Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Game Journal - WFTDA Western Regionals

WFTDA Western Regional Tournament 2008 - the Battle Royale

Incident - The quick acclimation required at tournaments within a ref crew was made a little harder during the first day as the majority of my crew had a... different style than I did. This left me a little on edge throughout the day, and I was more terse towards or less forgiving with some skaters or captains than I might otherwise have been.

Comments - I worry that this is going to continue to be my achille's heal as a referee. On the plus side, I did not have the same problem on the second or third days. I had made some adjustments to my crew's assignments and made some adjustments to my own approach that helped me. The takeaway from this then is two-fold. Firstly, I need to be more willing to make adjustments to crew assignments when I decide I need to instead of waiting until the end of the day or the end of the bout. Secondly, I need to start ignoring things which upset me but do not affect my ability to do my job. For instance, a skater that doesn't leave the track but argues a call does not change the rules, and should be handled neutrally and as the rules prescribe (as opposed to angrily, and as the rules prescribe), I should disregard that they are arguing, and focus on the fact that (by arguing instead of exiting the track when called out) they are breaking the rules. These changes helped me to focus and become more comfortable in the second and third days and I expect them to continue to do so.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Game Journal - 8.30.08

Dairyland Dolls vs. the Burning River Roller Girls All-Stars

Incident - More and more, I've been feeling like I'm holding pre-bout ref and ref-captain meetings just because, and that there's nothing that is covered that requires a meeting before hand. Nevertheless, I know that that's not true, that it's important to have these.

Comments - I need to be better prepared for these meetings, I should prepare a standard meeting list of bullet-points that I have with me. There's lots of things that always happen that are a pain that could be taken care of, largely game-flow issues, how long half-time will be, what time we start, benches, etc. Preparation is key.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Game Journal - 8.23.08

Team Unicorn vs. The Hamilton Harlots

Incident - As this was a fairly inexperienced crew when compared to what I was used to, it fell to me (and they made this clear) to do my best to train them up on many of the best practices the WFTDA employs, something I should note I was happy to do, I don't want it to sound like they saddled me with this responsibility. The one that proved the most problematic was communication between inside and outside referees, and between pack and jam referees. Communication in general really I guess. This sort of problem resulted in several unwarranted jam call-offs and the appearance that I, as a pack referee, was calling lead jam or not.

Comments - I'd discussed how these communications usually work in a bout with them, and while it was clear they weren't totally grasping it, I made the decision to stop trying to explain it, and to just let them see it in action, figuring it would click during the bout. That, however, did not happen as quickly as I'd hoped. In retrospect, the times I've seen it click easily is when all but one or two of the referees are already comfortable with the system, instead of only having one or two who are familiar with it. In addition it wasn't the only new thing for them. I suppose I should have spent more time working with them pre-bout. All that said, I thought they caught on and adapted to everything I through at them like real pros. So maybe it wasn't all bad.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Game Journal - 7.19.08

Dairyland Dolls vs. the Charm City Roller Girls All-Stars

Incident - During the jam, a skater returned to play from the penalty box. When she did so, she entered in front of the entire pack, a clear major, had I seen the whole thing. I know I saw her re-enter in front of everyone and made the call, for the life of me though, even immediately after I couldn't remember if I'd KNOWN she was in the penalty box (and so, would KNOW it was a penalty), or if I just had assumed she was because she was standing still when she stepped in. Of course, standing still is probably a pretty good indication, but I really don't know if I knew or not. Whatever, I made the call. The real issue here is that for the next several laps, half of my concentration was on whether I'd actually seen what I thought I saw, or if I'd just manufactured a major penalty, even though at the moment I made the call I was 100% sure.

