It's official: I'm retiring from my home team after this season.
WHAT?! some of you may be saying. You just got cleared to skate derby again and now you're gonna QUIT when you're on the verge of gaining momentum?!
That's right. I am.
It's not so much the physical strain that's forcing this decision to come to light, it's the mental exhaustion from derby, mixed in with a strenuous day job(yes, sitting and having to think about camera staging, layout, character acting on a tight deadline is surprisingly stressful), along with the orthopedic surgeon's pronouncement that I'm officially TOO OLD for derby that finally did it.
I've had quite a few conversations about whether I'm really too mentally exhausted or too old for derby, and despite the last two weeks of FANTASTIC derby games that I got to watch (my fave league outside of LA, the Arizona Derby Dames vs. LA's home team, the Sirens. Seattle's Tilted Thunder Rail Birds vs. a mixed LADD crew. Then there was WFTDA Eastern Regionals this past weekend where London showed that they're as badass as I personally thought they were), I just can't stand the daily routine of trying to maintain attendance for the regular season schedule. I've always had more fun skating with/against skaters I don't ordinarily get to scrimmage...whether it was skating with the Aftershockers, Ri-Ettes, Rejects, the occasional Fight Crew travel game, doing the challenge scrimmages at Rollercon or Thankscrimmage, or even just visiting Angel City...those are my favorite games, whether they were flat or banked track. Interleague on an all-star B-team level(almost an oxymoron, when you think about it!) within my league doesn't exist, and so my heart has gone out of it. And I'm just burned out from day-to-day league stuff.
Does this mean I'm quitting derby? Hell no. This is worse than Brokeback Mountain...I cain't quit derby. I'm planning on staying on LADD's training team, as well as the Interleague Task Force. I really want to get out and start training more of the up-and-coming banked track leagues that are beginning to pop up. I want to help them get competitive as soon as possible so that they can skate against other leagues and get as stupidly obsessed as the rest of us about playing good derby. I want to go back to Europe with skates in hand and either practice or coach anyone who will have me there. I want to continue to announce and do derby artwork. I want to continue to keep stating my opinion on derby whether people want to hear it or not.
So I have these plans, and I have to get through the rest of this season. Funny thing is, now that I'm making my decision more public, it feels that there's a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I'm not back 100% scrimmage-wise, mainly because my endurance went to SHIT because I couldn't do any running, but the scrimmaging I am doing is fun and I feel effective. I still dread having to drive to downtown LA for practice because it's such a shit commute, but the knowledge that it's only three more months makes me deal with it better. I'm even wanting to buy another pair of skates: my last derby skates. I've not had much luck with being able to talk to a Knowledgeable Skate Person Who Knows My Skating Style on what that last pair of skates should be (right now it's between the Antiks AR-1 and Riedell 1065), but I need to get that done.
But the egotistical part of me is also squawking...the derby community sometimes marginalizes people if they're not active skaters. Will my status from active to retired-but-still-skating-for-fun skater have an effect on how others in derby see me? Will that depend on how involved I stay in the community? Have I already become that old lady telling all the new skaters to get offa her lawn, and Things Were Different In My Day, or is my experience seen as relevant to modern DIY derby?
So I feel in between worlds as a result of what my life is telling me what I need to do and what my ego is telling me it wants to do. I suppose I'll figure it out as I go along...thank goodness I now have the UFC Personal Trainer program for getting out any aggression build-ups I may get from not scrimmaging every week. And if a smart someone wants to sell me a pair of awesome skates at WFTDA Western Regionals this coming weekend, I'm all for it.