Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.

I have sold out. I can’t believe I’m about to say this… but I have taken a role within WFTDA OffCom.

glasses

Before you hiss and back away, let me tell you about the new ad hoc panel they have started, and why I am mother flipping chairing it.

  1. It’s about Diversity and Inclusion. WHICH I LOVE.
  2. It will look to give a voice to under-represented groups. WHICH IS A GOOD THING.
  3. It will work directly to OffCom, looking at suggestions and ideas, testing them for durability and then putting the best ones forward. WHICH IS USEFUL.

Ok ok ok. Yes it’s WORTHY, but can I just point out how much we bloody need something like this.

I shared my “action plan” (see below… I laboured over this for far far too long), and had someone compare it to “men telling women how to not be assaulted”.

Such a strong reaction to someone trying to make positive changes really makes you think doesn’t it?

Add in to that that this was in a female officiating group – and nearly as many people liked that comment as liked my post – and you know there is an issue.

At first I was like *sigh* THIS IS DRAINING THE LIFE OUT OF MEEEEEEEEEE.

Then I spoke to Mat who said “well that just proves how much it’s needed”.

ron_swanson

He’s a good lad isn’t he?

Thing is, he’s right.

If the people you’re trying to help (I’m part of that group too remember) assume your hard work is tokenistic and well-meaning-but-ultimately-doomed, then you know you need to do the thing and try and help, because things are not rainbows and kittens at the moment.

So I was like YES I NEED TO DO THIS.

I ended up doing this because… and this may shock you to read… I complained about things so much that they were like OK GO AND FIX IT THEN. And I was like:

taylor-swift-dancing-1

Thing is. I have many reasons for wanting to do this:

  • I have a lot of feels about a lot of situations and I finally have people that will listen to me.
  • I’m also off skates now so I have time to take things like this on.
  • I am annoyed that I couldn’t see myself going any further than I did when I had the chance.

I came to refereeing as “a fun thing” originally. Naturally I ended up wanting to make it to the top, like I always do. I decided to go for referee certification. I put in a lot of work, time and money. I reached Level 2 – something I’m very proud of.

But in my time in certification, I realised that it’s unlikely that I would be able to progress any further – regardless as to my skills, holiday allowance and money.

This is because the systems in place – created with good intentions – are no longer fit for the job.

Our sport has grown. Interest in refereeing has grown. We have people wanting to reach the top of officiating that were never even considered when the structures were put in place to rank referees. That’s no one’s fault. However it’s everyone’s shame that those structures are now silos, stopping us from moving forward. Stopping us from opening doors to everyone that is willing to put in the effort to stand up and be counted.

In my opinion some people have being skipped-over when others have been progressed far beyond their abilities. I see patterns in these groups. I know others see these patterns.

I see people willing to admit things aren’t right, but I don’t see anyone able to dedicate time to making changes.

So… I offered my time to do it.

I’m coming from the angle of a European female. I have experienced being held back. I have seen others like me being held back. And because of those experiences, I can’t not do this.

I can’t leave roller derby having trained so many amazing women to referee… knowing that they won’t progress higher than I did.

They have so much potential, far more than I have, and I can’t knowingly leave them to battle harder than anyone else and only make it halfway up the road. The feminist in me would rather remove them from derby and teach them badminton than let that happen. BADMINTON. See how serious I am here?

I feel like their mother – I want them to have the opportunity to go as far as they want. But the evidence says those opportunities are not there for them at the moment:

At Level 5 we have… 13 males. 0 females.
Level 4 we have 18 refs. 1 female.
Level 3 there are 56 refs, 12 of them are females.

Which… isn’t… great. Is it Beyonce?

tooooo-happy

Out of all of those, there is one European female: Cherry Fury.

Now, have you seen Cherry Fury referee? HAVE YOU? THEN YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED TRUE BEAUTY AND YOU ARE LUCKY.

*cough* Do you think she is anything less than a Level 5? No? Good, we’re agreed.

*deletes rant about this whole sorry situation* *takes deep breath* *gets angry again*

I used to laugh when people answered my question of: “What do you need to do to be a Level 5 referee?” with “Be a white American male with a beard”. But similar to this article in the Guardian which shows that there are more men named John leading FTSE firms than the are women (not women named John, just women at all), it’s not a laughing matter.

