Volunteering in the MTL Roller Derby League

Roller derby season is just around the corner, and I can barely wait! For those of you that don’t know, roller derby is chaos, adrenaline, diversity, community, and much more. I started volunteering with the Montreal Roller Derby League as a Non-Skating Official back in 2011. This past year, I have been training as a referee despite my “two left feet”. Today, I’ll share a bit of insight into why I love roller derby and a couple benefits of volunteering. After all, roller derby is far more than spandex and PBR.


Those who know me by my derby alter ego, Typhoid Johnny, also know I love The Box. I feel most at ease amongst the frenzy of the penalty box. Working the box allows you to take in the view the whole bout easily; however, you must be ready to manage multiple penalties in an instant. Officiating derby requires concentrating on your immediate task, pay attention to the on going bout, recall the rules and policies of derby, and communicating with the other officials. Its called multitasking.


Since, I joined derby, I’ve become a more efficient communicator. If you’ve ever seen a derby game, you may have noticed officials in multiple locations and zipping around the track. What many people don’t notice is that a derby bout has THREE teams. Two of the teams are highly competitive about trying to win, and the third team couldn’t careless. This would be the herd of zebras and flamingos. “Team No Fun” always wins. For the bout to go smoothly, we must synchronize our efforts through both non-verbal and verbal communication. Communicating effectively is definitely a skill to continuously practice.

I joined derby simply looking for some fun times. I never expected to have a chance to sharpen certain career skills. I recommend getting out there and giving back to the community. In doing so, you’ll certainly be all the better for it.

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