Friday, July 10

Retiring Skaters

I apologize: I am a bad blogger. You've wanted to hear gossip, and I haven't told you anything.

I blame OCD Boy (that is, me—and no, that's not my derby name), who wants to know everything exactly and get everything just right before I post it. But if I knew the whole deal, it really wouldn't be gossip, would it?

So here are a few things:

First, the GnR head out of town to go camping this weekend. I imagine this to be something like a cross between Deadwood, South Dakota in the HBO series, the nocturnal activities of Abigail Williams and friends, and Col. Kurtz's compound in Apocalypse Now.

They've kept the location a secret, though we can assume that's it not so remote that they can't easily haul in cases and cases of PBR, boxes of cheap wine, jugs of tequila, and whatever else they need for a few days in the woods. I just hope that one of them has thought to mail their location to a loved one, so in case they haven't all turned up back at work by sometime in the middle of next week, we can send Martin Sheen up the river after them.

Second, with the end of the 2009 season, several long-time GnRs have announced their retirements: Grace Lightning, Itzo EZ, Paradise Kitty, RollaReina, and Aurora Brutalis.

It's always hard to see the rollergirls we love return to the non-derby (i.e. "real") world, but they give so much of themselves to their sport that we do realize that they can only keep it up for so long.

Besides practicing at least three days each week, they volunteer for the charities that RCR supports, promote the sport, sell tickets for bouts, and do pretty much all of the work setting up and clearing out the hangar and the Expo Center before and after they skate their bouts. And they pay dues for the privilege of doing it all.

I know we'd love to see them all keep skating forever, but we've also got to understand and support them when they decide that they need to give their attention back to the non-derby slice of their lives: their families, their (paying) careers, their physical therapy, you know, all those things that the rest of us give *all* of our attention to all the time. For a few years, rollergirls give themselves to derby and to us derby fans, and we can't be too grudging about giving them back to their families, their children, their husbands, their wives, their boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, and friends. And it only seems fair that they get their rollergirl back with her body more-or-less intact and functioning almost as well as when they willingly gave her up.

Grace, Kitty, and EZ are all founding GnRs and Rose City Rollers, so they've put in more than four seasons. Grace has struggled with injuries for a while now; she's had surgery on her shoulder at least once already, and it may still need further surgery later on.

After injuring her ACL, EZ was officially removed from the roster earlier in the season, so GnR could draft Guts & Bolts and Sugar & Vice. She's still in physical therapy and has decided that she won't be skating next season either.

While Paradise Kitty still has two fully functioning knees, she's going back to school this fall and doesn't have time for both classes and derby.

RollaReina started the second season with GnR (and was co-captain with Wrench for the third), and Aurora Brutalis was drafted at the end of that same season. While both are still healthy (and still want to kick ass), their lives have gotten extra full over the last few years. To make room for the house she now owns with her partner and for nursing school, which starts this fall, Reina's decided that she simply doesn't have the time to commit to school and derby.

Brutes has already had to pay extra dues because she doesn't have time for derby commitments beyond "just" practices and bouts. Starting her clinic rotations now, she's felt that she's had to choose her patients over derby, which is no good for derby but probably very good for her patients.

I've spent hours already looking back at the pictures from the first two seasons and couldn't choose pics of the retiring skaters to include, so I'll see if they've got any favorites when they come out of the woods. Until then, you should look back through those older photo sets yourselves. Steve Price has an almost complete run here, and there are links at the Rose City Rollers site.

Now I'm all sad, and I'll have to decide whether I need to listen to Bonnie Tyler or Novemeber Rain.

Oh well, I can always listen to both. A few times.


  1. Fuck. I didn't know some of those folks were retiring. I notice that E-Z isn't coming back
    'next season'. Does this mean it's possible that seasons after next are possible?

    And Axl Blows, Wrench, GMT, and November Pain's names are conspicuously absent from this list. I think that makes me terribly happy. Terribly.

  2. The way I understand it, is that when a retired skater decides to come back to the league, the team she was on has first right of refusal; that is, her old team can choose to take her back, and only after they've decided not to can one of the other teams pick her up.

    I assume lots of other things complicate that: another stint as Fresh Meat, open spots on the team's roster, draft dates, and so on.

    Not to get anyone down, but there are also a handful of skaters who are waiting until closer to the start of the next season to decide if they'll be returning or not. (And the WFTDA schedule and the RCR season are independent of each other.)

    Again, the sense I get is that as a season comes to an end, skaters across the league start to feel like they can't take another season because of injuries or time constraints or whatever. But after the season's ended and they get a bit of a break, lots of those skaters miss derby too much and decide that they've got "one more" season in them.

    I imagine that there are more than a few skaters who've been skating their last season for a few seasons now.... :)

  3. We're back from the woods. Tired, but everyone made it out alive.

  4. @Mrs. Cher: Did it get all "Lord of the Flies" out there? :)