April Volunteer of the Month: TaraByte
In addition to skaters and referees, roller derby requires Non-Skating Officials (NSOs). Without NSOs, roller derby would be impossible. Skaters and referees need NSOs to keep track of everything that occurrs on and off the track. NSOs are the people wearing a pink WTDA shirt and black pants. They can be inside the track tracking penalties on whiteboards, calling “5 seconds!” when the jam is about to begin, timing your favorite skater when they’re in the penalty box, and keeping score of the points. NSOs must remain impartial to the teams playing, which can be a challenge. (Have you ever tried not cheering for your friends that skate???) Thank you to all the NSOs for all the hard work that you do, and a special thank you to TaraByte, SVRG’s April volunteer of the month.
TaraByte is SVRG’s Head NSO. She is a consummate multi-tasker when it comes to running a scrimmage or a bout, often taking on multiple jobs at the same time during a scrimmage! TaraByte an irreplaceable asset to SVRG and she is committed to roller derby on a state and national level as well, serving at sanctioned WFTDA tournaments, including national Championships. She is a Level 3 NSO, which is no easy task. She is an accurate, experienced, and amazing NSO. Additionally, TaraByte is SVRG’s WFTDA head, making sure that all of our ducks are in a row. What an impressive lady! We couldn’t do it without you, Tara. Thank you for EVERYTHING that you do!
How did you get into roller derby? How long have you been with SVRG?
I have been into roller derby and with SVRG since November 2009.
Have you played or officiated any other sports before starting derby?
I’ve never participated in any sport previous to roller derby.
How did you derive your derby name TaraByte?
A friend picked my derby name because my name is Tara and I am in Silicon Valley. Also, it’s because at the time I could not have my real name, Tara Bell.
What is your primary position when you are officiating?
I am an NSO (Non-Skating Official). We are the unsung heroes of derby, as I like to call it. I do any position: from score keeping to jam timing to penalty box. We keep track of all the things for the skaters and refs and help the game run.
What has been your greatest experience at a game/derby related event?
Greatest experience I would say is two things:
1. Training new NSO's. When it clicks, it is great to see.
2. Working the championship game at Champs in 2015
Have you ever been injured while officiating?
Ha, I don't think so, I have been hit by skaters and refs, but never hurt.
What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?
I am the Head NSO and the Head of the WFTDA Committee, and I am now serving as the new chair of testing for WFTDA.
I work. I'm not sure that I have a non-derby part of my life.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give potential volunteers and/or skaters?
Keep working and keep trying. Everywhere I have been in derby is because I kept working at it. I have seen skaters start in derby and work hard and go on to now skate in playoffs and champs.
What positive aspect has derby brought into your life?
Friends. It has also helped me gain confidence, and new jobs with the experience WFTDA has given me.
Goals for 2016?
Work towards my level 4 certification.
What is your worst habit?
I have so many, but I would say I am very hard on myself when I make a mistake.
If you could NSO a bout with any teams playing, who would it be?
I have no idea. The teams don't really matter when I'm officiating.
Is there an official you look up to? Why?
Yes, I would say that I look up to Nine Inch Wheels, Stabby McNeedles and Dedi.
As you can see, SVRG is lucky to have TaraByte as a volunteer!
If you’d like to try your hand at becoming an NSO, email email@example.com. You can also congratulate TaraByte, or give her a thank you for all she does, at SVRG’s Home Opener on April 30th. You can buy tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2495389