I’ve been thinking a lot about priorities and my life as I come further and further out of the derby fog.
I was talking to a fellow retired derby girl recently and comparing Derby to a drug addiction. One of the things she pointed out is that when you are IN derby, it seems perfectly natural to be totally devoted to it and put up with all the things that go along with it, just so you get to be “in”… and how it’s like your dealer that makes you suffer through various indignities that you would NEVER put up with if you were in your right mind.
I think that’s entirely correct.
Because I did let the thing take over my life. I let it be more important than friends and family… the phrase “we can’t, there’s a game” was a common theme.
And for what? Yes – there were some very good things about Derby that I enjoyed… but I let it take over… and I didn’t even notice that it was wrong… because everyone else in derby does the same thing. And if people who are not directly involve complain, well then.. “they aren’t being supportive of you”…
Now – I DO think that I gained a lot from playing derby… increased self confidence, a sense that, yes, I can do things if I put my mind to them, fitness, some new friends that will stick around, many new “derby friends” that fade away almost immediately when you are no longer “in”.
I have to say I enjoyed it. But in retrospect… what did I give up? and… to continue the theme… I assume that if I was on heroin, I would be “enjoying” that too… does that make it good for me?
I put derby ahead of so many things. My poor Sweet Boy put up with quite a lot for me to have this thing in my (our) lives. Why?
It seemed completely normal to be like that – after all, everyone else was doing it.
But looking back on it, I see a lot of things people (this is not just me) that, frankly, are just plain BAD…
I have seen marriages and relationships end (mine did not… but that’s more a testament to the extreme patience of the sweet boy and his willingness to walk through fire for me*).
I have seen people break their bodies and then keep going and breaking them more… all in the name of getting to plan. (I know one girl who is RIGHT NOW playing with a broken bone in her foot and will not tell the coaches so she doesn’t get benched.)
I have seen children ignored and left with sitters endlessly so their mothers can get their derby time in.
I have seen otherwise sane people spend hours and hours of their lives practicing and promoting and working and doing what the people in charge tell them to – just for the chance to get on a roster and play.
I have seen people (and done this) train themselves to exhaustion to get a little bit better – to make that spot on the team.
I have personally given up hours and hours of my life (and dragged the SB along for the ride) to support this thing that, really, just takes and takes all you have to give and then when you can’t give any more, calls you a quitter and gets mad at you for leaving.
So… yeah… I guess I owe a few apologies to the world.
To the Sweet Boy – I owe the biggest one… which I have given… but I still have some making up to do.
So back to the idea of priorities… what comes first in life?
1 – My Sweet Boy
2 – My own health and wellbeing (and sanity – but that, as we all know is a major work in progress)
3 – My sister’s kids (who are like my own in my heart – except I get to give them back when they are annoying).
4 – My immediate family
5 – My friends and extended family
6 – The rest of the world if I have time for them – if not, sorry, I need to stop making commitments that interfere with the top 5. (or top 2, more importantly).
And what needs to be NOT IMPORTANT?
1 – What other people think of me and my choices (see exception #1 in the list above)
2 – Being “cool”
3 – Being anything that anyone else “expects” me to be (or do) if it interferes with the list above.
I think that about covers it.
*not that he did not have a lot of fun with it too sometimes… just that he got more “bad with the good” than I did, I think… it wasn’t TORTURE.