If there’s one topic that rollergirls, fans, coaches and announcers of all backgrounds, religions, sexual persuasions and economic brackets can all agree on, it’s that roller derby referees need to get they damn heads out of they damn asses. Happily, this press release from down south, provided by Nigel Toughnails, seems to indicate that a movement is afoot to make sure that just because a given referee may have an ass, he or she does not necessarily have to have his or head inside it.
On November 17th, flat track derby referees from 5 states met in Raleigh, NC to learn about, and discuss all elements of derby reffing. Led by veteran east region referees Nigel Toughnails and Voodoo, the six hour clinic featured lecture-style knowledge sharing and discussion, scrimmage practice, and an intimate look at reffing for the Carolina Rollergirls vs. B.ay A.rea G.irls bout. Featured subject matter at the clinic included proper track setup, pre-bout communication, support staff coordination, presentation of WFTDA Rules Appendices B and C, and best practices for each reffing position.
After the knowledge sharing lectures, visiting referees got the opportunity to apply their new knowledge in a 90 minute scrimmage session played by Carolina skaters. Clinic attendees were also given a unique opportunity to sit in on B.ay A.rea G.irls/Carolina refs/captains meeting and and watch the featured bout and see much of the clinic material presented in practice. 19, Head Ref for the Bleeding Heartland Roller Girls, even took on a role as a skating ref in that bout.
In addition to learning new techniques and networking with other refs in the region, attendees got to take home packets with over 20 pages of forms, notes, and resources to take back to their leagues. Clinic organizers and attendees, alike, left the weekend with a great deal of confidence that inter-leagues in the region would be conducted with greatly increased consistency and organization.
What some attendees had to say:
“The clinic was fantastic and I learned so much. As a brand new ref I had lots of questions, and having the opportunity to learn from more experienced referees was very gratifying. The opportunity to network and meet other leagues was a lot of fun, and super benefical in growing a more united derby community.” -Death Starlet (Dominion Derby Girls)
“It was very useful to see the mechanics and logisitics of the reffing process start to finish, being able to sit in on the refs and captains meeting, see the pre-bout communications, see the level of involvement and communication between the refs in the league, and see how the reffing and stats keeping process interface.” -Rockaway Beatch (Palmetto State Rollergirls)
“I’ll definitely say this clinic was worth the 12 hour drive there. Major pub to Nigel Toughnails for leading the group. I seriously applaud the efforts of people willing to go the extra mile to help out the new leauges. It is exactly the type of attitude that will keep roller derby rolling for a long time. …It was an honor to be there!!!” -19 (Bleeding Heartland Roller Girls)
“James Bomb and I really enjoyed the clinic and found it to be of great future benefit for our league.” -Esoterica Cain (Cape Fear Roller Girls)
“From a skater standpoint I really thought it was a terrific workshop! I feel like I learned a lot about skating from hearing what you had to say about being a ref. Seeing the way that refs view the game and exactly how much work is involved in reffing was a great learning experience. We got a lot of valuable information to share with anyone interested in reffing.” -Bout Girl (skater attendee, Palmetto State Rollergirls)
“I know I learned a bunch of things and will be using them to make me a better ref.” -Grumpy Old Man (Charlotte Rollergirls)
“The clinic gave us a lot of ideas to bring back to our league which will make for a good start in ’08.” -James Bomb (Cape Fear Roller Girls)