Bye bye bout

On Saturday I nearly lost my voice. Part-way through calling a penalty my voice broke like a teenage boy – making Petti laugh out loud.

I’ve not had that before. 

It was a bout where as HR I had to shout a LOT. It was a B team game with lots of no pack, failure to reform, out of play, failure to return, pack destruction and out of play blocks. It was quite frankly, batshit crazy. It’s rare that I sweat at all, particularly on the inside of the track, but I did then… a lot.

It was a weird one for me. The final bout in the June 2013 ruleset. The final BOUT before I switch to calling it a game. I didn’t gel all that well with the crew which has only happened a handful of times in my officiating career, but I did feel like I led them well – I gave feedback and reassurance where it was needed and got some good feedback too.

Must remember to do positions in practice more in the run-up to a bout though, got feedback off Fu (who was in the audience) about my pack definition being slightly off.

Second bout I moved to the outside and watched Fu stack it a few times because his toe stop kept falling off. That made me laugh.

 

Why we need to stand up to bullies

My dad bought a copy of Lead Jammer because I was on the front of it. I asked him what he thought of the magazine and he said “It’s just shit. It’s all about how bloody great roller derby is.” It’s fair to say he’s not target audience (he used to come watch me skate because he fancied my team mates) but I think he might have a point.

We tend to hide the negative stuff that happens in derby. It’s because we love it. And I get that. You never introduce your new partner to your friends with “This is X, they snore and once told me I looked fat in my favourite dress so I have never worn it since”. But it’s got to the point where we need to be more honest and stop covering up the bad stuff that happens below the surface.

I’ve noticed a lot of vocalisation lately of the plight of officials and the bullying they receive – and it’s something I hadn’t actually experienced until recently. Thankfully it’s taken me to this point to experience it as a ref (congrats to everyone I have dealt with so far in life for being a pleasant human being). But it’s happened nevertheless.

My problem, aside from the frankly disgusting behaviour I witnessed towards an official and myself, was that it was almost assumed it could be swept under the carpet and ignored because it’s “what refs put up with”.

Trust me when I say this. WE DO NOT HAVE TO PUT UP WITH BULLIES.

I’m in the middle of dealing with this one situation so I can’t post too much about it. But if you spot someone in your league abusing another skater/official/anyone at all CALL THEM ON IT. Don’t think it’s fine to have someone shout “That ref is shit!” because it’s NOT.

I remember being at the first men’s euros and hearing my team mates boo. I told them if they continued they were out of the league for breaking the code of conduct. They stopped. They apologised. They didn’t do it again.

If you don’t like a skater, don’t TELL THEM YOU WANT TO KILL THEM. Because that is deplorable. And it’s real-life illegal.

If your partner used to date someone, if you used to date someone and they have a new partner, if you wanted to date someone but they don’t want to date you… whatever red-mist inducing situation you’ve found yourself in… act civil and bear in mind you carry the reputation of your entire league on your head when you lash out. If you punch or spit on someone, you’re a let down to yourself, your league and roller derby.

Before you try and tell me that as an official I should just put up with being treated with disrespect and disdain, ask yourself if you would think it was alright if it happened at work, or in ASDA, or at your place of worship. No? Right, well don’t expect me to put up with it on bout day. Oh, and don’t ever try and do it to a friend of mine. Ever. They’re all too bloody wonderful to ever deserve that.

To everyone who has experienced this utter bullshit, I send my love. Please share your advice on how you have dealt with things like this – it would be nice to hear some stories with happy endings.

Also check out: http://derbyfrontier.com/2014/02/23/get-on-your-toe-stops-and-stand-up-to-bullying/

2.2.2

In the changing room after the World Cup we toasted the death of my favourite rule – 2.2.2.

It would have been happy with the way we saw it off. With shots of vodka, ahoy brause and a few tears (I was emotional shut up).

After avoiding looking at the new rules for fear of them overwriting the old ones in my head and leading to massive BRAIN FART situations at the WC, I have finally given in and printed them off. This is my new bible.

