2017 was my first year in Roller Derby, and it’s definitely been an adventure.

I started WRD’s Skate Academy in March with the original aim of joining the men’s team, but before long I realised that officiating was where my passion really was. And it has the added benefit that I now have not one but two wonderful derby families - both my league mates at WRD, and the amazing officials community.

Looking back, it’s almost hard to believe it’s only been nine months. There have been so many fun road trips, I’ve met so many great people, and - I have to admit - eaten a LOT of McDonalds breakfasts!

There have also been a lot of firsts in such a short time, including my first road trip to NSO a game in Port Talbot, my first open-door games at a British Champs double header in Swansea, my first overnighter and first juniors game at Bout Against Cancer in Plymouth, and my first game as head ref at our own Christmas scrim. All told, this year I’ve officiated 28 games this year: 18 as a ref and 10 as an NSO.

It has been, at times, scary, challenging, confusing and sometimes exhausting. And there have been some very early mornings! There has been a lot to learn, not just in terms of the rules but also how the game works and how I can be a better official. But it has been so much fun, and a lot of that is thanks to the people I’ve reffed with (and the people I’ve reffed!)

If anyone is thinking they might be interested in officiating, either on or off skates, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. There is such a supportive community between officials and I’ve always felt encouraged and backed up in my development. Officiating gives me such a sense of achievement, and a lot of pride that I’ve done something well. I’m still learning, and I probably always will be, but it’s a great journey to be on.

Of course, it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without the people who’ve been there with me. In particular, I want to thank WRD’s awesome crew of officials and all the others I’ve shared sports halls, car trips and pubs with. So much derby love for all of you!