Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Week 19: It's Not Easy Being Grey

Or, in the case of my last bout, white. Or sometimes pink. Or red. Yep, that's right. It's another NSO post!

There was no derby practice this week as our local rink was recarpeting, so I upped my workout by wearing skates (it was killer!) and I got my derby fix by NSOing at an unofficial public bout.

I absolutely adore NSOing, I think it brings the geek out in me - something about stopwatches and charts and it all being proper and straight-faced and official. Ooo and clipboards, got to love a clipboard. I think I've NSOd about 5 times now (I've even started a NSO CV - you know, just in case I'm not skating in the Roller Derby World Cup, I might want to officiate instead...) and I've just kept my head down and got on with the job and, maybe, had the odd, sneaky smile to myself when there's a lead change in our favour, or something, but never really got too much caught up in the game. Well, this time it was different.

Oh yeah, that's a nice looking clipboard!

I really don't know what sparked it off, but something happened during half-time that made me go from straight-faced, clipboard in hand, line-up tracker to resisting the urge to become completely unprofessional and start joining in with the crowd's cheers.
It may have been that it was an away-game so our crowd wasn't as big as the other teams, it may be that I now know the majority of the team so it was more personal to me, it may have been that the score was so close that I just couldn't bear it. Whatever it was, it was pretty hard to control.

I did control it, mind you. I am an official and I will do the job properly but, god damn, it was hard. Every time our jammer became the lead I had to resist a little "yeah!", every time someone fell or was a victim of an illegal hit I had to resist the urge to call it out. You start to realise how hard to it to officiate during a game when your own team is playing and you gain huge respect for the people that do.

The next bout I'm NSOing at is the Heartlands East Final.This is a pretty big deal. It decides who wins the East Final and who goes on to play in the Heartlands Final. It's the first tournament bout I've ever NSOd at and it's actually really important for NSOs to remain impartial. Thankfully, I'm not NSOing for my team's bout but I thought it might be a fun idea to think of ways of staying in the NSO zone and to not get too carried away with the bout:

- Focus on what you're doing! Do not get involved in what's going on with the other parts of the game, just what you need to know. (This may be quite difficult if dealing with penalties as you have to follow the whole game to spot when people get sent off!)
- Try to think of the team as skaters, not friends. I'm not saying exclude yourself completely but, as soon as you get in position, they are skaters. Athletes who rely on you to accurately to record the data from the game.
- Up the severity of it. If you can't detach yourself from the team, tell yourself that if you don't stay impartial and do your job, your team will lose.
- Admire all the skaters! You don't have to be indifferent, you can like them all! Just because they're not on your team doesn't mean they're not awesome skaters! Cheer them all on! (Inside cheer, though!)
- Eat cake. Cake makes everything better and hopefully you'll be thinking "Mmmmm, cake is good!" not "Yeah! Hit that bitch!"


At the end of the day, it's just not fair on the other players. It's easy to get caught up and cheer on your team, but it's your job to be impartial and to accurately record the data. You know you would never change the data (what is that ever going to achieve?!) but you've still got to look and act like you won't!

You can still enjoy watching roller derby without being competitive. Relax and just enjoy the whole experience. :) (And, if you can, just NSO at other teams' bouts!)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It was awesome to meet you yesterday Honey! As I said, your blog has helped motivate me on, even when I feel useless! Big love to you & the Brawds, we were cheering you girls on as loud as we could :)
    April x

    1. Hey April! Awh it was so nice to meet you too! (I was talking to one of your fellow freshies on twitter earlier and mentioned meeting you but couldn't remember your name! So I'm glad you've commented!) I so pleased my blog helps get you through those tough patches! They are annoying, but soon they'll start motivating you and making you work harder rather than bringing you down and make you feel useless. So many times I thought "why am I even bothering? I'm never going to get it!" and then thought well I definitely won't if I stop trying! So I got back on the track and kept at it!
      Huge love right back at you and the Rollerbillies! I wish I'd taken in more of that game but I had my NSO head on! Thanks for cheering us on! The ladies definitely felt the love! <3
      Hope to see you again soon! I may be NSOing at the finals. :)

    2. You were doing a fantastic job at being very neutral whilst NSOing!
      I'll keep an eye out for you at future bouts! I'm sure we'll cross paths many times x