So I missed out on some derby this week because I was working. It’s kinda like a repeat of earlier this season when I couldn’t make bouts due to lack of transportation. Hopefully the megamillions ticket I bought will remedy that
So a few weeks of planning finally came to fruition. Came to San Antonio wednesday during the day, went to a few practices with Alamo City RG. I’ve been to a few of their bouts before and always appreciate their hospitality. This morning, Sunday February 19th they played against the South Texas Rolleristas at their home rink the Rollercade. We had 10 refs show up, Krez Sez, PBJ, Quicksilver, Chase Keester, Just Joe, El Matador, Karate Chappa, Ooo Cucuy, and myself El Gallo.
Cucuy lead the ref and NSO meeting, and during Quicksilver was invaluable as a shadow/mentor for the refs on the inside making calls. Unfortunately we couldn’t anyone shadow much on the outside. This game was a scrimmage against South Texas Rolleristas. It was a fine team lead by Fidel “Fido”. I, as well as the other refs were appreciative for their skaters accepting their penalties. As far as i could tell, they were upset more at themselves for committing a penalty than at the ref for calling them on it.
Most of us refs worked rotations between, Jam, Pack, Outside and off. Though I wouldn’t say I’m good at a particular ref position I am fond of Jam and Outside. So I have to work more at Pack ref. I didn’t pay too much attention to the scoreboard as this was one of the few bouts that I truly enjoyed being a part of. At nearly every bout, a few ACRG bouts included, I’ll look at the scoreboard and bemoan how much time is left. Mostly because my feet are killing me or I’m out of breathe. Yes skaters skate harder when they have to do back to back to backs. But refs have to have endurance to go a whole bout of back to backs. I think thats why I like Jam reffing, occasionally my Jammer gets sent to the box and I’ll get up to a minute break, more if she manages to get an insubordination call.
Ok, so from what I saw on the scoreboard, STR took an early lead and after the half ACRG Pistoleras closed the gap but came up short in the last jam. As always Germanator was gracious and made sure his skaters did their best while being sportswoman like. Fidel though his skaters would go through fits of being sent to the box one after another was as calm as a hindu cow. At least that was their exterior, if they were cussing us up a storm in their heads, well that’s all fine and legal as per WFTDA rules.
As Chop Stewie mentioned in the post bout ref meeting, “this was a reffing bout”. PBJ and Karate Chappa not both are more confident in themselves and want to work on the inside more often now. I know PBJ has the skating ability to be front pack and Chappa I think found her ‘voice’ in making calls. It’s always great to see skaters improve and make the game better for themselves, their teammates, and the crowd, But I must say I warms my cockles of my heart when refs make huge strides in their confidence and ability.
Also meeting up with skaters after the scrimmage to enjoy a good breakfast with both Pistoleras and Rolleristas and of course talk derby and rules with refs and skaters is always fun.
#awesomePainting #iphonefoto #iphonephotography #WhereTheWildThingsAre a #derby #sister #painting this on one of her walls (Taken with Instagram at The Dart Yard)
So the past few days have been double check this or that and the other to make sure I cover all that I need to prior to, during and after the bout. This being my first bout as Head Ref, I did as much homework as I could. Thank you zebrahuddle, dfw ref board, Fairlane and Krez for the experience to watch you guys this past year to have role models to emulate.
Still I fell short, by a mile. Prebout setup went off smoothly, many thanks to Cinnabomb. Other than a few snafus directly related to me everyone was ready to go by 7:05. For the bout we had 5 visiting refs, all professional and when it was necessary trusted on another on calls we might have missed. And boy did we miss plenty. In hindsight I should have had the master volume turned down. As calls, most importantly pack, no pack, pack is here were not heard even though I was projecting as loudly as my theater arts teacher taught me, from my diaphragm, and I was still barely audible to skaters 5’ in front of me.
