Hello! Loco here. I'm the Bench Coach for Palouse River Rollers All Stars.
One of my most important responsibilities is to advocate for the team in terms of how penalties are being assessed. This is a skill that varies from game to game, as different Officiating Crews react differently to different approaches. In general, it’s not too hard to speak with the Head Referee in between jams about clarifications, information from skaters, or things I may thing were assessed in error.
If talking in the limited window between jams is not going to be effective to handle something, I can call an Official Review (OR). Let’s break down how ORs work.
Each team gets 1 OR per period. If you call an OR, you are looking for an officiating error. Points could be wrong, a penalty could have been missed, or a penalty may have been called in error. To win an OR, something has to change. If nothing changes, the team that called the OR has lost their OR for the period, and may not explicitly challenge any calls that are made for the rest of the period. As mentioned in the first section, you can still approach and discuss with the officials, but your formal ability is gone. If the team calls a successful OR, they retain their review. This means you can call ONE more OR in that period. That means the maximum number of OR’s one team can call in a game is 4. Call first in the First Period, retain, call a second. Call third in the Second Period, retain, call a fourth. It does not matter if it is successful or not, you no longer have a review after a second use in a single period.
The other use of an OR is as a clock stoppage. This means if you have an OR available, you can call it, inform the officiating crew that you are using it as a Time Out, and you get a 60 second break. As mentioned before, since no change occurs, this use of an OR means that you lose it after. The most common use of this is near the end of the First Period, because you do not get any advantage to not using your OR in the First Period, since it effectively resets at halftime.
Still with me? Okay! I know, OR’s are complicated.
Now that we know you don’t always have to use an OR to get adjustments to the officiating, and we’ve gone through how they work, let’s talk about using them. In no particular order, these are the points of emphasis we discuss about ORs.
So! Now we know how OR’s work, and what we are looking for when we call one, let’s do it!
For this write up, I will use an example from our recent tournament in Montana. One of our skaters was assessed with an Illegal Contact (Late Hit) penalty.
So, I held up my hands, making an O shape with my forefingers and thumbs touching, while also saying “Official Review” out loud. The Head Ref calls in the following people. The Captains (C’s) and Designated Alternates (A’s) for both teams. The Captain must be on skates, the Alternate may or may not. If anyone who is a C or A is in the Penalty Box, they cannot participate. As we called the OR, the Head Ref would say “This is (Team Color)’s Review”.
This is where it gets interesting. There is a blend of art and technical knowledge for making your case. Sometimes you make a very simple, direct statement. Other times you need to discuss impact spectrum, officiating discretion, or who exactly was the initiator. This was my argument, as close as I can remember.
“We would like the late hit on our blocker rescinded. While we acknowledge they did make contact with the opposing Jammer during and possibly after the Jam ending whistles, the hit did not meet impact spectrum. The Jammer was not knocked down, nor significantly off balance. As the Late Hit implies it was made after the whistles, I would like to point out that in between Jams, there is no ‘in bounds’ or ‘out of bounds’ so the fact that the jammer was knocked out of the track has no bearing on the impact.”
Depending on your Head Ref, they may ask clarifying questions. It is also not uncommon for the other team to express a view, or for the Head Ref to repeat back or paraphrase what you are requesting. Then, they discuss the call/no call with the other officials to decide if they agree with your argument.
In this case, they did agree. Our blocker made contact that they did say was after the whistles, but they agreed that the Impact Spectrum had not been met, so the penalty was removed. We retained the ability to call 1 more OR for that period.
So How do you win an Official Review? You offer clear information about what you are requesting to change. You make sure that you are confident in your interpretation, You offer reminders about any Official adding information to the review. You make your case in the most persuasive way you can. Again, this doesn’t always mean a lot of detail. Sometimes an OR is just making 3 Officials who all saw a little bit talk about it, put it together, and conclude that you were correct. Obviously, knowledge of the rules helps. But just because you know the rules doesn’t mean they saw what you did. The most important thing when you call an OR is to accept the results and move on. Sometimes, you lose an OR about something that the other team knows they got away with, and they stop doing it because the Officiating Crew is watching more closely. Or, the next time they do it, it gets called because it’s fresh in the Crew’s mind. Sometimes, you can Win the review even if you don’t retain it.
Now get out there, and win one!
WRITTEN BY: LADY MCDEATH
I'm kind of a cross-training fanatic, bearing a recently given name of Lady McHyphy. I started cross-training to assist with weight loss and to improve the strength of my left leg. To be quite frank, cross-training is the only reason I can do derby successfully. If I hadn't spent hours in the gym, I can't honestly say whether or not I would have passed my minimum skills. So I want to give the breakdown of cross-training success in a sense. My version may not be everyone else's version of what works to stick it out with cross-training.
1. What's your why?
A huge part of being successful in adhering to a cross-training plan is identifying why you are doing it. What is driving you to hit up the weights or hop on the treadmill? Without a clear intention of why you are doing it, your adherence will wax and wane based on exterior factors. Your why can range from injury prevention to stronger hits to being able to increase your endurance. It needs to be a why that you view as worthwhile. It can't be just because someone else wants you to do it. My personal why can vary depending on the time of year and mood. It cycles pretty consistently between maintaining muscles for derby, weight management, and mental health.
