Some of you might know that I have been missing for quite some time. Others might say, not long enough. Then again you might not care, or are even groan “crap! I’m not rid of him.” Well I am now head ref of the newest league in the Southwest side of the Greater Houston area, Yellow Rose Derby Girls.
Personally, I think a league is a reflection of coaches, refs, NSOs, volunteers and admin staff. Coaches of course grind and grill the fresh meat, train up the skaters, and carve out the hearts of refs who miss calls (in their minds or post bouts). Refs ensure the safely of the skaters and understanding of the rules. NSOs are in charge of quickly and accurately recording stats during a bout and often double duty as volunteers in laying down the track, triple checking roster lineups and skaters present, merch, guest swag packets/bags, and a list of stuff that deserves its own blog post. Admins who have to deal with contracts, skater info, league politics and behind-the-scenes thankless tasks too numerable to mention and mostly don’t wish the headache of even knowing about them.
It’s truly an honor to be asked to be head ref and be responsible for the safety of the skaters and the professional representation of the league as a whole.
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 I carpool with Rose the Ribhitter to this mashup and catch up on how we’ve been these past few weeks we haven’t hung out. So I tell her about how at RollerCon I got yelled at by a skater, FifiNailya. Because “you’re friend Rosie the Ribhitter took my name” um yeah, like 6 years ago. Shes from Sweetwater TX and skates for Abilene. Her name is from the WASP mascot named fifinella. Which coincidentally WASP, Women’s Air Service Pilots, were based outta sweetwater Texas. Their mascot was fifinella, a gremlin that was Disney character.
So we finish our meal at La Gloria, get to the Rollercade and join in on the open skate session to get used to the skate floor once more. Skaters from across Texas trickle in and gear up. Skaters From Houston, Austin, Dallas and of Course San Antone
The refs kind of debated as to how to call out penalties. Ya see the bout was Rainbows v Goths, goths of course were in all black, however rainbow skaters wore red or blue or yellow shirts. So should we call, COLOR 22 penalty, RAINBOW 22 penalty or (color of shirt) 22 penalty? Ultimately we agreed on actual color of shirt. The first game was the B teams which was penalty heavy and funny to ref or watch (if you know the rules). Skaters would hear their # & a penalty and skate off track. Not realizing that it was a minor penalty. Pur job as a ref isnt to coach but to ensure the safety of skaters and enforcement of the rules. So when a skater heard their number they’d just go off track to go to the penalty box. Even though we didn’t blow the whistle or call out MAJOR!
Overall it was a fun double header to ref, great refs & NSOs to work with & skaters
so, Hard G & I thought we were running late due to unexpected traffic & rain.
originally set to jam time this bout, but derby isnt very militaristic, so people drop out on a whim or for personal reasons. This is why I always bring my ref gear, theres always a chance I can guest ref even if I’m just showing up as a fan.
in any case I ended up working the penalty box with Hard G as sin bin manager. Acadiana has some experience with slick polished concrete though it was Gulf Coasts home court.
I was surprised to see Mini-Me, but I had a few secs to chat w/ her and found out that shes getting some more experience so she can try out for Houston Roller Derby. Speaking of, heard that a skater is gonna be moving to lake charles at the end of the season and possibly training GCRG, that’ll be an ibteresting to watch next season.
as always afterparty with skaters refs n coaches get together talk derby, strategy & life.
so this bout I was planning on spectating. Had been out of town for nearly a month and not been in touch w/ my original home team, Northside Fury. Nor had I heard from Rocket City’s head ref as to what ref/NSO spots they may or may not need to fill.
But I showed up early anyway just to TS & catch up with skaters n officials. Sadly I only knew/recognized 3 Northside skaters (I need to visit them more often). Once hellos were outta the way I ended up on the NSO list for the penalty box, working with PB Queen Courtney Hate, not to b confused with PBJ ref/skater/trainer extraordinaire. Hard G took to teaching various NSO tasks prior to the bout and official wise it ran pretty smoothly.
