Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Derby Night of the Living Dead

This past Saturday was Derby Night of the Living Dead. The Boardwalk Brawlers hosted a double-header in Egg Harbor Township featuring mens derby as well. The New York Shock Exchange battled it out against the Connecticut Death Squad and we took on Harrisburg Area Roller Derby (HARD).

I served as a non-skating official. My job was to record and time penalties for CT during the mens game and for HARD during our game. I sat in a chair directly behind three folding chairs serving as the penalty box. When someone got a one minute penalty I had to start timing their penalty as soon as their ass hit the chair. At thirty seconds, I yelled "30 seconds!", at 50 seconds, I yelled, "10! Stand!" so they could get ready to go back out, and at 60 seconds I yelled, "Done!". Penalties are one minute with the exception of a two-minute penalty. I don't know what it's called but there a few ways to get it. There was one two-minute penalty and the referee skated over to me and told me. There was no other way for me to know.

In addition to timing and yelling, I had to fill out a chart with the period, jam number (I had to keep track of that myself), skater, skater position and the time spent in the box during each jam. Jams are only two minutes long and they are often called off early by the lead jammer if they feel they can no longer score points. It's a strategy to conserve their, and their team's, energy. So penalties are usually served over the course of two jams, if not three in rare cases. When the jam came to an end, I stopped the watch and jotted down the time. I started it again at the whistle of the start of the next jam.

It's fun when you end up with three people in the box because then you get to do quick math. I know, I'm a dork. There's only one stop-watch so you have to write down at which second each person entered the box and then do quick math to make sure everyone gets their fair warning.

I was certainly an unbiased penalty tracker (of course) even though I wanted the opposing teams to win. I was amazed how often I was ignored even though I was screaming the warnings. More often than not no one stood when I told them to stand and they didn't budge when I yelled, "Done!" a foot behind them. I'd be leaning forward tapping them on the shoulder with my pencil yelling "done" and they'd be watching the game like a spectator. I could have let up but didn't. I did my fair amount of pushing and I screamed until my voice was hoarse.

My teammate was tracking penalties for the two home teams, BB and NYSE. She was nervous and lacked confidence in her ability to do the job so I offered to take the away teams thinking she'd be more comfortable with her teammates. That was a very good thing. CT and HARD both tripled the amount of penalties of NYSE and BB. My teammate was very grateful and I liked having something to do. Just to give you an idea, I'd say each team I tracked penalties for had an average of 15 major penalties per 30 minute period. If one member of the team gets four in a period, they are ejected for that period, but allowed to come back for the next. So basically, the opposing teams had an average of fifteen minutes of "power play" time per period. In derby, it's called a power jam.

I had a blast. Even when one of the guys got pissed off and threw all my chairs (he later apologized). We had a great turn-out, great volunteers, and the games were clean and fun and fortunately, no one got hurt other than some rink rash, a few bruises, a twisted ankle and a sprained wrist.

NYSE beat CT by over 100 points. BB and Hard were neck and neck the entire game, but HARD pulled ahead in the last two jams and beat us by 16 points. The final score was BB: 112 HARD: 128.

1 comment:

Doug Walsh said...

New York Shock Exchange should be penalized everytime they take the floor for having the most cliched and obvious team name in the history of organized sports.