Non-Skating Officials (NSOs) — you see them at every bout wearing lovely pink shirts. Because of the pink color, they are affectionately called “flamingos” and without them, there would be no bout. The host team has to provide NSOs to run the scoreboard, keep score, time penalties, track penalties, time the jams, and so much more. Gem City is lucky to have co-head NSOs who take the idea of providing the team with TRAINED NSOs very seriously. Most weeks, they hold an hour-long training session so that each NSO knows how to do her (or his) job. The NSOs have to behave professionally and impartially, so you will never see them cheering one team over the other, and they work hard during the bouts — no time to chat and grab a snack. Like skaters and refs, NSOs are allowed to choose their own derby name. Gem City is also very very fortunate to have a few people who are dedicated NSOs. They don’t skate or ref, they NSO. They are a part of the team and they train. You will often see skaters who aren’t yet rostered working as NSOs, but here are profiles of our own dedicated NSOs that we have.
Name: Scotchy Scotch Scott
Favorite NSO Position: I love working in the penalty box. It’s a fun challenge to push myself to time penalties with precision, and penalty-heavy games can be a lot of fun as I work to stay on top of many things happening in the box at once.
How I got into derby: A friend started reffing, and invited a group of us out to the team’s home opener, where he’d be reffing his first game. A couple friends instantly decided they had to try this derby thing, and started at open recruitment immediately. I went to the second game of the season, too, then one of those skaters told me they were looking for volunteers to help with the third game. I came by practice, learned to scorekeep, and have been hooked on NSOing for three years, now. Since then, I’ve learned all the positions, earned certification as an NSO through WFTDA, and have become active on the derby tournament circuit when I’m not helping the league train and manage NSOs for our own home games.
Why I derby: I’ve met all kinds of great people officiating for derby. Skaters, NSOs, referees; the derby community is diverse and engaging. In high school, I built sets and worked backstage for our theater program, and NSOing hits a lot of the same notes for me: I get to support friends and their passions, doing something fun and worthwhile, all from the (metaphorical) shadows where I’m not the center of attention. And the afterparties are a lot of fun. Also, the dirty secret is that the spotlight catwalk is the best seat in the house and you learn the plays inside and out as well as the actors; the same goes for most of the NSO positions.
Favorite pizza order: “Some meat, no mushrooms”
Life outside of derby: I do contract work in Information Technology to make a living, and I like to play board games for fun when I’m not doing derby.
Name: Weiss Azz
This is my fourth season as an NSO for Gem City. I got into Derby after my twin became a ref. I knew nothing about derby when I started but got into it really quickly. My favorite positions as an NSO is Penalty Tracking and Wrangler. I like being on the inside and seeing the games up close.
Favorite Band: Aerosmith
Favorite Sports Team: Cincinnati Reds
Life outside of derby: I work at a promotional products company as an Account Administrator. I have two daughters and two dogs, Lacey and Spike.
Name: Princess Troublegum
Favorite NSO Positions: Penalty Timing and Line-up Tracking. Both positions keep me on my toes for the whole game. The box can get busy and managing the times for several skaters can be hectic and exciting. Keeping an eye on who is on the track for line-up tracking purposes is also a job that requires attention. Both positions make me feel very involved in the movement of the game.
Why I derby: I’ve always been a comfort zone person. I’ve been ambitious in my own specific ways, but derby for me was WILDLY outside of my comfortable little box. I had never played a sport. I discovered I had horrible exercise-induced asthma. I was more or less terrified of everything. And you know what? It didn’t matter one bit. I showed up, I tried, and I was welcomed. I met a large group of incredibly loving people who wanted me to succeed– and I wanted them to succeed. The people I met have become my friends, my team, my family. They have encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone, and they have helped me learn so many things about life, derby, and myself. When something good happens, I have a whole team to celebrate with. When something bad happens, I have a whole team to surround and support me. Derby is amazing– whether you are skating or not.
How I got into NSOing: I started as a skater for Gem City in 2013, but as Fresh Meat, I was expected to help out at the games as an NSO. NSOing really helped me learn a lot about how the game was played as I practiced my skating skills. I skated a season with Gem City, but I was sidelined with an injury. After recovery, I decided to focus my attentions to NSOing full-time.