Something else that’s noteworthy, at least from what I know, this was SK8-B8’s first bout as head ref. Which I’d say was ran pretty smoothly, aside from the nearly 3 min official timeout just before the end of the game. RCRG’s ref crew has come a long way from their early days in stripes.
The Rocket City roster was nearly full of Seasoned skaters. Either had played with RCRG for more than 3 bouts, or had played with other leagues. There were only about 4 skaters I hadn’t seen in a bout before.
Northside Furies, thats the plural of Fury as opposed to something else, had red waves o’pain, bashin brownie, ragin’ rican, bexter, flash, hello kidney & cyber bully. The rest of their roster (forgive me if I forgot anyone) were fresh meat. Northside genuinely surprised me, as the underdog I had pictured a bar being set and they exceeded it. With some finese practice and training I think they can get their new group of skaters up to the same level their league was at just a few short months ago.
All leagues have a little something I like about them so I can never say with certainty “THIS league is my favorite” but northside’s determination and dedication have a special place in my heart.
So now I’m in line at TSA for my flight to Mexico n just have to touch up on final thoughts on RollerCon. I didn’t take a class or watch a full bout or go to all the parties, I perused a few of the vendors but I still had a blast! How? If I didn’t do all the fun cool stuff? Well for one I was an official both on and off skates and got some kudos from other officials two fans a few skaters, one of them from team USA and they remembered me from another time we met.
AND I volunteered in a few departments got some swag and got to meet n get to know skaters n officials from leagues all over the world, Hi Susy Pow! All this plus peeking my head into some of the parties, chilling at the pool and walking the strip all makes for an ensured trip to Vegas next jul -31 aug 4. Did I mention? If you volunteer you can get a discount on the NEXT years ticket price up to getting a free pass!!!
Well time for a random selection pat down see y’all in week or so
So if you weren’t aware Texas Rollergirls, TXRG, hosted a tournament this past weekend in Austin. Gotham (NYC), Windy (Chicago-duh) and B.A.D. (San Francisco) played, as well as a scrimmage between TXRG’s B-Team and Centex (Killeen, TX) All Stars. I had submitted my name to ref assuming that not all leagues could bring their refs AND a lot of leagues within 5 hrs drive of Austin would be having a bout on one of the days the tournament was being held. I never considered the fact that tourneys that draw big leagues in also draw top certified refs outta the woodwork. Luckily I was still allowed to NSO, yes I said “allowed” I’m a Derby official, not just a ref. I learned a lot just from observing Sugar Daddy, Professor Murder, Curtis E. Lay, Judge Knot, and a host of other officials. Some of whom did duty as NSO as well.
I’m still blown away at the level of officials I rubbed elbows with and they aren’t as intimidating as I imagined they would, and not at all stuck up. As a matter of fact they were quite encouraging and mentory… That’s not a word but I can’t think of what I’m looking for. If I made a mistake they were quick to offer, “next time do this…” and those lessons will stick with me longer than “why the HELL did you …”
I was scheduled to ref the Centex vs TXRG Firing Squad and I got pulled into reffing the Sunday morning scrimmage I was originally set to NSO. Centex fought hard and took a few lead changes from TXRG, but in the end Firing Squad shot off some winning jams toward the end.
The Sunday scrimmage was simply an endurance skate. Every jam 10 skaters rotated in from a line about 50 deep on each side of the black n white teams, with a few skaters switching shirts sometime into the scrimmage. All for an hour and a half with 3 or 4 official time outs for jammer refs to switch bandanas, OPR to switch with IPR, a score check, and penalty board check.
One final note, I had the sexiest unofficial officials shirt that made Suzy HotRod snicker when she took a pic with me. Now back to RollerCon 2012
Now for those of you who weren’t there, there was a women’s mashup. Black vs white, it wasnt a race thing, now I’m not gonna talk much about it, not cuz it wasn’t good but b/c my mind was blown with the merby bout.
