heartbreak hotel

where do I begin?

CTRG Bout 6 flyer

Firstly thanks to Cen-Tex for finally being able to schedule me to ref, again. This was my first time reffing at the Frank Mayborn Civic Center, confused yet? last time I was scheduled I had car trouble en route. Then I was set to announce and I ended up having to work that weekend.

In any case, it had also been over a year since I’ve seen most of Alamo City Roller Girls. So when I finally geared up skated out and saw ACRG warming up and chatting with Pleasure to Beat you, my heart continued to break in half over and over hearing about LOAs, 9 month injuries and other league related details. I only recognized about 5 skaters. Whereas I had grown accustomed to showing up to the Rollercade in San Antonio and not recognizing one or two skaters.

So Snippy Snap, formerly a play on Eiffel tower and Evil (long story) is running around getting her ducks in a row. Something I admire about her in that she rolls with the punches to get the NSO paperwork in order. I had a sampling of NSO work, all positions at RollerCon last year, I appreciate all NSOs because all are stressful and important. more so the Head NSO, so I tip  my motorcycle helmet to you Kristi.

The Announcer who’s replaced me, Bad Dog I believe is his name, was really great. I feel like I might have to re-earn a chance to announce at Cen-Tex next season.

I must admit that although as a whole team zebra missed some calls, we can;t call it if we don’t see ALL of it, skaters didn’t lose their cool or argue calls they clearly didn’t agree with.

In all I’m glad for the opportunity to get to be on skates again, for two teams I admire and am treated like family.

Busy road ahead

Confirmed to announce on Feb 24th in Humble, TX. My first encounter with Montgomery County MissFits. Actually, I got confirmation about a week ago. However, transitioning over to a new blog, plus general things that go along with Life. I fell behind

Then March 9th I’m announcing in Temple for Centex Rollergirls. I have yet to ref for them. Maybe I should mispronounce some skater names so they kick me off the mic next time? Actually I’m set to ref later this season.

Then the next day, March 10th I’m reffing in San Antonio for Alamo City’s double header! Perhaps just one bout, but even so, It’ll be a great start to my 2013 season. I hope to see some of y’all there!

Worlds Collide

nothing special about this one, in so far as how I got the gig. There was a sign up sheet (google doc) early in the season and I signed up through the end of the season to ref @ Alamo City RG.

So its the usual suspects reffing this bout, Cucuy, Chop Stewie, Karate Chappa, and El Matador (the locals) Krez Sez & Private Been Jammin (PBJ) from Houston, but skating as reps for Texas Roller Derby All Scar Army.

Now the special thing about this bout, in case you dear reader don’t already know, TXRD is banked track. If you live in the SATX/Austin area, you can catch it on cable-or so I’m told. There’s quite a few nuances that are different between a banked track and flat track ruleset. The general objective is the same, get your jammer through and score points, stop the other jammer from doing the same. Sounds easy right? You’d be surprised. In any case, one big difference is that in banked track is when a skater commits a penalty they serve their time in the following jam. So they continue to skate the current jam, knowing this, I was worried there’d be an issue getting TXRD skaters off track whenever they got a major penalty. Generally there’s one or two skaters per league that seem genuinely surprised when they get sent to the box. Occasionally pointing to another skater and vocalizing that we missed something another skater did. I must say that I really appreciated TXRD in that whenever they were sent off, they made eye contact nodded that they heard that they were being sent off and would get off track as quickly as possible without running into other skaters and beeline to the box. though there were a few that weren’t as quick, but thats more an issue with not being heard yelling penalties over the volume of the sound system.

ACRGs Tricky Bobbie has grown by leaps and bounds in a few short months, perviously, as a jammer whenever she got hit she’d go down and take a lil more than a second to recover and get back on her skates. NOW she takes hits like a pinball, simply bouncing off the initiator of the block or spinning around and racing her way to the front. LA DodgeHer has improved slow pack slicing. Last season and even early in this season, if the pack was moving slowly, she lacked some lateral ability to find a hole to get through and score. Now if the pack is moving fast, all she needs is about a inch wider than her skates wheel base and she glide right though with the slightest of glancing hits. Rounding out ACRGs rotation was Speedyrella, true to her name, Black n’ Blue Belle-ACRG’s skater of the month, and also much more graceful and improved over the past few months and last but certainly not least Barbacoa, who is amazing because she’s one of those rare skaters who can block AND jam.

