If you’ve ever been fortunate to come see one of our games.. or even an event hosted by another league, you should have noticed a bunch of people lingering around the track wearing pink shirts. These lovely people are what we refer to as NSO’s and they essentially run the show (with help from the referees). Without NSO’s, we wouldn’t know when the jam starts, when it ends, how long we’ve been sitting in the box, or even what the score is. NSO’s have an impossible job. If you ever watch them, and I mean really watch them, they all look completely freaking miserable. Wanna know why? They’re not allowed to cheer. FOR ANYONE. That’s right. They have to stand within arms reach of the action and keep a straight face. Talk about difficult.
The NSO positions are scorekeepers, penalty trackers, penalty timing officials, scoreboard operator, line up tracker, and jam timer. Scorekeepers are responsible for watching the jam refs hand signaling the scores with EVERY scoring pass. Get distracted just once, and the score will get all whacked out. Penalty trackers are in charge of keeping the white board in the center of the track updated with every penalty… for every skater. Now, there is also a position we call penalty wrangler. They explicitly pay attention to every penalty called by the refs so they can report it to the penalty trackers. Sometimes it gets chaotic and very difficult to hear what the refs are saying. Penalty timing officials do just that. They tell us in what chairs to sit, when we need to stand, and when we are released from the box. Line up trackers scramble to annotate every skater that fields the track for every. single. jam. They also keep track of jammers, if there is a star pass, and to whom said star is passed. And last, but certainly not least, is the Jam timer. This person is responsible for timing both periods, the time in between each jam, and the jam itself.
So while every NSO is containing their cheers and being responsible for their job… they also have to communicate with every other NSO to make sure they’re on the same page in regards to what jam number the bout is on. The members of our NSO team are the unsung heroes of our league. We scrimmage every week to prepare for our bouts and our NSO’s take time out of their busy lives to practice with us, learn new positions, and let us scrimmage to our full potential. Heck, some of our NSO’s are even skaters that, for whatever personal reasons exist, cannot skate at that time. No NSO’s mean no bout. There are times when our NSO’s cannot make it to our scrimmage practices and we feel it. We’re guestimating our time in the penalty box, our refs try to juggle doing that job on top of jam timing, and we struggle with knowing what penalties we struggled with during the scrimmage. Our fans come to see us skate and play this amazing game… and we couldn’t do it without our NSO team.
So next time you come to our game and you see anyone walking around during half time with a pink shirt on, stop them and say, “Hi”. Pick their brains about the rules. Thank them for enabling us to host our events for you. And hey, we always need help. So if you want to be a part of our kick ass NSO team, reach out and let us know! But that’s all I have for this week, so thank an NSO and come see us play sometime. 🙂