Someone awesome (this is my soppy post)

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bash

This is Bash Prompt, holding her “Dogged Determination” award. The sign says “We will never surrender!” It’s very appropriate!

Bash came to Light City Derby the first time in 2013 as an Intake skater (Fresh Meat to most other leagues). Bash wasn’t successful her first time through, but she didn’t give up. She went to social skates and skate fit sessions each week, and returned to Light City Derby for another Intake.

Bash returned to Light City Derby for our January 2014 intake, and had improved her second time through, but not quite enough to pass. Again, she headed to social skates and skate fit sessions, and kept trying new things, kept plugging away at her skills.

Despite all this, she came back to us in June of 2014 and tried again. She always came to training with a smile on her face, then put her head down and worked her butt off. Each week she would seek advice and help and work on things. Bash also volunteered as a NSO for a few bouts and scrimmages.

Some time in August we did our final skills testing.

Bash passed. I got to tell her she passed. It was a happy moment for both of us. Since then, Bash has come to training and scrimmages and given 110% every session. I’m not going to lie, her first few scrimmages were not so good. Lots of time was spent on the floor, many penalties were issued (I’m sorry!) She has challenged herself to jam, holds her own as a blocker, and comes off the track with a smile.

Bash was a reserve in our Grand Final.When another skater was unavailable due to injury, she got to play 🙂

Here she is holding the inside line. I’m sorry, I’m really bad at photo shop.
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She did amazingly well, and to say I’m proud is an understatement. I’m looking forward to seeing Bash continue to grow and develop her skills.

AMRD Championships recap

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I had to wait until I stopped moving and had time to think to write this. I also needed some footage to help me remember everything.

I initially thought this would be an epic post, but I think I can narrow it down

Saturday I officiated 8 games
– four as a penalty box manager. I was all over it. I had one experienced penalty box timer and one less experienced penalty box timer, they were both eager and awesome, and all over it. We had no issues, no dinosaurs, and all my jammer switch outs were textbook. Too easy. Kaneage tried to make me laugh, but I knew he was coming for me, refused to make eye contact and he gave up.
– Four games as Outside Pack Ref. This is where I wasn’t so confident. I spent the month prior to the tournament loaning myself out to the other local leagues to get more time and experience as an OPR, and I think it paid off. My positioning and awareness was good, I only lost focus a few times. I am confident that all my calls were correct calls, and that the many “no calls” I didn’t make were also good no calls.
– At some point my league presented me with cake to celebrate my 100 game milestone. My league are awesome. The cake was good.

Sunday I officiated two full games, and two half games.
First game was OPR for Scartel vs Brawlers. It was kinda epic. As I was gearing up I looked up and saw Numb3r Crunch3r also gearing up, and realised she was the substitute Jammer Ref, and quietly lost my shit. Then got it back together again in time for the first whistle. Scartel were very opinionated and chatty. They looked for lots of penalty calls for actions that were no impact/no penalty. It was a busy, full on game, and the crew held it together awesomely. Finished the game, got some feedback from Jen that I filed for later, skates and ref shirt off, NSO shirt on.

Second game I was Scoreboard Operator for Vanguard vs Smash, and loaded up with a handful of food and drink I took my spot. I was doing okay, but quickly realised that I needed to eat more than I needed to SO, at half time I tagged out with Monster and had something to eat and drink, tried to cool down a bit and got ready for the next game.

Third game I was back to OPR for Capital Carnage vs Light City Derby (LCD are my league). I started okay, but about 10 minutes in I felt a bit icky. It was a 20 minute period, so I had a drink and kept pushing. There was a timeout with about three and a half minutes on the period clock and I still felt off. At half time I owned it. I felt that if I tried to keep skating I would have ended up puking. I approached the HR and got sent to the pool to cool down. Skates off, gear off, in to the pool I went. I was done skating for the tournament, and it was a little bit heart breaking. Knowing that I had put in the hard work to feel confident and knowing that someone else was going to have to cover me and go back to back made me feel pretty crap, and I spent a little while slinking around with my head down, avoiding people. It took about two hours for me to return to feeling normal – the game I was meant to be on was covered, and I was feeling well enough to NSO the last game.