Ah, that word. I hear people say that they lack motivation at times. To which I reply, motivation is finicky at best. Motivation isn't in our control at times. Dedication and determination are however. I have my days where I want to be lazy. Hell, I have my weeks where I want nothing more than to lay around. On those days or weeks, I have to go back to my why. Sometimes, it's helpful to look at a short-term why. For instance, having a game in two weeks that you have to at least maintain a certain level of fitness for. Sometimes, I trick myself into being okay with just a participation award. I love going hard in the gym, but if my motivation is absent sometimes I content myself on the fact that I just made it to the gym for a workout. Visualization is another trick I use. Anyone that knows me, knows that I hate cardio and just want to lift. I need cardio though clearly. So sometimes what I do to get myself to do cardio is visualize game scenarios that require fast movements, like lateral movement spanning the track to catch the jammer or chasing the jammer down. Sometimes when I'm feeling extremely masochistic, I visualize myself as a jammer running away from the blockers while screaming "AHHHHH" in my head.
3. Pick an activity that you like.
Cross-training can look different for everyone. For me, it's lifting lots of heavy weights. For others, it might be crossfit, dancing, yoga, etc. Finding an activity that jives with you will help with the sustainability. My recommendation is that the activity balances out some of the ways that derby creates imbalance in our bodies. You don't necessarily have to do that though, or cross-train for the intention of improving your derby game. I think cross-training for your mental health is fine. I also think cross-training primarily for injury prevention is great. Find the system and the drives that work for you.
WRITTEN BY: SWEARWOLF
I am awkward.
Not in the cute rom-com heroine, I-trip-over-myself-but-still-manage-to-wear-spike-heels-like-a-queen type of awkward, but the kind who never quite feels at home in her own body and who is never quite sure what to do with small talk unless that small talk happens to be about Star Trek or Harry Potter. I grew up as the girl with the coke-bottle glasses, the perpetually missing front teeth and with the best friend who was a boy (oh, the horror.)
I vividly remember being ridiculed at daycare for not being sporty. A combination of being severely visually impaired and hating having objects whirling past my face made me a poor player of anything sports-ball related, so when it was time for mandatory team “games” I was always picked last for teams if I hadn’t already been assigned to one by a counselor (this was, of course, after I had been told that I could not continue to read my book instead of playing, unless I wanted the counselors to report my insubordination to my mom.) There was, however, one game that I was actually good at. It didn’t involve running, or catching, or kicking. It involved two inflatable inner tubes, each warn around the midsection of an opposing player. The object was to knock the other player off their feet with the tube, while maintaining one’s own balance and staying upright. It killed the kids who ridiculed be for being bad at every other game, that the chubby, blind girl could keep her feet and land them all on their backsides.
Once I was old enough to stop going to daycare after school, my participation in physical activity fell to the wayside and I gained a lot of weight. Through middle school and high school I was a subscriber to the excuse that I was fat and awkward so I didn’t need to care about trying to work out. It became a cycle of self-loathing and weight gain.
Eventually, in my early twenties, I decided I was tired of being fat and feeling like shit all the time. I participated in a handful of fad diets and dropped a good amount of weight. I got into my first serious relationship with an emotionally and sexually abusive man who liked to tell me how fat I was, and who alienated me from my family and friends. Without going into detail, the relationship eventually ended, leaving me with frayed relationships and a laughable self-esteem which, to be honest, wasn’t all that great to begin with.
In my need to gain back some kind of control over my life, I started running. One morning, I woke up, laced up some old tennis shoes and ran three miles. Running gave me back a lot of the things that I had lost over time. Using my body, feeling my burning muscles move, the sweat that rolled down my cheeks, it all made me feel, for the first time in my life since playing the stupid inner tube game, like I was powerful. I started dating again, I met the man who became my partner and husband, I adopted a dog to run with and I found my way back to my family and friends. Running gave me a lot, but what it did not do, was offer me a community.
And this, my friends, is where roller derby came into my life. While sitting on the couch watching YouTube cat videos after work one day, my husband and I got sucked into the YouTube rabbit hole and got really off-track. A far cry (or maybe not) from videos of cats failing to jump onto window sills, we found a video highlighting banked track roller derby as it exists in its modern form as an actual sport. I remember getting through the video, watching these strong women with body types across the spectrum doing what they love, and turning to my husband and saying, “I can do that? Did you see that girl’s ass? I have an ass like that!”
It actually took me several months and a big cross-country move until I actually started playing. I walked into my first Fresh Meat flat track roller derby practice not having skated since I was about 12 years old, and never really having worn quad skates at all. I fell immediately in love.
Since joining the Palouse River Rollers in August of 2018, I feel like I have found a place where I belong, where it doesn’t really matter how awkward I am; my teammates are happy to see me when I walk through the gym door, and are always open to offering help when I need it. Yeah, I get hit and fall a lot, but unlike with the inner tube game, I can always get back on my feet and go back in to try again. Going to practice isn’t like the games I was forced to play as a kid, I go because this is where I want to be. It gives me the satisfaction that I found with running, and it gives me a team to lean on and learn from when I need them.
Making friends as an adult is next to impossible, especially when you are introverted and strange. This is my outlet, and my means to become a better, stronger version of myself. I am forever grateful that I found this sport and this league.