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Inconsequentials & Trivialities » Derby

Championships wrap-up

Safe trip home from Minnesota yesterday. I got to chat with Mike Chexx in the Seattle airport between flights. That was nice. I also got to say goodbye to Reed, Tenacious D-Cup, and Mike Hammer as we were all on the same flight from MN to Seattle.

Here are a couple of photos of my crew this weekend.

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Score & Timing team

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Here’s a photo of the Mississippi River. Not so mighty at this point.

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Here’s the State Capitol and a map of the tunnel system between State buildings.

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Finally, here’s a shot from the plane on the flight to Seattle.

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World Champions

So, the Rose City Rollers, my league, won the world championships. To do so, they defeated Gotham Girls Roller Derby. Gotham had gone unbeaten in their last 67 games and been the world champions for the past 5 years. It was a huge night in the derby world and for Rose City.
I’ve never felt so disconnected from my league.

As an official, I take my commitment to impartiality VERY seriously. I’m not just impartial when I’m working, I’m ALWAYS impartial. (Honestly, does anyone believe that an official who cheers for ‘their’ team/league one minute can be impartial for the hour that it takes them to work a game?) So while the whole damn derby world, including many other officials from my league, are cheering their fool heads off, I’m over here in the corner with my game face on. I felt so dejected that I had to leave the venue before the awards ceremony. As I was leaving, I stopped to shake hands with Agent Meow, the league’s dj who’d been spinning for that final game. He was in tears and when I shook his hand, I came close to breaking too. I feel very alone.

 

On the upside, I looked snazzy in my new NSO shirts.

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St. Paul – Day 2

Did MUCH better with my position today. Felt like I shook off the cobwebs and remembered how to do this job. Before this weekend, I hadn’t been a scorekeeper for a sanctioned/regulation game since May.

Here’s a photo of the only two officials from Rose City (hell, Oregon) to work Championships this year.

sHellcat and Seán-Quad

sHellcat and Seán-Quad

 

Went to breakfast at a tiny little train car diner this morning.

Reed's crew at breakfast

Reed’s crew at breakfast

 

Finished the day by hitting the treadmill at the hotel. I walked/jogged a bit over 2 miles in about 45 minutes. A TERRIBLE pace, but one has to start (again) somewhere.

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St. Paul – Day 1

Arrived in St. Paul yesterday. I met two of my roommates and I went out to dinner with them. We went to Pizza Lucé for dinner and I did my usual, ask the server what I should order. This is quite a hit-and-miss method of selecting my food. Sometimes it pays off, other times it doesn’t. Last night, it didn’t. My waitress suggested the Blue Dog (tomatoes, arugula, roasted asparagus, bacon, red onion, blue cheese, and mozzarella) and yeah, I didn’t really care for it. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. I also had a Surly Furious to drink. It was fine, but I’m hardly a beer connoisseur so what do I know.

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Surly Furious

Worked a pair of games today as a scorekeeper. I’m paired up with Professor Murder (jam ref). Honestly, I don’t feel like today was my strongest performance. I got distracted and lost focus a couple of times. I’ll do better tomorrow.

Walked around downtown St. Paul a bit; checked out the Landmark Center and the Schubert Club Museum.

Wrapped up the day by walking to the Liffey Pub with an NSO from my crew, Bear Trap. I enjoyed a great fish & chips.

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WFTDA Championships

Today, I am traveling. I am honored and privileged to have been selected to work this year’s WFTDA Championships tournament in St Paul, MN. My crew head is Reed d’Rulz, from Rat City. I really like working with Reed. The crew head referee is Sir Osis, also from Rat. This looks to be a great crew. I’m looking forward to working with a number of people with whom I’ve never before had the opportunity.

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Up to 23 – All because of derby


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Cuvette verte

Last weekend I attended a multi-game event. In truth, I was somewhat disappointed. Very few skaters signed up to come play. For the black and white scrimmages, each side typically only had 6 or 7 skaters. There were enough skating officials for 2 crews, but not enough NSOs for even a single full crew. I found out when I arrived at the event that I was sort of a crew head and I was expected to do some on-the-job training for the other NSOs. Some of these NSOs were the freshest of the fresh, only experienced in a single position (and not well trained at even that one). Others were of middling experience and did fine. And a couple who were pretty inexperienced really ended up doing quite well.

Some expected games got cancelled due to lack of teams to compete, and an already short schedule got shorter as the weekend progressed.

From what I could tell, the weekend was pretty beneficial for skating officials. They each got a lot of individual feedback from the tournament head ref. So, good for them and all.

The biggest problem is that this event was so far away from home. It took 4-5 hours to get there and I spent a lot more $$ on food (eating out) than I would have had I stayed home.

 

Ah well. It could have been worse. And I did get to see some people I already knew and meet some other cool people. And any weekend in which I have plans is better than a weekend wherein I have nothing to do.

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NSOing

For the past 7 months, I’ve been volunteering with the local women’s roller derby league, the Cherry City Derby Girls, as a non-skating official (NSO). NSOs are responsible for a variety of tasks at bouts including score keeping, tracking penalties, time keeping… all the records management duties. This is distinct from the job of the skating officials (SOs or refs) whose role is to enforce the rules and ensure safety. Refs wear black and white striped shirts and are on skates. They carry and use whistles and call penalties. NSOs carry stopwatches and/or clipboards and wear… well, there is no sport-wide ‘uniform’ for NSOs. Some leagues use matching shirts, some leagues specify a color to wear (or avoid wearing), and one league I visited last weekend seemed to have no dress code at all for officials of the non-skating variety.