Fourth game of the day I was SO for the third place game between The Scartel and Sydney City SMASH. It was a full on game, with many time outs, and by the end of it I was exhausted again. I stayed to watch the grand final, but I honestly can’t remember much of it.

Here is what I know now.

I fucking rocked it. For every game I was on, I was on. I gave it everything I had, and I’m really fucking proud of myself. I may have had to drop out of skating rolls, but I know that was the right choice to make. If I hadn’t, I may have ended up hospitalised. Given that two full days later I am still feeling flat and struggling with a dry mouth, I am glad I was smart and didn’t push through.
I got to skate with Pombat and Numb3r Crunch3r, who are both Officials I respect. I officiated some hard, fast, epic derby. I got to work with some awesome NSO’s. I also got to witness Light City Derby Men’s sabres work hard, play smart and place 5th in the tournament, and I am very proud of them too.

Some days are worth more than a FISH card.

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I am a disability support worker, based in a day options program.

When we do something that is appreciated by a coworker we are given a FISH card, as thanks for doing something special (most of the time it’s just part of our job). FISH cards are given for “Be There” “Play”, “Make Their Day” or “Choose Your Attitude”. Google FISH philosophy if you want to know more.

Today we had nineteen clients being supported by four staff members. Let me repeat those numbers.

19 clients

4 staff members.

Do you want to know what the majority of those clients did today? Not a lot. The 14 clients I was helping to support were watching a movie whilst myself and my two coworkers attended to personal care, mealtime and medication requirements. We were constantly seeking help from staff visiting from other hubs to make sure there were enough eyes on the clients at all times. Active support went out the window within the first five minutes. We attended to the bare basics of clients needs, and couldn’t really spare any time to engage with the clients beyond talking to them. At least one client missed having their second personal care of the day attended to, because there just weren’t enough hands or enough time to attend to everyone.

None of the staff members were able to take a lunch break – toilet breaks and five minutes to eat whilst filling in diaries was it.

This is not good enough. This is not the service our clients expect, those are not the working conditions I signed up for.

For the last eight to ten weeks we have been understaffed, as one coworker is currently unable to work due to an injury. Since that injury, the Programme Coordinator and Senior Access Worker have been filling his role where possible, with a casual staff member coming in once or twice a week. This detracts from our supervisors doing their roles and keeping the hub running smoothly.

Over the last ten days another coworker has been on leave – everyone deserves a break, but again, her shifts have rarely been covered by a casual or agency staff member.

A FISH card is really not going to cut it as recognition for days like today, or for several other days that have been similar but not as bad in the last few weeks.

The people we support deserve better. The staff deserve better.

Equality in sport.

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So this blog has been triggered by seeing several articles regarding whether or not men should play roller derby. The latest one I’ve seen is here http://rollinnews.com/post/the-commish-1

Some background info. I skate and officiate with a mixed league that had a non-discrimination policy welcoming skaters who identify as any gender. If a person wants to skate, we want them to skate and will create a safe environment for them to learn and participate.

I initially started my roller derby career with a female league, where the main role of men was to be officials or coaches. I wasn’t successful with passing fresh meat with that league, so ended up with my current league. I was happy to have to opportunity to learn to skate at my own pace, without judgement or criticism. The second league also felt a lot friendlier and more welcoming, so I found my home there.

The importance of being with a mixed league didn’t set in until a little while later, when I could have tried out again with a female focused league, and I realised I didn’t want to. For me, being part of a mixed league promotes equality within sport, as it gives people the choice.

People who join my league have a choice. If you want to be a skater, you can be a skater. If you want to be an official, you can be an official. There is none of the segregation for men of “You can participate, but only if you want to be an official” and for women less of the “are you sure you want to be an official and not a skater?” (which for the record, is one of the most offensive questions you could ask me. But that’s a different post all together).

