Getting Beat Up by the Roller Derby Blues

Photo by montanafreshe (Ebay)

Photo by montanafreshe (Ebay)

You know how when you ask someone “why do you blog” they say “to get shit off my chest” or “to work things out” or “because I am just a sad sad sad person who needs to feel sorry for myself in a public forum”?  Well, tonight I am that kind of person.  I hate writing these kinds of posts, really I do, but I’m really struggling and I’m hoping that someone out there can either 1) give me some sound advice, or 2) slap me upside the head and tell me to pull my skate laces up and be a big girl.  Or maybe both.  I don’t know.

So yeah, about roller derby.  I’ve been busy (full time job, school, volunteering), and I have told my coaches and some of the Board members that I’ve had to cut back on my attendance, volunteer hours, meetings and all that stuff.  Initially, that helped me restore a little balance in my life and relieve some of the emotional investment I’d been making in derby.  I’ve been trying to go to two on-skates practices a week, but lately, it has been harder and harder to go, and I’ve been dropping down to one practice a week, or no practices (uh, like where I should be right now).  There are many reasons why, and I’m trying to sort them out.  Among them:

  • Instead of feeling invincible, I’m feeling invisible.  I’ve been skating for over a year now and I still don’t know who my people are.  I don’t know who to hang out with at practices or at events.  I always feel awkward when I try to join in with a small group of people having a chat after practice, for example.  There are plenty of ladies I like in the league, but it feels like everyone has their set of friends and doesn’t need another one.  This awkwardness has resulted in me not going to our league’s events (skating or social), which I realize does nothing good for helping me to find my people.
  • My skating has improved A LOT in the past year.  However, I’m feeling pretty fucking defeated by my skills (or lack thereof).  It seems like I will never get my 27 in five; in fact, I’ve gotten worse over the past few months, going gradually from 24 laps to 21.5 laps.  WTF?  My cross-overs are getting stronger and I’m trying to skate the diamond more, but I’m just as slow as a turtle.  In fact, this has been bringing me down to the point where I get really nervous to do the 27 in 5 (or the 50 lap killer, for that matter).  This anxiety does nothing for making me want to go to practice.  And, like my point above, I recognize that if I keep skipping practices, my skills will never improve.
  • Related to the above, it seems like I’ll never get to the point where I’m cleared for bouting.  I’ve only scrimmaged once – it was awesome, but the beginning and intermediate skaters are not given very much opportunity to do that in our league.  So what’s the point?  It feels like I’ll never get “good enough” to play, so why do I put myself through the anxiety and stress of practices and meeting all the requirements for leveling up?
I'm in the penalty box during my first scrimmage.

I’m in the penalty box during my first scrimmage.

Whine, whine, whine.  It’s easy for me to be super hard on myself, which is always self-defeating.  I do have depression and anxiety issues, for which I’ve been getting treatment for a number of years now, and roller derby easily triggers so many of my issues.  Yet there are so many things I love about derby as well.  I want to improve, and I’m happy that I’ve gotten better over the past year.  I really do like the people in my league, but I don’t know where I fit in, which makes me feel like a big freak.  I want to be involved, but when I was more involved, it was just so stressful (for a few reasons that I’ve not listed above, like league politics and requirements, etc.).

Is it time for me to quit?  I think about this every day.  I don’t want to give up, but I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread.  I’ve invested so much of myself in roller derby, but I need some support and I just don’t know where to get it, hence this sad, whiny post.  Any advice or ass-kicking would be much appreciated.

Gritty Cat (a.k.a, Marci)

Related post:  Why Can’t I Quit You, Roller Derby?

42 thoughts on “Getting Beat Up by the Roller Derby Blues

  1. Oh, sweet Marci – i feel for you. That thing about feeling invisible? That’s me. If you look back at your post in March “why “Can’t I Quit?” you’ll see my comment. One of the reasons I quit Bridge is exactly what you are saying. I played every single week with these people. After a year, I knew everyone’s name, who their partner was, and what kind of player they were. Yet they continued to look at me each week like they’d never seen me before! I don’t know if it was because I can’t do the chit chat or I didn’t socialize outside of bridge, but I clearly was an outsider. I guess some introverts can become extroverts for group activities, but I can’t.

