Itâ€™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 â€œpre-bout rituals.â€ Weâ€™re pretty sure Sod Off (Ohio) will most likely never run out of pencils or have a non-working stopwatch. She says: â€œI 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.â€
Although not out there blocking and jamming (although we have seen some pretty impressive moves) skating officials work hard to earn the â€œskatingâ€ part of this title. Like many beginning skaters this isnâ€™t always an easy task. Jules and Regulations (Canada), shares something that challenged her in the beginning: â€œTo have an effective ‘underpusher’ when crossing overâ€.
The learning is continuous, says The Gorram Reaver (Wisconsin): â€œI 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 wheelsâ€.
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:. â€œWhat 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.â€ Pachinko’s (New York) advice was more sanguine: â€œThis is a hobby. When it becomes a job, quit.â€
Itâ€™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: â€œAt the risk of sounding clichÃ©d, 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’.â€
Pachinko mentions that moments of pride and/or fulfillment are often not only about the job an official does, but the people they influence: â€œ2 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: â€œCheetah. Smaller turning radiusâ€.
Jules and Regulations: â€œ… It depends on other factors …â€
Julius Pleaser: N/A
Sod Off: â€œNo contest. Great white shark.â€
Matt S. Faction: â€œTrick question – they’re known to be best friends in the wild.â€
Anyone who says there is a lack of consistency in officiating …
… should probably not read this last part.
Tournament Head NSO: Stabby McNeedles
||Kill C Grammar
|The Gorram Reaver
||Morgue N Donor
||Booth (Punk Kittie)
|Morgue N Donor
||Bubbles De Smeare
|Bubbles De Smeare
Tournament Head Referee: Major Wood
|Matt S. Faction
||null ptr ref
|Wernher Von Bombed
|Tawl Glass O Wadda
||Roo Lyn Forcer
|Jules And Regulations
||Harm N. Killabrew