Five games in two days

This week has been bloody horrible. I wont lie. I have had to deal with some crap that wasn’t my fault but I was being blamed for, and it made me just want to hide under the duvet and drink wine until it all went away.

I hid a fair amount. I drank far too much wine. But I still had to go to work, do life things, and oh yeah… ref five games at the weekend. Ha. One of those things that seems like a good idea when you book it, then you find yourself the day before cursing your past-self for not being able to see into the future.

So, first up. Heartlands triple header. Thankfully in Wolverhampton so not far away. 09:00 start, roped in some old ref buddies as my Heartlands refs couldn’t all make it: Ed Estaire, Kicks, Logan, Robo, Anton, Lee, Dom, Magnus and Hannah L on paperwork duties.

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Ok ok, so yeah I might have set off in a stinking mood, feeling a bit sorry for myself. But I made a nice smoothie and put on some sing-a-long tunes in the car, and by the time I got there I felt almost normal. Few problems with the hall (it wasn’t set up to be sanctioned, booooo, the medics didnt show, double booooo, and then two of the teams failed to show for the captains meeting, mega boooo) but the crew were on top form, laughing, discussing rules, in the zone. The games flew by. Official reviews were a doddle (having a crew that switched on made them so bloody easy). Everyone was in high spirits, and we got the job done. For the first time ever I experienced a game with two double injuries in it. Haggard. I’m pretty sure everyone is ok now though. At half time I sat in the penalty box and checked my phone, had a lovely message from the boy asking if I wanted a duvet night on the sofa and he’d pick out a film for me and make some healthy food. Urgh. Gonna marry the fuck out of him.

So, feeling a bit happier I dragged the crew into the photobooth that Wolves set up and got them to dress up (Logan loved it) and have a group shot done. Also Anton drew a picture of me 🙂 THIS DAY MADE ME VERY HAPPY.

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Next up, a double header in Coventry. Once again, close to home. Duncan got the train to Brum and I was gonna meeting him and set off. But the Birmingham half marathon was on. And Duncan’s train was delayed. *Cue stress*. We arrived at the venue at 13:45. My captains meeting was meant to have taken place at 13:15. URGH. Duncan had kept in touch with the other refs while we were travelling, so we agreed he would take the ref meeting and I would do the captains. We ran in, dumped bags, did the meetings, got changed, dealt with the BLAH you have to as HR, had a wee and then started. Only 15mins late. MIC DROP.

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The first game was a cherry-popper style, slow, lots of touching with no impact, lots of people falling over when no one else was around, and lots of confused faces when they were given a false start warning. MEGA LOLZ. The NSO crew were so fresh no one could blow a rolling whistle and the “Failure to yield” penalty I gave was questioned because it wasn’t on the sheet of penalties.

Gave feedback and on to the second game. One injury, one bench manager that liked to talk to me between every jam and once again, a fresh NSO crew. Meant lots of communication between jams, lots of confused looks, lots of OTO’s. So glad to have the crew I did. Duncan and Dom made me smile far too much about the craziness happening on track and off.

Afterwards we went for a vegan burger (shut up) and then home, where the boy was ready with a glass of wine for me. I know, perfect right?

The end of the road

Our final trip to train a ref crew before Dallas. A sad moment. So to make it more interesting, me and Ed decided to stay over the night before in Bristol (Plymouth is VERY VERY FAR AWAY), have a few beers with the boy, and chill out. AND ED LET ME PUT ON ANY MUSIC I WANTED.

I brought all the best (offensive to Ed’s taste in music) CDs I could find: Katy Perry, Madonna, Le Tigre and all the mix CDs I made in the early 2000s. He shockingly didn’t mind any of it. Even my singing.

This time the trainees wanted to do the hellahard before their training (way to Go Hard there chaps!). So we proctored that, then separated out into our usual groups. Ed took the advanced, I took the newer ones. Talked about feelings and shit. Thrashed out some ideas to fix situations, worked on keeping REF FACE in action when your mates are there, and talked a little bit about goal-setting. The time flew by (we over ran in the first session by a fair amount).

