Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You're older than you've ever been and now you're getting older.

I've often heard from older friends and relatives that the older one gets, the more people look to you for the answers. However, this comes at the cost of having fewer and fewer people to whom you can look when you need answers to questions of your own. As the season winds down and people start leaking out their retirement plans, I'm starting to realize that this is exactly why I feel so strange and unsettled right now.

When I was a freshie, I knew I needed to be a sponge, and I acted like one. I listened and practiced and tried to learn everything, and thus had little time to think about anything else. During my first year on the Nuts, I was one of very few new(ish) people on a team of very experienced vets. I spent the season simply doing what I was told, and had the luxury of not having to think at all because I was so surrounded by good advice. By the time this season rolled around I was in the upper-middle experience-range of the members of my team, and I started to feel confident enough with my playing that I could question things and believe in my own ideas. I'm ending the season feeling comfortable enough to offer opinions and advice without feeling like a pushy, sophomoric jerk.

I still have questions, though, and it seems like every day I learn that another of the vets I relied on to answer them won't be around next season. This sounds horribly morbid, but I feel like I'm starting to get old enough to attend the funerals of my friends instead of just mourning my older relatives. The protective layer of super vets is getting thinner and thinner by the day and I wonder who will guide and mentor me when I'm feeling scared and small next season.

It's hard to watch one's heroes ride off into the sunset. I guess that line "be your own hero" from Whip It applies like hell here. I've always dreamed of growing up to be like a lot of these spectacular women who are poised to become BDD's next group of alumni. I guess my goal for next season is to rebuild myself to fill the spaces that these heroes will leave behind.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wow. Thanks, world.

My laptop's hard drive failed and my screen broke. The timing of this is simply stunning.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I'm sitting alone in the gallery with the foundation of the quilt exhibit and I'm feeling rather emotional. Some of this happens every time I see the quilt now that such a large section is assembled and hanging. A lot more of this is because of the things I brought into the space today - one bin filled with all the envelopes in which the squares from out of state came, along with a mountain of ephemera dating back to the moment roller derby and I first met. I'd forgotten how much stuff I'd saved over the past three seasons, and all these feelings are cascading out of me in a way that's hard for me to process.

I found the flyer from the first bout I ever attended, when I knew down to my bones that I needed to do this. I found the invoice for my first pair of derby skates. I found the tag from the first BDD shirt that housed my newly approved derby name (back when twoevils only took a week or two to approve the names). I found letters from Mt. Auburn confirming that my right knee's x-ray came back "normal" along with prescriptions for PT and a diagram for a particularly complex knee exercise. I found birthday cards and thank you cards from freshmeat I "mama-ed," and these cards brought me to tears. I found pins and programs and wristbands and stickers from countless bouts.

I feel like I'm digging through a whole life's worth of memories, but it's only been three years since I started. The thing is, derby careers are so terribly short. It's hard on your body and your mind, and I know that we're all burning like candles doused in rocket fuel. We're giving off all of our light RIGHT NOW with such ferocity and there's only so much of us to use up before we burn out and it all ends. We do this sport at the price of our knees and our backs, and for some, our friendships and our marriages.

Today a few of my close friends and favorite skaters in a few different leagues told me that this is their last season. They're leaving because they know that their light is burning out. Reading these messages when I'm literally ankle-deep in piles of derby memories is tough. It reminds me how much I'll miss these people who have helped shape my derby life. It also reminds me that I can't do this forever, and one of these days I'll have to prepare my good-byes too.

My greatest wish is to retire when I want to, not when I have to. My second greatest wish is that I'll want to retire a long, long time from now. I love this sport with a fierceness that I've only felt for my immediate family and my dearest, oldest, truest friends. I love derby more than chocolate and sleeping late. I feel a deep level of affection for it like I do for my dog and cat. One of my favorite MassArt professors phrased it so elegantly: "This is my church, and these are my vestments." At first, it sounded a bit strong to my thoroughly non-religious ears. However, as crazy as it sounds, I've found a very powerful faith through roller derby - faith in myself unlike I've ever had before.

Roller derby might just be a fun, rough game on wheels, but to me it's so much more. Roller derby has made my outside match my inside. Through it I've learned a comfort with myself I've always needed but never knew was missing. It's almost as good as falling in love, and like love, I want to hold onto all of this for as long as I can.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The before time.

I cracked open my old myspace page and transported all of my derby-related blog posts to this one. For anyone who is curious, go ahead and look back at the newly-made-earlier beginning of this blog to read about my trials and tribulations beginning with derby tryouts.

Oh, the memories... I'll do my livejournal ones ASAP.