There are some people out there who live and breathe roller derby, and Morgue N. Donor is a very special one of those people. She’s a certified Level 2 Non-Skating Official (NSO) for the WFTDA, which means she’s fully equipped to perform NSO duties like scorekeeping, penalty tracking, and jam timing during sanctioned WFTDA games. She started officiating roller derby in the fall of 2010 after attending a fresh meat round up in Akron, Ohio, to skate for NEO Roller Derby. Never able to get enough derby, she volunteered as an NSO for home and away bouts for NEO, and started to get involved with other leagues in the areas, as well.
She was an Audio Assault (B-Team) skater for NEO Roller Derby and also held the position of head NSO for much of the 2011 and 2012 seasons. She was on the Board of Directors for NEO Roller Derby as their head of Human Resources and Safety Director. In addition, she was Head NSO for Little Steel Derby Girls of Youngstown, Ohio, and Eerie Roller Girls of Erie, Pennsylvania, during that same time period. Atlanta got really lucky in 2012 when she moved here. She joined the Atlanta Rec League, and has been volunteering as an NSO ever since, officiating home and away bouts.
WAIT. THERE’S MORE!
She’s also a recognized official for the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA). We caught up with this very busy lady on the heels of a trip to Michigan where she attended an NSO Symposium over the weekend.
What brought you to Atlanta from Ohio? I was in living in Ohio for graduate school. When I was close to graduation, I attended a conference and was introduced to someone who was looking to hire for a position in Atlanta. I landed an interview, graduated, got the job and moved my life down here all in the matter of a few months.
Was finding another roller derby league a top priority after your move? Shortly after I was invited to come to Atlanta to interview for my job, I started pestering every Atlanta official and skater at derby events with a “Hey! I might be moving to Atlanta!” By the time I had packed my house up and hit the road to venture South, I was already committed to two bouts in the first two weeks following the move. My involvement in derby had played such an important role in my life that I wanted to make certain that I could continue to be as involved as possible. I can’t think of a better way to smooth the transition of moving across states than having a community to be involved in before your boxes are even unpacked.
You have been a rollergirl and an official. Do you prefer being an official? At the first bout I ever attended, I fell in love with the sport of derby and knew I wanted to be involved. So, I bought all the gear and attended the local league open round-up. It was immediately apparent that I had no skating skills whatsoever. I was quite accurately described as “Bambi on ice.” Accepting the challenge, I attended every practice and open skate I could in the hopes that I would someday skate in a bout. In the meantime, I also started volunteering as a non-skating official both for my home league and for neighboring leagues, and discovered that I loved being involved off skates. Eventually, I was rostered on B team for two seasons and became head NSO for my home league and two neighboring leagues. I knew that I would need to make a choice between skating and officiating once I moved because the time commitment of a new job and maintaining dual roles in derby was going to be overwhelming. Recognizing that I have always been a much more effective as an official than I ever was as a skater (my best skill was falling), my love of rules and paperwork and organization won out in the end.
You’ve been involved with roller derby since 2010. What made you fall in love with derby and what keeps you coming back? I think that my original love was the spectacle and challenging myself to actually be a part of it with no sports background or existing skating skills. I learned very quickly that the thing that keeps me coming back is the amazing group of people I have had the opportunity to meet and work with over the years. The derby community keeps me hooked.
You also officiate for Men’s Derby. Are there differences in officiating men and women? Having officiated Women’s, Men’s, and Junior’s derby over the years, all I can really say is that every bout is different no matter whom the participants are. Every bout presents its’ own set of challenges and learning opportunities, and I am excited to have been a part of each and every one of them.
What do you like to do when you’re not keeping us legal? Between derby and work, there aren’t a lot of hours left in the day. I love to travel, and my involvement in derby provides more than enough opportunities to do so. This year so far I have been able to travel to North Carolina, Ohio and Michigan with trips to Arizona, Indiana, and Florida coming up soon. Given the chance to actually sit still for a bit, there will likely be a (hopefully) good book in my hand. I have also recently bought a motorcycle that I look forward to riding to as much derby as possible.