Meet Duke City Roller Derby’s June Spotlight Member, David Reed! David is our league Head Official, and just celebrated his first derby-versary. You can usually find him officiating in a pink NSO shirt at bouts, or wrangling new volunteers at our weekly scrimmages.
How would you explain NSOing, to a person who has never heard of it?
NSOs (non-skating officials) are the people who keep the machinery of the game running. NSOs keep score, track lineups, time jams, and record penalties. I like to think of my job as arranging little pieces of chaos very neatly.
What compels you to volunteer your time and effort for roller derby? What's your favorite part?
If I could answer that, I might be able to get out of it! (laughs)
I strenuously resisted efforts to recruit me until I tried NSOing in July of 2015. I found that, contrary to what I might have naïvely thought, roller derby appeals to many things I enjoy in other realms: statistics, paperwork, and organization. Being an NSO also taught me to appreciate the game itself more deeply than I could as a spectator. When you’re embedded in the game, your focus changes, and you get a much better understanding of gameplay and strategy.
Do you have a goal or vision for DCRD officials?
My goal in leading the officiating program is to grow the officials corps that supports DCRD's games and build a community of people who want to participate in the game, whether or not they’re on skates. I’d like to show people that officials have important training and skills — they're not just helpers, but they're part of the game itself.
How should a person interested in officiating get involved with DCRD?
The best way is to come to our weekly scrimmages [Saturdays at 11:00 am at Heights Community Center]. We have a nice low-pressure environment to experiment with new officiating positions or get started with officiating for the first time. We always provide training at these events. Scrimmage is a great way for people who are interested in officiating to get to know us, get started in the shallow end, and build their skills until they're ready to participate in a game.
If you’re interested, reach out via email, let us know you’re coming, and we'll have resources available to help you get involved.
What do you do in real life?
I spend my time managing database systems at the Santa Fe Institute, a scientific research institute in the foothills on the northern edge of Santa Fe.
What’s your background?
I have a B.A. in liberal arts from St. John's College (my original tie to New Mexico) and a master’s degree in Ancient Greek.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I just want to spend my time solving interesting problems with computers. Have I been tempted to automate all the NSO paperwork? Yes, I have; I have not managed to do so yet.
What are your hobbies, outside of NSOing for roller derby?
Well, that one certainly takes a lot of my time! I don’t often say no to opportunities to travel for derby, although I should probably add that NSOs don’t have to travel - I just like to do so and I think it provides great learning opportunities. I love to explore new places, even if they don’t skate there. I curl with the league in Santa Fe (possibly the only curling league in New Mexico?). I enjoy gardening, although I’m not good at it, and I read a lot of science fiction.
Tell us your favorite travel story.
When I was in Greece two years ago (for a non-derby-related vacation), I took a bus to Delphi, which is the site of the ancient temple of Apollo. I wasn’t completely sure where I was, and it was late at night. As I was walking, I heard a commotion and saw a crowd of people doing something — celebrating? I thought it was a political protest, so I stepped back out of the street and got out of the way.
As the crowd approached, I realized they were not protesting. It was actually a group of local young people dressed in ‘dappled fawnskins’ and dancing their way up to the mountain.
They were dressed as the Bacchae, revelers of the god Dionysus. I had had the great fortune to arrive at just the time that this local commemoration of the ancient tradition was happening, once a year.
I would love for people who are interested in officiating to come find me at a game or a scrimmage. I’m very happy to introduce people to the sport.