We are currently recruiting referees for the Big Easy Rollergirls. All of the action and none of the pain (well, that’s not entirely true).
An information seminar is being held Wednesday, November 29th at 6PM at the Starbucks at Magazine and Washington.
You must be able to:
Make a commitment to be at weekly scrimmages (currently held 3 Tuesdays a month from 6:30-8:30PM and 1 Saturday morning from 8:00AM-10:00Am at Westbank Skate County in Terrytown. This is subject to change).
Have eagle-eyes, booming voices, thick skin and basic skating skills.
Any skating refs must have their own gear: skates, helmet, elbow and knee pads, wrist guards and a mouth guard.
You must pay USARS membership prior to getting on the rink. USARS cost $35 a year, which runs from September to September and cost $35.
There are also non-skating positions involved as a scorekeeper. You must have a keen mind, loud voice and basic math skills (no counting on the fingers).
All refs are also required to have their own ref uniform. We stick to a black and white vertical stripe theme, but refs embellish according to their own tastes. Check out the “Meet the Derby Girls” section of the message boards for photos of our fabulous refs!
If you need any more incentive, check out what our celebrated refs have to say.
Starting as a ref for the league has been a pretty good way to ease into roller derby without getting too overwhelmed. We've been able to get a feel for how the game operates and I know for me it has given me time to get more comfortable on my skates before I get out on the track. Being jammer ref is a lot harder than it looks. You've got to keep your eye on your jammer at all times, while constantly avoiding falling
skaters and dodging the penalty refs as you pass. I can remember a few
instances during the September bout when I my jammer was ten feet ahead of
me on the track, one of the penalty refs was right in front of me trying to avoid a pile-up, and a falling skater was clawing at my back to stay on her feet. Things get really tight when the two jammers are neck and neck and the two jammer refs are competing for limited infield space to keep up. When I started I never thought it could be so difficult to keep track of just one skater.
Reffing takes a thick skin and a good sense of humor - skaters can get pretty riled up during bouts and scrimmages and the refs have to keep their cool. The skaters are the game but the refs have to make sure the game goes on with as few hitches as possible. That is by no means an easy job. They have to be in constant communication, always have their eyes on the game, and make a lot of split-second decisions - all while the music is blasting and the crowd is screaming. It's doing your best to make order out of chaos. In a lot of ways the refs are their own separate team (Go Team Zebra?), they just play a different side of the track.
It will be strange to transition from being a ref to being a skater. But I'm looking forward to getting on the track and kicking some derby butt in a few months. Hopefully all the things I've learned on the ref side of the track will help me play better and stay out of the penalty box.
The fastest way to learn anything is to practically be thrown into it without a moment’s notice. The first practice I ever showed up to for information, I didn't know rule one and I was blowing whistles and manning stopwatches. I even got yelled at for not doing it right. From there it was stat tracking to skating and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I certainly think my stint as a ref will make me a better derby girl one day. I’d say the most important element to refereeing these girls is tough skin. It’s nothing personal and I won’t remember what calls I made from one day to the next, but you better be certain, these girls will always remember that elbow that they didn’t throw that you said they did!
I do it for the new craft horizons provided by each bout.
I do it for the fun and wacky photo-ops.
I do it for the glamour.
But seriously, I love to be one of the fun police. I get to be a part of this wonderful sport that kicks ass and takes names, and makes the men weak in the knees & all swoony over the strong women who perform at the height of their athletic abilities one Saturday a month. Ii do it to spread the word that we can have fun in post-Katrina New Orleans. I do it to inspire others to create something big from a simple idea. I do it because I love to roller skate, it makes me think about the smooth concrete of the park on L.I. where my grandpa used to take my sister and me after much prodding and we'd race around the rink and it was one of the single biggest thrills of my childhood. And I think that the rollergirls (and the refs) inspire a new generation of girls and boys to lace up some skates and get rolling.
1. THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE!!!
2. My skating skills have gotten much better.
3. Being around and working with so many committed athletes in a league built from the ground up is thrilling.
4. Although we don't like being the target of ire and resentment, it is definitely not a thankless job because many of the skaters regularly show appreciation for our efforts.
5. Roller Derby is fun. I have fun, I watch others have fun bouting, I watch spectators have fun spectat-ing, and I watch other refs have fun.
6. No more Tuesdays on the couch with a bucket of chicken.
7. I now have something to fall back on if the "law talkin' guy" thing doesn't work out in the long run.
8. Free admission to Mardi Gras world once a month when family and friends can join to take pictures around the floats, float decorations, and a fantastic: eight-wheeled, shoulder flying, pack weaving, point scoring, rollicking good time!
9. It is always great to be a part of anything that is a roaring success. The league is doing quite well and I am happy to be part of the "tweaking" process through these first few bouts to help make our reff’ing increase in quality thereby making each bout better and better (I hope.)
10. I get to read the “girl’s only” message board.
"You need glasses." Also known as the occasional insinuation that our errors are for lack of knowledge of the rules or intentional somehow. We know the rules and their application. We are having a hard time getting them applied perfectly during the action but it is with certainty that we are trying our hardest just as all the skaters are to avoid obvious penalties.
For the glory. Wait, no, there isn't any. Because I love it when women are pissed off at me, and annoying one wife just isn't enough sometimes? Besides Little League (where you might be beaten to death by a parent), where else can a guy wear black & white striped shirt made entirely out of rayon? I'm getting old, am out of shape, and like feeling like I was hit by a truck only a third of the way into skills & drills practice? It must be for the glory, after all. That and the skating. And because Scabigail put me in a headlock and Illegally Blonde started kicking me in the shins and they wouldn't stop until I said I would at least try it.
I just started so it is premature to offer any insights. My biggest challenge so far is just to try learn quickly enough to be useful and otherwise not be in the way.
For more information, email our lovely ref coordinator Bruise Springsteen