France yo!

Left work on Friday and ran to meet Ed at the train station like Charlie (the Chocolate Factory one) when he got his Golden Ticket… because we were flying out to freaking Paris for the weekend.

Got there Friday night, had all of Saturday to laze in the sun with him and Laura (Syntaxe Error) and drink beer at the Eiffel Tower. Met up with the other officials on the evening and found out one of our OPRs has gone AWOL and no one has heard from him in ages… so we replaced him with a 16-year-old. Yes. SIXTEEN.

Sunday was bout day. Double header. headline game was Team France v Team Netherlands. It was also 25 degrees. We woke up early and walked an hour in the sun with our kit to get to the venue. They wanted us there at 10am. It didn’t start til 1pm. HAGGARD.

The venue was odd. You walked through the door and directly into the sports hall. It had a strange feel of being a swimming pool. I can’t even explain why. Something to do with the wooden fascias and the blue paint work. I had a nap on the bench while we waited to start. The Kid (16-year-old Capucine) turned up. We were worried. Wat Ze said she was good. We trusted him.

She put her skates on and DAMN. She was cracking. Awesome footwork, great positioning, little timid on calls at first but really fell into it quickly. Total pleasure to skate with. She did get the piss ripped out of her for having a dire case of resting-bitch-face, but at 16 years old… if that’s the only problem we could spot with her reffing national-level leagues… I think we’re ok. (Keep an eye out for her, she is going to be fantastic. Her skate and ref name is Cass’Burn).

Monday we spent being lazy tourists, hung out with Uchka and spent the day on the open top tourist buses learning about the city and its history (lots of battles, lots of victories, hieroglyphics and fountains). Then headed home ready for bed and work in the morning. The come down will be RUBBISH. Considering I hadn’t been to France in my entire life, twice in a few months seems a little excessive. But I love it.

Ref training part deux

Road trip time!

Me and Ratty boarded the fun bus* and headed over to sunny** Leicester to train the Dolly Rocket Rollers’ ref crew. We sang loudly all the way there***.

We trained four people: Anton, King, Skew and Drew. In the most orange sports hall I’ve ever been in. Oh and I got to see Boxall. We started off on skates for this one. For three hours we went through some drills on communication, positioning, footwork. Did the skate skills test and some other fun stuff. Then went to the pub to talk about penalties, ref cert and the intricacies of refereeing. I could really get used doing this. Totally loved hanging out with refs again. Particularly loved seeing Skew doing her thing – she’s got a great ref voice on her and you can see the determination in her eyes. I have high hopes.

*my car
**overcast
***not even joking

20140617-115308-42788028.jpg

QOTSB tournament co-head ref? Aye gan on.

Watched some roller derby today for the first time in ages. By that I mean I went to a bout, paid to get in, sat in the audience and didn’t bring my kit with me. 

It was in Liverpool, somewhere I was convinced I’d never been before… Turns out I have. And I’ve been to that sports hall. I realised this when I walked into the changing room.

Met up with Cherry to talk about the fact we’ve been asked to co-THR a tournament in Wales for Queens of the Sin Bin. *excited*

It’s a one day co-ed tournament, but means I’ll get some first-hand experience of doing the application process, running an event at that kind of level and also being responsible for things again. Haven’t done this in derby since I was the bout liaison and Vice at NRG. I always liked the challenge of making sure everything was sorted. Ticking off things in my head as I went along and dealing with problems on the day. I like fixing things. It works for me.

Our conversation went a bit like this “Have we got this sorted?” “No, do you want to do that?” “Yes”. “I don’t know where to start with this, can you do it?” “Yeah no problem”. It’s nice how well we work together. Came away with a list of jobs and a bit more of a *DAMN this is really happening* feeling.

Got chance to catch up with Duncan Disorderly too. We call him Dad. He knows ALL THE THINGS. Gave him a lift back to Birmingham and pecked his head about rules. For like two hours. And it wasn’t boring for even a second. I am not the person I used to be.

