Well mid last week I got final word that Doc would need jam ref for his bout on the 28th. After some back and forth Steven was going to be Outside Pack, Geri was going to NSO and I was going to be Jam Ref. Now when traveling to officiate, skating or non, with other leagues I have no expectations other than a good time, though a frosty beverage at the after party or merch sometimes makes their way into my hands but thats just all gravy. So when Doc offered us a room to crash at his place I was thrilled. “Now we won’t have to leave the after party early to make it home to our own bed!” was my first thought.
However game day we get a message that the room was now spoken for a family member, but don’t worry we’ll help you get a room. I understood it as doing the legwork of finding a cheap nearby hotel and giving us the choice which would best fit our budget. A bit of miscommunication but long story short they got us a room! Holy cow, not that it’s unheard of, just it’s not something that happens with a young league. So we check in to the hotel drop off some stuff then grab some dinner before the bout. However someone forgot to bring their shorts to ref in… so we had to go to target so I could buy—er someone could buy a pair.
So we make it to the venue meet up with Doc and get the lowdown on how they operate. he’s quite meticulous, and covers all bases. Of course we only met cursory at a training camp earlier this month and are aware of each other ref skills, we have not worked together yet. It’s better to err on the side of caution, after all if something goes wrong finger inevitably point to the head ref-GULP.
Track is laid down, small snafu but we make it work. Everyone knows their assignments, which NSO they have to coordinate with and so forth. LETS DERBY! first few jams go off without a hitch. About 5th jam in, I look over my shoulder to check how many opposing skaters are in the pack, in case I missed a skater heading to the box. 1, 2/jammer, 3, pivot/4, 5, six. SIX? 6? 6?! wait how’s I turn to look at penalty box and my jammer is frantically calling off the jam. TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET!
WHOA! how’d that happen? I skate over to Doc quickly and let him know, too many on track and count the black skaters as they go off track, 1,2,3,4,5,6. He goes over and deals with it. 5 on 5 at beginning of jam, however black had one skater in box and none of us refs noticed. Hey we’re refs not perfect. It only happened one more time, the too many skaters. I missed calling off the jam by half a second one or two more times maybe three.
Now I must say, for Doc’s first bout as head ref he did quite well, MUCH better than what I would call the worst bout I have worked. I won’t mention when or where it was, few in the derby community who know me definitely know which bout i’m referring to. This was by far a much better run bout than that. I only had two criticisms which I shared with Doc, one of which the fault lies with us as refs, NSOs and skaters for not knowing or following the rules. The best thing is everyone had fun, no one got hurt and everyone is still friends at the end of the bout.
Once we were at the after party I made my way around and thanked a few people for having me and was thanked for coming down (even though it was coming up from Houston) and complimented the announcer and some skaters for their skill and one in particular for keeping her cool when she very much disagreed (with her eyes) on a Major penalty I called her for, twice. My usual shenanigans of going over calls, the bout and situations we’ve seen “what would you have called” etc with some frosty beverages til the bar staff started ushering us out the door. Now that we were outside, and Felonious Monkey was hip checking everyone with all the might she could muster. Which for Steven and myself amounted to being poked with boney hips, we were invited to the after after party held at one of the skaters house, but “I only have like 30 beers left”. That was enough for the who was invited, however John Wayne Stacy thought that it wasn’t.
Hilarity ensues, after we arrive because somehow, beer, cookies, a toaster and a skater manage to fall on the floor at different times within a one hour period. Fortunately I don’t drink very much so I was quite aware of everything that was going on, although I had no clue where I was (I don’t know the Dallas area at all) All in all it was a great way to end a day that started about 16 hours earlier with a road trip up north.