    Here’s a couple things to ask yourself:
    What regrets will you have if you quit? What’s the worst that could happen if you quit? Could you live with that? Is there an alternative way to participate while reducing some of the angst? Do you feel good about what you have accomplished? If your accomplishments feel “unfinished”, can you realistically accomplish them, and at what emotional/financial/time commitment? Is it worth it? Is your decision irrevocable? Will anyone miss you if you leave? What do you wish you could do “if only you had time?”

    You are writing this 6 weeks after your other post that was a similar feeling. It seems to me like not much has improved in those 6 weeks. If nothing else, that’s a pretty strong signal a guiltfree change might be in order.

    Sending you good vibes, wisdom to discern your path and courage to act in your best interests. And for what it’s worth … When I’ve been in similar situations and made the decision to move on to other pursuits, I don’t look back and I don’t live with regrets. Life is full of directional changes, but no matter what you decide, I am POSITIVE you are a person who will fully embrace your opportunity.

    • Thank you, Sammy, so much for your supportive words. I’ve taken a few days to think about what people have said and suggested, and what really resonated with me was your comment about being introverted – not being able to do the chit chat thing, or socializing outside of the activity. I think that’s a huge part of being invested in a derby league – I know that some of the girls spend more time with the league than they do with their roommates or family! I can’t do that though, as I’m sure you can imagine.

      All of the questions you pose are important. I would have regrets if I quit now, and I don’t feel like I’ve explored all of my options, so I’m going to try a couple of new things to see if they help. I really do love skating and derby but I’m working on pinpointing things that need to change, and am looking at my options right now. I will keep you posted on what I decide to do, for sure! I have a lot of things going on right now (don’t we all) and I have to change things so that I can be happy with how I’m spending my time, which is very valuable to me. Thank you again for your support, advice and encouragement! 😉

      • You bet! Of course I wouldn’t offer unsolicited, but you are wise to ask and evaluate your options. You are in control – there’s not always a perfect solution, but you will find the best solution – for you. Everything evolves so try to enjoy the parts of the journey as you tweak and move forward.

        • Thanks, Sammy! I am definitely going to try and enjoy the journey a little more. I’m hoping that will take some of the stress off me so that I can not only have fun, but relax and allow myself to improve without the pressure I put on myself to do so. 🙂

        • It’s hard trying to master a new skill and become part of the gang at the same time. I care about you and want you to enjoy what you do. We all do too much pressuring ourselves. Thank you, Marci, for trusting me to be part of your conversation.

    • I’m so glad to stumble upon this. This is me. Ugh. I feel worse and worse and like I’ll never be with the “in crowd” because I can’t dedicate every waking hour to derby. In my first month of boot camp I rolled my ankle and tore my ligaments. 16 weeks later I came back and finished another boot camp, didn’t pass qualifications despite spending days at the rink. Started school, can no longer keep up the 3 days a week practice etc But I try. I attend almost every single volunteer function too. I really try to be active and step out of my comfort zone, but with anxiety and depression sometimes showing up is the best I can do. Ugh. So glad I’m not the only one feeling these frustrations but so sad at the same time. How are things now for you?

      • Hi Aud – thanks for stopping by and reading my thoughts! I’m sorry that you can relate to my post about roller derby – it’s not a fun place to be, but it does help to know that you’re not the only one feeling a certain way. Back in July I decided to take a three-month leave of absence from my league and I knew within a few days that it was the right decision for me. All of that stress was lifted from my shoulders…I felt so much lighter about everything, and I let a lot of the worry simply slip away. As someone who also suffers from anxiety and depression, I know about stepping outside of my comfort zone – it was one of the reasons I decided to join derby in the first place, to challenge myself on several levels. And I don’t think I failed at that – I grew a lot, and in the end, decided that I didn’t need all the extra stress and pressure that came with it, and that I was putting on myself. I ended up not returning to the league for one very simple reason when it came down to it – I wasn’t having fun anymore. And life is too short to voluntarily put yourself through something that isn’t fun or rewarding in some way. I did get many rewards, but when they stopped coming and the fun wasn’t there, that’s when I knew it was over.

