We all know Roller Derby isn’t just turning up and playing games. There are few leagues that have the luxury of not being team ran and sometimes this can create a massive burden on the team. Luckily, our league has a lot of people that are willing to put in the extra work that keep us going. These roles come in all different areas; sitting on the committee in one of the various officer roles, coaching main league, coaching skate academy, working with British Champs behind the scenes to arrange schedules, or helping out at games and events and much more.
I’ve been with WRD for nearly 4 ½ years now and up until this year I had picked up many roles in the league, social and fundraising officer, chairperson, Skate Academy coach, and trackzilla pro, but there reached a point this year when I had to put my hands up and say I can’t do this anymore. It took me a long time to build up the courage to do this as constantly in the back of my mind was the overwhelming guilt of letting the team down or not pulling my weight.
I started a new job which sent my stress levels through the roof then on top of that I decided that it would be a good time to not only do that but also buy a house and plan a wedding all at the same time.
In order to cope with all that, I had planned to stop coaching Skate Academy at the start of the year but kept finding reasons to keep going; other coaches stepping down, loving seeing individuals progressing and always wanting to wait until the next one passed and joined us at main league and so I just kept going. Alongside this I was still chairperson on the committee which had its own stresses. Though I don’t take much of the credit for the work done in my stint, as the Secretary definitely bared the burden of most of that, as she is a superstar.
Then came the turning point. I kept plodding along until March this year, when on top of being incredibly stressed in my non derby life, my Granddad passed away. He was 91 and had a great life, but for me this was the first experience of grief so I found it incredibly tough.
The weekend he passed away there was a difficult committee issue to deal with (I don’t doubt all leagues have similar stresses to deal with) and I found myself spending the weekend stressing about that rather than focussing on what really mattered at the time and focussing on dealing with the grief. In particular I remember driving back from visiting family spending the whole 2 hour drive on my phone talking Derby when I should have just been taking a breather from an incredibly emotional day.
This was the point I decided that I needed to take a step back from the extra roles in the league and focus on getting my stress levels back down as I would have been no good to anyone if I kept going and burnt out.
I still had incredible guilt stepping down but I need not have worried as my teammates stepped up and jumped in to fill the roles that I was leaving behind without complaint, proving that everyone is willing to step up and do their part.
So to summarise its okay to say I need a break, every league needs willing bodies to help keep things ticking over but your personal health and wellbeing comes first. There will be another eager body to pick up the slack and share the burden. On the flip side support your league as much as you can as without those bodies working away behind the scenes none of us would be able to play the sport we love.
Now bring on playoffs!!!! Oooooooarrrrrrrrrweeeeee!?