Sunday, October 5, 2014

Feeling the Pain: How I deal with the "Quit" word.

Every once in a while I have a weekend where I'm tired, possibly sick with a sinus infection, dealing with aches and pains, and aggravated with league duties. I probably have a couple of these moments a season (the season that lasts and lasts and lasts) but they absolutely suck when Division Play offs are on. Why you might ask? Well, I either become completely inspired by watching D1 and D2s, or I get frustrated by seeing all of the amazing skaters, and how far I have to go, and if I want to go that far.

I've been in derby since 2009, and this year I've had to wrestle with the question "why do I keep doing this?" several times. Derby is wonderful, frustrating, and exhausting at times, but eventually I will be hanging up my helmet to move on to a new adventure. Yes, I know that everyone gets into funks about derby and questions why they're still putting in the work to get their bodies beaten up and their free time devoured, but sometimes the questions are persistent, and become even louder than normal.

So. When I'm dealing with the question of staying on in derby, or going on to something else, I do a few activities to see just how much of a funk I'm actually in. It's a big decision, and it doesn't have to be made in one day. These activities I do help me figure out if I'm just being a moody pain in the ass, or I need to ponder things a little more seriously.


1. I draft my retirement letter to my league. Yeah, I know that a lot of people who leave this sport don't actually write a letter or email or whatever, but I will. I'd like to say goodbye to people and know that I'm leaving the league for my own reasons; people need closure, and I will write a letter when I actually do retire. Sometimes my drafts are funny, sometimes they're very emotional, and every once in a while I write a rant that's filled with some spiteful words about derby in general. The spiteful ones actually help give me perspective and let me vent, and since I know nobody else is EVER going to read them, at times they make me laugh at the ridiculous complaints I have. No, you may not read them.

2. I make a derby bucket list. This changes from season to season, and it's gotten shorter and shorter over the years too, which is the natural progression of things. I have been lucky enough to winnow my list down to five or six things I'd like to do. I'd still like to skate on a banked track, and I may have found a lead on that. I'm not sure if I want to actually play derby on one, especially after rewatching that ankle grinding injury from documentary Hell on Wheels, but skating on one would be awesome.

3. I watch awesome footage. D1s are a blessing and a curse to me when I'm feeling wonky about derby. I still get excited about derby, and watching other teams skate inspires me to try new things and come up with new drills and ideas for my league. It also can totally bum me out to see some of the most amazing players doing their thing out there. Yes, I'm talking about Scald Eagle this weekend. I'm not exactly sure if she's human, and I'm pretty sure I will never be that amazing. Today, she is inspiring me to get lower and cross train more, but who knows what I'll be feeling about her amazing skating next time I'm in a funk.

4. I look at my brag/swag wall. I know some players keep accomplishments from derby in a place in their houses, and I have a wall that keeps me motivated and reminds me of games I had fun playing. I also design posters for some teams, and I'm super proud of them; my accomplishments make me happy and proud of my derby career. I know it sounds braggy to have a wall like this in my house, but 1. I'm not very social, so it's mostly Mr. Q and myself who see it, and 2. it's healthy to acknowledge your accomplishments. It feels like women in general don't like to be seen as bragging about their accomplishments, but you should be proud of yourself. I'm proud of the tournament my team got to go to last year, I'm proud of myself for actually dragging my ass to Rollercon, I'm proud of each MVP I've ever gotten and I'm especially proud of my league awards. Eventually, I will redecorate my wall, and put these trophies and posters away, but right now they motivate me.

And yes, the question to stay or leave derby was especially loud this week, but I've answered it for now.

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