After a seeing a FB post via the Killbillies asking for help at the upcoming FSJ Roller Derby bout I had a moment of insanity and yes, I volunteered. Since getting home from our medical journey I have realized it is time I get back out into the community and this was a chance waving at me to participate.
I am not naturally a sport minded individual yet the sub-culture of Roller Derby is familiar to me although I do not know the game per-say or anything more than this involving a ring and girls on skates wearing helmets and being intense.
I so kindly wrangled my husband into the deal, I figured if anything we could chalk this up to experience yet in my heart I thought he would enjoy getting out as he grew up playing organised sports and so this concept would not be completely new to him.
We were asked to arrive a couple of hours before the game, we were in the local arena and I believe this would be considered a flat track game. The visiting team was already in warm-up practice and I was wide-eyed and starting to freak out..!
I was no longer in my comfort zone, as I stood at the side lines no where near my computer I felt the intensity from these women through their timed manoeuvres and speed. I found relief in knowing I was not there to skate, my task was to be a NSO, simply short for Non-Skating Official.
Standing in anticipation, waiting for direction I wanted to know what it was that we would be doing. I could not even imagine and I was really starting to fret until the Head NSO approached and called to start a small meeting in order to prepare and teach the required positions.
The first thing I took from the meeting was that we were ‘Officials’ and because of that we were to be neutral, so no cheering, no taking sides, nothing. I liked this; I found comfort that the NSO’s were our own little team there to support the bigger picture.
The list of jobs were briefly explained and divided amongst us, my husband would be a Time Keeper in the penalty box and I a Line Tracker.
My biggest worry was doing something that would cause a big upset to the game because I did something wrong. Once I understood my role I was able to ease the pressure off of myself and trust my gut that I could follow the direction I was given and go forth with it.
My role was to literally keep track or track the line of players for every jam, a jam being the period in which the 2 teams play with in. Please know I do not know much about Derby and I do believe it will take a few more bouts yet, I did get what it was I was there to do.
A Jam could last up to approximately 2 mins, there are 5 players from each team to make up the Jam. Each team has a ‘Jammer’ which is the key player that has a star on their helmet. Then there is a Pivot who wears a stripe on their helmet and this player is not always played from what I understand, I am also not completely aware of what the Pivot’s specialty is yet I do know a Jammer can pass her ‘Star’ status to the Pivot. If the Pivot position is not played a Blocker is used in place. If there is a Jammer and a Pivot, 3 Blockers hold position on the line. Blockers I would say are like the defence.
A Jam starts with the 2 opposing teams lining up 4 of their players, 3 Blockers and Pivot behind these 2 rows of players are the Jammers. The Jammers are trying to get past these lines of defence in order to make laps on the track and make points for their team. (Note this is the BmB’s notes; version)
As a Line Tracker I would record the players for each Jam on a chart, secondary would be to track if a player had a penalty with in the Jam. Personally I was very focused between the players of the team I was tracking and their penalties I could not even begin to explain what or how a penalty is received.
I learned a lot about passion this night, even while wrapped up in my own job I felt the experience as if it were tangible. The game was very professional and ran smoothly, there were many Officials and my favourite part was at the beginning and before second period when the Referees’ checked the player’s equipment.
I made it through the 2, 30 minute periods, it was focused yet I was proud that I found a groove and I was grateful for the opportunity to get a different perspective, to be invited in and because of this, I GOT IT..!
I learned a little about sports in general and this particular sport. I finally understood something I never really understood about organised sports, in regards to rally’s and fundraisers as well as the importance of fundraising.
I saw a genuine love and passion that all the members here had for their sport, I saw how the sport had created in essence a family of sorts. I saw that it takes many people to help players play their sport. Like a foundation of a house there needs to be a good solid structure in place in order to support the team or the sport itself.
I clearly saw the need for people to help, opportunity presents itself in many ways and this team needs you. To give of yourself and your time does more than just filling a space; you are supporting your local team and releasing stress from them to know positions are being filled so they can mentally be in the game.
I want you to know, if I can do it, really so can you.
What I saw was incredible sportsmanship, at the end of the game both teams did more than one cheer and pass by congratulating each other and being great sports woman regardless of who won or loss. It was the opportunity for them to play that took precedent, their desire to play the game which became infectious to me.
Thank you again for the opportunity.. BmB..xx