        My breakup with derby was hard, but totally worth it for me. Now, that’s not saying that you should do the same thing at all! I admire anyone who can pull off the time investment and physical achievements required for derby. The only thing you have to decide is whether you are getting what you want from all the effort you are investing. Is it worth it? If so, that’s great – you have my full support to keep persevering. If not, consider your options – take some time off to heal, reflect, evaluate. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing investment; is there some way to participate that doesn’t require blood, sweat and tears, but that still gives you what you like about derby? Is there some way to give yourself permission to not have to do everything? Those are the questions I asked myself. I hope this helps – my heart goes out to you, because it’s not an easy part of the journey. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s the right decision for YOU! ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. Gritty….I do not like this, i do not like this at all. You are a valued teammate and you get stronger at every practice. How do i know this? I know this because I watch you like a hawk, you are missed when you are not here and you are on your way to getting scrimmage cleared.
    I was put on probation a few months ago, you saw my reaction…listened while I cried and talked with me when I was ready to walk. I learned something, during this time but it wasn’t until last week when a coach said to me “we have seen your attitude change”, that things started coming together in my mind. I had been down on myself…my skills…the thought that I would never bout and that I had no friends in the league. What did it do to me? It held me back. Over those few months I honed in on the skills…blocked out all the other skaters that I thought found me invisible and skated for myself. And wouldn’t you know…I overcame the inner struggles and found a friend in the process.

    You are not alone.
    You are a great skater.
    I am proud to call you a teammate and friend.

    – Head

    • Thank you so much, Head. I can really relate when you say that you were down on yourself and your skills; not knowing if you would bout, and if you had friends in the league. I have really valued our talks because you, out of everyone, have made me feel welcome and not alone. I need this to be fun for me again, and I’m not sure how to do that…how to block out all the other skaters and league politics and drama AND my own insecurities…it’s just so fucking hard!

      I’m not giving up right now. I need to figure out how to change things for me so that derby will be fun again. If you have any tips on how you figured things out, I sure could use them!

      Also, I am so proud of you for making the roster for Saturday! I’m really looking forward to seeing you skate and kick ass. YOU are MY mentor and valued friend! ❤

  3. Man, do I feel you on this. Introvert that I am, I SUUUUUUCK at small talk. I believe I can’t do it, which then makes me a self fulfilling prophesy. And I feel invisible all the time. Lots of times I like it, but others…. not so much. But this is about you. So…

    There are two ways to think about this. You could be in a lull right now. You’ve hit a plateau in your skills and may be there for a while until you get something like a second wind. Whether it’s a better place in the social structure, a new tip that really sinks in because you’re ready to hear it, a shift in the planet alignments that unblocks derby mojo… Clearly, it could be anything.

    Or you could walk away. My advice would be to try on this decision before making it. Walk around in it. Feel it. And see if it would make things better or worse for you.

    You have worked hard and put in lots of time and energy and effort. So I know this can’t be an easy decision. I’m of the wait and see disposition. Slow to change. My gut would tell me to wait this low point out and see where I end up. But ultimately it’s up to you. Good luck and hang in there!

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts, Ava! Yeah, the small-talk is a tough one for me, and I think that being an introvert in the derby community has its own challenges. Over the past couple of days I actually found a couple of great blog posts on introverts in derby and they were very helpful – I could relate to a lot of it!

      I can’t quit right now – I have invested too much to stop at this point. I will definitely need to change a few things (working on it!) but it would feel terrible to actually quit. Cutting back both helped and hurt – I have more time to spend on some of the other things in my life (taking classes to prepare for a new career for example), but it has made me feel even more disconnected from my league. The wheels roll both ways!

      So, while I’m sorting things out, I will definitely keep my fingers crossed for that shift in planetary alignment that unblocks the derby mojo. Although it will make typing a bit more difficult. Thanks again, Ava – I really appreciate your thoughts 🙂

        • I tend to look at both sides of the equation too…that’s what makes decisions so tough sometimes!!! Thanks for your support, Ava 😀

  4. I know how you feel! And you may not believe it but I used to be insanely shy. It was so bad, you and I might not be friends after the years working together. I’m a lot better about chatting, but the insecurity underneath can still be a major struggle day to day.

    Dragon boating has presented me with similar issues and you’ve heard me talk about team politics (really a return to high school drama). Ignore that crap! Back off involvement in management/volunteering and give yourself permission to just skate. Just skate because it’s fun!! Don’t worry about anything else (I’m seconding Head’s advice.) Yes, skills are important, but they mean nothing if it’s not fun and that’s why you’ve seen a personal decline. So take the pressure off yourself and JUST HAVE FUN!!

