So as usual a few weeks ago Quicksilver asked me if I was available to ref for Cen-Tex on March 18. A quick calendar check and I realized that I was in fact free so I quickly replied to quicksilver to let her know that I was free. She had me get in touch with Nero, Head ref for Cen-Tex, which I promptly did and let him know that I was willing and able to ref the bout that day. They’re scheduled to play Rocket City Roller girls and I’m quite familiar with that league, they’re just across town from my home league and from time to time I make it down to practice with them. I also know that their refs hadn’t gone out on the road much last season, so I messaged Sk8-B8 Rocket City’s head ref to jam ref for them. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how a ref crew works, generally the visiting team brings 2 refs and one of the 2 is the jam ref to adequately represent the visiting team. I know sk8-b8 doesn’t have jam ref experience and had assumed he’d let me, assuming no one else from his ref crew was going. Since I hadn’t heard back from him (no news is good news right?) and we had spoken about him getting in touch with Nero I thought all was kosher.
Long story short with alot of presumptions on all parties the air was finally cleared and sk8 b8 and chongo blanco were going to represent Rocket City, and if I was still available I could NSO. Hellz YEAH I wanna NSO. Now in case you didn’t know, Cen-Tex is Legend-wait for it—- DAIRY when it comes to hospitality. Of course all this is all hearsay about Cen-Tex and it could be a lie, just like the cake. However 18 different people from 6 different leagues can’t all be brainwashed… can they? However leagues are run as a business, after all and you don’t just give money away. Thats not to say other leagues’ mamas didn’t raise ‘em right we (I mean me) are still in the South after all, and where it can be spared, host leagues do ‘hook it up’. Be it a night in a hotel, a couch to crash on, drinks at the after party or just down right not letting me sit in a corner by myself at the after party. AND they go out of their way to make you feel at home and make you want to come back. I won’t go into details about Cen-Tex, it is their own personal touch but I’m glad to finally see what its about.
Of course derby is ALL about <3, granted on the track to me the skaters are just a color and a number (and what ever penalty I send them out for), and to the opposing team they are out to win and knock a bish down. But at after party’s both teams will congratulate each other on great plays, or a hit thats gonna be a bruise (derby girls are quite proud of these) or even to apologize for accidentally popping up to hard/fast and hitting the other girls face with their helmet. However comma this bout is different, why do you ask? Because this bout instead of reffing or being an NSO (both quite important jobs) I got to announce. I’m gonna let you in a little secret, I’ve wanted to announce for a while. But thats a story for another day, like in the off season… if i remember to tell it. Also I got to pop my cherry with PBJ aka Pretty Boo—er Private Been Jammin’ a skater-trainer-announcer who helped me learn to turnaround while skating and do tomahawk/turnaround toe stops.
So it’s game day and you would think I’d be nervous about announcing for the first time, Pfft my first bout as a ref was in a crowd of about 800 in a SANCTIONED bout with virtual strangers (refs) that stats of which were reported to WFTDA and my biggest concern was how slick the skate court was. I’m quite the opposite of normal, so of course I fit right in. Now PBJ has a season’s worth of announcing for Houston Roller Derby also guest announcing here and there. And knew to ask for the information regarding the sponsors and what information the sponsors wanted to relay to the crowd. Now I spent the previous night watching and cheering for a bout. Generally after a derby bout that I either spectate or officiate I get what I call ‘sexy voice’ it gets a gravelly rasp from all the yelling that, well, some women find sexy.. or at least exes have lied and told me so. Also I must say that thanks to Mr. Elton Carroll who taught me how to E-Nun-See-Ate my words and to PRO-JECT from my diaphragm my voice carried well. So with a lack of nervousness and a generally clear voice I was able to call some play by plays, banter with PBJ, follow her lead and segue into announcing and mentioning Cen-Tex’s sponsors.
A highlight of the night, for me, was Bill Smotrilla mentioning to PBJ that we were doing a good job. Hearsay from PBJ ,maybe he said she was doing a good job and she lied to me saying Bill say “y’all” or Bill was just being nice and including me, true or not I’ll take it. Especially since my cherry was getting popped and all.
The track at Cen-Tex is polished concrete, now generally some grippy wheels (84a-88a durometer rating) can keep the girls glued to the track. However Cen-Tex had the home field advantage and Rocket City is more accustomed to slick wood. Two very distinct surfaces. I had somewhat of a hard time staying up right and i was in tennis so a lot of the spills I saw Rocket City skaters take was quite understandable. Eventually in the 2nd half they got the hang of the floor but simply could not make a dent in the deficit from the first half. Ravoltin Rambo and Frisky Business were Rocket Citys star jammers being the most successful in gaining lead jammer status the times that RCRG was able to eek it out. Cen-Tex’s jammers Won-Drrty Woman, Annie Oops and Zee on the other hand readily sliced through the pack and got lead jammer status and fully took advantage of power jam situations each and every time. What I love about this sport the most is that no matter the score, skaters play like every jam matters. Rocket City didn’t roll over, they made Cen-Tex fight for every point they earned; Cen-Tex didn’t take it easy and coast on the point differential to win. I couldn’t be happier to get to announce under the wings and guidance of an experienced announcer for a bout that included some of the roughest girls on track whom are sweet hearts off track, hosted by none other than the TRULY legendary Cen-Tex Sirens for a Season Opener. Only thing that coulda made it better would be t have my derby sancha there or find a derby wife. All in all I’m glad for the opportunity and look for for the next time I get to announce AND/OR get to ref at Cen-Tex.