Now TXRD isn’t chopped liver, from my understanding, compared to last years bout, they’ve shown tremendous improvement. There certainly wasn’t any lack os skating ability, unfortunately this was my first time seeing them and between focusing on defining the pack, processing 20 pages of the rules depending on the scenario in less than a seconds time, assisting the jammer refs, avoid plowing through the camerawoman, skating backwards and hoping I don’t screw up too terribly, I didn’t get to see TXRD as a whole. However, i don’t recall seeing any of them wiping out on the track because, from my perspective, of their wheels or lack of comfort with the skating surface. they stayed on all 8 wheels as intended, or 4 if need be. Also amazing agility from several skaters, in being able to race out front with the jammer AND awareness of the pack AND having another skater nearby to know to make a bridge to the pack. though there was an occasional out of play just because the pack shifted on them. but what impressed me most was the pack awareness, and I’m pretty sure that next year, with a better understanding of the WFTDA ruleset they’ll close the point spread and may even pull of a surprise win.

Home away from home

As usual, a few months ago I signed up to ref for Alamo City pretty much for all of their home bouts and a few aways. This bout in particular I was excited about, because they were playing against Red Stick Roller Derby. I’ve had the chance to see both play at Spindletop. RSRD I’ve only been able to see again at the Derby South Belle Ringer in Gulfport, Mississippi @ Harrison Skate Park where they took 3rd place. Personally I think they could’ve made 2nd. ACRG on the other hand I’ve had more opportunities to ref for the love affair has been going strong for some time. So it was quite exciting for me to see Red Stick on ACRGs schedule.

Sadly one of my favorite Red Stick Skaters no longer skates with them. of course when seems like across town in Houston is quite a ways away in Louisiana, just looking at a map it doesn’t seem easy to get anywhere. So it’s game day and I find myself working with Velocireftor again, last time was in Beaumont late last summer or early fall, and also with Dr. Math (guess his profession). No I must say, I wish all skaters would take their penalties like Glock Strap. Where many skaters make a sound or gesture of exasperation, whether directed to themselves or to the ref, Black 9 has a thin smile, nods acknowledgement and races to the box. I’m gonna guess she works with psychotic rhesus monkeys for a living to be able to stay so calm.  Jams P Skullivan-A113, poor thing was getting battered by green most of the night. But I swear A113 has heart like her teammate Moxie Balboa’s, namesake, Rocky Balboa. By the end of the game I had kinda envisioned Green as Drago and A133 as Rocky in IV, but she kept coming back in. As for my favorite Red Stick player, Rock Bottom, whom I remember from Belle Ringer, is excellent at forcing an opposing skater to come in behind her. I simply love how she taunts them, very aware of pack and out of play penalties. Even though during the bout I’m watching for penalties, where the pack is in relation to skaters who may draw another penalty, skaters who are sent to the box when it’s full, other refs zooming through to keep up with their jammer, NSOs whom not to try and run over, and other miscellaneous hundred and one things to watch for. I can still catch an amazing play or recognize talent. 

With all the talent Red stick has, they were able to minimize ACRGs scoring in the second half. Realizing the threat that L A DodgeHer is who seems to only need about width of her skates to get through the pack. Speedyrella true to her name solid walls kept ACRG scoring. Again Red Stick proved adaptable and kept ACRG from scoring the same amount of points in the second half, while managing to more than double their first half score. 

I look forward to working with both of these teams in the future, provided they’ll have me, for as many seasons as my skates and back will take me.

Pistos, Pistos!

So a few weeks of planning finally came to fruition. Came to San Antonio wednesday during the day, went to a few practices with Alamo City RG. I’ve been to a few of their bouts before and always appreciate their hospitality. This morning, Sunday February 19th they played against the South Texas Rolleristas at their home rink the Rollercade. We had 10 refs show up, Krez Sez, PBJ, Quicksilver, Chase Keester, Just Joe, El Matador, Karate Chappa, Ooo Cucuy, and myself El Gallo.

Cucuy lead the ref and NSO meeting, and during Quicksilver was invaluable as a shadow/mentor for the refs on the inside making calls. Unfortunately we couldn’t anyone shadow much on the outside. This game was a scrimmage against South Texas Rolleristas. It was a fine team lead by Fidel “Fido”. I, as well as the other refs were appreciative for their skaters accepting their penalties. As far as i could tell, they were upset more at themselves for committing a penalty than at the ref for calling them on it. 

