F-you Boris

Friday night, prepped my kit, everything washed and laid out ready for the next morning.

My final day with the NRG, benching for the Belters, and then reffing the Tyne and Fear.

It’s a weird feeling. As with every bout since I’ve been with the league, I planned this bout and am the go-to person. Trying to keep a record in my head of all the jobs I’m asked about, and all the people I deal with so that I can pass the info on to the guys who will be taking over from me.

As usual, it’s organised to within an inch of its life, and the bout goes well.

1) Benching was horrendously stressful. I don’t think I’ll be doing that again soon.
2) Reffing was brilliant.

I was on team awesome for starters. Boris Snarloff as my head ref, Cherry and Stiff there. Polly, who has been learning the ropes alongside me at NRG was OPR too.

I took up rear OPR, first time in this position, and that’s my hat trick of outside pack reffing DONE.

Got through the first half without calling a single penalty. Every time I went to say something, Boris called it. This pretty much carried on for the full bout actually. Managed to get… like one? Yeah probably one call in there that no one else called.

Final minor that I’ll ever call goes to Sunday Sanchez from Lincolnshire Rolling Thunder, who earned himself a back block.

Lessons I learnt: 1) It is bad form to say “fuck you Boris” to the head ref, even when you really mean it. It’s probably even worse if his or her name is not Boris. 2) It’s really hard to not congratulate Lil Joker on a fab jam when he grins the whole time. 3) No matter how many times you tell Porky he’s not allowed to talk to you when you’re in stripes, he still will.

Fab time, couldn’t have had a better send off from reffing in the North East really. Lots of lovely feedback from Boris and Cherry, and invites to join them both in London and Leeds. Two thumbs up!

Not in the Reffing mood

It’s been a frustrating week for me. A friend at work said its because there’s been a full moon and apparently I “always act odd after one”. News to me, but ok.

I have to find somewhere to live when I move to Birmingham. I’ll be moving there between Xmas and New Year. I need to move out of my house. I need to pack. I need to do prep work for my new job and finish my job here. Ill be leaving friends, colleagues, someone special.

All of this has left me STRESSING MY HEAD OFF.

Tonight I took that out on the Tyne and Fear by sending them to the box. Even when they didn’t really deserve it.

I apologised afterward. To most of them.

I remember as Vice of the league telling people to leave their shit at the door and not take it on track. Mainly when you’d see feuding friends going for each other. But tonight I could have done with my own advice.

I actually shouted “what was that?!” when the jam ended and I had lead, only to be told 2mins were up. Ouch.

Doing my last bout of the year on the 15th. It’s my final bout with the NRG before I move to Birmingham, and it is the morning after I come back from a week of long training days in the Midlands.

I think I’ll have to remind myself to not be a douche. It will be an emotional one regardless. Not sure how I feel about this.

Line em up and knock em down

Taking a day out of reffing, I put on my visor, bum bag from Berlin (LOVE THIS) and my bestest brightest eightiest leggings, and headed to Hull with the Hinnies to line them up.

The Hinnies are well into being a TEAM and asked me to be at practices with them for the few weeks before the bout. I thought they were being high maintenance, but actually it was totally worth it.

I worked on a grouping system with them for a few reasons:

1) They have a healthy spread of skills and experience
2) They have some crazy happy hippies on the team and I wanted to spread that positivity
3) I knew it would make my life easier.

They skate out to Push It by Salt and Peppa, so I had them in Team Salt and Team Peppa, gave them coloured tape on their elbow pads so I didn’t get confused and mix them together. I showed them all the visualisation and positive thinking I introduced the Belters to when I helped bench them, and we did this in practice and then on the day.

Gotta say, I love this team. Never met a happier (on the whole, don’t get me wrong, there are some sour-pusses in the ranks) bunch of lasses, so willing to try out anything new.

With about 10 seconds left on the clock (and us about 100 points in the lead), I asked Dog to call a time out, got the girls together, and gave the star panty to Captain La Dolce Beater. She was unimpressed but had promised to do it if we reached 200 points. Priceless watching her little face as the entire team shouted “keep going”.

They won of course. Well done ladies.

