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.


Imma go France next week and then Belgium a few weeks after because I LIKE DOING TOURNAMENTS.
It’s out there and now I can never take it back.

Tournaments test me in a way that I like. I miss out on the competitive side of skating. I make up for that by pushing myself to be the best that I can in refereeing. But turning up, meeting six people and being expected to gel with them instantly for an hour, to then skate away and maybe see them again at a bout in the future… it leaves me dissatisfied.

Tournament refereeing makes you form a bond. (hilarious typo there of “bong”.)
You’re stuck with these six (sometimes more) people and you have to work through your differences because you’re with them for at least two days. It’s like all the derby drama of being in a league condensed. But with about 90% less bull shit.

You over-share because it’s not a real environment for making friends. You bond over daft stuff, you help eachother out, you invariably see eachother in states of undress. It’s a really compressed version of normal events, and that’s why you find so many diamonds.

I wont lie. I also love the tired-beyond-wanting-to-cry feeling that you get with it. The “Oh jesus, what is that smell?”. The “Is Shref on your crew? DO. NOT. FALL. ASLEEP”. I love it all. I love pushing myself. I get to train hard in the run up to it, preparing my body like I used to as a skater.


Ok. I’m in love with tournament refereeing.

But Jesus, have you seen how hot the crews are these days. Can you blame me?