Comments - Obviously I need to make the call and move on. This is a basic tenet of my reffing, of any reffing (or, it should be), you're only as good as your next call. Whether or not your last call was right, if you're not paying attention to the game, chances are good your next call will be wrong. I'm ashamed it even took me a lap or two. I know better, it's usually not an issue. I don't know why this one was such a huge issue to me, except that it was also a call that was out and enforced before I even could think about it. As it turns out, one of the referees penalty tracking in the middle saw it too and verified during the intervening thirty seconds that the call was correct. Either way though, time to focus on the next call...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Game Journal - ECE 2008 - Part 4

Grand Raggidy All-Stars vs. the Ohio Roller Girls

Incident - Due to the nature of the ECE, there's typically two bouts happening at the same time. During this bout, the concurrent bout was a much "bigger deal", to the point that almost the entire crowd was watching that bout. Indeed, even some of our referees were interested in that bout.

Comments - This was an apt lesson in focus. One look at either team and it was clear where their focus was, and where ours needed to be. I'm glad to say I was focused on our game and not the other, and I'm sure the other referees would say the same. But I wish I'd made a concerted effort to make this point to everyone, just to be sure, to really be sure.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Game Journal - ECE 2008 - Part 3

Boston Derby Dames vs. HaRD Knocks

Incident - During this bout I called a 20' Out of Play major on a Houston player positionally blocking the BDD jammer. Instead of leaving the track to serve the penalty though, she yelled back, "I didn't hit her!", and for some reason I flipped a switch and got irate. I yelled back "I don't care! You're OUT!". Also, I might have sworn, I am not sure. That part changes depending on who tells the story to me.

Comments - Beyond the swearing part (which, if true, is obviously totally unacceptable on my part), there's two things of note here. First I need to constantly check my composure during bouts, not just at halves, especially as the skater's anxiety increases with higher stakes.

Second, part of the reason I think I was so upset was I had talked to coaches and captains about this sort of thing pre-bout. Up until this bout I took it for granted that that information always got back to the players. Clearly it doesn't, and that in a lot of ways makes sense. I need to remember that.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Game Journal - ECE 2008 - Part 2

Texacutioners vs. Gotham Girls All-Stars

Incident 1 - As one jam began I noticed the Texas jammer was not in position, but was on the track getting into position. By the rules, this should have been a minor penalty false-start. I assumed it was called right and so just skated pack. As it turns out the jammer referee (the one at the time assigned to watch GOTHAM'S jammer) sent the Texas jammer back to her bench for the jam, as per the previous ruleset.

Comments - While the ref making the call was wrong, and while the other jam ref would have been justified in stopping the jam, it was ultimately my job as Head Referee to oversee everything, including this call. I knew that this was many people's first time with the new ruleset, and that this was a major change, I should have been more aware that the potential was there for a mistake, and right now I don't know why I didn't watch it closer as I saw it about to happen. I need to be more aware and take on more of a supervisory role as a head referee, especially when not totally familiar with the other referees.

Incident 2 - In the second half of the bout a Gotham blocker(Beyonsláy) laid a dramatic hit on the Texas jammer (Rice Rocket) (Yeah, THAT hit). The crowd's reaction was overwhelming, so I knew when I was told that just prior to the hit Beyonsláy had accumulated her fourth minor that there would be controversy, as big legal hits being called as illegal merely because they are big has been an issue for a long time. So I resolved immediately to correct the announcers as soon as the jam was over. I did, and while it didn't help, I'm glad I did it.

Comments - While it didn't help fan understanding, that is an announcer issue. Beyond that though I am again glad I was able to both watch the action on the field and read the bigger picture of the game from the fan's perspective. Not to let their opinion influence my calling, but to know what further information they needed to understand the calls. 

Friday, September 26, 2008

Game Journal - ECE 2008 - Part 1

Burning River All-Stars vs. The Stepford Sabotage

Incident - While I didn't make an incorrect call per-say, I did miss that the jam referees called the jam for a jammerless jam. As such I delayed the start of the next jam, as I "corrected" the penalty box, and then corrected my "correction".