    The friends thing is harder. Why did you join in the first place? Was it for the social aspect as well as the physical? Not to mention kick-ass costuming which is a major draw for both our sports. In my experience, I’m better at one or two person interactions. When groups get larger I feel the same – invisible. Again, I suggest taking the pressure off yourself and have fun. Focus on talking with one person and not a whole group. (And if you’re like me, you are currently yelling at the screen about how you’ve already done that.) Well, don’t try to make friends, just be there and they will happen – little by little.

    Be there because it’s fun and you are improving. Socialize because it’s fun and you are getting to know people better, even a little. If someone truly snubs you clique-style, screw them! They do not need the benefit of your fabulousness.

    I know this doesn’t answer the question about whether or not to keep doing this, but think about all your time in derby – good, bad, moody, silly – and if it still makes you smile, then it’s probably still worth it to go. If there’s something else in your life that makes you smile more and you’re fighting derby for time, then maybe it is time to move on.

    • Thank you so much for your incredible advice, Nadia! I think we can really both relate to all this stuff, it sounds like. I’ve been mulling people’s advice over in my head for the past few days, but you really hit the nail on the head when you said that it really should be about having fun. You’re right! I really was making it not so much about the skating…I was putting pressure on myself to excel faster, make friends faster, letting derby politics and drama affect my skate-mosphere, blah blah blah. Derby has become about making attendance, volunteer hours, meetings, fundraising, managing the website, and the skating has been put on the back burner. I backed off on the league requirements a bit, but they still haunt me! I need to take a step back and focus on making it fun again. And you’re right – the friendships will happen, and actually, they *have* happened. There are several people in the league that I really like, but I just let my insecurities get the best of me so that I wonder if they really like me back (or I assume they have no idea who I even am, because I am invisible).

      As an introvert, like you said, I do much better in smaller groups of people – I am very uncomfortable in a large group and don’t really know what to do with myself. There are actually some great blog posts out there that I found within the last couple of days about introverts in derby – it’s a challenge, but it can be done! I’m not ready to quit yet because I haven’t gotten to where I want to be.

      Thanks again, Nadia, for your sage advice. Let’s get together sometime soon, yes? I hope that you are doing well with your students and your small human 🙂

      • Yes, the small human is well. He’s getting bigger so I assume I’m doing something right. 😉 lunch soon!! I miss you!

        I went through the same in dragon boat – does anyone even see me?! And it was especially difficult since I sit in the last bench. Yup, I’m a shorty! I got to try being caller – 20 pairs of eyes staring at me… NO THANK YOU!

        Then I just put my head down and paddled because being on the water is fun and hearing people laugh around me is fun. No need to try and insert myself (I’m really bad about that), just listen to the fun around me and all of a sudden I’m a part of it just by being there.

        Think Dory – just keep skating! Just keep skating, skating, skating! It’s fun!

        • I *will* keep skating and will try to keep the focus on just having fun. Not counting laps, not worrying what other people might think. It will take practice, but I hope that the effort will pay off 🙂

    • Lol, Shrimp! I’ve wanted to drop more than just a hairball on a few occasions. I’m not ready to give up quite yet…if it’s one thing that you do in derby, you get up again when you get knocked down. I’m pulling myself up by my skatestraps and am gearing up for trying to make derby fun again! 🐱

  5. Being on the fence is hard. Take an inventory of pros and cons and write them down, if you haven’t already. Consider them, but lightly. Then forget about them for a few days and wait. (You’ve done the work so leave it alone.) Then see what your heart wants. This isn’t a mind thing. The answer will rise up and kick your ass – maybe more subtly than one of your derby mates could – but you’ll know what you want. Then do it. Don’t waste time with regrets or justifications, no matter what choice you make because there is no right choice. There’s only what you want. You only need to know that.

    • Thanks, Mom! I’m not ready to give up just yet – I would have regrets about doing that. I really do love skating, but as someone above said, it needs to be fun again. I let myself get in the way of that, so I need to take a step back and just have fun. I will have to change a few things in how I accomplish this, of course, but I don’t think I’ve explored all of my options yet. I will keep you posted, of course! 🐱

  6. Last time I tried roller skating I was about 30 years old. I fell down a lot and hit pretty hard a few times. I think I almost injured myself physically, but the worst part was when cute teenage girls came over to help me up. I felt like an old man. My wife wasn’t particularly happy about those cute girls either.

