Roller derby couldn’t happen without its large supporting crew of officials who—to the surprise of many fans—are all volunteers! Leading the crew of 11 Non-Skating Officials (NSOs) at each bout (yes, eleven!) is the Head NSO, a rules guru who is in charge of making sure NSOs count points, track penalties, run the scoreboard, time the penalty box accurately and efficiently, and much more. SCDG is proud to recognize Koko, our Head NSO, as July’s Derby Girl of the Month.
Hailing originally from Scotland, Koko began her roller derby career as a skater with Glasgow Roller Derby in 2012. Even though her skating career was cut short by a broken ankle after a year, she channeled her new passion for derby into supporting her league as an NSO. Koko quickly developed a knack for leadership, teaching NSO skills to new Fresh Meat in the league, and mastering the nuances of the WFTDA rule set.
When Koko and her husband, referee Wheely Serious, decided to move to California, the two looked for a city that had a derby league they could join. According to Koko, she and Wheely became SCDG “super fans” even before making the move to the US, cheering on the Bombshells during live-streamed Playoff and Championship games.
After joining SCDG in 2014, Koko quickly became an indispensable member of the Track Pack. She served as Head NSO during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and then stepped up into this role again when former Head NSO Reese Ikler moved out of state earlier this year. In addition to officiating local games, Koko held the honor of serving as the Tournament Head NSO for the “Attack of the C Squads” tournament, which took place in Sonora, California in May.
Koko’s deep technical knowledge of the sport, strong organizational skills, and uncanny knack for solving last-minute scoreboard problems help SCDG games and scrimmages run smoothly and seamlessly. Fellow NSO Kitty Boom Boom explains, “Koko holds a wealth of derby stats and rules knowledge that she very willingly and openly shares among all who seek it, packaged in a charming Scottish accent.”
Both new and experienced NSOs attest to Koko’s patience in teaching new NSO skills and her unique ability to stay calm and focused under pressure.
According to NSO Jethro Skull, “Koko first came into the Head NSO position mid-season and never faltered. She has personally helped improve the quality of the work and overall flow of the NSO staff, as well as the cross-training of new skaters. Always gracious and professional, Koko is great ambassador for SCDG.” NSO Pirate of the Caribeatin’ adds, “Koko is an amazing Head NSO! She has made sure our NSOs get the training we want and need, and is great at giving feedback.”
Though she spends most weekends officiating games for SCDG or another local league, during her rare days off Koko enjoys playing video and board games of all sorts, crafting, sewing, and baking. At your next game, take a minute to look to the officiating crew on the sidelines—you’ll likely find Koko with a clipboard, skillfully orchestrating the chaos that is a derby bout!