Do I stay or do I go?

It’s that time of year again! The derby “break” is over, and practice is getting ready to fire back up this Sunday. Therefore, time has run out for me! I need to make a damn decision already! Do I put myself through this “one more time”? Or do I hang my skates up for good?
Derby has been like a drug for me. The highs, the lows… the mind boggling expense! I’ve lost friends because of derby, but I’ve also gained a big circle of co-dependent addicts to bond with over our blistered toes, ruined knees, and horrid pad rot. I keep waffling back and forth. In reality, it makes sense to quit. I really can’t afford to keep playing! Wheels alone are absolutely breaking my bank account. I need a good mouth guard this year, so says my dentist. Uniforms, tights, socks, pads… it’s all adding up! Since I can’t afford an MRI I still have no idea what is wrong with my knees, or how long my shoulder is going to last without coming out of socket again! I can’t kneel on a padded surface, like my bed or a couch, without pain in my knees. That is not normal people!
There’s no “reward” for playing this sport. We don’t get paid nor are we even locally famous. I’ve never received an award for being a good player. I’ve been here since the beginning. We skated on a slightly sloped parking lot of a church, where luckily the pastor was too politely shocked to tell us to quit! I was there when we were hoping for at least 500 people at the first bout, and ended up with THOUSANDS of screaming fans. Giving up now seems like it would be the hardest thing ever.
On the other hand, getting a month off where I am actually able to have a normal life… it’s liberating! Let me tell break down my schedule during derby season:

Monday: up at 4am. Get to the shop, work until 4pm. Run errands, home at 5pm. Change, help take care of the animals, get out the door and to the practice space around sixish. Warm up, practice until 9pm. Cool down, out the door at 9:10, home by 9:45. Shower, fix dinner, eat and unwind, in bed by 11:00pm.
Tuesday: up at 4am. (= 5 hours of sleep IF I’m lucky enough to fall asleep right away, which I’m usually not) Work until 8:00 p.m. Home by 9pm, make dinner, unwind, in bed by 10 or 10:30 pm.
Wed: repeat Mondays schedule.
Thursday: up at 4am. Work until 4pm. Home, clean, make dinner, watch a movie or tv with friends. Dill gets beer for half price growler night. Usually after all is said and done, in bed by midnight.
Friday: Similar to Tuesday, except we have live music, and usually don’t get out of the shop until 9 or 10. Usually in bed by midnight or 1am.
Saturday: up at 5:30, open the shop by 7:30, work until 12:00pm or 1:00pm. If we don’t do anything social, we’re in bed by a decent time. But usually, we want to hang out with friends and actually do something fun, so we get to bed kind of late.
Sunday: up at 5:30, head to shop. If it’s a morning practice day, I work until 9am, then leave Dill with two other employees. I always feel HORRIBLE when I do this, as from 10:00am until 11:00am, we have a huge rush. In one hour on Sunday, we do a typical Monday business. It’s insanity! If it’s an evening practice, I work until 2pm, when we close on Sunday, then go home, change, work around the house till 4pm, then head to practice. Practice ends at 7pm. Home, shower, make and eat dinner, unwind in bed by 10ish.

Kind of hectic right? Toss in some events every month that are mandatory, bouts, extra workouts… it gets a little crazy! Now take away the derby. Instead of getting off work at 4pm and filling the rest of the night with derby, the husband and I work out, mow the lawn, make an awesome from scratch dinner, play some wii or read a book and watch tv, get some knitting in… it’s pretty damn nice actually!

On the other hand, this upcoming season is going to be so exciting! We’re finally going to be moving to a larger venue, the Pepsi Collesium. Do I want to have worked for all these years, and miss out on that? I’ve been considering other options as well, playing for the Belles, becoming a ref, etc. I’m excited about taking my new bod on the track this season as well. Unlike last season, I didn’t sit around during the break, gain wait, and lose all my muscle. This year I trained hard every freaking night, I’ve lost 15lbs, and I know I’ve gained more muscle. My triceps, back, and shoulders are telling me so. (I love you wii active!)

In all probable reality, I’ll strap my skates on again this year. Like a drug, it’ll eventually break me down, ruin my body, and I’ll end up broke. But the mere thought of giving up the high of skating sends cold shivers down my spine. Until they invent a derby rehab, I’m likely to ignore common sense. (and as a side note, can anyone else imagine a derby episode of “Intervention”)?