And it’s not just about women.

I have my experiences. You have yours. I can’t talk about yours without talking to you. But I want to talk to you. I want to know what this is like for you. And I want to work to help fix that situation. I want to make sure we get together as diverse as possible a panel to speak for everyone in officiating.

I want to pull together a panel of people that know more than I do, that are as fierce about fixing things as I am.

I want to see more balance.

I want people to look at all levels of refereeing and see themselves reflected back. All genders, nationalities, ages, sexualities… I want the people you see to be an accurate representation of the community they come from.

I know we’re not all white American males with beards. I know some of you are. We need those beardy-blokes too. They’re part of our community. But they’re a part of it. They’re not all of it.

WFTDA has a brilliant slogan, it aims to be: Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.

I think we should take that last bit seriously. I think we need a revolution.

My call to action (please share!):


I am in the process of working with WFTDA OffCom to create a Diversity and Inclusion panel – with the bold aim of increasing the opportunities and visibility of the under-represented members of our community.

We are seeking to broaden representation in terms of race, national origin/geography, gender identity, class and other groups and communities, recognising that OffCom leadership has not always represented the breadth of diversity in WFTDA officiating.

It’s my belief that diversity is important in order to appreciate and value the difference in people, and the remarkable contribution we can make when we work together.

I also believe that issues can’t just be fixed by wishful thinking and hoping… I hope that others share this belief and will work with me to make positive changes.

My aims are:
· To create a panel that better represents the diversity of our community, and gives more of a voice to the groups that are currently under-represented.
· To provide a destination for WFTDA officials and team representatives to send their ideas and suggestions surrounding D&I.
· To encourage and support changes at grass roots levels, providing a healthier start for people within officiating.
· To encourage and support changes throughout officiating to enable those under-represented groups to move up in areas where they have not had equal opportunity to do so.

Yes. It is a big task. And that’s why I need help.

The panel will sit within OffCom, and as such is only open to certified officials and WFTDA official reps.

The panel will be appointed and volunteer based at the start, will sit under OffCom elect leadership and serve as advisor to OffCom leadership.
Structure will be based on successful models already in action within WFTDA panels, but suggestions and feedback on this will be listened to.

So! I need your help to put me in touch with the people you think most fit the bill for this. Whether as potential panel members or simply as people willing to contribute at the start in order to make this the best it can be.

I’m open to all your contacts, so please send them my way. Or if this sounds like something you would like to do, please get in touch. I can be contacted on: vonsleaze@gmail.com

I really appreciate your support in this, and hope to make some positive changes with your help.


Finally I just want to say thank you to those at the top that messaged me to tell me to keep fighting. The ones who listened to my suggestions about changes and rather than saying they didn’t want to rock the boat, they said “Yes please!”

The ones that even went so far as to offer me a place to work on Diversity and Inclusion.

Thank you for telling me to ignore the haters and instead stun them into silence them with the job I do.

If you didn’t live so far away I would totally paw your faces off. Thank you.

haters_gonna_hate

 

This is a thing that is happening now

I’m off skates.

People keep saying “oh you’ll just be off for six months and then everything will be fine and you can come back”, but that’s like telling me I WILL want babies one day… It doesn’t make me feel all happy inside like you think it does. And since shouting “SHUT UP YOU DON’T KNOW ME” isn’t seen as polite, I thought I would put my thoughts down in my blog so I can just shout “READ MY BLOG” and run away instead.

Over a year ago I injured myself in the gym. I overdid it on the ol’ ankle raise and this happened:

massive_ankle

Sexy innit? I didn’t even notice it at the time.

I carried on at the gym. I drove my car to Wales. I reffed a tournament. When I took my skate off I couldn’t put my foot down. I then had to drive home. THAT HURT.

I went to the physio who laughed at the fact I hadn’t realised my ankle was quite obviously injured. I had a few weeks of sick-inducing physio and he advised me to tape it up and leave it til it got better.

I went easy on it, but it kept swelling up. When it was hurting it would give me stabbing pains in my outer ankle and in my knee.