We put on our skates, created two crews, and tag-teamed in after every third jam. Got some really interesting questions thrown my way, and implemented REF FACE when a skater came to complain that the stationary refs in the ref lane were getting in the way of the skaters. Nope. Not today.

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So that’s it. I’m pleased to say I organised and attended each one of the training sessions that we did. I have met over 100 baby refs, took one under my wing, and have loved every second of it.

We have been to Wiltshire, Leicester, Cambridge, Nottingham and Wales and Plymouth.

Some of them had some nice things they wanted to share after the training:

(Nottingham session) Dellar: “I thoroughly enjoyed today. Going through the mentality and order of the scrim was useful, learned a few tips about kit checks I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Overall it was a huge confidence boost, and they were lovely! It would be great to go out and shadow others and get more involved. The only thing is I wish we’d had more time!”

Jo: “Shadowing was definitely useful…seeing things or having them pointed out and seeing the correct hand signals etc. And discussing why it sometimes isn’t a penalty too…”

(Leicester session) Skew: “Sleaze and Ratty gave me renewed confidence in my refereeing, and let me know what I needed to personally work on to push myself further.”

(Plymouth session) Arty: “Thank you so much for yesterday’s boot camp – Your classroom session really helped to get me re-enthused about reffing and I’ve just got home from a subsequently great practice with the league.”

Thank you to all of you for wanting to learn, and for filling me with excitement at the future of officiating in roller derby. Big love to you all.

Flip reverse it

The long awaited Ref the Refs role reversal game took place this weekend. Months in the making, there were a few last minute worries about whether the raffle was sorted, who has the helmet covers, and would Duncan’s arm fall off again ? (SPOILER: It did).

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I was bench manager for Team 2.2.2 (neon) and our opposition were Team 1.3.2 (glitter). Our numbers were made up of 0s and 1s, and theirs were made up from Ws and 7s. It was vile to look at particularly since we wore lime green t shirts with neon pink lettering. The poor refs.

The team, led by Metal Ed (1000), included: Shref (0001), Petti (1011), Cain (1001), Swiss Roll (0110), Skew (0011), Dad (1111), Apa Chi (0101), Zed Z Sputnik (1101) and Mimey (001). Tinch (1+1+1) was LUM and I (0000) was bench. Yep. Haggard right?

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(This photo was taken when Team 1.3.2 reached 100 points and had to sing Kiss from a rose By Seal. We took that opportunity to get a selfie in front of them.)

So my bench managing style mainly involved making sure before the event that everyone knew where to be, and at what time, and that they were DEFO coming out dancing afterward. On the day I brought and applied facepaints, performed in AND WON a dance-off and then a game of paper/scissors/stone. I was also a mardy bitch to the HR. Just because it was JC and he has done it to me before. I’m pleased to say he was completely straight-faced and professional throughout.

There were a few rules brought in just for the game. They were submitted via twitter and then were picked by the audience on the day: 1) To get lead jammer you have to meet the criteria laid out by WFTDA PLUS you have to do jazz hands. 2) Every time stubble enters the track he will get an insubordination. 3) All Official Reviews will be decided via a dance off – performed by the bench managers.

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The game went surprisingly well, like, seriously. I expected them to be SO SLOW and be on their arses constantly. But Ed was stupidly nimble, Shref was like a man possessed – hitting like a sledgehammer and than giggling to himself afterward. And RATTY, he FLEW at one point. Granted it was a completely unnecessary apex jump (no one was near him) but it was still brilliant. I of course was completely ignored by the team who either didn’t understand what WALL UP or GET TO THE FRONT meant, or were just so caught up in the game to hear me. I still laughed the whole game.

CCR tweeted it, go read it, this is my favourite bit:
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Central City‏@The_CCR
Fun fact of the day 60% of the refs are wearing sleazes ref tops. Meaning she has dominion over half of the ref crew #thepower