Tuesday, August 12, 2014

8.1.5.2 Penalty Trackers: A game will have at least one Penalty Tracker. The Penalty Tracker records the penalties reported by referees and keeps track of the official penalty tally.

Today’s rule continues NSO week, wherein we’re saluting the non-skating officials who make roller derby possible. Today’s rule describes the second of the five NSO positions that must be filled in a regulation game.

As stated in today’s rule, a penalty tracker records the penalties that referees assign to each player, and keeps track of the official penalty tally. Doing so is usually a more chaotic process than a scorekeeper endures, as a penalty tracker sometimes needs to track down information from the penalty wrangler, the other penalty tracker, the inside whiteboard NSO, and/or the referees.

Beyond the basic job are a host of other tasks.

- Echoing penalties calls after receiving them,
- Notifying the head referee when a skater earns their 5th and/or 6th penalty,
- Notifying the jam referee when a jammer lines up with 5 or more penalties,
- Avoiding/addressing confusion between similar skater numbers,
- Verifying the correct roster of players before the game begins, and
- Tracking the jam number

All of this is compounded by this fact: most games have two penalty trackers, but the rules only require one. Meaning the penalty tracker may be doing this not just for one team, but for both… sometimes without the help of a penalty wrangler and whiteboard operator.

As O.N. Meany pointed out in his NSO Survival Guide, a skilled penalty tracker needs a good working knowledge of penalty codes and referee hand signals, good communication skills, and the ability to think and react fast in a loud, chaotic environment.

For more information read Meany’s NSO Survival Guide: Penalty Tracker. Also, talk to your league’s resident NSO expert on penalty tracking.

Link: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B6vg_p4Wd73LVE9RVkIxcXBaOFE&usp=sharing

If you have any tips on penalty tracking or want to shout out the name of your favorite Penalty Tracker, please feel free to do so in the comments.

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