Skater of the Month: Officials Edition
Ref FurryFeatured Referee
Q. When and how did you become involved with roller derby and the Chicago Outfit? A. I joined in the pre-season of 2011. One of the NSOs for the Outfit, Anachronism, suggested it as an activity that I might enjoy.I had free time and enjoyed working out and meeting new people so I decided to give it a try, and haven’t left.
It wasn’t until over a year later that I found out the real reason why she suggested joining the Outfit. The real reason was that she was sick of coming over for game night with my roommates and listening only to tech jargon. Truth be told, we talk about more than computers and code over at my apartment now. We now have 3 people: 2 Refs and an NSO.
Q. What is the biggest challenge of being an official for roller derby? A. Being sure of myself was the hardest thing for me. With a lot of nuance in the rules and lots of action in the sport, it is hard to make the call when you are still getting used to it. You have to look at so much action that it makes it imperative to train yourself to learn to focus and refocus quickly so you can see what is actually happening. For a while, every time that I felt confident making a call, someone else (The Shoveler *cough cough*) would beat me to it. It was very intimidating and it took a long time to get over it.
Q. How do you think the rule change will affect the game / strategy? A. I think the game will be more fan-friendly when penalties are more obvious; with them all being major or nothing. You won’t get the confused, delayed 4th penalties any more, or other oddities that were a remnant of the minors in derby. As far as strategy, it’s hard to say. I imagine that you will see harder hits and more aggressive play with players not having to worry about picking up minors.
Q. What is your most embarrassing moment as an official? A. During the warm-up of my first bout, I was skating around the outside getting used to the Masonite flooring that we use. The Outfit was warming up on the inside and doing light hitting and falling drills. When I came out of turn four, Heleanor Throosevelt fell in front of me and fell large. I couldn’t stop fast enough or get around her safely so I just jumped sideways to avoid hitting her. I took out all 6 chairs in the penalty box in a glorious crash, as my back acted as a wrecking ball upon them.
Q. Best moment as an official? A. I don’t know if I really have a ‘best moment’ as an official. Anything that I do well is just what I’m supposed to do and have been trained to do by my league. If anything, my best moment is not a singular point in time, but the overall experience. Derby has become a sanctuary, of sorts, for me. It helps build my confidence in myself and has helped me with dealing with all sorts of people. It helps relax me and gives me something to look forward to every week. I’ve also met some really awesome people that I’m proud to associate with.