Why? I am getting that a lot. Why Reffing? Why don’t you want to skate anymore? Won’t you miss the competition? Won’t you miss the hard work and being a part of derby?
What? Are you serious? I am not even going to go much into the ridiculousness of those questions. I will say, if you like skating, ref. There’s no bench time for refs. So. And the other stuff? Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory. I mean, why not? I was a bit stagnant. And needed to know what it was like. And it was awesome. So that’s why I guess.
I think the worst, most insulting implication has been from a contingent of folks who assume I couldn’t hack it as a skater. Maybe I couldn’t. I’ll admit things weren’t healing as fast as they used to. Bruises lingered for weeks. Joints ached months after the initial injury. Or maybe it’s the comment someone made that I must be in it to spend more time with a male friend. Uh. No. We were hanging out as frequently, if not more so, prior to this. And gross. Please stop assuming women do things because of a man. I have a damn good man in my life. I don’t need any more of them. Thanks for the implication that I Am a pathetic tagalong though. It made my day.
So I asked myself. When? When did this happen. Last spring. That’s what I came up with. Last spring I was tired. And wanted to try something new. A scrimmage was happening, a themed thing. And I agreed to try Reffing. It was something that I wanted to do and it sounded hard and like a lot of fun. I had never done it before, why not try?
I donned borrowed stripes, and was gifted a whistle (which is my favorite whistle because it represents a thing). I had a vague idea that points were gonna happen and I would skate around looking graceful and pointing at people.
Holy fuck. Was I off. Points absolutely did happen. Fast. Faster than I could see them. Gracefully pointing? I couldn’t get over the hurdle of skating and doing things with my arms and thinking at the same time. I was hot, sweaty, ran into people, tripped on the IPR, lost my jammer, fondled a fellow ref when I wasn’t paying attention to who was in front of me and ended the day feeling like I had put on skates for the first time ever. I fucking loved it.
I would have done it more. But I was committed to the team. I snuck a few more games in last year and over the winter slowly realized it was where I wanted to be. Maybe those on the outside weren’t aware it was happening because, hey, we don’t always know what’s going on in other people’s lives. Surprising, right?
I didn’t know that Castle Rock would be my last competitive games. I did by the end. I spent more time with the officials afterwards than I did the skaters. They spoke to me. I wanted that world. And I intend to spend the next six years like I did my first. Learning, growing, pushing myself to be the best I can be. Empowering others to make the journey their own no matter which team their on. When people ask why? This is why.
Castle Rock 2015
Abq October 2015