|Bogus, dude. Photo by Becky Wetherington|
1. Don't argue with the refs. Don't argue with the refs. Don't argue with the refs. One more time, don't effin' argue with the refs. Disagree with their call? That's not your job. Tell your coach and captain and then shut up about it. The refs are NOT putting up with BS anymore. There was a time when some skaters were able to argue refs out of their calls while the game was active; forget those times! They're done! If your team argues with with your league's refs during practice, knock it off! Don't practice bad habits! Shut your mouth and get to the box. Let your leaders deal with the refs.
2. Get your butt off of the track. Move! When you hear your color and number, move your butt and get off of the track immediately. Refs are starting to give more penalties when you dawdle; I know that some refs don't say things loud enough at times, or you're too focused on what you're doing to hear them, but practice it. You need to be aware if the ref is talking to you, and when he or she is, you need to hustle off of the track. Our league has been telling the refs to call "bogus penalties" just so we can practice listening for our numbers and getting to the box before we have time to figure out what the penalty could possibly be for. Think about that part later and get off of the track.
3. Get to the box. Someone pointed out that some derby skaters dawdle on their way to the box, which might be taken as a show of defiance...or sulking. Something. Anyway, you can sulk in the box! Get there ASAP! The only way you're going to stop hurting your team is to get to the box and start your time as quickly as possible. Once your butt is in the chair, you have a thirty seconds to pout, but then you'd better let it go and make sure you're ready to get back in there and make up for your box trip.
4. Remember, the refs see it from a different angle. Yes, that opposing jammer has almost been climbing up your butt with her back blocks and she hasn't been called yet. That SUCKS, but it's going to happen. You get away with uncalled penalties too, so suck it up. If you didn't think you cut that player, remember that the ref is seeing it from at least three feet away and a different angle. Cope with it; take a deep breath and move on. Grump about it later on your own time, and away from the game. Accept the fact that refs will make calls that you don't agree with; I like to compare it to crappy weather. What are you going to do about crappy weather? Nothing.
5. Forgive yourself. You're trying to be an asset to your team, and you're pushing yourself. Sometimes you push the wrong way and you get a penalty. Nobody is perfect; do you feel like your teammates are going to the box on purpose? No. (Not unless they cuckoo crazy pants) So why are you being so tough on yourself? Yes, you should take in that you got a penalty, and you should try to play cleaner so you won't get another one, but you aren't a perfect player. Your teammates aren't perfect players, the opponents aren't perfect, and neither are the refs. Move on.
I know it's hard; I'm guilty of the grumping part at times when I've been put into the box unjustly. (It's always unjustly, right?) We have to learn to be better at the "coping with it" game; derby has enough drama without you losing your crap over a ref call. Remember, the refs are volunteers too, and if we keep bickering with them, challenging them, scoffing at their authority, then why the hell would they want to keep coming back and volunteer for us?