My relationship with this blog has been short and sweet. I’ve recently been offered a job all the way on the other side of the country, so in a couple of months my time with the Dames will be up – and yes, that was the biggest dilemma in my decision to take the job, but career first and all that.
So this month’s topic for me is going to be community. I’m not scared of moving leagues, because roller derby is like instant custard. Or something. You just add water (or milk??) and it’s made. With roller derby, you just turn up and you have instant friends. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere, I swear.
The officials community, in particular, is super to have. You quickly start to accumulate friends from all across the UK because crews are made up of officials from lots of different places. Being an official is like being in a huge roller derby league that spans the country. On a number of occasions I have turned up to ref events and not met any of the other refs before, but we all just slot in and do our thing. Everyone is supportive. Everyone is happy to have you. Everyone will answer your questions or join a debate with you.
Why is the ref community how it is? I suppose it’s because we’re a rare breed. A league might have 60 skaters and 5 refs, or 20 skaters and 1 ref. We often have questions arise from scenarios that only other refs will know the answer to. The rules of roller derby are COMPLEX, you guys. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been reffing, new things will still come up on a regular basis that will challenge you. And as a community, we work to figure it out. On a darker note, we may have received abuse from a skater or had a tough game and need a shoulder to cry on or just need someone to act as a sounding board. The ref community is there. If you made a bad call, other refs will help you learn from it and move on. We’ve got each others backs. We’re in this together.
So even though the league in the town where I’m moving to doesn’t have any refs yet, I’m not scared. The whole community is still there for me. They’ll still help me learn and they’ll still be my support. That’s pretty cool.