There's an idea that's been playing in the back of my mind recently: given the diverse background of people involved in roller-derby, why aren't more of the resident techies making things to facilitate officiating the sport?

Actually, that's a bit of a loaded question. They already are. One of the most visible examples is the scoreboard you see projected on a board/wall at most bouts.

A bunch of people took time out to make stuff happen.

As a personal project, I want to write yet another penalty box timing app, one that suits my needs, given that I've done the job and know what irks me about my current system. (Also, I just want an excuse to code up a simple android app for a tablet I plan on purchasing)

After a random conversation at a practice session, it seems other people have other problems they want solved, and other than cost for a pre-packaged solution, I don't see why some of these things can't be done.

For instance, if you're tracking penalties, it's frequently hard to hear referees' calls. What would be interminably cool is some sort of headset system so the people on the inside could listen to the penalties on headphones and deal with them. The main issue is the transport signal (radio/bluetooth/whatever) and the ergonomics of it (and maybe the communication structure).

What I'd love to see is a timing device that could tie into the scoreboard so that the timekeeper could ensure correct time was displayed to the audience/skaters. The easiest solution in my head would be a smartphone app that utilised some method to communicate to the machine running the scoreboard software. Hell, then we could maybe have the penalty box software listen in to sync with the timekeeper so that the timing starts and ends with the jam.

Even if it was beyond the skillset of the league's members, I wonder if something like the Science Day Hackathon could work? Sometimes the hardest thing about figuring out about making something is what to make, or deciding what problem you want to solve.

I think improving some of the technology used could solve a lot of our problems, and it'd be really interesting to see if it works. It's mostly a matter of getting the right people together.
So second freshmeat down. At the risk of turning this into my personal derby blog, I'd like to state this isn't my personal derby blog; it's about stuff that I like/want to do outside of work. It just so happens that I've found that derby's worked its way in there.

Anyway the rest are personal notes about fresh meat, that are probably of no interest to anyone:
No, really. Not interesting )
Last year, my attempt at Fresh Meat came to an abrupt halt due to a groin strain. I was fairly disheartened given my poor performance for that second session (I was falling over on basic knee falls, which wasn't exactly safe). Eventually I pulled myself from the session and realised a few days later that while most of my owies had disappeared (as expected), this one was a real injury.

As a result, I dropped out of the programme and, as a way to keep involved with a great bunch of people, I decided to help out as a Non-Skating Official (NSO).

As a quick side note, if anyone ever feels they want to get more involved with their local league, without learning to skate, I would suggest volunteering as an NSO. Leagues love good NSOs, and it's a great opportunity to get to know your local league, and all the people within it.

With 2012 rolling around, I decided my new year resolution was to get through a full Fresh Meat programme; I don't care about whether or not I pass assessments at this point in time, I think it's ambitious enough to work towards surviving the full 8 to 12 weeks.

What little prep I did )

How the Fresh Meat sessions went )

All in all, 'twas fun. And I'm still not sure how I'm not sore right now. (Warning, this post may be edited tomorrow so that I can articulate exactly what exquisite pain was waiting for me in the morning)
There's a new obsession in my life. It's been building slowly. It's rollerderby.

For those that don't know what it is, this video explains it pretty well. What the video doesn't convey is the raw energy that hit me when I went to my first bout. Similarly with my second... and third. At the first bout, I really couldn't stop buzzing; it infected me. I suppose it doesn't help that I know one of the referees, and one of the girls who was involved in the Dublin league at the start. It wasn't the clothes, or the names, or the afterparty; it was the attitude. It was the fact that girls of different shapes, sizes and ages were involved and kicking ass... and it was our local sports team (seriously, I've never gotten that before).

Wherein I describe FreshMeat and unleash a clusterbomb of What The F*** thoughts )

On Derby Names )

And here's the real cincher: I'm pretty sure that none of what I've written sounds in any way rational. I haven't mentioned why I want to do it, beyond the energy of the events that struck me when I was watching as a fan. I haven't mentioned why I want to put myself through that much duress just to get to somewhere that I haven't even thought ahead to. Like I said, I don't know if I'll ever be good enough to play in a public bout, but all I know is that I don't want to stop, and that I want to give it a good shot, even if I don't meet the skills the first time around.

To be honest, I'm not going to over-analyse my motivations, I think it might ruin whatever it is that's driving me, and I haven't felt something like that for a long while. So, I'll just let it ride.

* Warning: probably not clinically neurotic



September 2015



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