    A Faraway View

    • Ha ha ha! Thanks for putting a smile on my face, Lee! The first few weeks of derby practice were rough – I hadn’t been on skates since I was a pre-teen, and I got some fantastic bruises on my bum and hips from falling backwards and on my sides (I’m pretty good at falling forwards now, and all of my protective gear is made for that). We have skaters of all different levels in our league but one thing remains the same: we all had to start from the same point of not knowing how to skate. You should try it again some time (but wear wrist-guards, at least)!!! 😀

  7. Pingback: I survived my First Roller Derby Scrimmage! | Fuzzy Undertones

  8. I heard that it’s normal to sometimes go backwards in the middle of going forward, so I wouldn’t give up. Keep on improving your skill and you’ll eventually find your spot.

    And thanks for having nominated my blog. Much appreciated 😀

    • You are very welcome! I love your blog, and seeing all those cats, of course! I’m still working on the roller derby thing and hope to improve, but I’m concentrating on trying to make it fun again. That’s the point, right? 🙂

  9. Pingback: I Needed an Attitude Adjustment so I got a NEW BIKE!!! | Fuzzy Undertones

  10. I’ve been with my league for just over 2 years now. I barely passed my 27 in 5 when I passed skills after my first 7 months. If we do it in practice right now, there’s a good chance I’ll skate 26. I don’t know what to tell you but I’m in the same boat in so many ways. I feel like when I passed my skills it was just barely and some of the ladies judging me were being very very nice. It’s tough. I love derby — I fit in well here. If you’re antisocial, it’s cool because you don’t have to talk — you just do all the fun skating stuff. BUT it doesn’t seem to be getting better for me — in fact it’s just a constant battle to stay. I can’t see my life without derby but I’m so so so sick of being the worst skater/hitter/blocker on the team, and my jamming? HA! That’s a JOKE. Freshmeat usually get through the pack before I do. I don’t know what to tell you but your blog helped me. It’s so good to see someone else who is struggling. I see girls start my league who struggle like me and then they quit. Every. Time. I think, “maybe she’s just being honest with herself and I’m not.” I will say however that I’m getting better. Sloooooowly getting better.My progress in 2 years is probably about the same as most girls progress on my team in about 6 months, but progress is progress, right? I’ll keep on chugging along. If anything I have muscle in places that muscle never hardly existed. Please post your feelings on things — it helps to see them. Most derby blogs are all about how ‘YOU’RE GOING TO BE AMAZING IN NO TIME!!’ and ‘STOP BEING NEGATIVE!!’ but sometimes hearing that someone else is struggling too is what a girl needs to hear.

    • Ooooh – I hear you, sister! I see a lot in your comment that I totally relate to. It’s interesting though – it sounds like you’re struggling, but you do mention a lot that you have accomplished, and that’s a good thing! Like you, I acknowledge the progress that I’ve made in the 1.5ish years that I’ve been doing derby – when I started, I could barely just skate around the track without falling down. And jamming? Even though I don’t have the speed, I thought I could get through the pack. At the last practice I went to, however, I couldn’t even get through the pack initially, and the jam went for the full two minutes as the opposing jammer lapped and lapped and lapped me. Talk about humiliating! It happens, though, right?

      I agree that there are a lot of derby blogs out that that just say “DON’T QUIT, YOU CAN DO IT, YOU ARE AWESOME!!!” and it’s been difficult to find people who are in the same boat. But in talking with my derby peeps, I know I am not the only one who feels the way I do…and that is really comforting. The last practice I went to, I ended up crying and feeling so defeated.

      I decided that I needed to take a leave of absence. I want derby in my life and don’t want to let go of it. But I was becoming my own worst enemy and biggest critic, which was making skating not fun. And the first thing derby needs to be for me is FUN. I’m hoping that a three month leave of absence will help me set the reset button…a little time away from being so critical of myself so that I can really miss it. I’m biking to work now and am hoping to increase my endurance and strength in my legs so that I can keep those crossovers going on my 27 in 5 when I return.

