By Lor N Order
Non-derby person: “So you are in a roller Derby league but you do not skate? What do you do?”
Me: “I NSO”
Non-derby person: “you do what now?”
This is a normal conversation piece for me when I get asked what I get up to at the weekends and my reply is “derby”.
What on earth is NSOing and why do I do it?
NSO means non-skating official. We help run the games (also known as bouts) and informal scrims. There are lots of positions to fill, many involving timers, gesticulations, pens and paper or a whistle, but what better way to get close to the action than sitting on the front line.
Watching what my amazing league do every week, I just know skating isn’t for me! I’ve tried to re-live my youth days of skating but the fear takes over. I have found a place in Hertfordshire Roller Derby and I am made to feel just as welcome and equal as a skater.
So how did I become interested in roller derby when I do not skate?
My bestest friend Stings like Abbie, is the whole reason I am here! She invited me to the Belles home game in 2015. I almost didn’t make it as I wasn’t really feeling very sociable and really wasn’t sure what it was all about, but I made it just in time to see the Belles play! I really didn’t understand what an earth was going but it was crazy and was glad I didn’t miss it. I attended two more game days and by the end of it all I found myself really into the sport.
I had seen online that they was looking for NSOs in the league, but I didn’t really know what it was, so initially just kind of brushed it off! I do think Abbie may have threatened me with “if you want to see me then come training”, but the truthful answer it was probably more like “come see us train”, and I think she knew exactly what she was doing!
I was asked early on to help in scrim by timing the jams. I was handed a stopwatch and whistle! SCARY! I had no idea what I was doing but I loved it in the end.
Over the weeks I slowly but surely learned what NSOs are, and what they mean to the league and games days.
Prior to finding Hertfordshire Roller Derby I found myself in a bit of rut, not really having anything to do, choosing to stay in and avoid any social interaction… 12 months later I find myself to be in a very different place. I wouldn’t recognise the person I was a year ago, I feel I have my confidence back, I love socialising, I hate not having anything to do these days!
Everyone in the league was so friendly and welcoming and I class the friendly faces as super cool friends.
I have been given fantastic opportunities. I have NSOed British Champs games, closed door scrims, and even had the chance to NSO the tryouts for the Women’s England team! Exciting!
Inspired? Get in touch! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get involved as an NSO.