Favorite Ice Cream: Raspberry Chocolate Chip
Favorite Cereal: Frosted Mini Wheats
Fitness Routine: Not skating after my injury left a big hole in my fitness life. I took up running as a way to fill that hole, and I have fallen in love. I am an active member of House Hufflepuff in the Hogwarts Running Club, and I love participating in local 5ks and various virtual races. I’m currently running my way through Middle Earth in a virtual race. It is a lot of fun to track miles and see the progress as I carry the virtual ring to Mordor. It also helps get me out the door when I don’t always feel like it.
Life Outside of Derby: My non-derby job is teaching writing and literature courses at Edison State Community College. I am the faculty advisor for the honor society, gaming club, and book club.
Name: Mauler E. Knocks
This is my 4th season (!!) with Gem City. I came to some derby fundraiser at Orbit, met Karma and decided on the spot that I had to join derby. I went to work the next day and told Jackie (Cyan Eyed) that she had to join derby with me. We both joined as skaters. I had to special order my skates because coach didn’t have any in my size, so I skated in the “brownies” for almost a month. The first day that I wore my own skates, I broke my ankle halfway through practice. I had surgery and now have a metal plate in my leg. After almost 3 years, the doctors have determined that in addition to a shortened achilles tendon in that leg I also have scar tissue, bone spurring, and traumatic arthritis. I am having surgery on the ankle again this summer. I was not (and still am not) ready to give up on derby, so I became a permanent NSO. I have strapped on skates a few times since the break, but knowing that I can’t afford to miss work due to another long recovery is what pushed me to NSO. Since I don’t plan on quitting derby any time soon, I’m also looking into becoming certified.
I spent my first season timing and doing other volunteer positions, one full season penalty timing, and one full season box managing. This season (so far) I have expanded to penalty tracking and I enjoyed it, even though I was surprised at how much louder it is on the inside versus the outside. I do enjoy box managing, but still get a bit anxious when I see 2 jammers coming to the box at the same time.
In my daily life I’m bit of a hot mess–2 time college dropout; twice divorced; single parent of 2 boys a year apart in age; delivering pizzas 30 hours a week; randomly taking interpreting jobs when I can fit them into my schedule; therapy, doctor’s appointments, meetings, and all the other things that go along with having kids and injuries.
Outside of derby: I collect Stephen King books and hope to see him when he comes to Dayton in June. I love all things horror, The Walking Dead, etc. It’s now late enough in the year that I will force my kids to make their final decision on Halloween costumes so that I have time to hand sew them before October. I collect bumper stickers.
Favorite foodstuff: No olives is pretty much my only request. I don’t do much in the way of sweets (because both my parents developed adult onset diabetes) but I always get my margaritas with sugar on the rim, not salt. Tequila is my top choice for liquor, specifically Patron Silver.
Why I derby: Because you guys are some of the greatest people that I’ve ever met. I have pushed myself after seeing others in a similar situation (or worse) get through the same obstacles. I have watched both the adults and the juniors make incredible improvements, not only in their skills and mentality, but also extending it to their personal lives. Derby is a great equalizer, with people from all across the spectrum. Family isn’t just who is related to you by blood or marriage. Family is the people who love and support you, and that is what our league is.
Favorite NSO Positions: Penalty box timer! It’s the position I know best, and I love really getting to be right in the middle of the game. It can get a bit hectic, but there’s never a dull moment. I’m also getting more into scoreboard, which I just love knowing all of the game stats.
How I got into NSOing: I used to skate with GCRG in 2010, but fell and broke my arm in a few places. The hardware keeps me off of the track, but I decided I still needed to find a way to fit derby back in my life after I graduated from school.
Favorite Ice Cream: Chocolate chip cookie dough, duh.
Favorite Cereal: Cinnamon Life!
Fitness Routine: I don’t really have a routine, but I like to run and learn all types of dance. Currently doing belly dance and burlesque. I’m also just getting started into pole and aerial silks!
Life Outside of Derby: I work for 2NEWS which takes up most of my time! I also play trivia, dance, and go to as many concerts as I can. And, yes, I’ve probably seen the latest episode of that TV show.