So I was super freaked out. Today was the first practice. With the refs, with the team. I am not a skilled new social setting person as it is. This was pretty much as nerve racking as it gets.
There were a few moments where I thought maybe I shouldn't go. Maybe this really wasn't for me. But I want to skate, I want to skate really well, ref or not. And I want to participate, meet new people, be a part of something. So I went.
I was mildly nauseated all day. Fidgety. By the time 5:30 rolled around I was fairly well freaking out. I had been practicing algebra problems for my upcoming placement test. Strangely figuring out math problems kept my mind off the practice.
Finally 6:00 came around and I had to go. Of course I couldn't find my keys. I was crabby with my husband and generally harried, heading out the door.
I got to the skating rink and lined up behind the various skaters. They were all chatting, fiddling with gear, what not. I tried to be inconspicuous while looking around to see if my friend was there. Of course she was at the head of the line in the midst of lots of conversation.
After a few minutes she saw me standing there and graciously came to my rescue. There were a few other referees and she placed me with them. We exchanged names. One of them commented on my striped hoodie and I did my best to hold a conversation about clothing alterations for derby.
Finally the doors opened and we all went in and geared up. I was loitering, looking for a signal of what I should do. One of the refs named Able C-Man chatted with me briefly discussing a few gear details. Then our head ref showed up.
He's a zippy guy named RPOD. It stands for Ref Prince of Derriere, but I really like Rpod. It sounds like some sort of technical device or robotic unit. He sent us out onto the rink to warm up and and chat a bit. I of course trailed behind everyone else, but I didn't fall and didn't wobble horribly.
Everyone else is really good on their skates. Which is no surprise as they have significantly more time on them. Every so often a ref would skate by and give me some supportive comment on my progress.
Then as the practice switched to stretching we rolled over to one corner and began the ref huddle. This is basically where the refs get together in a circle and shoot the shit. Often the shit is penalty and game related, but at this point it was a bit loose.
We introduced ourselves and then headed off rink for the players to get their practice on. The rest of the practice was pretty much spent talking penalties and plays. It was kind of cool. I didn't know everything they were talking about, but I could fairly well follow the conversation. I've never been able to follow sports, but between watching matches and reading the rules it made a lot of sense.
We didn't do anymore skating today and I was really ok with it. Next practice we will do drills and more skating. If I'm not too tired I'll stay for the open skate.
The whole experience was easy, low pressure and completely non-intimidating. It was exactly what I needed. Next time I'll be ok, I won't be freaked out, I won't be the only one who doesn't know anyone. Next time I can think about calls and skating.