Monthly Archives: June 2011

A World of Love and Hate: Life as a Roller Derby Referee

The jam just started. Both jammers are fighting their way through eight blockers, the pack. The prize, lead jammer, goes to the first one to make it through the pack. Both teams want the prize. They are doing everything they can to get it. My job is to make sure they do it within the rules. I am a referee.

What is happening in the pack can be described as organized chaos. Each team’s blockers are trying to help their jammer get through the pack while holding back the other jammer. Skaters are shifting around, trying to get position. Blocks are thrown.

Something big happens. A skater loses her footing. She falls and takes down an opposing player. A whistle blows. Major penalty: illegal block to the back.

I am an outside pack ref. I pass the penalty box just after she sits down. She shouts out at me, “I fell because of an elbow to the face! Where’s that penalty?”

Insubordination. That could be another major, but I let it pass. She is not pressing the issue, and she is already in the box. There might have been an illegal elbow thrown. I did not see it. Neither did any of the six other referees. We can only call what we see.

During a bout a referee can expect to be accused of being blind, of picking on or favouring players, of showing bias by picking and choosing when to call penalties. None of it is true, but that does not matter to the skaters playing the game.

So why do I do it?

When I decided to become a referee I had only been on roller skates twice before in my life. I had only ever been on any type of skates maybe a dozen times. I considered standing up on eight wheels to be a major accomplishment for me.

I was a one man comedy show as I tried to figure out how to cross the width of the track while staying up. Derby girls deftly skated around me. I was amazed by this. How were they able to avoid me when I did not even know what I was going to do next?

None of them laughed at me. All of them had pointers for me. They took the time to thank me. I was going to be a referee for them. They needed me and were doing what they could to let me know how much they appreciated that.

It is not just the referees that get that kind of treatment. Fresh meat are helped and propped up too. We all share an interest in the sport. We are all learning at every practice and at every bout.

Everyone involved in the game are pushing their personal boundaries. We all know that. No one is so much of a star that she or he is not willing to help someone else do better. All anyone will ask of you is that you try.

That is derby love. That is why I do it.



Honourable Mentions…Thanks EMC!

EMC East wrote a wonderful article about us. Check it out here!

Ottawa Dolly Rogers vs. Durham Derby Devils

On Saturday June 4th, 2011, the Capital City Derby Dolls’ first team, the Dolly Rogers, faced off against the Derby Devils of Durham Region Roller Derby.

The two teams were equally matched, with the Dolly Rogers trailing slightly behind the Derby Devils for most of the 1st half.  The Dolly Rogers came out strong at the beginning of the 2nd half, maintaining a 20 point lead for most of the half. The final score was 158 – 114 for the Dolly Rogers.

Delicate Plow’her was awarded the MVP for the Dolly Rogers, and Brawlsey “carried the watermelon” for the Derby Devils.

For a more complete account of the game, and to hear interviews with the captains of each team, please check out

We must once again thank all those who made this event possible.  To those who gave their time and energy to the organization and set up of the event, thank you.  To our volunteers who worked the door, sold merchandise, sold 50/50 tickets, worked the bar, set up and tore down the track: you folks are amazing.  To everyone involved in making us look good, sound good, and have a great time, we offer our most humble thanks.

Our refs did an amazing job keeping us in line, and we must give a special shout out to Goldie Lock’N’Load of the Rollergettes who made a guest appearance in zebra stripes to referee the event.

And finally, thank you to our fearless opponents, the Derby Devils, for their amazing spirit both on and off the track.  You ladies were great to compete against and even more fun to celebrate with after.  The Lonestar will never forget the night they hosted the derby girls!

On behalf of the Capital City Derby Dolls,

Bust’er Up,  #25 (and holding)


Another Bout…

Just when we manage to collect our whits, we’re at it again! Join us this Saturday, June 4 at St. Laurent Complex (525 Côté Street) at 7:00 p.m. as CCDD’s Dolly Rogers take on Durham Region Roller Derby. This will be a nail biter of a game, as both teams have roughly the same experience. Tickets are $12 at the door. Should you wish to save $2.00, head on over to Organik Graphyx and buy a ticket for $10 or find your favourite derby girl and buy one off her. When all’s said and done, join all the derby girls at Lone Star in St. Laurent for an awesome after-party.

Tomorrow night, CCDD skaters will be skating in the Market after 8:00 p.m., hoping to sell some tickets and promote the bout to those enjoying the fresh air on one of the Market’s many patios. Have a drink, buy a ticket and support derby in Ottawa!