Taking a Break

(photo credit: Sandy Nesh Photography)

Whether you play for an elite team or a local league, roller derby is an intense sport that can take up a lot of your time, physical energy, and brainpower. Most of us enter as fresh meat, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to join every committee and skate our faces off and do ALL OF THE THINGS.

After a couple of seasons, though, the glow might fade a bit. Sidelined by injuries, realizing we're neglecting our home lives, or just plain burned out and angry, some of us simply decide our time in derby is over. We hang up our skates, retire, and walk away (perhaps with some pangs of regret).

This might be the right decision for some. However, it doesn't have to be for you. Sometimes, you just need a break. Taking a breather from roller derby can be just what you need to remember what you loved about it in the first place. If you're conflicted about whether or not you want to quit, consider taking a leave of absence for a bit instead. Ask yourself some questions:

  • Am I still having fun?
  • If not, why?
  • Am I burned out from skating?
  • Team dynamics?
  • Politics?
  • Overwhelmed with committee work?
  • Have I talked to my coach/captain about my issues?
  • Have I felt heard or found resolution?
  • Do I still, deep down, love skating?
  • Love my team?

Sometimes the solutions to your problems are easily solved with some heart-to-heart talks with your team and leadership. And sometimes, unfortunately, they're not. Then you may have to make some hard decisions.

It's when you find yourself getting too caught up, too emotional, too stressed, that it's time to take a step back from derby for a bit. To paraphrase the illustrious Bill Murray film "What About Bob," take a vacation from your problems.

Catch up with your friends, your hobbies, your family -- the things you used to do before you found roller derby. Continue to support your team by attending their bouts (unless you think you'll get sucked back into the crap that was bothering you to begin with). They'll be happy to see you!

If you simply can't live without skating, go to some open skates. Change it up. Skate outside. Drop in on a friendly neighboring team's practice. Make new skate buddies. 

After a while, you'll know when you're ready to go back. Conversely, you also might realize you don't want to go back. And that's fine. The derbyverse is a big place and it's your choice to stay there -- as a skater, as a retired skater, as a ref, NSO, volunteer, fan, whatever you want.

No matter how much pressure you might put on yourself, it's important to give yourself a break every now and then. Derby will always be there for you.

Riots Not Diets,
Molotov Cupcake, #100 Proof

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