Western New York's Official Women's Flat Track Roller Derby

BobKat

BobKat
This time around we’re doing things a little bit differently. Our featured “skater,, Bobkat, comes to you from the Buffalo Herd which is QCRG’s crew of skating and non-skating officials.

Bobkat is our head non skating official (aka Head NSO) this season. He may not be knocking anyone down on the track, but don’t count him out just yet. You can catch Bobkat in the center of the track at every game donning a pink or green shirt, a stopwatch, and his whistle, and if you listen closely you might even hear him roar “FIVE SECONDS!” His undying commitment to the league, both on and off the track, has earned Bobkat the honorary title of featured “skater.” Come check him out at our next game, and don’t forget to give a round of applause to all of our hard working volunteers that make this great sport possible!

Where are you from?
I am from (and still live in) North Tonawanda. I moved away to Dennisport MA. on Cape Cod for three years but eventually came home.

How did you end up getting involved with QCRG?
I remember the exact date. It was March 9th 2013. I was in the middle of a deep depression and ended up going to my second derby bout “Tiki Trouble” which featured the Alley Kats versus the Suicidal Saucies. It ended up being a decisive victory for the Sauce but I couldn’t help noticing that the Alley Kats never got down or lost their smiles. It was absolutely inspiring to me and pulled me out of my depressed state. I joined their Facebook group that night and soon became friends with Evil Lynn Cognito. Before I knew it she had asked me to be their mascot. It was a fabulous way to break out of my shell. I’ll never forget those days! The more I was exposed to the derby community the more I wanted to be involved. That eventually led me to becoming a part-time NSO while I was still being a mascot. The rest is history. I love QCRG and everything this league has done for me! It’s been life changing.

Photo by Chris Kalisiak

Photo by Chris Kalisiak

The reason I remember the exact date of Tiki Trouble is because I still have the bout poster hanging on my fridge. I’ll never forget that day and the dedication of those players that night. Evil is an absolute hero to me.

What do you do outside of roller derby?
If you’re talking hobbies, I love to play and write music. I have three albums that were released on the Relaxed Machinery label. I also like to build and ride cruiser bikes. I love movies and binge watching TV shows. Also, last but not least, eating many kinds of food with Necromatrix. It gives me all the feels! Also, taking photographs.

Have you ever been a skater or do you currently skate?
I am not a skater at all. I used to go to Rainbow as a kid but haven’t been on skates since.

What is an NSO and why does roller derby depend on them?
NSO stands for Non Skating Official . We are the people in green or pink with stopwatch and clipboards in hand. We are necessary in the the game because we keep score, time penalties and jams, and keep track of penalties issued.

We have the best view of the game in the house!

How do you learn to become one?
Anyone interested in becoming an NSO or skating official can email us at – herd@qcrg.net
We’d be more than happy to have you come to a scrimmage and start to learn to work with us! It’s a whole lot of fun.

Photo by Rene van Ee

Photo by Rene van Ee

This is your second season as our head non-skating official, what kind of stuff does that entail?
My job as HNSO includes making game rosters for the NSO crew, organizing league scrimmages with Nicky Needles [the head referee], matching up new NSOs for training with our vets, and so much more. I think the four most important things to do as HNSO are:
1. To know when to delegate duties to others.
2. To know the strengths of everyone in your crew.
3. Always understand that there’s more to learn.
4. Is the most important: Listen to your people! A happy crew is a good crew and we’re one of the best in my opinion.

Do you have any goals for this season?
As far as goals for 2017 I just want us to have well run, smooth games. That is my main goal for the NSOs in any season. We are an important part of every game but the less the audience notices us, the better we are doing.

What’s your favorite thing about roller derby?
My favorite thing about roller derby are the people who become part of your life. So many great people and so inclusive to all! It’s not a perfect community but we sure have a lot to be proud of.

If you had one piece of advice for someone considering to join a roller derby league what would it be?
My piece of advice to anyone interested in joining roller derby … DO IT! Don’t waste another day. You won’t be sorry!

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All sports have unsung heros whether they are the parents on the sidelines with juice boxes and granola bars, or the referees who run alongside an athlete in the pouring rain. In roller derby, our unsung heros are the skating (referees) and non-skating officials (NSO). It takes a lot of them to keep the game moving along. The NSOs keep track of penalties (the “white board” in the middle of the track) so the skating officials know when to tell a skater that they have fouled out of the game (7 penalties and you’re done). They are the ones who keep track of how long a skater has sat in the penalty box (are 30 seconds long — unless they are consecutive but different jammer penalties – then it gets very complicated) and if skaters aren’t let go in time that can affect the game. They are the ones who keep track of the scoring. That is very important! They also keep statistics for skaters and coaches (who is skating in what jam, who has gone to the penalty box in that jam and who is still in the box from the previous jam). Each job is very important.

If you can’t skate or don’t want to learn how to play the game of roller derby but you really love the idea of getting involved in games, NSOing is a great way to do it. Reach out to the QCRG Herd at herd@qcrg.net and they will get you started.