Ref training take one

Yesterday was the first of mine, Ratty and Ed’s ref training camps. Ed couldn’t make it because of work so we replaced him with Cherry who kindly drove so me and Ratty could do last minute tying up of our training plan.

We had been told the refs were mainly of a bouting standard so prepared a training schedule based on that. Two hours in a classroom, two hours on track. One hour lunchbreak in between.

During the ice breaker session we asked how long people had been reffing… 99% of the room said they were totally new and hadn’t reffed yet. Shit. Back to the drawing board with the training plan.

Thankfully I’ve not been reffing too long to have forgotten what it’s like to start. I remember being more scared of looking like an idiot than anything else. I went into my first bout aiming to JUST SKATE and NOT FALL OVER. It didn’t occur to me that I could or should call penalties. I hoped I would see some, but I didn’t go in thinking IMMA OFFICIATE THIS GAME TO WITHIN AN INCH OF IT’S LIFE. It was more. PLEASE DEAR LORD LET ME SURVIVE THIS. And a bit of PLEASE DON’T GRIN AT ALL YOUR MATES.

So we asked about fears. The fear of skaters having a go at you. The fear of calling things too soon. The fear of there being so much happening it’s like a big cartoon dust cloud of arms and skates and people holding their faces and shouting at you because they chose to participate in a full contact sport and you didn’t see EVERYTHING THAT JUST HAPPENED GOD DAMN IT.

Yeah. Been there. Not too long ago either. I don’t know if our reassurances that things get better really sunk in, but hopefully they all took something from the training that will help them in their time as officials of rollerderby. I’ll be excited to see them ref soon. Really lovely bunch.

First training camp DONE.

20140609-114018-42018548.jpg

SKOD

This weekend saw the Skate Odyssey 2014 taking place in Gent, Belgium. I applied, was accepted, and skated on a crew with Riff Reff, Watze, Cherry Fury, Rollin Rat, Dirty Harry, Hoarse Whistler and Crew Head Ref Shref. BOOM. How sexual is that crew right there?

20140605-105155-39115841.jpg

Drove over with Faze and Erin and played the truly inspired game of “Guess which penalties you don’t know” which has a theme song and everything. It’s the perfect way to make your friends hate you on a roadtrip.

I felt on the ball for most of the tournament, but there were moments when my idea of the OPR rotation was different to my fellow OPRs and we caught up to eachother… I just hate it when that happens.

This was my first tournament whilst trying to stick to a vegan diet. MIND BLOWN. Usually I would have protein snacks as well as veg and fruit, but without meat and dairy I’m struggling to balance the lower amount of calories with my active lifestyle. I’ve been compensating with bread and that’s making me have massive sugar crashes. So I got together the day before with Faze and made: Chia seed endurance crackers (boring on their own… might have been better with dip), crispy kale, salt and vinegar chickpeas (these stink your house out when you’re cooking them), pasta with a garlic, onion and tomato sauce with capers and olives (froze this so it travelled well and stayed cool in a cool box), and for the journey, a huge thing of middle eastern salad with a homemade dressing. Then we brought nuts, fruit, muesli and choc alpro milk. Crazy snacks. I bloody loved it. Then the venue sold vegan chilli. ERMAGERD. It was ace. 

I got chance to catch up with Shref, he tried to kill me in his car. And hung out with Nomi from MMR who was basically brought there against her will by M Dawg/Newton/Matthew and spent the weekend reading a book.

Reffed:

Rainy City Roller Girls Nidaros Roller Derby
Oslo Roller Derby Copenhagen Roller Derby
Nidaros Roller Derby London Rockin’ Rollers
Paris Rollergirls Kallio Rolling Rainbow
Kallio Rolling Rainbow Leeds Roller Dolls
Paris Rollergirls Nidaros Roller Derby

So… I got to give my favourite penalty of blocking a downed skater, found it weirdly liberating that the ref crew spoke to eachother and smiled during the games and got some compliments from folk when they were drunk as hell at the after party.

Oh and I had a mad dance-off with Twist. That man has the MOVES.