I wanted to get all my thoughts out about Clover Cup much sooner but I came home and immediately turned around to do a family spring break trip to Denver. So here I am, prepping to leave town again for another tournament Today and trying to unwind all these thoughts I have about officiating, derby culture in general and the balance I’m trying to maintain this year in an attempt to avoid the burnout I see so many of my friends go through season after season.
Clover Cup was exactly what I needed to start my season. I’ve talked at length about how I feel about this year; it’s exploratory. Can I still meet my goals as an official and balance family, work and going back to school? Can I do the things that crews and teams need without a local league to work with? I was very put off of derby mid-winter and decided to take the same advice for myself that my partner and I give our kid: don’t quit until it’s fun again. When we do our hobbies, it’s easy to want to quit when things get hard or have plateaued or we’ve hit a snag. So we always try to wait things out and if, when things are really fun and at their best, we still feel like it’s time to find something different and for a change, then we move on. Clover Cup proved to me I am not ready to move on from officiating derby just yet.
Friday was rough. The floor was mush. The temperature hot. I felt off. I sprained my ankle and had a lot of intense pain in the first games of that day. However, I had the absolute best crew I could have hoped for. I mentioned in my pre-Clover post that I had chosen Clover Cup because I had the chance to work with a female TH and CHR and wanted that mentoring. It was the right choice. Ninja is some sort of magician (It’s the glitter) when she puts her crews together and my Crew Head, was exactly who I needed to kick off the season. I got to work with one of my favorite people from my last tournament of the year in 2018 and met new people who I’d always wanted to work with. I had a great OPR mentor and learned things about positioning that I couldn’t have done from watching 100 hours of footage and by Sunday, our crew was so gelled we ended up working the Champs game. This is important to me, I was part of a strong crew that did well and we achieved an officiating goal as a group. I felt so supported by the entire crew, by the tournament heads and by the rest of the officials at the tournament in general. It was a really good experience on and off the track. And as for hosting, Dallas Derby Devils did an amazing job and I would recommend any official who gets the chance, support their games and events. They went out of their way to make sure that everyone was taken care of, safe, fed and happy during the event
I wish I would have gotten out a bit more, but honestly, I couldn’t find the mental energy to drag myself into downtown Dallas. I try to eat healthy on trips like this and I just didn’t this time. I ate birthday cake and Thai food and hotel breakfasts each day. I felt worn out by Monday. It was a great reminder that as good as big city food is, my body is 40 and can’t take it anymore. I also was a little disappointed that there’re still a few skaters who think that if they lose a game, officiating is the first go to place to look for blame. We really need to be better about this as a community. Officials, we can be better about not getting our hackles up if this happens and listen with open minds to concerns that are brought to us in a fair and kind manner. And skaters, can you find ways to communicate your concerns that don’t lay the entirety of your disappointment on seven, unpaid volunteers? I think that’s a fair place to start.
I over-packed, as usual. And felt flustered when all of my stuff would get scattered. This weekend’s trip is by plane and I’m not checking a bag, that should be a really interesting contrast and I’ll be posting my packing shenanigans soon.
Overall, I chose Clover to parse out my feelings towards derby this year and mission accomplished. I made new friends, achieved some personal goals, figured out where I want to be this year, and felt safe and supported. 10/10 would ref again.