Third bit of ref training, this time all three of us went along. Road trip to Cambridge, Ratty in the front so we could have a sing-a-long (Ed hated it).

Beautiful day for a drive, windows down, sunglasses on, then we got lost in the carpark and had to walk down steps that smelt so strongly of ammonia it nearly burnt my eyes.

The people who came along varied from one ref who had done WTFDA level games, to people who were brand new to the idea and just wanted to know a little more. I loved it. Talked about feelings and shit (TM Brie Larceny, off of Newcastle Roller Girls), had some really interesting questions, talked about impact and the penalty triangle, getting into reffing, support and why we wanna ref.

Ed and Ratty took the more seasoned refs, the LUM and bench folk and the skaters who were just wanting more of an understanding of what we do. 

Then we went to the fair in the break, came back, put on skates and did drills and then we all reffed the scrim.

It was strange because we had 15 refs so had two in each position and three in one – constantly rotating – which made for a VERY busy infield. I have never been knocked and jostled so much as a ref, it was BRILLIANT. We held a one-minute’s noise for Louisey Rider at the end of the day, whistles, cheers, skate-stamping and clapping for a solid minute. Felt really good to do it. RIP Louisey.

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Trip home was enhanced by seeing two chihuahuas, and having the fantastic fresh masterpiece by Jason Derulo belting out of the speaker whilst we sat in traffic with our windows down… wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, indeed.

Positioning, positioning, positioning

At last nights’ practice I spoke to Trav about getting some guidance on RIPR positioning and areas of focus. Literally said it just before a jam and he said “yeah sure”. That jam finished and he skated over and said “Right that was good, you told me the box was clear, but I’d start over here”. Within two minutes he already had feedback. Seriously I can never say it often enough but I really lucked out ending up at CCR.

Something I have always struggled with in the RIPR position is my actual positioning. Having to be behind a pack but say where the pack is and if there’s ten foot between the skaters trying to hold on to the opposing teams’ jammers and ALL THE THINGS that happen at the start is something I never really got. I always drift to the middle. I stand in the centre of the pack and end up having to look around a LOT. Feedback I’ve had has always been about that and how because of it I miss people OOP at the back.

I think because when I do that position (HRing smaller games) I don’t usually have a seasoned FIPR (no offence intended to anyone) I feel I can’t let the pack be looked after by them. Like that’s my BABY and what if they don’t catch it when I chuck it at them? But the advice from Duncan at the weekend about… just doing it… yeah it stuck with me.

So I gave it a try, with some guidance and constant feedback from Trav (I could go on and on but seriously <3) and I got there. By the end of the session I was seeing a lot more than usual, I wasn't stressed, I was maybe getting in stubble and Trav's way a bit as JRs but they moved me and everything was golden.

Trav suggested counting the skaters as they come on the track. Three blockers, one pivot, one jammer. All well and good. But when their all lined up already and you count two pivots… then the jam starts and Ed points out that those two pivots are on the same team… *face palm*.

Good though. Learnt a lot. Got a lot to think about ahead of the Welsh tournaments.

Oh wait…

The sheer realisation that you sectioned away HR in your brain as “do not worry about this position” and gleefully looked at JR and scoring in the rules only to be reminded that your the CHR for two tournaments soon.

Jesus. H. Christ.

Back to the drawing board. Asking Ed, Trav and Duncan for advice on it. And gonna practice it more in training.

Got some lovely feedback from Rawk just come in from SKOD. Some good things to work on and a really positive eval on my record too. Good times.

Tell it to my heart…

Heartlands. Fourth NE game. In Oxford.

Duncan Disorderly came to watch and give feedback to the refs (muchos appreciated). Skated with Metal Ed and Danger Russ as JR, Ed Estaire as FIPR and Templeman, Stop! Hannah Time and Kal on the outside.

The timings were changed whilst we were en route. The weather meant everyone was running late. Thankfully I had been to the hall a few times so knew the way. Drove with Ed. Sang at him a few times. He didn’t like it.

Reffing was… interesting. I really really need to learn to practice HR positioning in practices rather than just waiting til bout day and going… damn… where am I meant to stand again? I always drift too close to the centre of the pack. Ed Estaire always does the same. We regularly end up in the middle like “Oh… one of us isn’t meant to be here”. My OOP calls were off. My pack calls were good but maybe a bit quiet. Hmmm. That’s about it. I dealt with some good Offical Reviews and questions from the teams. I was happy with how it ran. I don’t worry about dealing with questions any more. Even when they are super odd. Pretty much enjoyed it.

Feedback from Dad: 

Sleaze – could do with a bit more volume on pack reformation, but you addressed that during the bouts and it was much better afterwards. Perhaps be a bit more prompt with failure to reform after a No Pack call; you’re entitled to be calling them after an *immediate* failure. Good work on getting the PA turned down after the first period – made a huge difference and everyone (officials and skaters) was noticeably calmer from then on. Bridging back blockers – these should be your priority over defining the pack at the front, even if it’s just to tell the JR that they’re still in play – the situation was probably not ideal for you to abandon the pack and prioritise this, given that the other pack refs were pretty green, but there are times when you have to let a drowning man drown, to borrow a rather ruthless phrase. If you spend all your time trying to save someone whose floundering, they’re likely to drag you down with them, with the net result that they make you fuck up your own areas of responsibility as well as their own. Make sure your own stuff is covered. This probably sounds super harsh, especially given the learning/mentoring emphasis placed on Heartlands, but if you find yourself in a similar situation in a more intense game, then I would strongly advise just doing your own area of responsibility and not worrying too much about anyone else. Timeouts/ Official reviews – there was a point late in I think the first bout where a bench was signalling for an OR, I think, and you consulted with the IWB first before stopping the clock. Nothing wrong with that exactly, but I tend to operate by immediately stopping the clock by blowing many whistles and calling the (O)TO, and if it emerges that the team didn’t have any left, then the TO gets brought to an abrupt close, and they get a delay of game penalty as per 5.15.9.

All completely fair and deserved. Something to work on…  but actually I think for now that position isn’t my main priority. I wanna work on JR and FIPR for now.