The physio said it was something that had been coming for a long time; and other pains I’d had around my ankle and knee are all tied in. These are pains I had been having for about five years – pains that impacted on my skating back when I was with Newcastle Roller Girls. He said I couldn’t have done anything to prevent it and to try to not get upset.

But then three months ago this happened:

foot_bandaged_up

I skated at MEC 2015 for a full weekend, took my skate off and couldn’t put my foot down again. I had stabbing pains in the bottom of my foot, at the side, and up my leg.

Physio said once again: “This has been a long time coming.” Said it’s to do with how my foot pronates when I walk. Said the weird pains I used to complain about as a teenager were actually the onset of it and it’s been waiting to happen since then really. Once again not a lot I could have done bar foot-strengthening exercises… but no one told me they were a thing.

I have always tried to be good with footwear. I don’t wear heels often. I do however cram my feet into shoes that are too small. Something Blockerbye Baby and Dr Knock know all too well – being just one size smaller than me in shoes they get a lot of my purchases handed to them after two wears and me going DAMMIT I’VE DONE IT AGAIN. I am avoiding acknowledging that this may have had an impact.

The problem is the stabbing pain I got after MEC is something I have had on and off for years. It might be plantar fasciitis, or it might be because my foot roles in and the muscles underneath have started to torque. The physio isn’t too sure. What they are sure about is that suffering from it for three months is a bit bloody excessive.

I have been to a podiatrist. I have spent nearly £300 on checks, custom orthotics and guidance. I’m not convinced it’s helped. The pain is now pretty much constant – but hurts less than it did.

I have seen two physios and an osteopath. They have prodded, bandaged, given me stretches and exercises. They have pushed, pulled, iced and strapped me. At times it helps, at times I think it’s making things worse.

I have daily exercises, stretches and an icing regime. The icing makes it feel worse. The stretching feels like something is going to snap. The exercises are frustrating because I can’t do them.

But I do it all. Regardless. I do “everything” I am told to do to make it better.

The one piece of advice all of them gave me that I refused to listen to? STOP. SKATING.

I refused to listen because I didn’t want to give in. I feel I am finally in a position where I can DO SOMETHING.

I felt… frustrated. Now was not the time to leave roller derby. Not when I could make a difference.

I had lots of conversations with lots of people. I wrote lists of pros and cons of staying in derby, injury aside. The biggest pro? I get to see people I like. The biggest con? I have to see the people I don’t.

I thought about the derby drama. The teams I have been with, the people who I loved, and those who made the lives of those around them a misery. The affairs, the break ups, the way humans act when they’re near each other for too long. I thought about it all and I was secretly glad for an opportunity to take a step back from it.

I talked to people who have left derby and people who returned after injury.. and I realised that actually, while I was doing all of this, I had already made my mind up: I was definitely stopping skating.

My time participating on skates in this sport is up.

But, and this is something I am now able to realise, my time making positive changes is not.

I am going to use my new found time really dealing with the issues I have faced in roller derby and trying to fix those problems for those that follow in my footsteps. I have agreed to do some work within OffCom with WFTDA, helping to bring diversity and inclusion to the ranks of officiating. I hope it will make a difference. I am still going to continue teaching Ref School to all the up and coming talent; mentoring, teaching, passing on my experiences and knowledge.

All of this is what these years in roller derby were building up to.

This will be the part of my roller derby career to have the most positive impact, the part I’m most proud of. And given everything that has come before, this is a fucking exciting time.

Where is mid-thigh on an alligator?

Yesterday was the second session of Ref School with the Birmingham Blitz.

This is the session where everyone has to bring in a drawing (or print off for the artistically uncoordinated) of an animal, coloured in to show the legal target and blocking zones.

It is brilliant because it gives me the opportunity to ask a class full of adults if the “legal blocking zones shown on this bear” are correct.

blitz_homework

They were.

Most of the drawings were bang on. We had a discussion about where the mid-thigh point is on an alligator. That’s the important stuff I put into Ref School. I can’t believe other leagues are using this across the globe. I almost feel like I should issue an apology.

Thing is, doing this may seem daft, but it’s useful because it gets new refs thinking about different body shapes, not just looking at that androgynous outline in the WFTDA rulebook and thinking in a black and white *THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN HIT, THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN BE HIT* way. It makes you consider torso lengths, long limbs and whether you can give a whip with a tail (jokes).