My next biggest concern was the pacing of the bout. I think we only extended the bout by a total of 8 minutes, with official timeouts. A far cry from a nearly three hour bout, not including halftime, I was once a part of. We, NSOs, skaters and refs kept the bout going smoothly. And I must say I’m proud of that fact. Mostly because the complaints were for not seeing/making calls (as always) or where skaters who were penalized and sent to the box, still skating 2-3 laps before actually going to the box. In part from unable to hear what or whom was called out. Ideally everyone would go home happy with all calls made. But as far as I know from any ref from any sport that JUST doesn’t happen.
All in all we called what we saw, as loud as we could and kept the bout going as smoothly as we possibly could. I could go on, but long story short, I did the best of my ability as did the refs I worked with, there’s plenty of room for improvement. that’ll come with more experience
Well mid last week I got final word that Doc would need jam ref for his bout on the 28th. After some back and forth Steven was going to be Outside Pack, Geri was going to NSO and I was going to be Jam Ref. Now when traveling to officiate, skating or non, with other leagues I have no expectations other than a good time, though a frosty beverage at the after party or merch sometimes makes their way into my hands but thats just all gravy. So when Doc offered us a room to crash at his place I was thrilled. “Now we won’t have to leave the after party early to make it home to our own bed!” was my first thought.
However game day we get a message that the room was now spoken for a family member, but don’t worry we’ll help you get a room. I understood it as doing the legwork of finding a cheap nearby hotel and giving us the choice which would best fit our budget. A bit of miscommunication but long story short they got us a room! Holy cow, not that it’s unheard of, just it’s not something that happens with a young league. So we check in to the hotel drop off some stuff then grab some dinner before the bout. However someone forgot to bring their shorts to ref in… so we had to go to target so I could buy—er someone could buy a pair.
So we make it to the venue meet up with Doc and get the lowdown on how they operate. he’s quite meticulous, and covers all bases. Of course we only met cursory at a training camp earlier this month and are aware of each other ref skills, we have not worked together yet. It’s better to err on the side of caution, after all if something goes wrong finger inevitably point to the head ref-GULP.
Track is laid down, small snafu but we make it work. Everyone knows their assignments, which NSO they have to coordinate with and so forth. LETS DERBY! first few jams go off without a hitch. About 5th jam in, I look over my shoulder to check how many opposing skaters are in the pack, in case I missed a skater heading to the box. 1, 2/jammer, 3, pivot/4, 5, six. SIX? 6? 6?! wait how’s I turn to look at penalty box and my jammer is frantically calling off the jam. TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET!
WHOA! how’d that happen? I skate over to Doc quickly and let him know, too many on track and count the black skaters as they go off track, 1,2,3,4,5,6. He goes over and deals with it. 5 on 5 at beginning of jam, however black had one skater in box and none of us refs noticed. Hey we’re refs not perfect. It only happened one more time, the too many skaters. I missed calling off the jam by half a second one or two more times maybe three.
Now I must say, for Doc’s first bout as head ref he did quite well, MUCH better than what I would call the worst bout I have worked. I won’t mention when or where it was, few in the derby community who know me definitely know which bout i’m referring to. This was by far a much better run bout than that. I only had two criticisms which I shared with Doc, one of which the fault lies with us as refs, NSOs and skaters for not knowing or following the rules. The best thing is everyone had fun, no one got hurt and everyone is still friends at the end of the bout.
Once we were at the after party I made my way around and thanked a few people for having me and was thanked for coming down (even though it was coming up from Houston) and complimented the announcer and some skaters for their skill and one in particular for keeping her cool when she very much disagreed (with her eyes) on a Major penalty I called her for, twice. My usual shenanigans of going over calls, the bout and situations we’ve seen “what would you have called” etc with some frosty beverages til the bar staff started ushering us out the door. Now that we were outside, and Felonious Monkey was hip checking everyone with all the might she could muster. Which for Steven and myself amounted to being poked with boney hips, we were invited to the after after party held at one of the skaters house, but “I only have like 30 beers left”. That was enough for the who was invited, however John Wayne Stacy thought that it wasn’t.
