So this is it. This is my final blog post.
Argh it feels weird. Good but weird.
Before I leave, I wanted to share some thoughts that have been swimming around my head as I prepare to cut you all off for good (lols).
I think this list can be best enjoyed to the tune of Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (To wear sunscreen)”, feel free to hum along in your head.
- Whatever part of roller derby you get into, network. Go and meet as many people in your situation as possible and create friendships. You need to help each other. If you can, get a mentor. Then when you’re good enough, mentor others.
- Buy skates that fit. They don’t stretch as much as you hope they will.
- If you think you’re shit, you’re probably not. If you think you’re mint, you’re probably not. This sport is ridiculous and not to be taken too seriously. As long as you’re trying your best, don’t beat yourself up. If you have already stopped trying, maybe consider stopping entirely.
- If you upset more people than you please, you’re the problem. Not everyone else.
- In the words of a non-derby person I know “roller derby is a sex cult”. If you are a willing participant, then enjoy. Derby has a lot to offer you.
However… You know that song “roller derby saved my soul”? I’m pretty sure it did the opposite for some. I know first-hand that it caused an awful lot of heartbreak. Don’t be reckless with others peoples’ hearts and don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. #recklesswheels. (Because God knows a derby comedown is difficult enough).
- With that in mind, ROLLER-DERBY-FAMOUS IS NOT A GET-OUT-OF-JAIL-FREE-CARD (and neither is the growing need for officials). There are so many rising stars – and so many people waiting to fill in the spaces – that you shouldn’t allow someone to get away with bad behaviour in whatever guise it presents itself. Protect yourself and protect your team mates.
- When you leave roller derby you will realise how often you blew off real-life things to do derby. If you’re like me, you will feel a huge amount of regret about this. You will see your derby friends continuing to do it. They will even do it to you. So before you say no to that one-off celebration that your best friend invites you to, make sure that you ask yourself “Is skate practice really more important?” Sometimes it will be and that’s fine. Good friends will forgive you to a certain point… but trust me when I say it’s fucking hard to do.
- Tell people you admire that you admire them. Don’t be a suck up, but do tell someone if you think they’re good at what they do. It’s nice to hear and it doesn’t happen often enough.
- If you’ve been saying for a year that you need to take a break… you really need to take a break. You will have terrible FOMO, but trust me, you can step away for months and jump back in. No one notices.
- There is life after derby. And it can be exactly what you want it to be. Beautiful, scary… and just the next step in your ongoing unfolding life. Don’t be held back by any misplaced feelings of obligation or duty. You do not owe anyone else your time. Reclaim it and do whatever the hell you want with it (even if you decide you actually really wanna go back to derby). There is more to travelling than seeing the inside of sports halls.
So, that’s it.
In an effort to properly move on, I’m now going to delete people on FB that I only know through derby and have never actually spoken to about anything other than derby. I currently have nearly 1,900 “friends” on FB. I think a normal amount of friends is more… what… 500? That’s a lot of people I don’t really know, who now see a lot of posts about me having taken up field hockey.
If you disappear from my friends’ list and you actually want to be friends… friend request me. Just don’t talk to me about derby drama – I’m done with it.
If you want to reinvent Ref School… please do it. I’m not precious.
If you need to reach me, you can still email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaand. That’s it. Thank you for a wonderful nine years. Good luck. Oh yeah, and wear sunscreen.