Totally looks like someone who would teach me about being serious as a ref, right? Well, you're wrong. She was as pro as they come, and the derby world is a far less awesome place since she retired. As a tribute to the Dayglorious one, this is what I looked like at a Halloween bout this past year:
Now, it probably should have ended there. Dayglo, though, had other plans. She asked me to continue to dress up a bit - a passing of the torch, so to speak. A few weeks ago, I was the head ref for a crew in BHRG's B Cup Invitational. I looked like this:
Far less over-the-top, perhaps, but anyone who knows Dayglo got the connection all the same. I was complemented all day about my professionalism and my calm in the center of the storm. Qualities, for the record, that I strive for in every bout I officiate.
Fast forward a bit to last night. I show up at the ref meeting, having gotten information that this HR requests we stick tournament dress, but it's not required. Now, just in case, I carry my plain white helmet in my gear bag all the time, but of course I had ole Pinky with me as well. I asked him if he was okay with it, and he replied...
"Well, you can either look professional, or you can wear that." As he said it, he pointed at my helmet and smirked.
I swallowed my anger and got the backup helmet out. Like I said earlier, I reffed the SHIT out of that bout, and again got several compliments. Why am I so steamed?
Roller derby is (or should be) FUN first. Sure, the push to make it more "legit" has been underway for a while now. I can understand - and to a certain degree, appreciate - that. But, no matter what helmet or outfit I'm wearing, I ref bouts to the very best of my ability. Refuse to take me seriously at your own peril. In the end, if a head ref doesn't like the helmet, I'll leave it in the ref room. But, man, if you've ever worked with me - or anyone else who has, you know what you're getting when I show up. Let me do the job, and let me make a few people smile when they see me too.