Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Skaters vs Referees vs NSOs vs Stat Geeks: The ultimate showdown

Let's say you're a pretty tough little cookie of a lady, and you've been watching local thrilling, action-packed roller derby bouts with pride, and then one day your friends look at you and say, "hey, Little Lady (because that is your name), why aren't you out there?"

Brief pause. "Why," you say, "I don't know."

You go home, and you think about it. Why not?

Oh, right. You don't know how to skate. You don't know the rules. You have irritable bowel syndrome that crops up at inopportune moments. But other than that, why not? You can read, you can learn, and you can wear an adult diaper. No problems there.

You know your local league is recruiting, and they need everybody they can get their hands on. How do you choose what bout role you should play?

There are 4 different types of people working during bouts who are fairly directly involved with gameplay itself.

1. Skaters
2. Referees
3. Non-Skating Officials, or NSOs
4. Stat Geeks

1. Skaters: The girls out on the track.
Pros to being a skater:
- Fame and glory
- Fun outfits
- Excellent workout
- People are scared of you
- Little girls adore you
- You can skip venue patrons in line at the bathroom
- You're in all the pictures of the event

- Creepy people adore you
- Your workplace may not approve if they found out, especially if they knew your alias
- Broken bones, recurring knee and shoulder problems, premature arthritis, torn ligaments, etc
- Expensive: good skates + good pads + good medical insurance = good money

2. Referees: Your stripedy friends on the inside and outside of the track.
Pros to being a referee:
- You get to be loud and yell and scream and blow a whistle
- You get to scold and boss around girls and finger them to the box
- You become a smartypants nerd about the rules but it's OK because you're supposed to be
- You don't get hurt as often
- You can also skip patrons in line at the bathroom because they think you're a skater
- Great exercise and you can skip the scary blocking drills

- You have to guest ref a lot to get good, and traveling costs money
- Also expensive for the same reasons as skaters
- You can still get hurt because of skaters flying out of bounds
- Everybody hates you and wants to do evil, hateful things to you and they tell you so every chance they get
- You're only in pictures if you're the Jam Ref, for the most part

3. NSOs: the people not in skates standing inside the track or at a table just outside the track
Pros to being an NSO:
- You can be involved and not have to skate
- Cheap as hell unless you want to get a really fancy clipboard like this
- You also get a fun name if you want
- Wide variety of positions such as: penalty tracker, scoreboard operator, penalty box timer, scorekeeper, jam timer, etc

- You don't wear any type of jersey, so nobody knows who you are
- You're probably going to be standing in one spot for the entire bout
- Your f*&%ups can delay the game
- Generally no photographic evidence of you even attending the bout

4. Stat Geeks: don't even bother trying to find them for they are invisible
Pros to being a geek:
- Total anonymity
- Fun pocket protectors
- You understand the action better than anybody because you're watching and documenting individual plays
- You track different things like lineups, actions, and errors
- Math, yay math!
- And spreadsheets! Woo!
- Very little chance of getting dismembered, unless there's a particularly rowdy crowd

- Total anonymity
- Pretty thankless
- You could be out in the crowd and therefore not have the best seat ever
- Don't even bother looking for a picture of you unless you got in a fight

So there you have it. I chose reffing because I'm a pussy when it comes to blocking, bossy, and loud. What do you want to be?


  1. What about the bench coach! Jeeez!

  2. I wanna be a Creep With Cam.. oh wait.. DONE

  3. Bench coach? Crap! Sorry, sorry... but I clump them in with skaters in my mind since ours usually ARE skaters.

  4. "-Your fuckups can delay the game"


  5. i happen to like the travelling to other leagues to help. the army calls it "seeing the world," and the army never lies.

  6. Re: referees.

    "You get to scold and boss around girls and finger them to the box."

    Um, that description may give some the wrong impression and make the job seem more exciting than it actually is.

    (See also, "Creepy people adore you.")

  7. And "Jessticular Fortitude" is one of my favorite derby names ever right now.

  8. Dude, reffing roller derby is waaaaay exciting, what are you talking about??? It's one of my favorite things ever! Of course, in my free time I also like to play with my cat, groom myself, and play video games. So maybe my idea of excitement isn't quite the same as yours.

  9. I am so not a skater but I love derby, and that's why I chose NSO. I make a better geek than I do a fighter. And we can get the derby love from the girls too :)

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