For two years now, I am fully addicted to the lovely sport called roller derby. The image of the sport is a tough, hard sport that takes over your life. And it is true. But there most certainly is a life outside the sport. At first, everything is about your new sport. You will meet awesome people, will get stronger and fitter every training, and you will start to talk about few other things than your new found love. The trick is to keep in mind that there are people who were there for you before the first time you put on your gear and started skating. Sure, they will support you in your new found love, but maybe they will get a little bit sick and tired in the end when all you can talk about is wheels and bearings, and don’t be shocked if someone gets annoyed when you choose drinking with your league over calling her for a night of cocktails.
How deeply in love I fell with this amazing sport, sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming; dedicating all my free hours in training, building our league, scrimmaging, NSO’ing and all the other stuff. Obviously, you can talk your ‘old’ friends into trying derby too, so you can combine the best of both worlds. Personally I think it is nice to hang out with people who can talk about other things once in a while as well. It is nice to have people around for a non-derby evening of fun. People I know from what feels like another life, who pulled me through hard times, who I used to party with and spend holidays with. Derby, like no other sport I ever practiced, has an effect on your social life and sometimes it is hard to find the balance in being there for your league, and living your non-derby life.
My friends at first supported me in my new sport, they asked questions, and were interested. They still are. Nobody really complained. They came to watch me scrimmage, and off course they met some of my new friends. That part was okay. But I found myself putting more and more effort in the sport and the people that go with it, and having little other interests. Where did the days go when I could sit down, read a book, and do nothing? All my ‘free’hours had become derby hours.
Roller Derby is a do it yourself sport. Something I love about it. However, I tend to get sucked into things a lot; there were weeks I did nothing else but work, train and volunteer. The trick is to say ‘no’ sometimes. Not all the time, it is important to stay involved in your league, and it is really really awesome to build and invest in this journey. But hey, it is okay to say ‘sorry, I can’t, I have other stuff to do’ once in a while. Call a non-derby friend, drink some tea, watch a movie, have drinks.
Like I said, none of my friends ever complained, but the point came that I realized I haven’t socially met a non-derby person for weeks. It was eye-opening. I love my friends. All of them. No matter if they play derby or not. And I love spending time with them. All of them.
It is like having a new boyfriend (or girlfriend); you will fall in love head over heels, and at first you actually want to put all your time in your new relationship. But the day will come when you realize you kind of abandoned the people who were there for you in your past, and you miss them. Like everything in life, it is about finding the right balance. You will make awesome new friends, but make sure you don’t forget the old ones!