Most of us refs worked rotations between, Jam, Pack, Outside and off. Though I wouldn’t say I’m good at a particular ref position I am fond of Jam and Outside. So I have to work more at Pack ref. I didn’t pay too much attention to the scoreboard as this was one of the few bouts that I truly enjoyed being a part of. At nearly every bout, a few ACRG bouts included, I’ll look at the scoreboard and bemoan how much time is left. Mostly because my feet are killing me or I’m out of breathe. Yes skaters skate harder when they have to do back to back to backs. But refs have to have endurance to go a whole bout of back to backs. I think thats why I like Jam reffing, occasionally my Jammer gets sent to the box and I’ll get up to a minute break, more if she manages to get an insubordination call. 

Ok, so from what I saw on the scoreboard, STR took an early lead and after the half ACRG Pistoleras closed the gap but came up short in the last jam. As always Germanator was gracious and made sure his skaters did their best while being sportswoman like. Fidel though his skaters would go through fits of being sent to the box one after another was as calm as a hindu cow. At least that was their exterior, if they were cussing us up a storm in their heads, well that’s all fine and legal as per WFTDA rules. 

As Chop Stewie mentioned in the post bout ref meeting, “this was a reffing bout”. PBJ and Karate Chappa not both are more confident in themselves and want to work on the inside more often now. I know PBJ has the skating ability to be front pack and Chappa I think found her ‘voice’ in making calls. It’s always great to see skaters improve and make the game better for themselves, their teammates, and the crowd, But I must say I warms my cockles of my heart when refs make huge strides in their confidence and ability.

Also meeting up with skaters after the scrimmage to enjoy a good breakfast with both Pistoleras and Rolleristas and of course talk derby and rules with refs and skaters is always fun.

WHO ARE WE?!

So I a few weeks ago I asked All About Tater if I could come help ref a bout for San Antonio RD this coming sunday night. As a ref slut, will travel for derby n drinks. Then about 2 weeks ago I got an email from Germanator and he asked if I was available to help ref a scrimmage the same sunday, my heart sank because I love ACRG. Well I love San Antonio in general, and I really like San Antonio RG but I haven’t reefed or hung out as much with SARD as I have ACRG, but I know I’ll love them just as well. So anyways I kept reading, thankfully I was on my MBP and was able to look at iCal and email at the same time. YES! ACRG is scrimmaging in the MORNING! plenty of time to ref both bouts with a good break in-between to eat lunch and relax a bit. So I quickly replied to Germanator “Of COURSE” Well maybe I said Hellz yeah, but the point is I agreed.

About 30 mins after I replied I got an email from Cucuy basically rehashing the same question was I available. Now full disclosure I’m not some awesome ref that everyone wants a piece of. I’m just a ref that many leagues in a 4 hr driving distance from Houston, know that I’m willing to travel. Other refs were asked, and confirmed. Krez from whom I got the bad habit of traveling everywhere to ref had also confirm as well as PBJ. Generally I ride with them and when possible give him some gas money or buy him a meal at What-A-Burger. ALERT Krez will not ref your bout if there isn’t a What-A-Burger along the way. Plus there’s an event in Houston we all three had agreed to go to on FaceBook. But I got a crazy Idea. I grabbed my phone and texted Cucuy, “hey what days do y’all practice?” Long story short the logistics were that I’d come a few days early to check out a ACRG practice, ref a scrimmage then ref a bout, crash another night then head back home. 

SOooooo last night, Weds Feb 15 (day after Singles Awareness Day) I got to San Antonio, hung out with Skully for a few hours then with Germanator and went to practice. I joined in on the skater drills and fully expected to hang in there the whole time. I don’t know how I deluded myself into thinking this, I haven’t really skated since about October. plus the floor is just different from what I’m used to. Not that if i was used to it I’d’ve done any better. From my POV the practice was a good mix of fun, disciplined and educational for the skaters. I think this was B team with some A team to help with training and demonstrating. The best quote of the practice had to be the exclamation “OW! right on my asshole!” though I think the funniest thing was when Germanator essentially asked me to make him deaf for a few mins in his right ear. All in all I’m looking forward to practicing with ACRG again tonight, hopefully I can keep up.