We spent more time than the plan suggested talking about the pack. Acted it out in the room, discussed engagement zones and the varying P penalties that you can get for nonesense within the pack. Bar one person who is pretty fresh to roller derby, this group seems really ON IT. They ask really good questions, answer things for eachother and some of them even read ahead on the syllabus.

Even that one newer person was like AH YEAH, I GET IT NOW. This shit took me MONTHS to understand.

I’m taking it as a compliment that I can teach it to people faster than I picked it up myself. Next week we’re talking blocking and counter-blocking. I might let them hit me.

 

Week One, take two

This is my third year of refereeing. This is the year I said I would give back and spend more time teaching. My first year was for fun. My second year was to take it seriously. My third year to pass on all the info I know and do positive things.

This weekend I started the second round of Ref School. I am amazed by how well it has been recieved across the world. I put it out there for people to maybe pick bits from, hopefully a league on the outskirts would take it up as a helpful guide. But I’ve had messages from leagues across the UK, Europe and even America – where I thought they would have LOADS of resources like this – saying how they’re part-way through and loving it. It’s so far been the best thing I have done within roller derby. I’m very proud of it.

The Birmingham Blitz Dames were interested in it, and as a league that I am pally with (they’re close to where I live and are the league that most people who leave Central City (my old league) end up joining, so I have a lot of friends there). They asked if I would help teach the course and I said yes. They offered to do the advertising and any other stuff I needed. They really are a nice bunch of lasses.

I turned up to the first session to a handful of refs looking shy, sat on bleachers watching the skaters practicing and thought *ahhhh* how cute are refs?

I got some help setting up the room they booked for the first session and watched as my eager helper set out over 20 chairs. I thought he was being really optimistic but didn’t want to interrupt him. I got the paperwork out, told people where we were and went to get myself in the zone.

In walked five people. Then another five, then another. This kept happening. The room filled and we had to bring in more chairs.

new_refs

I’m not kidding – more people turned up after I took this photo.

My heart was racing and I was staring at my paperwork thinking THIS IS AMAZING, when I looked at my watch, realised we were two minutes past start time, and I said: “Shall we begin?”

The next hour and a half is a bit of a blur. Finding out why all of these lovely rookie refs were wanting to take up officiating. Sharing stories about being the only ref in sessions and hearing what it was like for them. Making everyone blow whistles out loud (I was the only person wearing ear plugs… I don’t even feel guilty about that). And then watching the scrim and talking about what penalties we saw, why things happened, and the importance of taking your time and taking a breath.

And then it was over. Week One. Done in two hours. I’ve done this before and I’ll do it again, but damn, I’ll always be surprised by how quickly that first session flies by.

Had some lovely compliments afterwards, spoke to a guy who has professionally played ice hockey and has wanted to be involved in roller derby for a few years. Really excited to work with this bunch. Can already see some shining stars in the rough.

Taking off my skates for the last time

I’ve decided the time has come to retire from active refereeing within roller derby.

I have had a brilliant time over the last eight years.

I have met some of the most brilliant people, including my husband-to-be. I have travelled the world and I have seen too many sports halls to count.

I have managed to make it this far without what you would consider “an injury”, because none of the injuries I have had have been on skates.

In keeping with the ridiculousness of having to stop skating competitively because I smashed my teeth in on holiday – I am having to stop being a skating official because I over did it in the gym and my ankle won’t heal if I keep skating.

Less of a “going out with a bang” more of a disappointing fizzle of a firework with no explosion at the end.

To be fair, the timing is perfect. Where my life is right now, this is exactly the right time to call this a day. But I’m not sure I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for roller derby.

I started skating in September 2007 as a way to keep my best mate happy, honestly. I was the league Captain because I was the mouthiest. I was overweight but happy. I wasn’t massively into skating. I picked horrid league uniforms.

I moved to Newcastle in 2009 and joined the Newcastle Roller Girls. It was about this time that roller derby saved my soul. Everyone has their own version of this story, right? I was in an abusive relationship. I didn’t really realise it at the time, but when it became so clear that I had to chuck my clothes in an IKEA bag and run… roller derby was there for me. It picked me up. It kept me busy. It surrounded me with love, challenge, health and fitness. I was allowed to cry but also encouraged to move on. And I did.

