A while ago, I joked over at the Facebook page about all the people who find little anecdote by googling “quitting roller derby” or “how to quit roller derby.”
My advice at the time?
Just quit. But be cool about it.
Retirement – hanging out at the river with your baby bump and manatee. Or whatever you feel like.
As people kept googling it, I thought about it more. It’s easy for me to be glib about it, because I was really ready to retire when I did.
I’d given it a lot of thought, my team had won two Rose City championships in a row, a bunch of my friends and teammates were retiring at the same time, and my husband and I were planning on having a baby. I didn’t feel particularly left out, left behind, or bored. I kept my volunteer job until it got to be too much with writing Roller Derby for Beginners.
Not everyone has a similar experience.
It’s up to you how much you want to stay involved with your team, league, and the roller derby community at large after you retire. Do you want to stay involved? If so, how much and what would you like that time to look like? Will you still skate recreationally? Will you continue to volunteer? If so, doing what?
Do you want to see these people three times a week still? Try coaching. Once a week? How about being an NSO?
You can still see your derby friends in a non-derby context, you know. Change is okay. If you want to keep the same level of commitment, great! It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition.
Staying “cool about it”
Don’t burn bridges, ladies and gentlemen. If you’re going to leave, you might as well do it on good terms. Be kind, even to people you don’t like very much. Stay paid up on those dues. You might want to come back someday, or call on that community for a favor. If you do come back someday, your personality might have as much sway as your skating skill when it’s time to be re-drafted.
Staying in shape
If staying in shape is important to you (or continuing to eat like a teenage boy without gaining weight is important to you, hello ME), plan a new way to stay in shape. Trail skates? Walking, Running, biking, Zumba, swimming? Aggressive gymnastics? Competitive LARP? If you stay active, you’ll continue to have an outlet for stress, and be less likely to hip check your co-worker who keeps complaining about doing the mail merge (YES IT SUCKS JUST FIGURE IT OUT LIKE THE REST OF US DO, OMG).
Staying “roller derby”
A lot of us identify ourselves as “roller derby people.” When you see an acquaintance at a party, it’s what they ask about first. I’m sure you were all very interesting, well-rounded people before you played derby, but maybe you didn’t have a “thing” that you identified with, and that people identified you with, like you do now.
After you retire, you’re still you. You can identify however you want.
Keep using your roller derby name with your friends, or don’t. I’m still Frisky. You’re not more or less authentically derby-y than anyone who HAS played using the one-whistle start (wow, it’s been a long time since I skated). You put in your time. Don’t let anyone make you feel differently.
Staying retired. Or not.
People pop in and out of retirement all the time. Roller derby isn’t going anywhere. It’ll hold while you go have a baby, finish your degree, catch up on your Netflix, learn to make beer, or spend a year in Budapest – whatever it is that’s calling to you.
There’s a whole, big, beautiful world out there. Roller derby definitely exposed me to a number of experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise, but it prevented me from experiencing a lot, too. There’s only so much time in your life. Do what you want to do.
And if I ever get the time, I’m coming out of retirement to skate rec.