A quick glance through the websites and Facebook pages of every Roller Derby league will tell you that they welcome Non-Skating Officials. I can tell you that this is an understatement! More than likely they are crying out, begging and auctioning off their firstborns for NSOs.
A large part of this is that most of us don’t come to NSO-ing honestly. A lot of us are injured skaters, an even bigger percentage were cajoled, bribed and threatened into our positions. I understand, it’s tough. When your league have a bout game all you want to do is cheer, take photos and watch every second of the action, which is hugely important! But… is there a better position to watch how the rules are put into action and improve your own game play than NSO-ing? You can find out exactly what the referee is thinking when they call that penalty, you can see the penalties stacking up and see how the odd elbow can affect the whole game.
NSOs are responsible for timing, recording penalties and scores, track laying, timing penalties and releasing skaters. If they’re good at it, you won’t even know they’re there, everything will just run smoothly, with as little drama as possible on game day, leaving skaters with nothing to think about but playing.
As well as everything else that goes on at an NRDL game day, officials (both skating and non-skating) have a massive role in building the roller derby community. You can go away and officiate for other leagues, meeting their skaters and officials, making friends and stacking favours for the next time we’re short. That way the bigger stuff gets easier, finding skaters for mixed bouts, officials for our own bouts, setting up fixtures, to name but a few.
So this is a call to arms! We always need more NSOs, the more we have the smoother everything runs and the less work we all have to do. You’ll learn so much, become indispensable to the league. Not up to bouting but want all the excitement of game day? NSO! Love to see who is scoring the points? NSO! Love stats and spreadsheets? NSO!
We want to hear from you, whether you’re already involved in the league and haven’t considered NSO-ing before, or have no interest in skating at all but love this crazy sport! There’s full training and I promise, it’s the best and most rewarding position to play!
All photographs copyright of Gradient Photography and used with kind permission.
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