And the February 2015 Volunteer Gold Star Award for Excellence goes to……drumroll please…. Doc Holliday! He puts in many volunteer hours reffing adult and junior bouts and scrimmages. He takes his reffing job seriously, but we see that he has an awesome sense of humor as well. We asked him some questions and here are his answers:
Do you remember your first Rose City Rollers bout? Where and when?
During RCR’s season 1 in 2006, I planned twice to attend a game, but I didn’t get my tickets early enough and they were sold out 2-4 weeks in advance. In November, I happened to Meet Psychotica who had just been drafted to the Heathers
. She mentioned that RCR
was looking for refs and I should try it out. The first RCR game I saw was the Season 2 season opener when I was reffing in the middle of the track.
Doc showing his fun side as OPR in the Brides of March during one of the first Buds bout at the Hangar. Photo by Psychotica
Did you ever want to be a skater?
Many times. I went to the first few PMRD practices in an asphalt basketball court, but I’ve had my own small business since before derby and if I even sprain a finger it would shut down. That has kept me from doing anything beyond reffing and just a few pick-up scrimmages early on.
Why have you stayed involved with RCR?
Initially, it was just something cool I could do on skates. I started outdoor skating 37 years ago. Within the first few months, though, I knew there was something unusual going on. There’s a very hard to explain or describe culture within roller derby, of support and inclusiveness, that is unlike anything else I have ever seen or heard about. The movie Brutal Beauty and the short video that Cuss and and her crew released just before champs do the best job explaining it that I have yet seen.
Photo by Regularman
What was your favorite volunteer experience?
I went on a road trip to Vancouver B.C. with the Heathers in 2007 or 2008 which happened for no other reason than just to scrimmage and hang out with the Terminal City
league. I did a bunch of reffing and a bunch of impromptu bar tending that weekend. It still stands out as my favorite derby experience ever.
What has being in RCR volunteer meant to you?
I’ve never done any other sports officiating before and have never been very interested in sports in general. Reffing derby has taught me that I’ve been a rules nerd since birth. I get a lot of satisfaction in facilitating the environment in which a sports competition can take place: everyone knows the rules and they are implemented evenly and fairly. Without that, any ‘sport’ is just a bunch of random people doing random things for no particular purpose. Also, when I try to imagine what I would be doing right now if derby never happened to exist when it did, I can’t help but think that my life would be be much more drab.
Do you have a favorite skater and/or official or a great derby crush?
Many and various over the years. That’s another aspect of the crucible of derby. People enter it from all areas and walks of life and it strips away all the clutter of the outside world and just leaves people who enjoy what they are doing for its own sake. I’ve met and gotten to know so many people on a more basic level than I would normally know outside of a small circle of friends. Scald Eagle
is a fantastic human being. Her amazing athleticism, goofiness, humility, and equal joy of being on the giving or receiving end of the biggest hits is a wonder to behold.
Doc showing us one of his many fantastic skills. Photo by Mika
How has RCR changed since you began volunteering?
I joined RCR right around the time the league made a rule that skaters could not have a shot or three just before skating in a practice or a bout. It was very controversial. Now the Wheels of Justice
train at an Olympic athlete’s level.
Is there anything RCR could do better for its volunteers?
Like everything in life, league appreciation of volunteers is cyclical. This is especially true for the refs. Everyone hates the ref at one point or another, right? At the moment we’re short on officials in all positions, so I think there’s more that can and should be done for volunteer recruitment and retention by the skaters, I’m just not sure what it is.
How does it feel to be a Gold Star Award for Excellence in Volunteering winner?
A little recognition and appreciation is always nice.
I don’t know. I’ve wondered the same thing. I don’t see myself stopping skating or moving anytime soon, so it seems likely I’d just keep reffing. I’ve come close to leaving RCR twice. There were two especially low points of skater-ref relations in the league that did drive a number of volunteers away permanently. I hung in there and things eventually turned around again.
Photo by Mika
Any suggestions for new volunteers or those considering volunteering with RCR?
Just try it. There’s no other sport or culture like roller derby. It’s an amazing phenomenon that’s much less common than a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’s something you’ll be glad to remember, rather than hear stories about it years and decades from now about what you missed.
For any volunteers that have been at it a while and might be getting a bit burned out, go help out with a game for a smaller local league. I know, it doesn’t seem to make sense to be burned out and then do more, but trust me, it works. The energy in the smaller, newer leagues is more like RCR was in the early days. I find it refreshes me to be around that “OMG, OMG, OMG!! I GOT LEAD JAMMER!!!” mentality again.