I spent one year getting my life back together, and the following year having the time of my life… all the time with roller derby at the very centre of it.

In July 2012 I decided to take up reffing and started this blog. I was sad that having knocked out two teeth I couldn’t do contact for three months. I intending to just skate around the outside of the game I had loved for years. Not wanting to let go, but knowing I couldn’t be a part of it. I had no idea what reffing would be like. I had no idea my three months would lead to three years.

I have had larger successes in reffing than I ever would have had on track. I was a good skater. But I wouldn’t have made it to the world cup. To TWO world cups.

I am glad that at this point I still have a lot of fondness for the game and the people in it. So much so that I am going to continue with the admin roles I do within derby until I’m completely ready to let go.

You may not know but I have taken on a role within WFTDA heading up a committee focussing on diversity and inclusion… and I’ll be fucked if I leave this sport without making a positive change in the way women are seen within officiating.

So thank you to everyone that got me here. Thank you to Natalie Boxall for being The One.

To Sniper, Fritha, Brie and Kalamity for their spare rooms, spare clothes, and extra plates of food when I needed them.

To Cherry, Duncan, Sven, Metal Ed, Trav and Big Smack for the support and encouragement you gave me to make the move into stripes.

To the people I have relied upon to keep me sane when skaters refuse to believe they just cut track… when they cut THEIR ENTIRE GOD DAMN WHOLE TEAM  *breathes*. It’s been a funny old ride. But I’m glad I did it.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And just like that, it was finished

I started creating Ref School in January. I started trialling it in February. On Sunday 16th August… I finally finished presenting it to the Crash Test Brummies referee crew.

Ahahahahahah. Hahahaa. Ha. Huh. Ahhh. *wipes tear*

God that took a long time didn’t it?

ref_school_finished

I’m glad it’s finished. I’m glad I have presented it all at least once now (I have repeated a few weeks here and there with individual referees who needed some 1:1) – I still found a typo in the final week when reading it out loud. I’m glad that the people I started with were still (pretty much) there at the end. I’m glad that Kidney was back on skates for the final session after a gnarly break. I’m glad the newbies have been positive. I’m glad they still want to carry on and have agreed to work on their personal development with me to create their own sessions. I’m glad I had Skew to do it all with.

I’m really very very glad for a lot of things today.

I now have some time to work with my mentees and their progression, and then I repeat the process with the Birmingham Blitz who are starting Ref School on October 3rd. I’ll be the main presenter of the programme. MORE BABY REFS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH. I am glad of this.

It’s just a game, you realise that right?

I’m a terrible roller derby fan.

I never know who the higher seed is. I don’t know the derby famous players and rankings bore me senseless.

When I used to play I could never remember which games we won or lost, or even if we had played a team before. But I would always remember games at which I had made friends or managed to pull off something I had been practising for months.

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I see roller derby for what it is. A sport. A game. It really doesn’t mean more to me than that. Granted I work hard, I train and I study. But I participate because I enjoy it and I want to be the best I can be.

When I was a skater I used to write “Only I can do this” on my arm as an affirmation. I would look at it before I jammed – not because I thought had super powers… but because only I can play the game I play. Only I can win this for me. I feel exactly the same as a ref… it’s just I’m playing a different game.

I’m no longer trying to race through a pack, now I’m doing a hardcore hazard perception test on wheels. I’m trying to call all the penalties (extra points for the super technical ones), get all the scores right, communicate fast and effectively AND look awesome. Obviously that last bit is easy. *snorts*

My aim is to be better than I was in my last game. Always striving for perfection.

I don’t tend to compare myself to other people; this is my journey and I’m kicking my own ass every day.

I would prefer to spend my time and money visiting somewhere I’d never been before or to ref with or for friends – rather than officiate a game because of how good it would look on my CV.

cat_mec

I love to see people enjoying themselves on track (I love people doing spins and awesome toe stop work simply because I can’t and think it looks awesome), and I like games where weird stuff happens and I have to test my knowledge.

But, and this may sound weird to you, during the game the people on track don’t mean much more to me than pawns in my game of Hazard-Perception-Ref. They’re potential points and penalties. That’s genuinely about it. You’re something for me to test my knowledge and skills on.

