Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Well, here I am.

Despite having not blogged for a while, I still have lots of blog ideas. I actually am halfway through writing a very nice post about my in-laws. That will have to wait. Because craziness and roller derby have happened.

If you don’t find roller derby (or specifically, my roller derby stories) interesting, please skip this post. Check back later for the post on my in-laws.

I’ve been reffing since October. I started training in April of last year, but wasn’t ready to ref at an actual bout until October. Since then I’ve reffed about 10 bouts. At any given bout, you use 7 referees. Four of these refs skate in the middle of the track, in a small oval (about 20x60 feet) that will contain these four refs, and up to four non-skating officials, as well as the penalty tracking whiteboard and whatever gear the crew needs. The other three refs skate around the outside in a relay pattern, each ref skates for half the track and then hands it off to the next ref. We call them Outside Pack Refs.

Generally, you put your most experienced refs in the middle of the track and your least experienced refs on the outside of it. The three refs on the outside are there to call penalties and help support the calls of the refs inside the track. The refs inside the track have a bigger task. Two of them are in charge of defining who is “in-play”, who is out of play, where “play” even is and a bunch of other hard stuff. We call them Inside Pack refs.

The two remaining refs inside the track are the Jam Refs. Remember, in Roller Derby (maybe I need to do a post explaining roller derby…) only one skater from each team can score points. She is called the Jammer, and she scores points by having her hips pass the hips of skaters from the opposing team. For every skater she passes legally, she gets a point. Since Jammers are so important, each Jammer gets a ref assigned just to her (the Jam Refs). These refs are responsible for keeping track of the Jammer’s penalties and for keeping score.

I’ve only ever been an Outside Pack Ref. Sure in practice I’ve tried the other positions a time or two, but usually, I’m outside the pack. Its lower pressure and lower responsibility.  Lately I’ve been practicing reffing from inside the pack. On Saturday, I’ve been asked to Jam Ref.

My first response was “Jesus No”. My second response came after I remembered that we are trying to ref about with only 5 refs instead of 7, and I’m the third most experienced ref of the bunch. So I said I’d do what the crew needs me to do, and remembered that they wouldn’t ask me to Jam Ref unless I was the best choice. So I said I’d do what we needed done, and freaked out a bit.

The bout is on Saturday and I am already having nightmares of scoring incorrectly or otherwise screwing something up. I don’t know if I could be more nervous, but I’m trying to just accept that this is happening and not worry about what ifs.

So here I am.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Many uses, one hat.

I've never been good about remembering where I parked my car. When I lived in Minnesota, I just always parked my car in the same places. On the far side of Macy's, near the display with the scarves; in the second to last row on the left hand side of Target; near the green lamppost at the movie theater. If you always park in the same place, you always know where your car is (thanks mom).

But I haven't really done that in Ann Arbor. Where I park is usually just determined by how close to my destination I can get. If its in a surface lot or on the street, i can find the car just fine. But when I'm in a ramp...I end up going from floor to floor.

Today was another one of those days. I parked the car in the 4th spot from the stairs, put on my panda hat and dashed off to dinner. When Brian and I returned for the car, I warned him that we might have to do some walking. On level three, with the sounds of another couple walking up behind us, we stepped out of the stairwell to check for the car. Returning to the stairwell, I said "I'm pretty sure its on the next floor." From two stairs above, a strange man said "Not to be creepy, but your car is on the next floor. I recognize your hat."

Distinctive, no?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My name is....

While on a webinar recently, the speaker asked for one of the participant’s names. His response:
“Yes my name is aaaaahhh ummmm Paul aaahhhh ummmm Smith and I’m from aaaaahhhummmm United Way of aaahhhh ummm South Carolina.”

Now, it might have just been the accent, but I was pretty sure he needed a moment before he could remember his name.

Doesn’t that seem just a bit sketchy?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sorry “Ted”

I have a coworker who is a really nice guy. He’s sweet, he loves his work and is clearly dedicated to the work we do.

But he drives me nuts.

He and I both get in to the office very early in the morning. I do this out of necessity most days—you can get so many emails answered if you don’t have to worry about other ones coming in, not to mention how easy it is to prepare for meetings before anyone else comes in and breaks the printer.

But morning times are me times. The other day Brian woke up an hour before his alarm and needed to use the bathroom. I was pretty pissed that he had so thoughtlessly interrupted my time to get ready in the morning. That’s right, I was so angry, I begrudged someone using the bathroom.

I don’t want to talk in the morning. That’s what 9am is for. Any time before 9, is off limits for chatting.

But Ted wants to chat. What’s more, Ted wants to mumble half the story and/or start the story half way through, as if I pay close attention to all his work projects and his personal life. He says things like “Friday went so well, we had two hundred people turn out and I was there until midnight,” and while he will continue, he will never explain what was happening on Friday, unless you interrupt him to ask, but this generally starts him on a whole new track.

