February 7, 2013

I'll Be Seeing You in all the Old Familiar Places

How do I love thee, roller derby? Let me count the ways. I get to be a part of an international community and network of THOUSANDS of incredible people from all walks of life. I am continually inspired by the people around me. There are supa fun boutfits involved and after-parties galore! I use my talents, carefully honed by years of experience both professionally and academically, for something I am crazy passionate about. I receive the benefits of wonderful, challenging workouts with loads of variety designed to make me better, stronger, and faster several times a week. I get to be a friend, a mentor, a peer, a teammate, and a STAR to people who are sometimes total strangers to me. My confidence is stronger, my body leaner, my energy more focused and those are just the first few things that spring to mind when talkin' derby. But, there are things that are awkward on their best days and we tend not to talk about them. Things like when one of those amazing people that I mentioned chooses to move on. That is... well, sucky.

In my head, I know their reasons and I understand them; whether it is because of retirement, moving to a more competitive league, or just plain change of environment. So why is it so hard for my heart to accept that this isn't about me? That their choices are not a reflection of mine? That though I would love to stay with those people forever, they don't want to stay with me? I hate seeing people leave. It's hard to watch someone you've trained with, shared sweat with, and been mentored by decide that the choice they helped you make is no longer their choice.

I love these skaters. They helped shape my opinions, they "raised me" and contributed to the culture of my league. Without them, FoCo Girls Gone Derby would look and feel different. I like to think that it is different for the better because of them. I KNOW that I am better because of them. I can remember talking to one of my dear derby sisters, then still a comrade in arms, who told me that if she didn't give me her whole ass (literally and figuratively) that she would be cheating me out of getting better and that I should be proud that no one was "taking it easy" on me. This was a lesson that didn't ring true in my selfish, sad little heart at the time but now, as I begin to talk the talk and walk the walk of a veteran, these words of wisdom find resonance within me.

Seriously though.
Don't you forget about me.
I like to think that I am not saying good-bye to these women because wherever they are and whomever they roll with, we will always be derby sisters. I hope that I see them both on and off the track (and SOON) but I know that it will be different. I am prepared for this reality. But it still hurts my little derby heart just a little that they won't look at me on the line and say "It's you and me, OK? Stick with me." And that is a big 'ole suckfest. There is a line and I am on the FoCo side but they're not anymore. That is the cold, hard truth of the matter. My hope is that we can skate down this line together, that they can be one their  side and I will be on mine and we will share mutual respect for the fact that currently, THIS league is the one for me, and some other league is the one for them.

At one time in my life before derby, I was talking to a very dear friend about why people seem to come and go. She gave me some sage advise that I will share with all of you here. She told me that you can't begrudge the person who isn't there with the same regularity they were before and that you do need to celebrate and be glad for the time that you had with them. Meaning, some friends are there for a specific time in your life but instead of being sad and missing them you should be glad that they were there at all. So cheers to the past, present, and future of FoCo Girls Gone Derby!

Derby Love,
Mollytov Maguire

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