      I hope that you are able to find something to get you through this rough patch; whether it’s just knowing that you’re not alone in your struggles, or finding someone who relates to what you’re going through that you can talk to, or maybe even taking a little time a way. i hope that you are still having fun. And I would like to hear how you are doing in the future! Thank you so much for reading my post and letting me know that you can relate – that helps me immensely. Take care and derby on ❤ 😉

      • Hey Marci! I ended up quitting my team. The idea of quitting used to make me want to cry, but I knew it was time when my best friend said “Good God why are you still there?!?! Just quit!!!” and I said “can I really do that?” I realized that there was an end to all that negativity — the thought of quitting made me so happy. That’s when I knew. I’ve been out for 3 months now and I go up and down. Sometimes I really miss the team, but then I’ve also realized that many of the girls that I thought were my loving family have written me off as a traitor by the simple act of leaving. I find that I really don’t have anything at all in common with most of them. 2 or 3 are still good friends and will be for life. I miss the exercise; when I go to my rink to just skate, it’s like my body is saying “FINALLY!! LET’S GO FAAAST!!!” I still catch myself practicing those skills that I never fully mastered (derby or no derby — I WILL learn them). I also realize I’ll never have to be the weakest on on the team. I’ll never have to stress over skills testing, making laps, making a roster, getting played, dealing with the team assholes’ attitudes, paying a fortune to replace used up gear, paying dues or travel costs for away games, watching a fresh meat fly past me…. the list goes on. I catch myself wishing more girls would quit so I’d have more people to relate with. I have so many happy wonderful memories that I’m quite proud of. Regardless of what kind of skater I was on my team, in the rink surrounded by the general public, I’m an amazing skater; I never thought I could even skate so that’s amazing to me. I have lots of amazing photos that make me smile. I also have injuries and lumps that probably will never fully heal. All in all, it was a fun ride, but I’m quite content with getting off that train and moving on to my next adventure. Good luck in all you do, and keep blogging.

        • Hi Derbygirl2014 – Thank you so much for your comment, and I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond! It sounds like you really made the right choice for yourself, and have a healthy perspective on life after derby. You did something that challenged you, accomplished a lot of things that you never thought you’d do, have some great memories, and let go of a lot of stress and negativity (either from self-talk, or elsewhere). I can relate to all of that! Like you, after I quit I never reconnected with many people in my league who professed to be one big happy family; and that is sad – I know I could do more to sustain those friendships, but I kind of see that part of my life as in the past now. I’m jealous of you because it sounds like you are still skating (AWESOME!!!) and I haven’t put my skates on once since I left – I want to, but something always stops me, and I haven’t figured it out. I think I’m afraid of feeling all the sad feels again, you know? As you put it, it was a fun ride, but I’ve also gotten off that train and have moved on to the next thing. Thank you again for sharing your experience with me – it’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one who has had this experience. Keep moving forward, whether you’re on skates or not! Best, marci 🙂

  11. Wow, I’ve literally just gone through this myself, but I’ve formally left the league. The in house bitching and fights were just too much for me. Too many overbearing personalities clashing and treating it like it was school. Then came the politics, then came to public bullying of some of my teammates which I didn’t agree with.
    I had been battling with the idea of quitting for over 6 months. It’s been a painful process and the cons did outweigh the pro’s. I held on for so long down to guilt. I felt I was letting them all down. When I quit an instant weight lifted from my shoulders and for the first time in nearly a year I felt happy and content. I had no reason to feel guilty as it’s my life ultimately n I should look to what makes me happy. Now it’s in no way me leaving the sport, just a badly put together group of people. Lucky enough to have links with other leagues who are more than happy to welcome me with open arms and allow me to give it my all without the drama.
    Hope u figured out what to do. Either way there’s always a silver lining to every cloud

    • Hi Forward Rolling –

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on my derby blues post; I can relate to all of what you said. I actually decided to take a 3-month leave-of-absence, which ends Oct. 1. After about a week into my LOA, I, like you, felt a tremendous weight lifted. It was just WAY too much stress. I haven’t talked to any of the league about formally leaving yet, but that’s what’s going to happen. I have too much going on in my life right now to let that stress back in – it stopped being fun a long time ago for many of the reasons that you mentioned (and that stress, I think, really was reflected in the anxiety I felt in my own progress and skating, which held me back, doubling my frustration). There are many different skating groups in my area; at this point, I’m not sure how involved I will be in derby because I don’t think I have the time right now (full time job, school, starting my own business, volunteering for two organizations…). I’m glad I did it, but I think I’m over it at this point!

