I decided to write some about my experience as a Retired Derby person because I’ve recently been asked by a few former derby acquaintances about how I transitioned. It sounds weird to say transition when referring to not playing derby but really it is a transition for a lot of people.
The way to really do it is to plan it. I planned for 2013 to be my last year of derby then I made sure I did everything I wanted to do and accomplish by the end of the year. I knew that 2013 would be my last year in 2012 so I went to Rollercon, and I went to a Derby Championship tournament. I played with and against teams I always wanted to play against. I wanted to make sure that the things were checked off my Derby to do list so that I wasn’t sitting back in a chair in 2014 regretting things.
The most important part of my plan was assimilating back into my non derby life and discovering a new hobby to enjoy. This meant picking up the relationships that had fallen off during my tenure playing Derby. Yes, your non derby friends will suffer while you are playing derby. There are so many meetings, events, games. You tend to find yourself hanging with teammates and derby friends 99% more than anyone else outside of work. This tends to make your non derby friends feel left out. However, if they are true friends, they won’t be gone, they cherish the time you do spend together, and occasionally drop hints they’d like to see you more. They come to your games and cheer you on. These are the people you tell first that you plan on retiring from derby. They will support your decision and they will also ask the hard question that you need to ask yourself: Are you sure?
Now your derby friends will ask that same question but they will not ask it the same way a non derby friend will. They will ask Are you sure? Immediately followed by one of the following questions/statements: I mean what about (insert tournament, game, league, a reason not to quit)? You’re not hurt are you? (as if this is the only acceptable reason not to play derby) I could never imagine my life without derby. What about all your derby friends? Are you still gonna coach/NSO/Ref/Volunteer?
If you are conflicted in anyway with your decision these are not questions you want to be asked immediately. They make you doubt your decision and make you feel like your wrong for wanting to stop playing derby.
Your non derby friends on the other hand will ask Are you sure? Then listen to the reasons why you feel you are ready to quit derby. After listening to you, they will then offer their advice saying “sounds like you thought this through” or maybe even though they know they won’t get you back as much, tell you your not ready to leave it behind.
Ultimately, It’s YOUR decision. YOU are the one that pays dues, skates, works out, changes their work schedules, buys gear, pays for hotel and travel, it’s your body that has the wear and tear on it. It’s about you and what you want. Derby is a team sport, and we mostly have a team mentality. The first time you think about quitting you worry about the team and what will happen to the team if I quit? Then you wonder what will happen to the league when I quit? The answer? You will be replaced on the team and the league will continue on. It’s a fact that is hard for some to hear but rarely does a league instantly fold at the loss of one person. So you need to know when it’s time for yourself.
- IS Derby still fun?
- Do I still enjoy it?
- Am i still challenged by it?
- Is there something I want to do more that i can’t with derby in my life?
- Have I accomplished all the goals I had set for myself when I started derby?
If you answer in a way that says your done, then your done and need to start transitioning.
After you make the decision, if you are in a league position board position you need to pick someone you trust to transition your duties to. It’s better if someone knows what you do before you leave so that it’s a seamless transition from you to the new person.
Start doing less. If your that person who’s at everything, slowly stop doing everything. Instead of 4 league events do 2-3 then slowly phase yourself down to your league minimum. If your the person that volunteers to do more… don’t. Get the league ready for you to not be there for them to rely on so new members step up.
Still keep up your skills. Just cause your leaving doesn’t mean that you has an excuse to suck. You want to play that last game of the year? You still need to earn your roster spot. However, if your a main jammer, start asking to transition from that position so that the team can discover a new talent to take over that role.
Let everyone know from the get go that your last game is this date and that you will be retiring at the end of the season and what it means. This is when you need to examine what your post derby involvement will be. Are you gonna quit being a skater and move to reffing/nsoing? Are you gonna quit being a skater and agree to coach? Remember if you do this, you may still have to attend practices and games. You may not be as involved but you still will have derby obligations and requests for your time.
If you decide, like I did, that once you were done, you were done, let people know one of the following:
- I will not volunteer at games or i will volunteer at games.
- I will not come to games or I will come to games.
- I will not come to events so don’t invite me or Please invite me to derby events, i’d like to still support you guys.
It’s important to set these boundaries for yourself and for others. If you don’t want to be bothered with derby anymore, nothing is more annoying than being constantly invited to a derby event or game on facebook or via email from a well meaning former teammate. But if you didn’t tell anyone that, be prepared for it. Voicing your wishes is the only way to get them acknowledged.
Be prepared for people to be upset and try and convince you you’re making the wrong decision. Remember, it is YOUR decision. It is a decision you thought about and pondered and decided was best for you and your family. Changing your mind is absolutely your right, but changing your mind because you felt pressured too will not make playing feel better and you will start to resent those who pressured you to stay.
SO if you get anything from this rambling remember, the decision to no longer play roller derby is YOUR decision. How involved you are with Derby once you retire is YOUR decision. You should have a plan in place in order to transition smoothly out of the league.
My next article will be on what to do once your no longer playing. :0D