Sunday, June 01, 2008

pissing people off . . . again

As seems to happen often enough, I pissed off at least three different people last night, though to their credit, two of them apologized for what was clearly their problem and not my own.

I'm not getting into too many specifics, but last night saw me behind the microphone once again announcing what was one hell of a roller derby bout. Though unable to gain the lead our much loved Hard Knox Roller Girls played amazingly.

So on to the pissing people off.

Apparently plenty of people seem to think I do a good job as announcer. I, in my typical pessimistic and cynical and self deprecating sort of way assume that they mean to say I do a good enough job or that I'm okay till they find someone at least as competent as me. It's this sort of thing I do where I have trouble having nice thoughts about myself and my abilities, but that's been covered often enough throughout the recent postings.

I've long had a problem with the reffing in roller derby bouts. I don't want to be the sour grapes guy and suggest anything other than that too many refs just don't seem to quite get the rules, and in any sport, if you give the athletes too much space, there will always be some that jump at the chance to take any advantage they can.

Many penalties were missed last night, and many attempts at rule breaking were missed. If you see someone attempt a trip but not succeed do you still punish the attempt? Is a baseball slide into someone's ankles as bad as trying but failing to baseball slide into someone's ankles?

Over the time I've been announcing for HKRG I've gotten more comfortable with what I'm doing, and sometimes I see things that the refs apparently missed, like the cheap shot into the back while the skater getting hit was already out of bounds. Yeah, the ref completely missed two fouls at once, but I didn't, and I told our fans about it.

Part of announcing for me is to inform the fans as much as possible about roller derby. It is new to so many of them, and if you are not familiar with the sport you may well see it as a huge nearly free for all of speed and skates and cute girls and hits. But it's my job to set you straight, to let you know that it is a sport, that there are rules, that regardless of what the refs do we can inform ourselves of the rules and demand better.

Two different refs and one of the opposing skaters, at different times, demanded that I stop calling penalties. I informed the refs that I was just doing my job of announcing and went so far as to tell one of the refs that if they weren't going to call the fouls then not to get mad at me when I did. I'm personally sick of seeing derby being degraded by teams/skaters flaunting the rules and making it unfair and unsafe.

The third person to demand I halt my calls was the skater from the other team. The irony of this is that she was in the penalty box when she shouted at me. My answer was quite simple. I told her that if she wanted me to stop calling fouls then maybe she should stop committing them. She was one of the three to apologize after the bout was finally over. We hugged and commiserated and had some laughs together at the after party. She's an amazing skater and one of her team's best, so it really sucks that she can't manage to stay within twenty feet of the pack.

And that's my story. I roll through life in a pissing-people-off sort of way. Or so it seems. Maybe that's part of me coming off as an asshole. Maybe I'll look into that one day.

or not