The first bout I attended this month was the HRD season opener. It was a super fun day! My derby wife (Robi Wan Kenobi) her kids and I rode the train at the aquarium, ate at the Hard Rock, and then attended the bout. The lessons I learned that night were: 1. NEVER forget the stadium seats. They will save your back. 2. Reconfirm your rosters before either bout starts. Check with the captain, co captain and both coaches to make sure you have everyone on the list (including the coaches). 3. No matter what always speak from your diaphragm and not your throat when intro-ing. Failure to do so will make you sound like a 13 year old boy, and Krez will make fun of you (and justifiably so). 4. Always line up at least an hour before the HRD bout. 5. I will always love Rebel Ann, and never get enough of watching DBC play.
Bout number three was the NFRD's bout against SARD, and I announced that bout. I finally got my hands on the wireless microphone, and was able to move about a bit more freely. I seem to be really loud there. What I learned there was: 1. It is very difficult to catch every move as an announcer and it must be even more of a challenge as a ref. 2. If the refs don't see it, it did not happen. It's not our job to point stuff out from the mic. EVER. It's hard not to yell "how did you not see that girl push the opposing jammer even the photographer saw that. This brings me to 3. Being a ref is the hardest job in derby After all the refs are trying to watch 8 blockers all at once. This while on skates and getting yelled at by the coaches and fans, getting booed by the other fans, while having other refs, NSOs and skaters talking to them and trying to use hand signals. 4. It's super easy to coach from the mic. Announcers should NEVER announce that a jammer has just made it out of the box or what strategy a team should take. It's super easy to do. I didn't do it but it was hard to fight especially when I saw opportunities that could have been taken. 5. No matter what your job is at a bout, the more you come to practice the better you will be at your job. It doesn't matter how much I know the rules in writing if I don't see them in action I'll never get better. I am thankful I have been attending as much as possible. 6. Never be afraid to pick a refs brain. Thanks to all the Zebras who are willing to teach me I know this coupled with regularly attending practice have helped me step up my game on the mic.
The fourth and final bout of March (for me) was last night's Friends and Family night for HRD's Machette Betties. Lessons that bout taught me included: 1. No matter how loud I am at the rinks I announce at I am never loud enough at an HRD bout. NEVER. 2. As a skater getting inside your opponents head is one of the most effective strategies there is. This includes taunting your oppenent. I watched Global WarMan do it at least twice it was very effective and I loved it. 3. Again as a skater, distracting your opponent can really help out your jammer. I watched Rushin' Cleavage do this from the coaches bench, and it was brilliant. 4. Announcers do better with individualized mics. ALWAYS! 5. I love LaRude she is amazing and Oregon is lucky to have her. (I hope somehow she gets moved BACK to Houston soon I know WarMan does too).
I have a lot more to learn but I'm not off to a bad start!