HRD’s star of the month for March is our dear Dr. No-No! She joined our officiating crew in September of 2014 and has been an integral part of our league since. This talented referee has been a regular face in the Finnish derby scene, especially in games in southern Finland. She is also one of Suomi Cup’s head referees for this year, so we will be seeing a lot of her and her officiating during this year.
Dr. No-No’s story with derby began in 2007 when she saw her first bout with Ventura County Derby Darlins in California. Like many other Americans, she had seen roller derby on TV in the 1980s but never really watched it. She learned about the sport from her university friend Ying O’Fire who played with Windy City Rollers already in 2005, but her interest toward derby grew with Ventura.
Her first NSO experience was with newly founded Mission City Brawlin’ Betties in the summer of 2009. The founder of Brawlin’ Betties, Dita de los Muertos, needed helping hands with scrimmages and games. “I had already done my best to understand the rules as a fan, but the total immersion in the officiating culture and the rules really trapped me,” she says. In 2010 she moved across the pond to Berlin, Germany and joined Bear City Roller Derby as an official (doing both refereeing and NSOing) and stayed with them until the summer of 2014 when she moved to Finland. During her long derby career she has never tried playing and is happy to stay on the officiating side: “Those players are way too tough for me!”
For Dr. No-No, seeing what skaters can achieve is one of the best things in officiating. In addition, she is motivated by the fact that the officials put together a team at every event -a scrimmage, a game, a tournament- and have never before worked together in that combination. That motivation will hopefully continue for a long time since her future plans include being a trainer and trainee of roller derby (especially the officiating side of it) for another decade. Her goals in officiating have been to learn from others, to pass on what she has learned and to keep the doors open for different ways to be better. At HRD she has already shared her wisdom with our newer referees.
The hardest thing in her derby career has been to learn how to be wrong and still keep playing. “Luckily, skaters and my fellow officials keep making me a better person and official through criticism and compliments,” she says. Maybe that is behind her choice for derby idols: She names newbie officials and fresh meat as her favorites: “They are so brave.”
Lastly Dr. No-No reveals the story behind her derby name. She loves science fiction, and the James Bond movie “Dr. No” was one of the first popular sci-fi movies ever released. Since she is so often saying “No no!” to skaters, and she’s a doctor of sociology in real life, the combination made sense. She now works as a coordinator specializing in scientific communication at Aalto University. In her spare time she does power yoga, first aid and reads obsessively.
“The only thing that surpasses Dr. No-No’s passion for the game is her respect for the skaters who play it. She is honest, open, thoughtful and considerate with a confidence and strength that motivates and leads others to excellence.” – Master Blaster, Bear City Roller Derby.
Text by Satu H
Photos by Marko Niemelä