Thinking About Being a Roller Derby Referee?

No? Why not? You should! Come down to Fade Café, Mansfield Road, Nottingham 7:30pm on the 2nd of September and talk to us about Roller Derby refereeing. Here are seven reasons why it’s the best decision you will ever make…

1) FITNESS: After your first skating session you’ll ache like never before; this will carry on for about six weeks, a different body part aching every week and you’ll start to wonder if it ever ends. Gradually you get better but you will never rest; the best of the best are still continually improving. Seriously, when I think of the time and money I wasted in those aerobics classes miserably trying to get the pounds off I laugh. Skating never feels like exercise, you toss the concept of BMI out the window and train to become an athlete not a size zero.

2) TEAM SPIRIT: This is a preppy cheerleading term right? What ever it is, it exists in roller derby. I look around sometimes and I can’t believe what a wide range of individuals we have making up our league, it just shouldn’t work, but it does. On track the tired mum lines up next to the jet lagged business man, who’s hip to hip with the struggling artist, who’s got the back of the entrepreneur and something beautiful happens.

3) A RELEASE: I’ve encountered people that have struggled with illness, weight issues, bereavement and injury and roller derby has provided them with solace; a hobby in which to focus their energies and be all they can be. When we get together at training we forget everything that has come before; the stressful jobs, the exhaustion, the apathy, the anxieties; money worries or fear of redundancy and all the other horrible things that life throws at us. We leave it at the door and we focus on what we need to do and, man, it feels good.

4) SELF RESPECT: This is what you gain when you can digest the rules of a complex sport and enforce them while controlling a pack of players. It may seem daunting but you’re the person the team will turn to and respect. Imagine yourself a year from now. I’d say we’re a risk worth taking.

5) INNOVATION: We’re hugely proud of our Beginners Programme; a year ago we couldn’t field a full team, since then we’ve expanded at a rapid rate. For the referee training we’ve built on this but we also want individuals to innovate. To this end, we have incorporated a ‘project’ element into the training; this involves you working together to build a process that can measure the team’s knowledge of the rules.

6) YOUR NEW HOBBY: Maybe there’s a medical reason that means you cannot play roller derby or perhaps a contact sport isn’t your thing. As a Non Skating Official or on skates as a referee you’re job is invaluable, but many of the team decide to take on other tasks to ensure that we run well as an organisation- there are literally dozens of roles to choose from; Planning and Logistics, Marketing, Admin, Design, PR and Events to name but a few, or better still, just write me a blog from time to time!

7) BOUT DAY: This ain’t no Sunday league thing and it’s really difficult to explain bout day to somebody who’s never been, but it really is something. The announcers, the skate out, the kit check, the kids running round before the game, the die-hards sat at the edge of the track, the home made goodies that my fella insists on overdosing on, the refs warming up and showing us their skills, the shame of being the first in the penalty box, the roar of the crowd as that perfect hit is landed and the jammer is caught off guard, the independent businesses that hold stalls around the hall, the excitement of the raffle and that one epic prize- and there always is one- that you’ve just got to have. All this and more, it’s what every league member works for and it NEVER disappoints.

So, there are just a few reasons, in time you’ll find more. What are you waiting for?