There’s a rabbit away here…

Second time reffing an open bout today. This time in Nottingham where the Tyne and Fear took on a mixed team of merby players.

Head reffed by Cherry Fury – the woman that led me, albeit indirectly, to taking up reffing. She trained me in Helsinki too. I had hoped I’d be considerably better by the time she saw me, but NEVERMIND.

OPR’d again, this time in the middle. We didn’t do the skate-and-wait (you skate a straight and a turn with the pack, then you backtrack to the start of the turn, and then you skate again when the pack catches you) this time we just SKATED FLAT OUT. Oh my life. It’s hard to keep up on the outside of the track.

Took me about 10-15 mins to really get into my stride, made some calls, got a couple of majors in there. Had a really good time. Felt a lot more comfortable in that position, but still need to practice what verbal cues go with what hand signal for a more obscure call… spent far too long trying to suss out what you’d do for “illegal re-entry” only for Cherry to point out she’d called “no pack” so it was fine. *the shame*

Sniper made me a banner, I loved reffing with Scrim Til Death, and of course, NRG’s Stiff. Ah, ref friends, and had pizza and weird conversations on the coach home.

Also – in other news – I’ll be moving to Birmingham soon for work for five months, hoping to ref with a lot of other teams during that time, but only on weekends – need to give this trial period my all work wise.

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I DID IT!

I set myself a goal three months ago to ref a closed bout before the end of the year. I thought that was a pretty big goal.

This weekend though I reffed an open bout – and not just ANY open bout – it was the Hinnies v SSRG Crucibelles and the Tyne and Fear v The Inhuman League.

Double header. Home game. Plus Merby. Aye, bit of a crackers decision on my part for my first refferage.

My way of psyching myself up for things I’m nervous about is to talk about them lots. Tell everyone, and then you get used to people talking about it and it stops being a big deal. I posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram probably once every two seconds in the run up to it, JUST TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE.

I’d be OPRing. I’d try to not fall over. I’d try to not skate into anyone. I’d try to not make bad calls. Three things I was concentrating on not happening… so of course they did.

I checked my outfit with Sven, I wanted to wear pink – naturally – and stayed up til 1am the night before re-reading the rules.

Got to the venue (Concordia, Cramlington) early. First time I’d been there. Walked in to find Sven looking like he might vomit because the room wasn’t big enough. Dealt with some liaison issues (changing rooms, seating, booze, tracks etc) and then was told I had 15mins to kit-up and do my warm ups.

Loved OPRing with Zeb-Rarr and Arctic Roll (and then the second bout with Raege), totally supportive ladies who high fived me after my first call IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE FIRST BOUT. Jees. Was starting to think I’d lost my voice – every call I went to make someone else did so I didn’t make a SINGLE CALL in the first half. Totally got into my stride for the second half and the merby though. Even called two majors (whoop).

Hated not being able to congratulate skaters when they did ace moves on the track, but found it really easy to not be biased… I didn’t have the time to be.

Saw lots of penalties that I didn’t call (knew this would happen. Saw them, thought “hey, was that a forearms/elbows/clockwise?” just in time for the pack to have reached the other side of the track and no one to have fluttered an eye lid about it). Next time though. Next time.

Massive thank you to Sven, head ref for the bout who kept me calm even when I freaked out. Stiff for talking me through everything til I felt confident. Harrison Floored for seeing my wild CUT TRACK hand signals and trusting me. And finally the rest of the zebra huddle for helping me pop my zebra cherry.

Oh and yeah. Fell over once. In front of the TnF bench *fail*. Got skated-in-to twice. Once by a girl, once by a boy. Didn’t hurt. And last worry of the bout – messed up a call well and truly. Destruction of Pack Major no less. AH WELL.  It’s done now.

Was bought drinks and given a balloon and a card to celebrate. Ha. Gotta love the wonderful world of roller derby.

End of an era

Ever since getting into roller derby I’ve made sure I’ve been in some sort of position of power. I don’t know whether it’s because I am a control freak, or because people think I’ll be good and vote me in.

