Apparently I like a challenge. This is something I have only realised recently, and only in relation to a specific thing.
That specific thing is roller derby. Ever since first seeing my little sister play back in November 2012 I have been hooked. People who know me are probably bored at hearing the words “first and foremost I am a fan”. But that does not make that statement any less true. And this is my driving force. It’s driven me to strap wheels to my feet and learn how to skate. Which was a challenge in itself. Especially when that involved meeting new people, being a shy person (honest) that was difficult. But those new people are some of the best people in the world. Because they’re derby people. And these specific derby people are who go to makeup my league Suffolk Roller Derby.
Being part of SRD has given me so much. From helping me when I was struggling with mental health issues to getting me to feel more and more confident learning the skills needed to become a fully fledged roller derby player.
So of course I wanted to give something back. Volunteering as an NSO (Non Skating Official) is my way of doing that. NSOs are a vital ingredient in the world of roller derby, without them a game just cannot happen. They are responsible for keeping track of timings, scorekeeping, and penalties.
I have been NSOing since February last year, so my experience is not that great. This year I decided that I wanted to improve my knowledge surrounding this aspect of the sport I love. After a brief conversation with Asterisk, our league president, the idea of an SRD NSO group was born, lovingly referred to by me as the Suffolk’N’Awesome NSOs. Shortly following this I was then given the scary responsibility of sorting out NSOs for SRD’s first closed door challenge team bout on the 24th February. My new challenge.
This was not as simple as just getting volunteers and giving them a role, this involved training. Not the easiest of tasks when I only had limited experience of a couple of the roles myself. But with help from some SRD league mates who had NSO experience I was able to put together a training session that was held the week before the game.
Then came game day itself. I was so nervous but excited. The event went well and everyone seemed to have fun. Reflecting on both the training session and game day there are many areas that can be improved, but those are things that I need to improve, my knowledge, my confidence. But this will come with time and practice.
As I write this it’s been almost a week since the game. And it was a success, and that success has very little to do with me. That success came from my league mates that volunteered when I asked them to. Those league mates that showed enthusiasm to learn something new. Those league mates that gave up two weeks on skates to learn and to officiate. Those league mates that make me so proud to be part of this league. My league. My roller derby family.
We are SRD and we are AWESOME!
P.S. I need to take the opportunity here to thank Kevin ‘Yoshi’ Stanton, Astrid ‘Asterisk’ Coxon and Julie ‘Dragon’s Den’ Dennis. All have been vital in cultivating the above success with me.
notes from the President…
*Official Business is the start of a new blog series where we’ll be looking at the “behind the scenes” of roller derby – as Caz says, roller derby can’t happen without our wonderful officials, but they are all too often the unsung heroes of the derby world!
*We’re always looking for more NSOs to join our ranks – want to get involved with roller derby but can’t/don’t want to skate? We can train you as an official! Get in touch with us via email or our Facebook page
*We’ll be hosting an Officiating bootcamp this year – keep your eyes on our Facebook page for more info soon
*header image courtesy of Des Fisher at nearthecoast.com
See you soon, sports fans!