Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Life is Different on the Outside

When I was young we moved around a lot, not because I'm a military brat, but because my father's job was somewhat political. An election would take place, a new mayor was elected, and before I knew it I'd be coming home from school to a dining room full of packed boxes and my mother swearing nothing was up. I hated moving as a child. Just as soon as I'd made friends and earned the right to no longer be the kid that everyone picked on, we were off, and I'd be back to square one, starting from scratch. Maybe that's why I'm restless. Maybe change is my "normal".

Since I've retired from derby I've enjoyed a lot of alone time. Be it me and my garden or me and the treadmill, I haven't really gone out and been around too many people I don't already know. I thought it was because I can tend toward being a bit of a hermit, but now I'm beginning to think my subconscious knew all along what I seem to just now be figuring out: life's different outside derby, and I don't really like it.

Tonight's kickball game was fun, I guess. I hesitate to pass judgement, because I don't want the people I know who are involved to take it personally or think it has anything to do with the thing they're passionate about - it doesn't. I'm tickled pink that I was invited to take part, but what I saw once I got there was a whole lot of different. The environment was generally inviting, but I'm also a fairly outgoing person who doesn't give a flying fuck what you think of me. I did see teammates who weren't as lucky - no one introducing themselves to them, no one talking to them during the game. It's that same old outsider mentality that large groups of people who know each other tend to fall into - you talk to who you know, and you don't even make an effort to talk to or welcome anyone else.

I knew a fair number of people on the team - friends from college, ex-coworkers, and long-time acquaintances - people with whom I thought I was on a level playing field, and this is what aggravated me the most about tonight... I played 2nd base, yet every time the play was on second an outfielder or the shortstop took over my position - a dude - because apparently my lack of external genitalia instantly says "I'm incompetent, and I need you to do my job for me." Really? Is that really what you think of all women you don't know? This is fucking REC LEAGUE. I paid my $50 for the 6 weeks, so how bout you get up off my ass and let me get my money's worth you assuming cock suckers?! Even if I did suck (which I don't), and even if I didn't know strategy (which I do), you owe it to me as a paying member of this team to PLAY, good or bad. And don't insult my intelligence by telling me strategy that's dead wrong, cause I'm gonna correct you (which I did). JUST BECAUSE I'M A WOMAN DOESN'T MEAN I'M HERE TO FUCK AROUND. Assume I'm here for the same reason you are, and fucking stop treating women like that in general. For real - not cool!

Derby really did spoil me in a lot of different ways, and one of the main reasons I loved doing it was because I knew I was part of a larger movement toward what I still believe is the greater good. First and foremost, in derby men respect women. Yeah, it's cause we own the sport and made it what it is today, but the guys involved in derby really seem to get it. I don't need them to do jack shit for me, and they appreciate me for who I am. Fuck, they care enough to find out who you are before passing judgement, and they NEVER assume you're weak - EVER. I'm shocked, appalled, and quite frankly disgusted by men who by default treat women like they are weak, and I'm, even more shocked, appalled, and disgusted that this is the norm on the outside. My idea of having fun is not you doing something for me. People learn - they become better people - by doing, by trying. No one grows as a person by having something done for them. I'd love it if people's instant reaction was to at least see what someone else is made of before assuming control of the situation. I like to work hard, and I like to hustle, and so do many other people. Don't take that away from us.

Second, for as much bitching as I've heard about any derby league or team being disorganized or not doing all they could be doing, let me assure you that we've got our shit down compare to other adult sports leagues. For Christ's sake, no one ever even bothered to tell me where our fucking kickball games were being held. Yeah, I know we've got a game tonight, but WHERE?! I had to ask, and even then I got answers based on assumptions - like I'd know where some nameless fucking ice rink was located. I don't know the physical layout of every park in Baltimore City, sheesh! And next time you get ready to argue a call with a ref, consider this: we had one ump per game, and he ejected a captain just for addressing him. Derby, you've got it good, and I don't think you know just how good you got it. I didn't. I assumed the world out there was just like the world in here (derby), but man was I wrong.

I've been thinking about a return to home-season derby, but return or not I still have absolutely no good answer for how to deal with the outside-derby world. I can only hope, regardless of my participation, that derby will continue to serve as a good influence on the rest of society. My natural inclination is to run back to derby and again be part of a world I understand and respect, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm inevitably going to have to face the outside world - if not now, in the future.

Lately I feel like I've been running through a maze hitting nothing but dead ends, and I'm not even sure now why I entered the maze in the first place. At least before I knew where the fuck I was. Now I'm lost and I'm not even so sure I want the prize at the end of the maze if I could find it. Still, I think it's for the best if I chill out here for at least a little while longer to make sure I know what I'm doing and gain some perspective.

Unlike my moves as a kid, I'm in control of where I go now. Not every move's gonna be right, but lucky for me I can decide to move back if I so choose. Life's about many things, but a large portion of life is about happiness, and I'm inevitably going to go where I'm most happy and do what makes me most happy. And I don't mind the hustle or working for it either. In fact, I quite like it.