Naez T Bird - Gothenburg Roller Derby

‘It was the final jam, both jammers were lined up and ready to take off. Then the jammers hugged each other with huge smiles on their faces before the signal went off. In what other sport to you see that kind of love?’

(During the first ever international bout between Finland and Sweden)

This is Hank Oscarsson’s best memory during his time as an NSO.

Hank started out on skates in March 2011 and kept it up for a few months. Although he reckons his skating was not bad and learning the rules was not a problem it was combining them both that posed a challenge. Eventually the skates were left looking sad and lonely in his apartment until he sold them to a player in Västerås and settled back to pursue a career with Team No Fun. 

Are we not always wishing we had plenty of NSOs from which we could pick as many as we want for each bout we organise? Flamingoes need their flamboyance in order to keep up their good work and manage being hunted down to exhaustion by preying leagues and officials. It seems like our leagues are forever crying out to ask for their voluntary services.

Hank volunteers as an NSO on average 10 times a year depending on his work situation. You will find him among that splendid array of sober pink. Disguising his chuckle behind a bearded chin and with a twinkle in his eye - however stressed out other beginners may be.
Similar to other devoted NSOs  he has worked a lot of  the NSO positions only lacking Penalty Box Timer and Inside Whiteboard on his roller derby cv. His favourite  is scorekeeping because it gives him a chance to work with some of the best referees and practice in watching the bouts as an official.

Team No Fun usually, of course, has a lot more fun than the name suggests but lack of organisation can really put a damper on the party. Referees and NSOs invest time and money doing this because they love the sport and they really appreciate a locker room, water and something small to eat…or somewhere to put their bag down!
Hank says the worst experience, especially in a case like this, is if a player gets hurt so badly that they need an ambulance. That awful silence when all the audience and all players and officials are just sitting down quietly waiting for the player to be taken care of. He hopes and thinks that as the players are progressing and getting stronger and better there will be less of these incidents.

Countless officials both on skates and off skates spend a lot of money travelling to help out at bouts. The furthest Hank has previously been is Helsinki in Finland and and coming up next is West Track Story II at Nantes in France which he is really looking forward to.  Watch the players and appreciate the officials at the tournament! As for Hank, he is out to dazzle the French in his favourite NSO outfit: the pink t-shirt, pink tight shorts, pink knee-high socks and pink Converse. In fact you might have seen him before, nicknamed ‘Hank the Hottie’ in the live-feed, during the streaming of the bout at Helsinki.

All hail the NSOs!

Naez T Bird
Gothenburg Roller Derby

Photo courtesy of Bengt Persson at bengster design
Interview with Hank Henrik Oscarsson

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