Can I dodge you when you fly off and hit me? Yes? Extra points for style.

Did I call that super technical cut when everyone changed direction, someone fell over and the jammer did a star pass? Probably not. Who the hell am I kidding.

But YOUR game isn’t MY game. And YOUR game doesn’t impact on MINE in a way that you may think it does. If I’m having a bad game it impacts on you – which is why I don’t let your game rub off on mine. No offence but sometimes you guys on track can be batshit cray. I need to be zen. I need to be in the zone. I do not think about you guys and how this is going for you.

If there is a lead change it doesn’t affect me. If there is one point in it it doesn’t affect me. I will still be beasting myself in the same way I always do. Still trying to be the best ref from the first whistle to the last, correcting myself as I go and learning with every jam.

My game is just that. Mine. And I love it.

I mention this because at the weekend I was told that someone had said I shouldn’t be allowed to referee South Wales Silures because Mat plays for them. He’s my fiance. Yes. But unless he trips me over and my leggings split up the back (genuine fear), his actions are just the actions of a skater to me. (Actually, even then he would just be a skater… but I do worry about the leggings thing.)

I thankfully get to ref people I like and love in varying percentages. Similarly I spend a proportion of my time refereeing people who don’t like me. That doesn’t change my goal.

alice_mec

My life is made easier by well mannered players, a ref crew that works well together and a happy atmosphere. But if that’s not the situation I’m facing… I still give my all. I work differently and I put on a different face. I change my techniques and I once again try and win reffing for me.

That’s why everyone who told me about the above suggestion of bias said that I was “too professional” for that kinda thing. But that’s weird too… because this isn’t my profession. I don’t get paid for this. I actually do all of the above because I want to win my game – I want to come away knowing I was cool, calm, collected and correct.

I still never bother looking to see who wins. I check my scores. I correct any of my mistakes. Then I go home and watch games back to see how I could improve my game.

If you needed evidence that Mat’s just a skater on track to me, he threw up during a game I was reffing and I didn’t notice. It wasn’t a penalty and I was JR for his team so he wasn’t a point for me. He wasn’t important in that moment (sorry babe).

So… now I have cleared up that I don’t spend every waking second on skates fretting that Matthew has a good game and DEAR LORD I HOPE HIS TEAM WINS, allow me to share my MEC 2015 highlights:

  • Reffed four games. All as JR. Didn’t get subbed out for a single one.
  • My leggings didn’t split and my new hairdye didn’t run.
  • Got to ref again with my favourite JR, Metal Ed. Having not refereed a game together for months we slipped back into it perfectly. Called lead from under his arm twice.
  • Got a compliment from Miss Trial. Huge kudos. Tried to play it cool.
  • Witnessed some perfectly communicated and timed ORs, three times they were questioning things I was about to ask for official input on. All were won by the teams.
  • Ate a bite of macoroni cheese pie. Regretted it. Haggard.
  • Saw Cat, Sniper and Alice. Hugged them all for ages and enjoyed it massively.
  • Met my fiance out the back of the building for a little snog after our final games, reminded me of MEC 2014 when we got back together. Made me so unbelievably happy… and still not biased.
  • Caught several AMAZING star passes. Missed one. Laughed out loud and had to rescind a jammer lap point. Barrow are brilliant at star passes.
  • Gave one lead that shouldn’t have been lead. Had a total mind-blank on how to undo it. This was picked up by almost EVERYONE. Thankfully after about the tenth mention it started to become funny. I’ll never do this again.
  • Saw a brilliant Low Block call by Rocky. Extra points to Rocky.
  • Watched Steven Thomas rocking IPR, impressing me again with how much he has come on in a year.
  • Worked with the best score keeper ever, Nick Goodrick. He rescued me from three potential scoring issues. So great to work with.
  • Got told that I’m “annoying” by the CHR when I was doing warm ups during our ref meeting.
  • Got sworn at and shouted at by several skaters, got tripped up by one (Didn’t lose sight of my jammer though, so extra points). Got apologies from three of them.
  • Hid behind my hoodie so no one could see my expression as Pablo Diablo scored a 30 point jam against SDRD in the final. PABLO. Really. Awesome.
  • MAJOR SADNESS as I didn’t get to ref a French team *weeps*. Dem accents tho *swoon*.
  • Drank a beer during the awards standing next to one of my favourite skaters, Samdroid. He had fouled out of his game and I hadn’t noticed. Bad friend.
  • Had a huge Peroneal Tendonitis and Plantar Faciitis flare up meaning that the moment I removed my skates I couldn’t walk.
  • Danced with Gif and Kalamity at the after party and enjoyed touching all the medals of all the people that wore them. Even Shrooms who kept hiding his inside his t-shirt.