Hilarity ensues, after we arrive because somehow, beer, cookies, a toaster and a skater manage to fall on the floor at different times within a one hour period. Fortunately I don’t drink very much so I was quite aware of everything that was going on, although I had no clue where I was (I don’t know the Dallas area at all) All in all it was a great way to end a day that started about 16 hours earlier with a road trip up north.
So Sunday Jan 22 in case you didn’t know was Rocket City Roller Girls’ first bout of the season. it was a mashup with their own skaters as well as some from Northside Fury Roller Derby. Krez Sez debuted as Bout Head ref, and i must say I didn’t notice a hitch. Note to self I kept meaning to congratulate him and I forgot, I’ll remedy that shortly. Sk8-B8 debuted as a ref on OPR and I think referential treatment debuted as a ref in Texas. Chongo Blanco (allegedly ‘Chango’ but til he spells it right I’m calling him white ponytail) Jammed reffed with me and I must say a big improvement from the last time I worked with him. His voice is clearer on making calls and he’s more sure of himself. Not cocky, I mean less nervous. Private Been Jammin has a really good eye and with her skater experience has parlayed it quite well into being a ref. occasionally second guessing herself and checking if a call she made was also seen by another ref, I think more as a self evaluating tool than a question of her ability. Locate-Her also has moved up a few rungs in calls and and eye for penalties. A bit of a showboat on skates and well I’m just hating (NOT just saying just hating)
So we’re at Skateworld of Deer Park that I’m quite sure is in Pasadena or maybe just BARELY inside of Deer Park. In any case we had our fans lined up around the parking lot just to get in… ok ok the skaters fans. From time to time RCRG and NRFD get together and scrimmage and quite often there are times I just get a headache from all the sloppiness. now for the non skater sloppy is unnecessary penalties from just not being focused. elbows, forearms, back blocks, low blocks, out of bounds blocks, in a quick succession that sometimes is just a chain reaction.
Now the Blue teams (Lunars) took an early lead from the Yellow team (Solars) and held it through halftime. i have seen serval of these skaters over the last 6 months or more. Some of which I was there at a practice their first night. Bashing Brownie #83 of NFRD, the poster child of ‘anyone can do this’ she’s not a superstar, yet. but this little nugget has the heart and drive like few other skaters. just a year ago she was a ‘wall-hugger’ meaning she’d be on skates hugging the wall and pushing off it to get momentum. she would go to open skate sessions to get down her turn around toestops (tomahawk stops in some places). SoxStar #8 of RCRG whom i recall her first night (as well as Sk8-B8’s) and she’s just the sweetest little thing on and off track. in practice I’ve seen her get clocked into a wall and she’ll hop up with a smile and race back to gain what ever track she lost. in a short time she’s picked up an astounding amount of ability. Red Waves of Pain #524 if I recalled started around late may or early June. She is a Beast on the track simply ferocious and if I had a heart I might feel sorry for her victims. But I live for the acute pain of others why else would I ref? Aside from being able to yell at girls. I could go on but I really don’t have the time to highlight all the skaters for their varied abilities that in the end make their team whole. Also I won’t call her out, so as to not be accused of preferential treatment, but she is quite capable and researches and studies teams for strengths and weaknesses like no other. If ESPN ever gets their act together she could be a commentator and wouldn’t need a stat sheet on any nationally ranked team or player.
Above all a thing to realize is that this is all volunteers. Refs, skaters and NSOs to this for the love of the game. Sure someone’ll buy another person a shirt a beer or a sticker, but everyone comes together for this sport on every level that it is played because it is simply an amazing thing to be a part of.
cheshiregrins asked: I NEED YOUR ADVICE! I want to start derby in Perth (Aus) and everything to start just seems so expensive! Is it hard? WHAT DO I DOOOOOOOOO? X
YES, THIS MAKES ME HAPPY! :D Sorry in advance for how long this is.
Roller derby IS an expensive hobbies. The gear is only one part of the...