Lafayette Saturday Night

So I get a text message from Poussiere on September 24th asking if I was available to ref on the 28th. Now you may not know but refs generally get booked from at least a month to about 10 months out.

Sometimes refs back out or forget to confirm or any multitude of reasons. But basically Rude Jude of Acadiana was a little panicked. Once he knew I was confirmed “a weight was lifted” off his shoulders. I know the feeling, noob refs need bout and scrimmage time to improve their craft. But you can’t have a well officiated bout with 6 noobs and a head ref.

In any case I felt appreciated and proud to be thought of as fair and experienced enough to be a “go to” ref to come out and ref. Believe me I am by no means implying that I’m a great ref, but I think I’m better than mediocre and above all unbiased. Yes I am friends with a few skaters from various leagues off track. I’m also refs with various refs, NSOs, announcers and volunteers.

I was glad for the opportunity to ref with some old friends I hadn’t reffed with for over a year.

For those that care Acadiana’s All stars lost to Gulf Coast Roller girls, and the Red Sirens (acadiana’s B team) beat the Voo Doo (I forgot the second part) Gulf Coast’s B team.

Stash Merkin once again rocked the announcer mic solo for both bouts doing the color commentary and play by play quite well. Yes I was paying attention to the game at hand, but amplified speakers manage to filter their way in.

Sorry for the late post but work has been more hectic than it has been as of late.

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First of the year

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Stash & DJ TJ (Photo credit: Matthew Prejeant)

So this past Saturday was my first time this season reffing a bout with the new ruleset. I’ve announced a few games and watched a few under the new ruleset. But I finally found an opportunity to get in on skates.

The most interesting thing is that this weekend was pretty big for derby, a lot of people were in Dallas for Clover Cup AND several leagues had their season opener the same weekend. I had already committed to Acadiana and not to long after was asked to ref in a few other places. Not that I’m in high demand, more like a short supply.

I had a brain fantastic during the bout, like calling off the jam when my jammer was not lead. After telling her she can’t because she was out of bounds. I meant not lead, but another ref said “yes she can” and in that instant I forgot that she in fact was not lead jammer and called it off. Fortunately that was my only major snafu, but it wasn’t the only one of the bout. They happen, not too often but more than they should. Then again, as Short Fuse says “when they skate a perfect game we’ll call a perfect game”

Coach Friday for Acadiana, post bout told me that I was the most consistent with my calls. He didn’t agree with all of mine, but he likes that I’m consistent and suck “just as bad both ways” I think he meant for both teams but this was at the after party and I’m sure it made more sense in his head.

In any case I got to chat a bit with my favorite announcers in Louisiana. Catch up with some friends and have that overall feeling of community with all my derby sisters and brothers.

I wanna thank Wicked Weezy for the ride in from the airport. Finally have a face for the name. As well as giving me a renewed perspective on fruit roll ups. To Bulldog for flying me in, who knew a ref could be a pilot? Unfortunately now I’ll never want to fly commercial again.  Stash for the stogie and to all of Acadiana and Cajun RG for having me out for a night of derby.

This Weekend in Derby

Holy crap!
Saturday I’m going to be in Lake Charles Jam Timing. Acadiana Rollergirls v Gulf Coast RG ranked #1 offense & #2 in defense respectively according to Derby South rankings.

Whats derby south? Im glad you asked, its an informal division of southern derby leagues across Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida .. And I feel like I’m forgetting a state. Leagues oft known as ‘renegade’ as well as WFTDA apprentice, the ranking system as well as other stats predictions are quite accurate. Last years Derby South Tournament, Belle Ringer held in Gulfport Miss had a predition writeup and post tourney article in DNN South Central. This year itll be held in Mobile Alabama. I certainly hope to make the cut for ref crew.

Its that time again! Alamo City Rollergirls 3rd Annual Mashup is upon us this sunday Sunday SUNDAY! Last years bout, squares vs greasers was a barn burner
Every
Single
Jam
I dont think L.A. DodgeHer has lived it down and it was the best bout I saw in the past 12 months (Montreal v TXRG & Montreal v HRD in Houston were a close 2nd & 3rd)

This year instead of security I’m scheduled to Jam Ref. My calves are already tired from having t chase LA for half a bout.

All in all itll be another derby filled weekend spanning over 600 miles round trips.

Unlikely rivalry

I felt special this past week, 3 different leagues asked me to NSO, ref and announce all within 5 hours of each other. I have a first come first serve policy, provided the league has a NSO spot available for my friend Geri, the gypsy jew. I assure you, he’d get a kick out of the nickname and not take offense. All refs can benefit from working a bout as an NSO, and even though DJ TJ and Stash Merkin make announcing seem easy, having a Ref and NSO background make announcing only SLIGHTLY less daunting than it actually is. 

In any case, Skruff was the first to ask me to NSO for him this weekend and I made plans to ride with Geri out to Youngsville. Now I always bring my skate gear with me, cuz ya never know when someone else might drop out or not show up to ref. And at the very least I can sneak in some pre bout skate time. Fortunately, for me, one of Skruff’s refs, dropped out earlier this week so he asked me to bring my gear. 

Now once Geri and I made it to Top Shelf Sports, I was made aware of the fact that some Acadiana skaters were former Cen-La Derby Dames of Alexandria. Derby isn’t a professional sport YET, so this is quite common and not subject to trading or free agent rules. Skaters move or even work near a league and find it easier to goto practice from work. 