Something I am ever sensitive to is the development or perpetuation of arbitrary class distinctions. There are some who seem to view the role of the NSO as inferior to that of the refs. I’ve observed that many derby folks, NSOs, refs, and skaters alike, effectively devalue the work of NSOs by thinking , “Oh those tasks are easy. Anyone can learn to do them with just 5 minutes of instruction.” I’ve seen it stated on tournament applications, “If you aren’t selected to ref, would you be willing to work as an NSO instead?” I even had one Head NSO of a league tell me that NSOing has always been seen as a stepping-stone to reffing or being a team skater.

I tell you, NOBODY would say about reffing, “Oh that’s easy; I can teach you how to do that in 5 minutes.” I double dare you to find someone who would say, “If you aren’t selected as an NSO, would you be willing to ref instead?” And wouldn’t we consider it ridiculous to think that being a team skater is merely a stepping-stone to NSO work?

Here’s a blog post from someone who points out the value of NSOs. http://blog.fabulouslorraine.com/2013/05/just-nso.html?m=1

Happily, it looks like attitudes are evolving. WFTDA (the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) has recently implemented a certification system for NSOs to mirror a similar procedure that already existed for SOs. I’m confident that in a year or two, many refs who aren’t selected to work a given tournament won’t meet the required qualifications to work as an NSO. By emphasizing the need for specific training and experience, WFTDA is taking steps to demonstrate how important the work of NSOs is. I find this encouraging.

I consider all of us to be part of a team. Skaters, refs, NSOs, coaches, and other volunteers all have different roles and each is needed to get the job done. I feel fortunate that my league has demonstrated that it values all its members.

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Presidents’ Day Weekend

Pretty good weekend. I had to jet up to Portland on Friday afternoon to see an Oscar nominated movie, No, at the Portland International Film Festival. A derby girl friend asked if I could transport her daughter to Pioneer Square to catch a TriMet train. I contrived to get off work 30 minutes early as I felt that I needed extra time to allow for traffic, but between the extra stops for my passenger and an accident on the road, I ended up being a few minutes late for the movie; they had already resold my seat. Nevertheless, I saw all but the first few minutes of my movie. It was good.

Returning to Salem, I drove straight to a bowling alley to meet up with some derby peeps. There were seven of them there when I arrived and they were mostly through their first game. It was good to socialize with these folks, but I found that bowling alley very off-putting. It was quite expensive and the employees were rather snotty. I will not go there again. I give AMF Firebird Lanes a thumbs-down.

 

Saturday I attended a roller derby boot camp put on by the CCDG travel team, 8 Wheel Assassins. It was a beginner group, but I was far and away the only true beginner there. Also the only guy. 🙂 The other students were much steadier on their wheels than me, and I’m sure got a lot more out of the session. I do think I learned some things, and I look forward to practicing those skills and getting better. I’m signed up for the next two sessions (in March and April) but I am embarrassed and frustrated at my lack of coordination and feel guilty that so much individual attention needed to be given to me. Not that the other students were short-changed, but I am super uncomfortable being the center of attention and even more so when it’s while doing something I’m not good at. Really, I’m just embarrassed.

After boot camp, I met with the other folks from the production team for The Forum on KMUZ. I’d call it a fruitful meeting.

Saturday evening was a bout and it was the first time I wasn’t an NSO for a bout at the Mad House since I started with derby. I did have a job; I was assisting Hitman with the event coordinator duties. One sour note, a friend had asked for a ticket on Thursday and I’d purchased one for her. She’d made the request for the ticket on facebook and within 10 minutes I confirmed that I would acquire one for her. I said that I’d leave it at will-call unless she wanted to make other arrangements. Anyway, during halftime on Saturday night, I go and check to see if she’s picked up her ticket. She had not. Turns out that after asking me for a ticket, she didn’t check back to see if I’d done as she requested and just went ahead and bought one for herself. WTF?? It’s not that I mind spending the money, but I went out of my way for her and in return I get treated like something she needs to scrape of the sole of her shoe. Plus, it means that someone who wanted to attend the bout didn’t get to because the event was sold out. Not cool.

Post-bout, I went to the afterparty, which was pretty anemic. Oh well, I got to chat with a few of the Kittens.

 

Sunday I got up early in the morning to attend the 8:30 Mass. I was scheduled to sing at 11 AM, and going to the earlier Mass allowed me to learn the songs. 🙂 I got home from church by 1:00 and after a little TV, took a nap. That was nice. That evening, back to Portland for another Oscar nominee, Kon-Tiki. This time I was plenty early and got a good seat. Had a nice chat with fellow attendees too, including one woman who shared my disdain for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Kon-Tiki was an EXCELLENT movie! It’s my pick for Best Foreign Film. Didn’t get home until 11:00 that night.

 

Monday was a holiday and I took advantage of the day off by sleeping in a little. In the late morning I went shopping and bought a couple of shirts and pairs of pants. (I’m getting fat again. 🙁 ) I then saw the last of the foreign films for this years Academy Awards, Amour. The movie was good, and Emmanuelle Riva was great, but the best movie of the year it was not. I was feeling a little tired so I opted not to see a second film, Warm Bodies. I’ll shoot for next Saturday. I finished off my weekend with more tv. (I’ve really been falling behind.)

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