Preview: The Officials of Kalamazoo WFTDA Division 2 Playoff


It’s Week Two of WFTDA tournament season and the last weekend of the Inaugural D2 tournaments, which means another round of people in striped jerseys and pink polos out (and sometimes in) on the track, keeping things in order and documented.

This weekend brings another strong set of crews, headed up by Tournament Head Ref Major Wood (Tennessee) and Tournament Head NSO Stabby McNeedles (Ohio).

As with most skaters, Refs and NSOs have “pre-bout rituals.” We’re pretty sure Sod Off (Ohio) will most likely never run out of pencils or have a non-working stopwatch. She says: “I always check that my mechanical pencil, backup mechanical pencil, and backup for my backup mechanical pencil have lead. If working in a timing position, I have an obsessive need to test the start/time/reset functions of my stopwatches about twenty times before the start of the bout. Button one … yup, still works. Button two … yes, that one works, too. Repeat. I’m one step away from becoming Rain Man.”

Although not out there blocking and jamming (although we have seen some pretty impressive moves) skating officials work hard to earn the “skating” part of this title. Like many beginning skaters this isn’t always an easy task. Jules and Regulations (Canada), shares something that challenged her in the beginning: “To have an effective ‘underpusher’ when crossing over”.

The learning is continuous, says The Gorram Reaver (Wisconsin): “I still feel like there are always things for me to work on, and I hope I always do. If I ever feel like I’ve completely mastered skating technique it’s probably time for me to hang up the wheels”.

How do these officials recommend you start if you have ambitions of one day being bedecked in stripes of your own? Crew Head Ref (and and another official from the Great White North) Matt S. Faction offers this advice:. “What I usually tell people is to go for broke and give it a shot. I’ll even help find them gear to borrow so they don’t need to shell out a ton of money to find out it’s not for them.” Pachinko’s (New York) advice was more sanguine: “This is a hobby. When it becomes a job, quit.”

It’s no secret that these Officials work hard to get where they are. Time and money is spent attending tournaments, clinics, and practice. With all of this come moments of pride that, like skaters, make the especially difficult moments of roller derby worth it.

For Julius Pleaser (Oregon) there is more than he could list: “At the risk of sounding clichéd, it’s difficult to qualify a proudest moment; there really have been many proud moments. Whether it’s the “a-ha!” moment while learning a new skill, reaching a milestone, or helping others with their advancement, it all lends to … well, less ‘pride’ and more ‘fulfillment’.”

Pachinko mentions that moments of pride and/or fulfillment are often not only about the job an official does, but the people they influence: “2 years ago, a skater from Glasgow asked if he could use a derby name that was similar to my men’s derby skater name. I had recently retired, so I agreed. Last November after a tournament afterparty in Berlin, that skater found me and bought me beers.”

To wrap up this article, I want to share some info that will truly give you, the readers, insight on the people who again, were gracious enough to help me compile this interview.

Who would win in a fight , great white shark or a cheetah? (all things being rated equally)

Pachinko: “Cheetah. Smaller turning radius”.
Jules and Regulations: “… It depends on other factors …”
Reaver: “KITTEH!”
Julius Pleaser: N/A
Sod Off: “No contest. Great white shark.”
Matt S. Faction: “Trick question – they’re known to be best friends in the wild.”

Anyone who says there is a lack of consistency in officiating …

… should probably not read this last part.

Full Crews

Non-Skating Officials

Tournament Head NSO: Stabby McNeedles

Sho’Nuff Kill C Grammar Dr. Frak-n-stein
Molotov Rawktail Pitzy Brawn Hilde
The Gorram Reaver Hoodie Morgue N Donor
Diamond Dust Wishbone Breaker Thunder Rogue
Refe Loco Full Nelson Screama Donna
A Grue Mac Ramaniac Amelia Dareheart
Circuit Broad Jeri Riggs Wishbone Breaker
Brawn Hilde GalVaTron Booth (Punk Kittie)
Morgue N Donor Bubbles De Smeare Pitzy
Thunder Rogue Kirsten Court Marshall
Hoodie John Brawls A Grue
John Brawls FN Zebra Molotov Rawktail
Bubbles De Smeare Screama Donna Mariah Scary
Sod Off Diamond Dust Mac Ramaniac
GalVaTron Circuit Broad Sod Off

Skating Officials

Tournament Head Referee: Major Wood

Matt S. Faction null ptr ref Tootie Tinwhistle
Wernher Von Bombed Penny Whistler Pachinko
Jim Schmidt Dizzy Duzher Machete Holiday
Tawl Glass O Wadda Julius Pleasar Rossome
Deuce Willis Roo Lyn Forcer Laddie
Danziger Just Mo Bonezy Adams
David Feck’em ZDORK Ro$ Vega$
Jules And Regulations Harm N. Killabrew Trickless Magician

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