Ah, it's a dreary, rainy Monday here in White Plains, NY, but I'm still feeling happy. I've been here since Thursday for the WFTDA Eastern Regional Championship, where I've been serving as a Non-Skating Official. What's that, you ask? Well, NSOs pretty much keep the bout together--we track penalties, man the penalty box, keep score, track lineups. The referees call the game, but we keep track of it all.
I did penalty tracking all weekend--three bouts on Friday and Saturday, two bouts on Sunday. Penalty tracking is hard--hard on the calves (my short leg massage yesterday has completely worn off), hard on the eyes. You stand in the center and keep your eyes on the action that's going around you--listen and watch for refs calling penalties on the inside and outside of the track; make sure you write it all down correctly; send skaters to the box when they get four minor penalties; and do this all as quickly as possible.
It's a tough job, but I love it. It's exhilarating, and it tests my powers of observation. When there's a lot of cheering, there's no more exciting place to be than right in the center of the action.
This weekend was pretty much a weekend inside a convention center. Stale air, concession stand food, and by Sunday, really funky-smelling skating gear. Still, I did get to see a tiny sliver of the suburbia that is White Plains. Yes, it's typical suburban chain stores, but I did go to a little gem of a Mediterranean grocery store. My buddy Ken Zawsum noticed it when we were looking for a 7-Eleven, and since I love groceries, we stopped in. We discovered a ton of great nuts, eggplant canned and jarred every way you could think of, carbonated lemonade, and falafel-flavored salty snacks (which I was tempted to buy, but didn't). It was a great store that took the "sub" right out of "suburbs" and made my weekend that much better.