Comments - I simply need to work on communication between the other refs and myself, especially for things like jammerless jam. Probably something to add to our pre-bout meeting.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Game Journal - 6.14.08

Dairyland Dolls at WCR All-Stars

 - During a markedly physical bout, the Dairyland Dolls jammer, who was fully out of bounds, was blocked into a wall, hard. While the offending blocker was immediately called to the box for the foul, it was just as clear that just as quickly the Madison team felt they needed to take the law into their own hands. Almost immediately a Madison blocker took a knee and dragged her back leg in the path of the Chicago jammer, in what clearly seemed to be an attempted trip. The Chicago player simply stepped over the Madison player's leg and easily broke the pack, though upon further reflection it became clear to me that I should have ejected the Madison player for the attempt, and failing to do so might have allowed for what turned out to be a more violent or physical game from that point on.

Comments - The largest problem in this scenario is that we were reffing the game under a new ruleset. New to both teams and to the ref crew. Personally, I had only had a week to dedicate to focus on learning the differences, which I spent more making sure other refs and skaters knew those changes than I did on my own knowledge. I need to remember to not rest on past knowledge and since this bout have been regularly reviewing the rules to keep up on them, even the less discussed portions of the rules.
On the upside of this my intrinsic understanding of how big plays can effect player's and fans attitude seems to be developing well, and while I didn't anticipate the illegal play, I knew to quickly refocus on the pack once the penalty was issued and be ready for whatever might come.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Game Journal - 6.7.08

Fort Wayne Bomb Squad vs. Arch Rival Rollergirls

Issue - The game venue was extremely hot and humid. As such, fuses were very short, even at the start of the game. While things didn't get entirely out of hand, there were several incidents involving shouting, mostly at me and other referees by team coaches.

Comments - A I've mentioned, things were not totally out of hand, but they were close and could have been if something had gone wrong. I think that was a combination of a few things, but all things I should have been able to manage (other than the weather). I should have done more, we as officials in general need to do more, to ease tensions. We too often (and myself especially) get overly defensive too quickly. These coaches were doing their job, if maybe a little aggressively, but if I had a problem with it I should have settled things down then, instead of responding in kind. It's entirely possible only I noticed my own anger, which would be good.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Game Journal - 5.31.08

Denver Roller Dolls at Dairyland Dolls

Incident - We began having jammer referees reffing for their respective home teams. When Madison's jammer cleared the pack, the second to do so, she was declared lead. The Denver jammer ref then said as he passed me "No,she's not lead!", without any reason for it (to be fair, it's not a lot of time). I assumed he'd seen the Madison jammer foul, and decided I'd defer to Madison's jammer referee to make that call, I hadn't watched her entire pass. After the jam ended I called a timeout and found out Denver's jammer ref had already called lead at the time, and that's why he was saying Madison did not, should not, have lead.

Comment - While I blame myself, as dedicated head referee, for this mistake, I cannot help but feel that I am only partly responsible. Obviously more information would have cleared this problem up, numerous mistakes were made in this jam. But, clearly, this is ultimately about communication, something we can easily work on in a home league setting, but which we get little time to work on or fix during inter-league bouts. Further effort and focus should be made to establish better communication guidelines.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Game Journal - 5.10.08

Incident 1 - During the consolation bout, the pack repeatedly became extremely spread out or split. While I kept a handle on that, it left me unable to watch for what should have been obvious penalties, like entering at the front of the pack.
Comments - All I can do is continue to work on my awareness, so I can call pack problems while observing other fouls, or at least be mindful when calling pack situations to check repeatedly for other penalties.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Game Journal - 4.19.08

Dairyland Dolls at Grave Danger

- Due to Seattle's penalty system, I pack reffed Madison in the first half and reffed the Grave Danger in the second half. While my reffing was consistent throughout, I still walked away feeling like I had influenced the outcome of the game.

Comment - I know, academically at the time, and totally now, that I did everything fine in this situation. I discussed calling with their referees before hand to get a handle on the system. During the second period I told the head ref that I was calling a lot of seemingly unexpected penalties, and gave him the option of whether or not to say anything, which he decided not to. But I probably could have mentioned it myself (though, that would arguably have been overstepping my bounds). I suppose I'm still acclimating myself to not always being head ref. I am glad that I at least did not let the skater's reactions convince me to change my reffing, or let any concern I might have had from distracting me from making calls.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Game Journal - 4.12.08

Incident 1 - During the jam a skater earned her third major penalty of the period. Between jams this was discovered and we ejected that skater. First I informed her, then followed up that she had to leave the track entirely. I found someone to serve out the rest of her penalty and restarted play.
Comments - I should have made a greater effort to explain to both teams and to the other referees why she was leaving the track. While I did notify everyone I needed to notify, there were other people who would have been well served by being informed.

