Roller derby leagues are defined by the people that build them and no roller derby league can succeed without the help of volunteers. The bulk of our volunteer needs are required during our games. Some of our positions can be filled with very little experience, but most of our game day volunteers need some amount of training and practice. Volunteers who commit to train with our league are invited to skate with us with no charge for dues year round. All our volunteers receive our undying gratitude and the satisfaction of helping us bring roller derby to Bennington County.
On game day, the officials team is larger than either of the two competing teams and all our officials go through training to be proficient on game day. All officials are encouraged to help support regional leagues by volunteering at events and building a rapport in the derby community. Some times skaters in one league will take on the role of official at other leagues but most of the people who fill the roles of officials are dedicated in training just for these jobs.
Referees are skilled skaters who officiate the game from roller skates. Most games have seven referees on skates. These referees work an entire game without rotating out except in the rare case of injury. Two referees are assigned to the jammers. They track the score of the team they are following and communicate that score to the NSOs and audience. Two referees watch the pack from inside the track while it takes three to keep up and observe on the outside. Referees look for and issue penalties for infractions, define the pack, issue warnings on blockers out of play, declare lead jammer, call off the jam, and implement the flow of play. They are responsible for safety on the track.
A small army of statistics-tracking officials keep track of all the components of the game: score keeping, timing the game and jams, tracking the lineups, running the penalty box, tracking the penalties and time outs, and operating the scoreboard. While Non-Skating Officials (NSOs) do not need to vigorously train on roller skates, the complexities and speed at which roller derby is played requires practice and training.
Announcers communicate to the audience the action on the track, educate and inform on nuances of game play and rules, introduce the teams and skaters, promote league and game sponsors, relay safety and venue information, and generally entertain while maintaining interest in the game and the sport.
Since the game of roller derby has some fairly complex rules and strategies, not the least of which is both teams are on offense and defense at the same time, at least one announcer needs to be well educated in game play and strategy. A second announcer with good microphone experience can apprentice. Skilled announcers, like skilled officials, are in high demand for traveling around the area, region, and beyond with their craft.
Our insurance with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association requires us to staff a minimum of 2 EMTs at every event. Even without our insurance, our sport is full contact and at a considerable speed. People get hurt. Qualified and skilled EMTs are necessary to provide the fastest treatment in case anyone is injured or needs medical attention during our events.
Southshire Roller derby will be selling team and league merchandise at our bouts and our events will require a ticket for entry. We need people who are responsible with inventory, following instructions, and accurate with paperwork to help manage the door. We may also sell raffle tickets or hold contests to raise money for local charities and ticket or wheel sellers are needed both stationary and roaming.
While Riley Rink is a safe venue, security will help guests find where they want to go in the rink, select safe and appropriate seating, keep children from sitting along the crash zone, and keep ticket holders from entering designated team areas.
For years, Southshire Roller Derby will need to help educate its audience as most of our region is very new to derby. Roller derby is much more fun to watch when you know what’s going on and it can help our audience to have roaming derby educators they can stop and ask what’s on their mind. These people will need to be familiar with the game and are usually skaters, but devout fans who demonstrate a clear understanding of the game are also welcome.
If we have enough volunteers, we can use people to do face painting (for kids AND adults), poster creation tables, and cheer leaders. If you want to help people have even more fun and have ideas about audience engagement, we’d love for you to share your time and talent with our fans.
Year Round Support
We can always use a little help here and there. Most of our needs from outside volunteers off season involves getting the word out. Street teams (hanging posters, handing out fliers) are always needed for regional events and at key times during the year. If you have a web site, tumbler, Twitter account, or other means of getting our message of roller derby out to Southern Vermont, we’d love to hear from you.