foot_mec

I watched two games back the next day and am proud to say I look well chilled. Me and Ed work so well together it’s sickening. I don’t mind the bad lead call and that missed star pass because I’m so proud of the rest of it. My game was bloody brilliant.

The crew I was on did a fantastic job overall. The skaters seemed to enjoy it. A team won. Some other teams didn’t. Some were nice, some weren’t. I think I had four of the best games of my reffing career. But I’m still not content. My next game will be better.

Teeth: The final chapter

Sniper informs me it’s three years since she fell off an inflatable boat in Greece and took my two front teeth with her. 

 
This was them like… That night? Maybe the next day. 

She had pushed them back over (they went back into my mouth so I had to reach in with my fingers and pull them forward). My mouth filled with blood a few times over. The dentist later told me I had done the right thing, but would always have issues because I had cut some sort of important blood supply when I forced my teeth into place.

He said for the next three years I had to monitor them in case THEY TURNED GREY AND FELL OUT. Like you would miss that happening. 

ANYWAY. It’s been three years. My teeth still ache if I sleep on my front. They hurt when it’s cold. And they are slightly wonky now. But they’re still there. 

This incident is what turned me to refereeing. One month after I got home I had my first roller derby session as a newbie official. 

I don’t know what I’d be doing if that hadn’t happened, but right now I am doing pretty good. I’m the HR of a league I love, I’m training some fantastic referees and I’m the Head Ref of the God damn national team.

Honestly Snipes, even though I couldn’t eat solid food for three months, je ne regrette rien xx

In June I did…

So. I left CCR officially in May. In one month I have:

Refereed Team England tryouts: Northern Stage 1. Around 60 skaters from the UK tried out. We had a crew of eight. I was surprised by a few people. Two for very good reasons. One less so. Had a blast. Was pleased to see how good Ref Al Ghul has gotten since I last saw him.

Photo by John Hesse

Photo by John Hesse

Been asked to co-THR 4Nations with Becks. Awesome partnership there. So much fudge.

Been to two Gay Pride events with some skater buddies. Enjoyed drinking cider and talking about life after CCR.

gaypride
Agreed to referee with one of my mentees down south. Looking forward to it.

Trained the CTB refs. Slowly getting through the plan. Seeing them coming on in leaps and bounds. Lots of feelings towards this. Mainly pride.

Been asked to co-THR BEARDi 2015 with Fu. Natch.

Reffed SWS practice. I love me that Welsh accent.

Went up north and refereed the men’s Brit Champs final. No big deal (it was bloody brilliant). THERE WAS ALMOST A FIGHT.

bc
Agreed to present Ref School to another local league. Stoked. They seem super eager.

Had a ref buddy ask if I wanna go ref abroad again with him this year. This made me feel happy. Looking for opportunities now.

Refereed Team England tryouts: Central Stage 2. Saw the best skaters in the UK trying their hardest. Humbling experience really. We got a lot of praise for the officiating. John Hesse made us look like fucking superheroes in his photos:

Photo by John Hesse

Photo by John Hesse

FINISHED WRITING REF SCHOOL. WOOT WOOT. <3 This is possibly my greatest achievement in my refereeing career. Possibly. We’ll see if everyone laughs at it… So far I have had messaged from Belgium, America and “Europe” (WordPress being super helpful with details as per) saying they’re implementing the plan. Also a few leagues in the UK who have said they like it and will be using it.

One person tried to insult me by calling Ref School “swanky”. One of the nicest insults ever.

So, I didn’t think I had done much to blog about this month. Maybe I was wrong.

I am loving derby at the moment. I really am. This has been a good month.