Last night (Saturday, July 14) I head reffed a bout for the first time in my derby career (five or so years).
Since I began coaching three years ago, reffing has taken a back seat to my team's need for guidance, skills and strategy. I've only been able to pick up a few bouts here and there in the stripes, including a recent mixer in which I jam reffed for the third time.
I feel like all my experience and rules knowledge really came into play during the entire bout. I focused on leading my crew of referees and non-skating officials and worried less about moment-to-moment game play. Sure, I still made plenty of calls, but instead of always making the calls I was there to make sure the Jam Refs were allowed to make the calls on their jammers or that the other Inside Pack Ref was picking things up, too.
There really wasn't anything that sprang up new, but we did have a couple of learning experiences for many of the refs, including jam refs who needed some clarification on point scoring and best practices. But hey, every bout is a learning experience.
The host league was incredibly hospitable, making sure I had a solid crew in stripes and NSO shirts and it paid off in the end. The NSO and I were in constant communication. Communication is integral to not just officiating but all of derby.
I plan to take this experience and move forward in regards to both coaching and reffing.