As a rule of thumb when asked to ref I just presume that’ll be working on the outside, and wait to be told that I’m on the inside. Skruff and I had worked together last season as Jam refs in a game CenLa played in Lake Charles. So I was a bit surprised when I was told I was gonna be jam ref, because generally the jam ref is a rep of one league that are playing. Visiting team generally brings at least 2 of their own refs and one of them is their Jam ref as well. Though jam refs swap teams at the half to keep it fair so that no one can argue that a jam ref was being impartial. Anywho, the point is, jam ref is kind of a big deal. So being a visiting ref and given a seat of honor, so to speak means quite a bit to me. 

Saturday nights bout was a very fun game to officiate. In hindsight, CDD seemed to be playing for the love and fun of the game, and ARG was playing to win. Not that CDD was playing to lose, just that their skaters seemed like they were having a good time on track, and ARG had a militaristic way of playing. Early on ARG established a strong lead, when I glanced at the scoreboard, I think ARG was up 24 to 3. However, Dirty Beets and another skater, jack rabbit slim I believe, managed to get lead jammer and pulled the TXRG strategy of one n done. Meaning, get lead jammer, get at least one point on the board and call it off before the other jammer can score. its slow moving, but the net gain is more important than scoring a 16 point jam if the other jammer scores 14. I think CDD managed to keep ARG scoreless for about 6 or 7 jams and probably caught up to ARG. But Coach Friday changed his strategy and had his jammers out front first and racking up points again. 

My first penalty call for the night was blue 13 back block major. I remember it one because I think even the crowd on the other side of the track heard me make the call AND the fact that the skater gave me a sheepish grin, like ‘dang I was hoping you didn’t see that’. In the second half I was CenLa’s Jammer ref, and generally a jam ref makes one or two gaffs per bout. Usually it’s the first jam of the second half and you end up following or keeping your eye on the same jammer/team you had in the first half. Sven Deför  kept saying aloud, the color of the team he’s NOW supposed to watch in the second half, though I kept saying ‘i am white teams jam ref, white team is my jammer, i am white teams jam ref’. Even repeating that to yourself for a few minutes before the whistle of the second half, jam refs are fallible and can follow the wrong jammer. I didn’t make that mistake in the first jam… I made it about 4 jams later, luckily I caught myself before the jammers made it out of the pack so I didn’t impact the game. 

I must say that CenLas Jammers fought hard last night. Dirty Beets got lead jammer more often than not in the 2nd half, Slim I think was about 50/50 and poor Misfit, she’s tiny and fast, but the pack ended up trapping her quite often. Sadly as a jammer ref, you don’t get to see all the action, since you end up seeing the pack, three to ten seconds at a time. All in all I must say I had a great time refing last night in Youngsville with great refs, teams and NSOs. Did I mention the announcers?

Da Boot!

Acadiana, so a few weeks ago I saw a post on Facebook asking if there were any refs available to come ref a bout in Lafayette for Acadiana. Now you might notice this theme in my posts. “a few weeks ago…” derby bouts don’t happen overnight, generally they take a lot of planning. As far as refs, NSOs bout production and getting skaters together. It’s no small or easy task, sometimes its a lesson hard learned but hopefully its not one that is soon forgotten. 

So Honey Badger, gets with me and asks what ref spot I’d like and if I knew any other refs that might wanna come. Of course I do, luckily I know a few who love to gain experience and travel. So a few back and froths on details and who’s head ref and some need to know info and we were set to ref Sunday Feb 26 in Lafayette. Now I had the opportunity to meet a few of Acadiana skaters at the Derby South Belle Ringer. mostly in passing as I was just an NSO. However I had had the opportunity to work with Short Fuse, their then head ref Short Fuse, during last season. I was aware of Honey Badger, Eat My Poussiere (french for dust-or so I’m told) Ellen Rampage and CoCo Blooded (thats just from Acadiana, there were plenty of noteworthy skaters from other leagues at that tournament, but for the purposes of this post I’ll stick to Acadiana). Of course there was announcer DJ TJ and his girlfriend Delirium Trigger, whom I have not yet seen skate but have heard a lot of good things about her. Oh Announcer Stash Merkin whom I found out appreciates my signature from said tournament. So it was a get together of sorts, even though it was a fresh meat scrimmage.

So Steve, now Scuba Steve, Geri and I arrive at the rink which is adjacent to Star Wash (sign has the same font as Star Wars) I’m greeted by OrgAnnicka-Fuse’s wife, and we catch up on the past few months. Who what when and where refs have been and are going etc. so we get to get to the business of getting the bout started, plenty of things to get done before hand but we got the ball rolling so to speak. we had 20 minute halves with a 20 minute halftime. I think I only checked the time once per half.

The theme for the bout was Brides vs the Grooms or rather the runaway brides vs the groomzillas. Grooms-black kept the leads far as I could tell for most of the bout, but halfway through the second half the brides closed the gap and every other jam the lead would change until white secured the least in the las few jams. with bench coach Ellen Rampag, who was stunning by the way in a dress and NOT wearing a Guy Fawkes stache &goatee. CoCo was Captain, I think and they received a gift from Mr. Whit (is that how its spelled?) for winning.

I was pretty happy to see how much fun the skaters were having. I was especially surprised to see how clean the bout was played, a few girls I think had 2 or less majors. I think 6 or 7 girls had some minors. So all in all it was a level of play that you would expect of WFTDA leagues but rarely see. I also gotta say that for a fresh meat scrimmage they skaters were quite reserved as far as arguing with refs. Only one skater that I know of complained about a call, the rest were confused as to what their penalty call was for. Such as “Illegal Procedure Major”  for mouth guard not in, but they thought they we had incorrectly called them for a false start… silly skaters.

In short for fresh meat it was Fun, CLEAN encouraging and Acadiana is now among my favorite leagues to ref for