In March 2009, I naively became a roller derby official. I had been a fan of the Windy City Rollers, but my league had moved to a more expensive venue and my freelancing lifestyle couldn’t necessarily keep up with the higher ticket prices. Then one of Windy City’s e-mail blasts mentioned they were looking for volunteer officials–no skating necessary, and you could get into the bouts for free.
That e-mail changed my life. While I’ve never been able to watch a roller derby bout the same way, I have found my niche in officiating. I love the sport, and I love ensuring that a game will be fair. Officiating roller derby has taken me around the world, introduced me to so many interesting people and given me so many opportunities. I’ve gotten the chance to make an impact by doing committee work with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. Officiating has also helped me grow a few layers of skin, which is essential to have when you’re in the business of dealing with a lot of rejection.
At any rate, my seventh season kicked off this past weekend when I went up to Maine to keep score for a game between Maine vs. Worcester. I’m pretty sure Maine won–though I tend not to remember details like that. I more remember the fact that I need to work on increasing my ability to remain focused throughout an entire half and review some of the finer details in scorekeeping paperwork before I do this role again next weekend. I also need to have a little better awareness of where my score reporting arm is in relation to something like the scoreboard projector. A lot of little things, but I haven’t done a lot of scorekeeping and am really hoping to become much better in that role this year.
I tend not to write or talk much about officiating unless I’m with my people. If you look at pictures of sports, officials tend to be the blurs in the background, and I kind of like it that way. I’m not really sure how fascinating it is to share the fact that I wrap a stopwatch cord around my pinkie finger when there is no Lead Jammer and I have to call off the jam. I can see you yawning already. However, at some point I’ll probably geek out about some of the sports psychology and leadership books I’m currently reading, and I will send postcards from my adventures. I’m excited to see where it takes me this year.