Yesterday I officially started my NSO journey with my first inter-league scrimmage! It was a great experience, and now’s story time πŸ˜€

What the heck is a NSO?


NSO stands for Non-Skating Officials.
We’re not the referees. Those are on skates, wear black and white striped shirts, and call the penalties.
NSOs don’t have skates on, and they usually wear pink polos (eww).

NSOs have several roles:

  • Jam Timer: the Master of Time! Times the periods, the Jams and the Timeouts, whistles the beginning and the end of those, calls the Jams off if they reach 2 minutes.
  • Score Keepers: the Point Watchers! Count points for their teams, and write down a few other details about every Jam.
  • Penalty Box Manager & Timers: the Prison Guards! Time the penalties of the skaters and tell them when they can leave.
  • Penalty Tracker & Inside White Board Operator: the Punishment Sentinels! (Yes, I started using Thesaurus, my inspiration was getting dry). Write down who got what penalties, and check with the Penalty Box NSO that everybody served their sentence.
  • Lineup Trackers: the Statistics Overlords! Write down which skaters are in game and what penalties they got, so that the team can get some stats to work with! Their moto: “Stats or it didn’t happen”*.

Now that you’ve got the basics, let’s go back to my awesome day πŸ˜€

Local scrimmage and nobody’s home

Yesterday was also the day of a big derby tournament in Sweden (European Smackdown in MalmΓΆ), and although KRR didn’t take part in it, our main NSOs attended it. Because of this, the inter-league scrimmage that we welcomed (KRR C team against Porvoo) was short of NSOs.

And thus, the Freshmeat NSOs saved the day!
As part of our Freshmeat program, we have 3 hours of NSO classes and training per week (derby is serious, man). Five of us volunteered to help out in this scrimmage, and up our skills at the same time!
Between us and the NSO coming from Porvoo, we were a full team πŸ™‚

Master of Time!

A few weeks ago, our Head Non-Skating Official came to ask me to be a Jam Timer for yesterday’s scrimmage. Since then I trained every Tuesday to manage the different stopwatches and whistles that go with the job.

Jam Timer can be quite stressful, because not only the start of the Jams depend on you, but you also can’t make (too many) mistakes with the precious period time (or else you fuck up the game), and sometimes you even have to call a Jam off (with the dreaded 4 whistles, 3 times in a row… Sounds easier than it is, I’m telling ya).

But it has some advantages…

Well, there are rules but, you know…

Like being able to pay extra attention to the very first seconds of the Jam, which is always interesting. You can see which Jammers take their time, which ones jump right in the action, which ones hesitate…

And to be perfectly honest, to be the one giving the players the signal which puts them into motion feels quite good, too πŸ˜€

A very noob-friendly scrimmage

Because we were so many NSO newbies yesterday, the more knowledgeable NSOs, as well as the Referees, did everything they could to make us comfortable. They assured me I could ask any questions or call an Official Timeout if needed, reassured me when I failed my 4 whistle-thingy (told you they’re hard), and were overall very friendly.

Being in a stress-less environment made the experience very good, and I only made a few mistakes in one hour of game. The Head NSO even congratulated me and said I was “a fucking good Jam Timer” (or something along those lines) *tears of pride*.

Me as a NSO: A Reenactment

I know that the more I train as a NSO, the less people will forgive my mistakes. But that doesn’t really scare me, it just motivates me to get better πŸ™‚

Will I volunteer as a NSO again?

Participating to a scrimmage as NSO was very rewarding as I felt useful to my team. Without NSOs, a scrimmage can’t really take place, so every one of us was important.
I also got more confident in my skills, and realized I could NSO in a real game!

I want to continue NSOing, even after I start participating in scrimmages as a skater. At least I hope I will find the time!

In one month, I’ll go to Kuopio (400km North of Helsinki) to NSO in my first bout (an official game!). I think it’s gonna be great to meet new derby people and to create new memories with my NSO friends!


And that’s it for today, folks! πŸ˜€


*one of our NSO has a tee-shirt with this and I love it!