Monday, March 28, 2011

Championships Crew Head Ref, Day Two

As you may, or may not, know, I was one of the three Crew Head Referees for the WFTDA Championships in Chicago this year. It was an honor, and I was completely pleased with the way my crew performed. I wanted to run through the three days, and talk about things we did and discussions we had, because I think they all fed into our performance. This is not an instruction manual. This is not what we did right that other crews did/do wrong, I wasn't on those crews and I don't know what they did. This is what worked for us, this one weekend, and which may work for others, over a weekend, a season, or a career.

Day Two - Saturday
Saturday was split into two halves, before and after a dinner break. OK,Jr. was scheduled for only one more bout before the dinner break, with everything after dinner still being un-scheduled. Due to the nature of this tournament and the level of refereeing we expect, that's just sort of how it had to be. It would be dishonest to say though, that none of us on the crew were feeling the need to really deliver in the one bout we had left scheduled. Of course, you always want to deliver your best when refereeing, but that doesn't mean you can't experience increased pressure.

Kansas City v Philly
That said, I think we handled it, and more importantly the bout, really well. It was a good second bout, both in that it was a very straight-forward bout and that our crew really gelled during this bout, perhaps as a partial result of the straight-forward nature of the bout. Let me insert here, when I say "straight forward", that's not supposed to imply anything about the teams playing or what I think of how they played. Some bouts have lots of technical calls, some bouts don't, it's as much about how the teams react to each other as it is about anything else. But regardless of why, it was this bout where I felt like the Pack Refs really hit a stride and figured out how we were going to work together, where we really got our communication down with the Jammer Referees, and where we nailed timing and sight lines between inside and outside. At this point it was down to fine tuning.

Philly v Oly
All that being the case, there was one thing we never quite got down to clockwork, intentional fourth minors. That's as much on me as it can be on anyone. I wanted the OPRs positioned in turn 4 to handle it, and I don't think that was normal for anyone, add to that the fact that the NSOs preferred to talk to me about it, and that I was all the way up at the front of the pack, it was messy. Not game-affecting messy, just Three Stooges messy. It's worth noting in this bout particularly because I felt like it kind of blew up. Again, never to where it effected the bout or our refereeing, but enough that it made us (or, to be more fair to the crew, it made me) feel like it was closer to MNRG v CCRG than KCRW v PRG. Of course, beyond the intentional fourths, it also was more like MNRG v CCRG than KCRW v PRG, with much more going on regarding pack definition and Direction of Gameplay penalties than we'd had (and led to the minors), but when we looked back on it, and when we got our notes from Vroom, it felt to me like the idea that it was a hairy game simply came from being busy watching so much, not from anything like that we'd stepped back. To be sure, despite feeling hard, it had at the same time felt like a good bout, and what more can you want?

1 comment:

  1. Posting five months later? Wow! Oh, right, you write everything down in your magic notebook. :-)

    As one of the outside pack refs on this crew I have a very distinct memory of the Philly/Kansas City bout being one of the most physical and intense I'd seen all year, really upping the ante for the crew. The skaters were really fighting hard, for everything, using every tool in their tool chest - pack re-definition, almost-clockwise hits, 19.999' engagement, splitting packs, almost-multi-player-blocks, etc. It felt like those teams threw everything in the book at us - not at all because of any carelessness on their part, but rather quite the opposite.

    I honestly don't remember any specific calls from that game, but each jam had a palpable 'hold on to your butts, anything can happen' vibe. Coming out of the Philly/KCRW bout, I felt like the crew had passed a huge intense test under a massive microscope and was ready for anything. It was a great warm-up for what was to come on day 3 (as well as bout two on saturday).

    - hambone, gotham