When Your Heroes Retire 

Retirement. In my opinion, one of the ugliest words of the roller derby vocabulary. Hearing it makes my heart shatter in little pieces, knowing your favorite players won’t be playing anymore. Retirement marks the end of an era, the final word to the chapter of your favorite book. Retirement feels like the last mile of a beautiful ride, or a sunset. I also like to compare it to eating the last bite of a really delicious chocolate cake. No matter how retirement makes me feel, I have to accept that retirement is unfortunately part of roller derby, and cannot be ignored. No one lasts forever.

When world renowned skaters hang up their skates after years of shaping the sport into what it is today, I am sad because I loved to watch them on WFTDA.tv. Thank God the footage is here to remind me of their incredible athleticism. I was fortunate enough to meet Bonnie and OMG while they worked at the Five Stride skate shop in Brooklyn. I stood near legends. The most humble human beings too.

When league mates retire, I am sad because I am not going to see them at practice anymore. The level of intimacy is obviously different. I remember being just a freshie and feeling so heartbroken when some of my favorite skaters decided to retire. I looked up to them like they were goddesses, and they were goddesses. They had everything I wanted and then some. I continued my journey from freshie to rookie, and another wonderful skater retired. I looked up to her too. And then a couple days ago, it happened again.

The more I grow within the league, the closer I get to veteran teammates. They inspire me to keep pushing. They share words of advice with me. They provide so much love and support. They are the big sisters I never had. They are larger than life women who push me to get better. When I did not know what I was doing, they told me to just keep skating. They had faith in me before I had faith in myself.

I hate the word “retirement”. I hate to think I am not going to see these amazing women as often anymore. I hate the fact that this is my last piece of chocolate cake, because I was not finished with the cake! I also know everyone has a life. These women gave their all for years. They reached the top and became legends in my starlit newbie eyes. They paved the way and made room for the next skater, the next legend.

Despite the sadness, I am forever grateful and blessed to have shared the track with these heroes. Always know that your love fueled my fire. As much as I made you smile because I reminded you of you when you were just a newbie too, your words of encouragement made me fight harder. So yes I hate to see you go, but I wish you the best of luck and even more success in your next adventure.

You forever remain my inspiration, and I cherish deeply the memories we made.

❤ Keeks

retirement

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Follow me on Instagram @kikindateef

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