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.


  1. So it will be exciting and challenging, and you will improve, and that is a goal, right? Your focus is great...so just don't be nervous...and for heaven's sake, don't get hit in the mouth, loose any teeth, or break any bones.

  2. Yeah, to your mom's point... how soon before the wedding will you call it a break from derby to make sure you're in one piece??

  3. Yeah, the plan is to stop after my bout on 6/2. although i keep thinking, "What if i put it off until after the July Bout?" but that's gonna be a slippery slope.