The old rules are dead. Long live the new rules.

Making history

Ok so I think if I try to blog about the whole of the World Cup it will take up a lot of space. So I’m just going to highlight the important bits for me.

1) I was picked for it. I have asked around and I’m pretty confident that I was the newest ref on the entire officiating team. There was well over 100 applicants for positions and I got one.
2) I jammer refereed one bout. At the GOD DAMN WORLD CUP.
3) I skated with refs from Gotham and felt completely at ease with it. There were no egos and I felt like I brought my A Game.
4) I made Sven, Stiff and Metal Ed proud.
5) I watched my old team mates and derby husband kick ass from the best seat in the house – and after keeping my impartial face on all weekend I finally let it all out in the changing room afterward and cried.

In the game between Scotland and USA I called a penalty in front of the Scotland fans. The entire game had been hard to ref because the fans were so loud. The moment I blew my whistle they all silenced. I gave my call (correctly thank fuck) and sent the blocker off. The Scotland fans erupted with cheers behind me – it was crackers – just amazing to referee that high a level of gameplay where all the calls are scrutinised and streamed online for people to watch over and over again. Over 1,000 people were at the venue and 5,000 fans watched online. Once I’m over the post-bout-blues I’ll be watching my reffing back and seeing where I can improve.

I got lots of compliments on my skating and my hair. I fell in love with team Japan (who didn’t?) I saw a marriage proposal take place a few feet in front of me (which made Stiff cry) and I got to make history by being part of the first ever men’s roller derby World Cup.

It was a wonderful experience. I’m so fucking proud to have been a part of it.

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Cover girl innit

So this happened.

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Jason Ruffell took the picture, Lead Jammer asked for some pics from him, he neglected to photoshop cats in to it before sending (what kind of friend is he anyway). I didn’t know any of that was happening until the link to the pre-print sales was sent to me. Pretty cool huh? Ref edition apparently. Buy it and do all the reading.

Dad… Dad… DAD ARE WE THERE YET?

Today we had another ROAD TRIP OF AWESOME to Milton Keynes. In the beautiful sunshine. To a sports hall with no windows. Aw yeah!

Trav drove (in his new dad-mobile) with me, Metal Ed and Rocky. Sitting in the back me and Ed wound Trav up the whole time to prepare him for his baby coming. I’m genuinely surprised that I didn’t get shouted at. He’s gonna be an awesome dad.

The bout was a double header – first up was the Milton Keynes womens’ intraleague and then second was Team Ireland v the Quads of War. I was OPR along with Robo Kop and Angel for the first bout and Huggy for the second.

First thing to throw me: They were wearing brownish-grey and sandy-cream but their team colours were grey and brown respectively. MINDF*CK.
Second thing to throw me: Sutton in the audience.

It was an odd one. Someone chucked a helmet cover at me (I don’t THINK they wanted me to take up pivot for the next jam… that was a total let down for them if they did) and someone skated into me and kicked my foot which made me want to do a power cry but I SOLDIERED ON because I’m SUCH A BLOODY MARTYR.

Then something happened – I got really annoyed with myself for the first time in a long while. The penalty box NSO held up a sign in the 30 seconds between jams saying a skater was needed to come to the box. That skater wasn’t on track. I saw they weren’t on track and my mind went blank as to what to do. I shouted Ed (he was HR) but the jam had started before I thought – hmmmm, am I meant to call this dead or not? And I didn’t. It’s weird because I know that’s exactly what I’m meant to do… and it just didn’t happen.

At the end of the jam I told Ed, the Delay of Game penalty was given and no one seemed too bothered – except me. I guess it’s indicative of learning new things. Well over a year in and I’m still having those moments of mind-blank. At least they’re far fewer than they were.

In good news, I’ve been back at the gym this week and I didn’t feel too pushed fitness wise at this bout, so hopefully the World Cup won’t be as much of a shock to my system as I worried. Oh and I changed the lacing and insoles in my skates (and made the plates zebra-print) and now they feel AMAZING.

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Excited about the weekend!