Seeing how the Amsterdam Derby Dames haven't played yet, and no other leagues in holland are ready to play a bout, we have to travel if we want to see a live bout. You could say, that this is really annoying. And of course it is in some way, but I happen to love road trips!! And lucky me, cause so does my Derby wife Lola Rock 'n' Rolla.
Earlier this week we decided it would be cool to go to Stuttgart and see the bout between SVRG Rookies and GGGRG.
I contacted the Gent girls, and heard the pre-sale tickets were sold out.... Which of course is great, but not if you don't have tickets yet.
So I contacted Riff Reff, Stuttgart's own Head Ref. Asking him if there were still tickets left and if he might know a cheap place to stay. Luckily there were still some tickets left, to be sold at the door, and he could make sure we could get two. But he also suggested i would NSO. Seeing how I will be NSO'ing in Berlin in a couple of weeks and have no experience in doing that. It would be a good chance to practice. I was so excited, I immediately said yes!
He also arranged for us to crash at one of the SVRG girls, Valerie. Which was just perfect!
After packing up my 'official' gear, we left Saturday morning at 9 for our 5.30 hour drive to Stuttgart.
Now let me tell you there are a lot of good things about driving to Germany with a German driving the car. Lola is first of all used to driving for a long time and actually enjoys it. Also the right hand lane, is not her favorite lane. And her car will go faster then a 120km/h. :)
I also love driving through Germany, because it is so pretty. Mountains, forest, trees. Its so pretty.
Around 2.30 we arrived at Valerie's house. We made a really good time. Only stopping for the necessary bathroom brakes, and not hitting any traffic jams.
At Valerie's house we quickly changed and left again. For Valerie had to be there at 4, and me too for an officials meeting.
We took the subway to the venue which is just outside of stuttgart.
My first 'officials meeting' before a bout was really informative. I got to see how this part of roller derby is organized.
The officials team (Ref's and NSO) is so important. As a part of starting league I think its so important to see how this works too. It's not just the players you need.
At 6 the bout started. The hall was filled with supporters. From both sides! A bus load of people from Belgium showed up, which was very cool, to have so much support on a 'away bout'.
The Ref's and NSO's came in first and we all stood in the middle of the track. After that the girls of both teams skated around and were introduced one by one. I think this was actually the most nerve wrecking. Standing there in the middle in front of all these people! I will probably puke the first time I get on the track to play...
Finally it was time to actually start the bout! All the girls were ready to play.
And I, was ready to NSO! :) Standing next to the track at the corner armed with a whiteboard, a marker and a cloth, I was ready to communicate those penalties to the penalty trackers on the inside.
The bout itself was exciting. The teams were true opponents, as the scores were pretty close together most of the bout. Half time started and both teams had exactly the same amount of points! And they stayed close for a long time, except for one moment where GGGRG had double the amount of points as SVRG had. But the bout was undecided till the absolute last jam. In which the SVRG Rookies (who had been behind a couple of points before that jam started) scored enough points to win!
For me experiencing the bout as an NSO was a lot different from watching it from the stands. I couldn't scream, cheer or clap or anything like that. Because first of all, you are busy and focussed on your job, and secondly, because NSO's and Ref's have to be impartial. So you can't cheer for a team even if you had the time too.
I would have had the time, there were enough penalties, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't crazy busy with writing every jam.
The most annoying thing about doing the NSO job of outside whiteboard, is that refs are in a hurry, so you don't always understand what they are saying so quickly, and that penalty trackers don't pay attention to you sometimes, which leaves you standing there next to the track bouncing up and down with your whiteboard! Of course it's understandable, because on the inside of the track it's crazy busy. So it's not that they are ignoring you and purpose. But it's also not like you scream to them 'hey look at me'. Cause for those who haven't been to a RD bout, it's one hell of a loud sport!
In the end it was a great bout. And I am so happy I got the chance to experience NSO'ing. And to see the bout a little more from an organizational side of things, instead of being a spectator.
Luckily, a bout isn't a roller derby bout, unless it has an after party! :p And Stuttgart knows how to throw one.
They continued the 80's theme at the after party. And even though I am not that much into 80's music I had a great time. And was dancing and singing along most of the night!
The thing I like the best about the roller derby after party, next to the drinking, singing and dancing, is meeting all these rad roller derby ladies and gents! I have met so many awesome people from Stuttgart, Gent, Antwerp an Rotterdam. And that was just great! Not just talking on facebook or through email, but in real life is just great.
The days after are always kind of a downer, as you have to get back to reality (with a huge hangover of course..). You just wish it could be bout day everyday!
Luckily for me, I have practice tonight. So I'll get my shot of derby!!