Injured and returning, I got out there and began to push myself little by little. In the background of my life I was looking for a new job, and that could mean no medical insurance, which meant no bouting.I had a bad knee, and I refused to risk my future as a walking human being by roller skating unprotected. So I became a zebra instead.
A Zebra, the best kind of skater, one of the persons who keeps the game in order and the skaters a check. A referee, at the very least I could still skate and enjoy the aspects of the game, but I didn't have to participate and risk injuring myself any further.
So I made the cross over and the announcement, and I don't think that my team mates were to surprised by that. They just embraced it, and eventually I became comfortable calling them out on some of their tricks.
When April came, I was in the middle of opening the cafe, and I was working all the time. Skating got put on the back burner, and I only went when I could. The cafe began to sail a little smoother in May and I was able to strap my wheels back on.
Again I felt the wind in my hair, that was driven by my strength, the push of my skate. Taking on the stripes was more of a natural feeling than derby game play ever could be. I like rules, I like organization, and I like being able to impose order on chaos. If I could not control chaos in the pack, then the least I could do is control it on the sidelines.
Even though I knew it was a role I could take on, I was still scared to get out there and skate next to my legends and tell them why their game play is wrong. It was scary for awhile, but as my time skating along side them progressed, it got easier. And they began to encourage me. They want me to get better.
I got to shadow. You know, wear all black and skate on the outside...You get to watch the game and ask the ref about the calls he makes but you don't get to call the game. It's rough trying to keep up with skaters when you're an outside pack ref, especially since your skating distance can be longer than theirs. Zebra's don't get a lot of water breaks. Either way it was victorious. I skated the whole bout without injury or being knocked out, and I felt good about my position in the game: it was over, no one could change what happened.
Junior derby is another ball game. For that, the adults are there to keep the kids in line, including the junior refs. One Saturday morning, Diesel and I took the outside pack for a spin. I'd make a call, and he'd say "oh yeah, she always does that." I told him that he was supposed to call them out for it. He understands the game, but I think secretly all the junior refs want to be Jammer Refs. And maybe, the junior refs are just there for the girls...
Skating junior derby as a ref is fantastic, you literally skate in a circle and look down. The little girls give you attitude and dirty looks just like the adults do, and in some cases, skate better and faster than we ever could. Juniors is also nice because you can tell when they're trying to lean on each other and actually giving someone the elbow, which they're not supposed to do...
I couldn't skate the July bout and agreed to NSO instead, I was on the inside hot boards, a position I really like working. I got to watch most of the game play, and I could tell when some calls where missed, and when some where called incorrectly. I was able to consult with my Zebras after the game....
Then finally, it happened.