Sunday, February 5, 2012

‎6.14 Insubordination Insubordination is willfully failing to comply with a referee’s orders. Examples of insubordination include but are not limited to failure to leave the track for a penalty or failure to leave the floor after fouling out.

Today I'm going to cover Insubordination. Unlike what many think, Insubordination is not a penalty a skater receives for mouthing off to a ref. That is a Misconduct. As the rule says, Insubordination is failing to comply with a referee's orders. Now, that's a pretty strong statement that pretty says "what the referee says goes". Effectively, that is the case. However, to have a good bout where refs and skaters mutually respect each other, there needs to be give and take on both sides.

I'll start with the referees. Yes referees must be listened to. That does not mean that referees should be ordering skaters around outside the bounds of the rules. Insubordination is included in the rules to penalize skaters who don't go to the penalty box when told, and other such instances where the rules require a skater to follow the directions of a ref. It is important to note that skaters who follow the rules expect the referees to do the same. I have heard of situations where skaters received Insubordination penalties when a referee made a blatant mistake in calling her name. There is a reason why the rules require a referee to refer to a skater by her color and number. Skater names are usually plays on words, or may be in a different language, or require a proper pronunciation, etc. They are not standard. Colors and numbers are, especially if Section 3.7 is strictly adhered to. So skaters train themselves to hear their color and number combination, and to only leave the track when called by that combination. If a referee decides to break from the rules and refer to a skater a different way, such as calling her by her derby name, or even improperly calling her number, that skater is going to not leave the track, and is not going to expect an Insubordination for it. With regards to improperly calling numbers, I have covered all the rules regarding numbers and have made it clear that while no standard exists for how to call a skater’s number, the number must be called. So if a referee is trying to issue a penalty to a skater with the number “L0V3” and calls her “love”, and she doesn’t leave the track, that referee should work on complying with the rules rather than issuing that skater an Insubordination penalty. Further, there have been other cases I have heard of where referees have given Insubordination penalties to skaters other than the Captain or DA who speak to the referees. This is not something that exists in the rules, although the common convention is to discourage non-Captains from talking to the referees. Referees need to make sure that the orders they give that they expect to be complied with are based in the rules and not an overstep of bounds.

Skaters can help by simply not getting Insubordination penalties. I know this sounds simple, and it is. If a referee issues a skater a major, she needs to leave the track, regardless of her thoughts towards the penalty’s validity. I am a ref, but I also play. I know firsthand the frustration of receiving a major penalty for something that I know to be perfectly legal. However, the moment of receiving a major penalty is not the time to argue with the referee. When a skater refuses to go to the penalty box she requires that referee to continue watching her to make sure she eventually goes, meaning that referee’s attention is now fixated on one skater rather than the pack, which means less effective officiating. Following the referees orders helps even when its not a situation where one expects such an order to be given. Here’s an example. I head reffed a bout last season where skaters, at the end of jams, would cut through the infield to return to their bench. The NSOs in the infield kept reporting to me that they were almost run over or into several times by skaters. At half time I mentioned to the captains that safety was becoming an issue in the infield, and to ask both teams to not cut through the infield. Soon after the second half began the cutting through continued. I called an Official Timeout and told both captains that because safety of the NSOs was in jeopardy, that any skater from then on to cut through the infield would receive an Insubordination. Sure enough, one skater cut through the infield and was promptly issued a major penalty. Although there is no rule preventing skaters from cutting through, as head ref I felt that the cutting through was risking the safety of the NSOs, and 9.2.5 clearly explains that “Safety is the number one priority for Referees”.

By working to together to follow the rules, skaters and refs can help make sure that Insubordination penalties are kept to an absolute minimum.