1. Coaches, bring your big girl panties! Make sure you have your helmet panties with you at all times. It's also helpful to have a kit to bring with you for all away games, including tools to fix skates, skate parts, aspirin, tampons, whatever! Bad things can happen during a game, and the more prepared you are, the better the chances will be that you'll be able to keep your skaters skating!
2. NSOs, check your equipment! I was recently at a bout where the penalty box timer's stopwatch was malfunctioning. That was a frustrating experience which could have easily been avoided by a pre-game check. It sounds stupid, but it would have been a much better experience for everyone involved, because instead of trusting the stop watches at that point, I had my team count out loud if they went to the box. Awkward. Also, make sure your scoreboard is up and working! Computers crash at the worst times, don't they?
3. Coaches, bring your rule books. Sometimes you have to argue a call with a ref, and it's much better to be able to have the rule book in your hands in order to make your argument more cogent. Our bench coach KG Bebe had a rule book with color coded tabs highlighting any problematic areas she thought could arise. It was impressive. It was intimidating, and the refs looked a little glassy -eyed when she promptly marched to the center of the track during a time out and whipped it out to make her point; also, the other team's coach looked very lost and a little less professional up against that onslaught. It was great for me, I was the captain and just had to stand there looking serious while she did all of the talking.
|Isn't KG Bebe fierce? Photo by Jim Rhoades|
4. Bout production, are you ready for anything? I personally have never seen vomit on a derby track, but I have had the experience of leaving quite a bit of blood on the track after breaking my nose during practice. Luckily, we were at our practice space which has bleach etc etc. Now, do you have the same things at your bout venue? If you need to review the guidelines for cleaning up bodily fluids, then you can find them here. I have a feeling that a lot of derby bout production hasn't really thought about the fact that blood, and vomit can happen in derby, and we need to be ready to clean it up. Don't rely on your people to clean up messes like that with Lysol wet wipes!
5. Bout production, how well do you clean out your water coolers? Be honest. Do you clean them out after each bout, or do they end up being thrown into a storage unit without being wiped dry? Putting them away wet allows mold and all sorts of nasty stuff to grow, which could make skaters really sick. Do your own team and the visiting team a favor and make sure your coolers are clean and creepy crawly free!
Weird stuff happens all of the time in derby, but if you can anticipate and head off some of the craziness by being aware and prepared. Of course, you can't think of everything, like the venue flooding, or a tornado touching down, but some things can be headed off at the pass!