Its sweet, really, that he wants to share the good things that are happening in our work. But I do not want to share until 9am. Today, I realized that I was going to hell when I walked into the kitchen, saw him standing by the coffee maker and then jumped back behind the door so he wouldn’t see me.

Honestly, who hides from sweet coworkers who just want to chat?!

And now I wonder how many coworkers hide when they see me coming.

I would walk 500 miles, just to talk with you

As I’ve already posted, I’m supposed to walk 10,000 steps a day. To put it in perspective, I can work a 10 hour day and not break 3,000 steps. Getting in 10,000 takes thought and persistence. Which Hansens apparently have in spades.

I went to Chicago this weekend to celebrate an early Thanksgiving with my family (this is what happens when 2/6ths of the family don’t like to travel on holidays and 2/6ths have unpredictable work schedules). When I arrived on Friday, I only had about 4,000 steps. So I asked my dad to go for a walk before dinner. And after dinner. And before bed. And we made it! 10,000 steps, despite almost 6 hours in the car!

The next day, I alternated walks with Mom, walks with Dad and walks with parent + sister. It was really nice. Because you never just walk, you get to walk and talk. We talked about my wedding, mom’s recovery, dad’s retirement, loosing grandpa, getting ready to say goodbye to the dog, children, roller derby, sister's house, my job, mom’s job, Brian’s lactose intolerance. Really, everything.

It was wonderful. I not only achieved a goal I set for myself every day, but I got to spend more quality time with my family than I would have otherwise. I love it when we’re all together, but getting to take these walks for one on one time was a beautiful gift.

Until I got home on Sunday and spent 45 minutes pacing the living room to get my steps in. Then this seemed like bullshit.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First Bout

I reffed my first roller derby bout on Saturday. I spent the morning pouring over the officials manual and rule book, nearly suffocating myself with nervous energy. What if I missed a call? What if I made a bad call? What if someone called me out for missing a call?!

Unfortunately, this nervous “what if” mindset turned out for the worse. In fear of making a bad call—or of having to chase a girl repeating the call—I made no calls. Well, there was a single call, but it was a technicality the player told us she was about to commit (derby strategy, I’ll explain it to y’all some other time).

After the bout ended, my fellow refs filled me with suggestions and tips. They helped me map out a plan for what to do at the next bout—including muttering minor calls to myself and chasing down whoever needs to be chased.

I wish I could say I walked away exhilarated and accomplished, but it just wasn’t the case. I love skating. I love being a part of derby. I think I can learn to love reffing. But the day didn’t end with joy. I was tired. My feet hurt. I was sad I didn’t have a better showing at my first bout. The closest to success I came was that no one hit me in the face (like what happened to one of the inside pack refs) and I didn’t run into any of the spectators (like one of the outside pack refs).

But I’ll be reffing again in November. It’s not a bout my league is playing in, so the pressure of people you know seeing you screw up is somewhat relieved, and I just might actually make a call.

Monday, October 24, 2011


On Saturday, Ann Arbor held its first Slut-Walk. For folks who don’t troll the feminist blogs, Slut-Walk is a response to a Toronto police officer advising women to prevent sexual assault by “not dressing like sluts.” Slut-Walk’s goal is to remind everyone that no matter what a woman wears, she is not asking for violence to be perpetrated against her.

I’ve been on the fence about Slut-Walk, if only because of how I know it will be viewed instead of its intention. Most participants in Slut-Walk wear provocative clothing which I know can quickly move from empowerment in the moment to objectification on the internet. I also don’t want an activity that is supposed to be about fighting victim blaming to turn into the reclamation (can you reclaim what was never yours?) of a word that i really don’t like in the first place.

But, I thought Slut-Walk would be a good opportunity to shamelessly self- promote roller derby and show that roller girls care about more than just our sport. And since pretty much everything that we commonly wear to practice would be under that police officer’s definition of “slutty,” I think derby should be there, reminding the world that clothes do not make the woman.

So, teamed up with some roller-friends, I went. I struggled with the chants, like I do at every rally, because I think issues are too complex to be distilled into a bumper sticker. So while the group was yelling “What do we do when we’re under attack? Stand up, fight back!” (ugh), I joked to my friends that we needed to be chanting “Consent is a clear and freely given yes, not the absence of a no!” A reporter walking near us thought that was the best thing she had ever heard so I gave her some quotes about the movement and about violence.

While there were lots of things I didn’t like about the walk (like the complicated issues of cars honking to show support for the rally—or honking because of the way women are dressed at the rally), I liked talking to the three different reporters who interviewed me. It was nice to use my knowledge of issues of sexual violence again. It was nice to be able to talk about this complex issue in a setting other than a nice time with friends made suddenly uncomfortable when work comes up.

It’s been a while since I was active in that work, but it felt really good to be back.

See, look here! They quoted me, although they left the best part of the quote for the second page