Apparently I’m in charge?

So I’m not actually in charge of the league or anything crazy like that. I was recently voted in as Head NSO for the league (after much prodding/encouragement/yelling ‘persuasively’ from the others) which means that I’m now in charge of organising NSOs for our scrims/bouts and any extra things that bout production might need (although that part isn’t technically necessary but I’ll help out wherever I can).

Yesterday was my first time as Head NSO for a small scrim we had against Bath (plus a few extra Hereford skaters helping us out with the numbers). The previous head NSO, Immy, really helped me a lot with what paperwork to use and how many people we needed for the scrim to happen relatively seamlessly (turns out 6 is the magic number).

I was also jam timing for the first time for real (I’d done it before but during training so it wasn’t as official) and almost forgot one of the official timeouts and nearly started a jam XD but otherwise I think I did pretty well at it. The other NSOs said that I’d done pretty well as my first time but a lot of that was due to Immy helping me out with how to do things and telling me not to panic if something went wrong (which I tried to do as I’m normally a very calm person). Now I just have to worry about getting enough NSOs for the next game we have (although that’s a British Champs one so it’s not solely my responsibility) but if we ever do a sanctioned bout/full on open bout I’ll have my work cut out for me.

I’ve been to more roller discos lately, to get more skating time and practise crossovers/hopping/knee taps etc although there are more kids there than I remembered which is annoying. They are primarily aimed at kids but still! At one of them there’s a section coned off in the middle where the newbies can learn to skate but not everyone uses it when they should – if you can’t stand up/fall over every two steps then you should go there and learn a bit before trying to skate with the big kids. There’s also a game they play there which is aimed at the more ‘advanced’ skaters, which consists of the organiser skating forwards/backwards and when he overtakes you or if you pass him then you’re out. Some of the kids who play definitely shouldn’t be but it’s usually the adults who play. There are two dads (I think they are since they usually come with kids) who play this game and are generally trying to show off when it’s the general skate – although one fell over last Sunday which I found amusing (even though I shouldn’t). Whilst there I met an ex-skater from the league who I chatted to about what it was like back when she was there (2013!) and who’s left/would she come back etc and she said a bit about her injuries (which were pretty bad). She also offered to help me with stuff if I ever see her at a disco again which was really nice of her. She’s still really good despite not having skated derby for ages so I’ll probably take her up on that offer in the next few weeks. At a different roller disco I met an ex-league member who now skates for Bath (and was at the scrim yesterday) and her husband skates for Bristol. Her two sons skate too and the older one is freaking amazing. Saw him jumping/twirling/gliding around like some kind of ice skater. I didn’t ask why she transferred to Bath but she might have moved closer so that makes sense, plus if her husband skates for Bristol then Bath is closer if their training times are similar (why she hasn’t joined Bristol is beyond me…) She also has the same name as me! It was really funny when we introduced ourselves and I was like ‘I’m also…’ but if we use derby names then it’ll be fine.

I’m not feeling as frustrated lately, going to the roller discos and skating for fun might be a part of that because I can just do what I want without a trainer telling me what to do. It makes me remember that I love skating now and roller discos are helping to settle the itch of not skating much at training.

Testing is in just over a week so I have to work my butt off to get some stuff passed so I can finally scrim!

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NSOing

Today I was an NSO for the first time (it was also the first time I’d ever been to a bout and watched the team, and since it was a home game, who was I to pass up this awesome opportunity?)

I was a penalty box timer and the head NSO had gone through everything with me a few days before and given me some things to read through but I still only felt mildly prepared on the day. A penalty box timer times a penalty for one particular team, but not for the jammers, the penalty box manager times the jammers but I had to write down the number and team/position of that skater. A penalty is 30 seconds long and after 20 seconds they stand up and then wait until we tell them to leave. If a jam stops whilst they’re in the box, they serve the remaining time once the next jam has started (unless it’s half time in which case they do it after the break). They can’t talk to the team but their bench knows that they have a person in the box so they send in one less skater (or however many are in the box) for the next jam.

First I had to help set up the venue though, setting up tables/chairs/merchandise/signs which was about an hour before doors opened. My friend who got me into derby was setting up the track and what I didn’t know until near the end of the day was that they put rope underneath the tape so the skaters know when they go off track which I thought was neat. (There’s also more merch being sold there than I thought!)

The NSOs then had a meeting about who was doing what and to get the paperwork and go over any questions we had, we then had about half an hour to look at merch/get ourselves ready for the rookie game.

I’d been told beforehand about there being more penalties in a rookie game than a normal one but I still underestimated a little how many that actually was. There was one point where we must’ve had 5 out of 6 chairs full and at one point someone got sent around because we didn’t have enough chairs for her. Two skaters got 6 penalties and were classed as ‘hot’ (7 penalties counts as fouling out and they can no longer skate as part of the team). Some were also given a warning for crashing into the chairs (it happened twice and one time I very nearly got squished) but there’s usually a ref there who gives them the warning. One time the skater got an extra penalty (the time I nearly got squished) as she didn’t do it on purpose but it was kinda dangerous. It was a little confusing then as we had both jammers in the box and when this happens, they serve 10s each but since it was the end of a jam and the 2nd jammer had a 2nd penalty, the 1st jammer got to go on the whistle and then the 2nd jammer just had to serve her usual 30 seconds (took me a few minutes to get my head around that).

We swapped teams (there are two timers) at half time but we don’t always need to do that, next time I might not as it got a little confusing. I kept calling out the wrong colours but the skaters understood me although I felt bad for messing up :/

There was a break between the rookie game and the next one so everyone counted up penalties and made sure we had the same numbers before going off for a break.

The second game was a lot less hectic than the first one, I only had about a dozen (well, a baker’s dozen) penalties in the first half and they were less likely to crash into the chairs (not sure if it’s a control/toe stop thing or just because they’ve had more experience?) This meant I got to watch a bit more of the game though, and it was really cool to see the team in action (even if we lost 😦 but let’s not dwell on that). There was one jammer on the other team who was amazing, she was almost always the lead jammer and I don’t know how, but she always made it through the wall. Everyone else put it down to her being small (there’s a small skater in our team but she was even smaller) and could fit through the tiny gaps the wall had. Every time she was on, she’d zip past, score some points then call it off, sometimes before our jammer had a chance to get around to score points. There was one instance where there were 4 people in the penalty box but it wasn’t my team so I didn’t pay much attention to it (but the other timer and penalty box manager had a bit of a hassle with them).

Overall I think it was a really good day out (it was almost the whole day) and I learnt a lot about the rules/penalties/how a game is actually played. It was really cool to see the team in action too as it’s not quite the same when they’re scrimming in practice.

Hopefully we’ll have another home game soon and I can NSO again and learn even more 😀