Incident 2 - A skater was apparently called out for a major by a jammer referee at the back of the pack and instead of skating to the penalty box, simply slowed down for a lap, then rejoined play. Worse, when a member of the other team asked a referee about it, the concern was ignored.
Comments - As the head referee for the bout, I feel these break downs in systems are ultimately my fault. Some of us are rushing through processes or ignoring problems in the name of returning to play, despite the advantage these actions might grant by our carelessness.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Game Journal - 3.22.08 and Men's Derby


Incident 1 - Towards the end of the second period in a close game, a score discrepancy was found from the previous jam. I brought the jam ref and score keeper together, they agreed that the score board was wrong. At this point I sent the score keeper to go update the scoreboard and stats table, waited for her to return, and then started the next jam. Apparently it was half way through this jam before the score was actually updated.

Comments - I should have at least made sure the score got changed before we started, but really should’ve done the notifying myself. I also should have made doubly sure that the team captains knew what was going on, which I thought I did, but may have forgotten to do because it was so easy a change (no one disagreed).

Incident 2 - A vital piece of our safety system was apparently missing for the whole first period. I was not notified of it’s absence until the end of the first period.

Comments - While ensuring this was and is not my job, overall safety is. I will be sure that I check before each bout, regardless of who’s job it is to do so, to make sure we never have a repeat of this incident.

Men’s Derby Supplement! From ten minute expo bout on 3.29.08 featuring the New York Shock Exchange and the Midwest Men’s Roller Derby

Incident 1 - After the first jam ended I stopped paying attention and just started going back to my starting spot. As such I missed seeing a skater go down, as did everyone else.

Comments - While this was no one’s fault (the fall), and it was noticed that it had happened (simply, no one actually SAW it happen), it could have been much worse. It could have been a late hit, or someone falling where it wasn’t obvious. I need to remember that I should always be paying attention, there is always something that could happen, even before and after a bout, much less a jam.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Game Journal - 2.23.08

Incident 1 - Didn't feel as in tune with Pack or Jam refs as I have in the past. Specifically I felt overwhelmed and more like I was waiting to hear them call things rather than seeing the fouls and seeing them call it.
Comments - I've been taking myself out of the middle in practice to work on jam reffing, I need to do better at equalizing my time at practice.

Incident 2 - Saw a possible late hit, but I wasn't sure of it. Instead of giving a penalty, or doing nothing, I skated over and reminded the skater to listen for and be conscious of the four whistles.
Comments - After this I had no more problems with this type of thing, so i think this was effective and I should be more conscious of when I can give effective warnings like this one (though not INSTEAD of a deserved penalty).

Incident 3 - Sent a player off the track to rectify a situation involving too many on the track, she went to the penalty box because she didn't understand what was going on. Once the jam ended I sent her back to her team bench and considered the matter closed. Later I learned that she'd gotten her minors cleared, incorrectly.
Comments - I should have followed up with our head ref AND both of our penalty tracking assistants to let them know why she'd been sent off and that she should not have her minors reset.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Game Journal - 1.26.08

Incident 1 - I delayed the reporting of several minor penalties in order to clarify an already enforced major.
Comments - Should have waited until between jams to clarify that the call was a major, it had been enforced and mistake was not immediately effecting game play.

Incident 2 - Repeatedly tried to call in a single minor, probably resulting in missed calls on other penalties.
Comments - Need to get better at remembering several minors, so I don't need to report each one or two before I can call more. Also, need to work with rest of the crew to improve reporting process.

Incident 3 - Unintentionally yelled at a team rep who was trying to clarify a call between jams. I assumed she was mistaking me for the Head Ref.
Comments - Need to work on switching my voice from calling volume during jams to communicating volume between them. Also, need to hear questions out before I assume I understand them, even when not Head Ref.