The Unsung Heroes
Many people when first discovering roller derby will ask how they can be involved straight away. Becoming a non-skating official – popularly known as NSO – is the best way. Being an NSO means you not only play a vital role in the game but you also learn a lot of the theory of derby. NSOs are really important in derby, not just to make sure that the bouts can happen and we know who wins at the end but also because they track information that can be really helpful to show a team where they’re doing well and where they need improvement.
There are usually between twelve and fifteen NSOs at any derby bout, and there are many roles to be covered. These roles generally fit into three categories:
– NSOs who record penalties. There are wranglers, who take information from the refs; and trackers, who record the information for stats purposes so the teams and bench managers can see.
– These NSOs track the scores and who is scoring for each team. They keep a detailed record so that teams afterwards can have an idea of how their team performed.
– The people with the stopwatches. These NSOs time the length of the jams in the game and also penalties for skaters who have been sent to the sin bin.
But I’ve Never Done It Before!
An NSO is a role that can be done by anyone. A head NSO will always talk through your role with you before the game, from the basics right up to anything in particular they want you to watch out for in that specific game. The more volunteers a team has to NSO at a bout the more smoothly the game will run and the more information the team will have after the bout on their performance. So while it’s a very important role, it needs no prior experience or equipment – just a bit of enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
So how do I become an NSO?