get back to. I'd like get back to my art,  my non derby friends, and everything in between. I see some of my derby friends who have "retired" and they're not just sitting around and eating bon bons.

 My derby wife, Riva Derci is training to run half marathons, and Rigor is training at Crossfit and raising money to do a Make A Wish Trailblaze challenge.  In her words "I am writing to tell you about the Make a Wish Trailblaze Challenge, an epic event to help grant wishes for children of Central and Western NC with life-threatening conditions. In August 2006 I was hospitalized for paralysis of both my legs, and vowed to learn to play rollerderby after I was discharged from the hospital (while still struggling with my walker.) When I started skating 2 years later, my goal was to just be able to play one game. Eventually I ended up as a captain of the local All Star Team. Upon rollerderby retirement, I took up Crossfit to continue to push my physical strength. Last year I climbed from sea level to a glacier in the Olympic National Park in Washington. While all these have been personal achievements, I was captivated when I heard about the Make a Wish Trailblaze Challenge--a 28.3 mile one-day hike to raise funds for granting wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. In talking about my experiences, I realized that many wish children will not have the opportunity to take on a mountain or experience the wilderness. It provides me with great strength and courage to know my actions are contributing to such a worthy cause. On October 11th, rain or shine, I will take each and every step of that 28.3 miles to bring hope to these children. Can you help me with this hike with your contribution?" You can donate to her challenge here.

Even she used the word "retired" and she's anything but! I know "retiring" probably sounds nicer to some people than quitting; quitting gets a bad rap in our society. "Don't be a quitter" is a rallying cry in most sports, or athletic endeavors. Endurance drills get tough? Don't quit! Jamming is impossible? Don't quit! Quitting has a negative connotation, but that's what I will be doing when I decide to leave derby. I will be quitting, because I absolutely loathe the idea of "retirement." I'm up for calling it something different; leaving....sayanoring....taking a powder...whatever, but when I go out, it won't be on retirement.

'Cause I ain't goin' out like a granny.  ;)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Professional athletes retire all the time. Some return to the sport (Michael Jordan) and others make it in another area all together (Dwayne Johnson, though not really retired) Being a competitive athlete is tough on the body. Many retire at what others would say was young. But their lives are still active and full. I'm retiring soon. I'm 44 and already 4 years retired from the military. After competitive derby I plan on coaching, Derby Lite, running a skate shop, announcing, starting Jr. Derby locally and not being hurt all the time. No shame in retiring.

  3. Slowing down, moving on, changing focus, following a different passion, but never retiring. I am almost ready to close the "roller derby" chapter of my life, but I am not retiring, I am moving on to different exciting new challenges, attempting to be strong enough and fit enough for Crossfit Masters. Derby has served its purpose, and has been my consuming passion for going on seven years, but now there are new challenges and goals that light my fire.

  4. I think you have a warped view of the word retirement. Many people who retire from their jobs continue to work as well. In no context does it mean to sit around and eat bon bons.

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