For starters the hits were vicious, like hockey checks with less padding. Now the bout was mismatched. I think the SA Syndicate have been together for lil over two months? I might be wrong but first I heard about it was around end of May & I wanna say that they were THINKING of starting a mens league. In any case it goes to show what a lil dedication can do. Granted the score showed a stomping. But the Syndicate managed to squeeze in a few good hits and lead jammer status. SAS had good derby basics/foundation but Dallas Inception showed what advanced derby skills can do.
One thing i noticed, after the fact, A syndicate skater would hit a Inception skater out. Syndicate would kinda beam “I did that”, & immediately get knocked out by an Inception skater. Biggest factor, pack awareness, Inception favor.
The two bouts were split up by halves, womens then mens first half, halftime then womens & mens second half. Having to ref/skate both bouts on the outside, I was sucking wind the last few mins. Merby pack moves fast, plus being underheight & in my 30s doesnt help.
The mashup included some newer skaters that didnt have a full grasp of the rules, getting double dinged on penalties for improperly returning to the track.
All in all it was great end to a weekend of derby and I get to do even more officiating at star of Texas this coming weekend
Amazing game, the score might not reflect it however, Charmed Forces played their hearts out. Sadly the polished concrete took nearly every ounce of their effort. Spindletop came out on top by a lil over 200 points. The biggest issue, aside from the slick concrete, was the injuries SARD had, MarmaJuke had a knee issue a few mins into the first half and sat out the rest of the bout. Beyona Rampage got her bell rung a few mins later but came back after the half.. I think. Punky Jukester broke her finger just before the half.
As for spindletop Photo Finish doubled over and touched the right side of her hip with her left ear… Think about it. It looked painful and I pray she majes a speedy recovery.
To my knowledge the injuries that the skaters got werent serious, in that no ambulance carted them off. It was fast paced and one of those bouts you realize its over before you realize it.
I must say this ref crew worked like a well oiled machine, though skaters & coaches might not agree. Frog-Her & Cell Warrior have come quite a long way in a short time, all thanks to Fairlane. He’s like a Mr. Miyagi of Zebra teaching. Major Hawkeye is very humble unlike the perception of a cocky ref, a story was related to me after the afterparty that cemented the idea that Hawkeye’s a ref who’ll work your you need him, unlike prima donnas who’ll only work wherethey want. They all worked the inside with Cell Warrior & Hawkeye jam reffin. Krez Sez, PBJ & myself were on the outside. We kept eyes on front & back about 95% of the bout. I cant think of a better group, not that there arent other good refs, just that this group can find a groove and work like an oiled machine by jam 3.
I did have a SNAFU with not calling a poodle timely but otherwise we oficiated a great game.
I was originally set to announce with Texsin or is it Tex Sin? This bout the San Antonio’s Charmed Forces were playing against Rocket City @ home. I was looking forward to doing so.
I’ll keep this one short since I recently moved and it’s my birthday week.
Sadly one of SARD’s refs couldn’t make it so I got tapped to put on my stripes. In part because of Tex Sin’s comedic background I think the banter I between plays wouldve been enjoyable for the crowd. Also because this was a neck & neck bout for most of both periods. Lead score changing every other jam and a few times the lead was held for about 5 jams and back again. One of those few bouts that are well matched and keeps you on the edge of your seat, vs the runaway blowouts that get boring after 50 points are well in the lead.
The game ended with a helluva jam with Rocket City beating out San Antonio 125 to 124. Talk about a heartbreaker
The officiating was fair, and most definitely impartial with 4 non league affiliated refs helping out. Though the captains and alternate may argue a call or twenty, the officials as a whole, myself included need some tightening up. But in the end it was a great game the fans got to enjoy.
Once I’m settled in I’ll be back to my usual lengthy posts