      I’m glad you have contacts with other leagues and can stay connected; it’s a lot of fun when you get the right mix of people together. I will miss playing, but I can strap on my skates any time I want and visit the rink without the drama! 😀

  12. Hi, I don’t really have anything to add besides being able to relate 100%. I actually transferred leagues due to similar feelings as you and others stated above, and I knew it was the right decision because, like you said, it felt like a weight had been lifted. The new league was better at first, but 6 months in and I’m facing similar issues as before. I’m sorry you ended up quitting, but I completely understand and wonder if I need to just accept that my personality– introverted, shy AND HSP (FUN combination to deal with in our society!)– is just not right for this sport. It makes me really sad to think about leaving because I love derby so much, but I don’t know how much longer I can deal with the anxiety, stress and depression mostly due to high school catty behavior (especially social exclusion–WTF, I thought we were all adults!). I’m glad you were able to come to a decision that was right for you and it sounds like you’re better off for it. Thank you for sharing your experience; it really does help to know I’m not the only one dealing with this.

    • Hi SK – sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your comment – I truly appreciate you sharing your thoughts. It seems like there are so many people the the same boat, which makes me think that something just fundamentally needs to change. I don’t know if it’s a culture within derby, of if that’s just the way women are when a diverse group of us get together. But you are not alone! Derby is a fantastic sport, and it’s so sad that we have to doubt ourselves in the face of something that’s already a challenge on a physical level. But it’s NOT YOU. Yes, you have control of how people affect you, but people can be catty and bitchy and hurtful, and that’s not ok. It’s up to you whether or not you want to value those who demonstrate those behaviors. I realized that I was looking for EVERYONE’s approval, even the approval of people whose behavior was hurtful or just stupid. Why? Wanting to be accepted is natural, but you don’t have to accept everyone. I hope that you’ve been able to sort through the people you’ve met in your new league and found some good friends, and let the other stuff go. And if not, that’s ok – just do what’s best for you! For me, it wasn’t worth the stress. Let me know what you decide to do – I’m on your side no matter which way you choose to go. 😀

  13. Ok, this is a year ago…what happend did you quit Derby? I am skating for 3 years now…my frst Team got destroyed by Derby-Drama. I joined another leauge, I past my MST and started bouting after a while. I didnt get better, since these girls didnt teach me much, they didnt want to. they wanted to be the awesome skaters. So I played, but didnt really know what I was doing. So now after 2 years skating i did changed leauges again because my former team treated my poorly. So, my new leauge everybody was so nice and loving…I got rostered for the B Team and reserve for the A Team. I was happy motivieded. than I didnt pass my WFTA MST , missing one lap out of the 27 and a quater of my backward laps. So, I dont get rostered for A team bouts, wich is only fair, but its so deppresing :(. . I have the 2 Jobs and 3 times a week Derby practice , plus I live far away and drive 1 hour there and 1 hours back! So, I cant intend all the social Events. Now I have to see a docotr about my legs…have cramps and they stiff up. I can play for the B Team but there are not so many bouts. I feel like a failier!!! – Big Time-maybe I just suck at Derby, I dont know :(. So, do I quit or keep fighting? I am already 34. Sometmes I have the feeling people dont like me. Im very extroverted person, but always nice and respectfull. So I dont know what do do 😦

    Sorry for my English , I am German so excuse me-.

    • Hi Depressed Derby Girl – oh, your story sounds very familiar! I did end up quitting to pursue my own business. As you know, derby takes quite a time commitment, and I just couldn’t do my full-time job plus finish my certification program and start my own business without giving something up. All of the drama was too much, and I was getting very frustrated with my skill level – I felt like a failure, too. It just stopped being fun for me, which is why I joined – I wanted to have some fun! Are you having fun? Why did you join derby? Are you getting what you’d hope to from derby?

      Take a look at some of the other comments on this post. You’re not alone! Whether you decide to continue or move on, that’s your decision, and only you can make it. Whatever you decide to do, you have my support! Keep me posted and let me know what you decide to do. ❤

  14. I’ve come back to this blog a few times, hoping to learn an update. I’m happy for you, committing to quit and moving on with your life and enjoying it. I tried to quit once, after about a year, and stayed away for about a year. Got sucked back in spring 2015. Just recently gave a half-hearted attempt at quitting and was convinced to stay. It’s been four years now since I first tried out with roller derby. I’ve never passed minimum skills, never bouted. My coach thinks I’m SO CLOSE this time to passing. (My 27 laps time is now under 5 mins, yay.) So I’m hanging in there, by a very thin thread. But I tend to scour the internet for stories similar to mine, desperate for inspiration.

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