In derby there’s good, bad and ugly and it can all be nothing short of amazing. Last season I had the opportunity to jam ref with Skruff McDuffie in Lake Charles. I can’t recall the first time I worked with Short Fuse but he’s all over Louisiana and Texas but it was well before Belle Ringer. Hell’s Hand & I worked together in Pasadena once when his team played there —I have to admit this was one of the bad’s not Hell’s Hand, just a bad situation, I might write about it in the off season.
Magnolia Roller Vixens had a very impressive track warm up. Some of their drills were unorthodox, but they made a lot of sense. Like a drill in which they’d purposely roll over the track boundary, to get a feel for it, and then recycle or jump back into the pack. They were fierce, and though displeased with some calls and a perceived lack of calls, some may have been justified. They were quite prim and proper as to not argue or yell at the refs, they let their captain and alternate do so to the head ref, during timeouts, as it should be.
Acadiana has a very nice venue, its essentially a indoor hockey rink, but its very clean. The music and announcer, Stash Merkin, was at just the right level. Speaking of the announcing, having done so a time or two, I wholeheartedly respect how easy they make a difficult job seem. MORESO having to do it by yourself. The National Anthem was played by a skating violinist, very interesting and moving all at once.
Now as far as the game goes, it was very fast paced with a few hiccups, but the ref crew was quite fair in all their calls. From what I understood of the complaints, it seemed that there is a misunderstanding on the skater/coach/training side as to Out of Play and No Pack situations as well as Destruction of Pack. Both teams had skaters sitting in the box because of the lack of understanding. But I think at halftime Short Fuse was able to clear that for the coaching staff, because the second half seemed to have less of those penalties.
Otherwise the game was played quite cleanly by both teams. There were of course some elbows and forearm penalties, and a few multi-player blocks. As a ref, in time you can get an eye for a team that’s playing to the best of their ability and a team that’s trying to win at any cost. Both teams last night showed, me at least, the former.
OrgAnnica is an amazing head NSO, very little escapes her. There were a few times that I or another outside pack ref sent a skater to the box for a major. We think we’re loud enough for the inside refs/NSOs to hear us. Sometimes this is true, however there were a few times that a skater was in the box and I could see OrgAnnica points and asking her wranglers, and I’m guessing here, “who has Teal (number’s) penalty?”. When they’d shrug and say “I dunno” she’d look to the outside and find the out of rotation ref and point to the skater. Then we’d hand signal the penalty and point that it was a major, she’d give us the thumbs up, and the pack would be back around on us.
All in all I had a great time, a good cigar, a decent after party meal, played “get to know an NSO” for about 6 hours, and can’t wait for the next time I get to go to Louisiana.