Thursday, 16 September 2010

All the jobs that nobody thinks about

Being on the committee for my league is teaching me hard and fast lessons about how to deal with people. You would think that general life experience, work and social interaction would have been enough to prepare me for this, let alone joining a team of girls who want to push each other over and shove each other off a track at speed. Let me tell you, it was not.

I imagine that in more established leagues this may be easier as the boundaries are already set, but in an emerging league where people don't have much experience of how a committee (social, sporting or otherwise) operates and how to run one effectively it's no mean feat. At the moment, meetings are unstructured and unchaired and thus unproductive, which is frustrating to say the least. Sometimes this makes it difficult to get your voice heard, and you have to be prepared that sometimes you won't get your point across, and sometimes you will, but your opinion will be wrong. As a rather headstrong and opinionated individual (although intimidated by the situation) this has been a troublesome learning curve for me. I have had to learn a few lessons, namely that a) if you've said your piece and no-one agrees, at least you tried; b) the opinions of others may not be your choice or preference but you can't always have your own way, and c) bite your tongue. These are all things that I should know already, but perhaps have never really had to exercise until now.

As well as the committee (who may or may not be skaters themselves) which will usually deal with things like finance (sponsorship/payments/funding etc), attendance, merchandise, training times/locations, team direction etc, there is a whole group of other people involved who are just as important, and without them the league would not exist. These people are the referees and NSO (non-skating officials).

The job of a referee is pretty self explanatory, and a team must have at least three of these on skate and up to seven total. Usually at a bout, referees will come from both teams. In addition to the refs, there are a whole host of NSO roles such as bench managers, penalty box timers, penalty trackers, points trackers, jam timers and although not really NSOs, it's good to have comperes/commentators. These are the people we need most at the moment and it seems to be impossible to get them! Any girls not skating on the day will be able to fill these roles but in an intra-league bout there won't be enough. Without committed refs and NSOs a bout can't happen, so efforts to convince anyone and everyone to get involved need to be exhaustive!

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