It irritates me when I see all these articles, or hear people saying “men shouldn’t play roller derby because it will detract from the women’s competition”. Yes, society and sports channels focus more on male focused sports such as soccer, football, cricket, hockey etc., but really, who is to blame for that? Is the demand there for female sports to be televised? Do you, as a person, get out and support the women who play football, rugby, soccer, hockey, cricket, basketball, netball? If not, why not? If you expect it to be promoted and televised as much as a ‘male’ sport (football/soccer/cricket), then you need to make that known. Petition the television channels, call the radio stations, get out of your house and go and watch and cheer for the women who play sport. Don’t sit on your butts and wait for someone else to change it.

Men belong in roller derby JUST AS MUCH as women belong in any other sport, if that is the sport they choose the play. All people need to be provided with CHOICE, to me that’s what it boils down to.
You have a CHOICE whether you play single gender or mixed sports.You have a CHOICE in whether your team/league/club plays against single gender or mixed teams/leagues/clubs. Make that choice for yourself, and stop preventing others from making their own choice.

I make a CHOICE to be part of a mixed league because I believe in equality. I believe everyone has the right to make a choice for themselves. I choose to support all people, of all genders to play roller derby.

Some nights, you’ve just got to skate.

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I make a conscious effort to participate in some sessions as a skater. To turn off Ref brain and just skate for the sake of skating.

Tonight Light City Derby had Godjilla visit us to run a training session on blocking, and it was amazing. Seriously amazing, and fantastic, and totes amazeballs.

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It wasn’t necessarily about learning new moves and pushing my body to do new things, instead of sticking to my safe “inside/outside the track, team neutral” position, but just spending time with Godjilla.

Godjilla is one of my derby heroes. I don’t have many. Godjilla is my derby hero cos she’s a big girl, and she uses her size to her advantage, and makes it okay to be a larger, curvier girl. She makes fun of herself and her size. She brings the creep factor back in to training. Which in a mixed league means things can get really, really, really creepy, really, really quickly.

I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the creep factor. I enjoyed the laughter. I enjoyed hitting Godjilla, even though I wasn’t very effective. I’m going to do more sessions as a skater, because over the last few weeks I’ve been a bit flat about derby, because as the leader of the Officials it can be a bit stressful, and joining in as a skater and getting a bit of smashy bashy happening makes it fun again.

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Surviving The Great Southern Slam

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Here are some nifty things I learned from my first big tournament in 2012, the first Great Southern Slam I attended. Hopefully they will help you survive yours!

– Have a good breakfast. No, really. Protein packed, low GI, preferably something hot. Plus coffee. You’ll need it to kick start your day and keep you motoring through until whenever you get a break.

– be on time. Be early when possible. Make a good impression by being punctual.

– pack snacks that you can eat on the run, preferably with one hand. I like dried fruit and nuts with a sneaky bit of chocolate thrown it, or fresh fruit (apparently bananas are good), or hard boiled eggs. Also, drink lots of water. All day.

– layer up! It’s the start of winter. Adelaide is cold. The heating in the venue last time was pitiful. I ended up wearing two pairs of socks.

– get outside in the fresh air for five to ten minutes between bouts. If the sun is shining, go stand in it.

– skip the night time activities. It sucks, but you need to rest to be on the ball the next day, and the day after. Monday is a high pressure day, the grand finals. If you can kick butt as well on the Monday as you do on the Saturday you will impress the pants off of lots of other officials.

– If you’re not sure of something, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If you’re not comfortable with a role, ask for a quick run through of what the Head NSO of that particular crew expects from you. It is better to ask upfront and get advice than to stuff up.

– Make friends. Chat to people. If someone is doing something differently to the way you normally do it, ask them why and how. Make notes and share it with the rest of us so we can all learn.

– Make time to watch some derby. It’s okay to turn down a bout in order to go cheer and spend time with your friends.

– Check in with each other, remind each other to eat something  or take a break. We are a team just as much as any of the other teams. We’ve got to look out for each other as much as possible.

Goblin King says it much more succinctly “Be on time, stay hydrated, feed yourself whenever possible, and sleep lots at night! The excitement makes all of the above hard, but doing an awesome job on day 3 is pretty impossible without it, and will be remembered by officials from all over ANZ.”