I started in MMR, as their Captain, until I moved to Newcastle, joined NRG, and was immediately voted in as the Vice Captain. There were a handful of months where I was title-less whilst on skates, but the less said about that the better.

So it’s with a heavy heart that I finally hang up the Vice title, and start my new life in derby, as A SKATER. (well, ref, bout liaison, announcer, bench manager, line up manager, coach, marketing person, etc etc… but you know what I mean, I can no longer wear that Heidi Seeker necklace saying “VICE” without it being an awkward comment on my social life).

It’s come out of the blue a little bit. I was content to be Vice until the year was through, playing with the refs, having a bash at everything until I found the perfect place to rest my sleaze-shaped-butt within the NRG. But then something happened.

I was questioned for something that I thought was positive. I was doing something to better my skills, and ultimately the league, but because I was seeing me as the new Ref Sleaze, and the league were still seeing me as teeth-in-tact-jammer-for-the-belters-vice-captain-of-their-league… there was some confusion as to what I was doing. It wasn’t a big thing, in fact it was just that I was trying to get in with other refs, learn some new tricks, make some new “ah, ref friends”, but it was construed as a negative.

NOW, I didn’t understand that at the time, and had to take a step back. I spoke to my Captain, and I thought about what the ideal outcome could be.

The only possible solution? Stop being the Vice.

It was no longer a viable option to lead a league from the side-lines, and it was no longer acceptable to expect the league to put up with that.

I resigned after talking to the BOD about how I want to finish off the work I started this year – it’s important to me to complete my responsibilities to the league – and hopefully i’ll be voted back on the BOD in the new year.

But until then, I’m going to chill out, stop worrying about being the skater I used to be, and become the skater I will be from now on. Wish me luck!

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When Gin-cidents work in your favour

One of the NRG’s skaters, Gin & Sonic, is known for perfoming “Gin-cidents”. It’s when something goes wrong as a direct result of her doing something. This is nearly always hilarious.

This time Gin bought tickets to a skate bootcamp she couldn’t attend, not hilarious, but it has worked in my favour because she’s swapped them for ref tickets so I can go and learn more reffing skills.

THANKS GIN. (How nice???)

It’s taking place next weekend, I’ll keep you posted on what I learn.

Three months in

Wow. It’s been three months since I joined Team Zebra.

So far I’ve learnt that there are a LOT more rules than I previously thought. That you blow four whistles three times in a set pattern to end a jam, and that Zebras are on the whole very accommodating.

I’m learning with Paul and Sarah, we’re at different levels but can still ask each-other questions which helps a lot. Paul has been doing the rear IPR position a lot lately and has got shit hot at it. I had a bash and can’t get my head round the pack distances at speed. I like being upfront in IPR, or going fast in the OPR position. No surprises there.

Training with MMR has proved invaluable for testing my ability to read and say numbers of people I don’t know… this is going to be the hardest part for me. I’ve got numerical dyslexia, so often get my numbers the wrong way round unless I’ve familiarised myself with them EXTENSIVELY. At an MMR practice I called player “23” player “12” because I make patterns with numbers and 3 follows 2… but my head just  took it a step further. GET IN, GOOD REF SKILLZ.

I know that skating with them has increased my confidence to make calls, and make them loudly, so I’m pleased I sucked it up and asked to ref with them. Gonna try to do this with as many other teams as possible now.

Oh, and my goal to ref a closed bout before the end of the year? Looks like it’s going to happen before the end of this month. Our lads team, the Tyne and Fear are taking on The Inhuman League in a double-header with The Whippin Hinnies taking on SSRG’s Crucibelles. We had to make it closed because it’s 18 days til the bout and we’ve still not secured a venue *stress*, so I’ve offered to OPR.

Sometimes it’s good to dive straight in. Right?

MMR v NRG

September 22nd my old team took on my new team.

I was pleased to not be playing in the end, and announced it with Natalie “Germaine Leer” Boxall instead. It was ace. We did pretty well actually.

The bout was epic. Panda broke her leg, Rocky bust her face, Terri graffiti’d her shoulder, and we all got drunk afterward.

Scores were:

Whippin Hinnies 133 – 50 MMR B team

Canny Belters 94 – 189 MMR A team

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