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Author Topic: Is it appropriate to intervene in response to perceived dangerous gameplay?  (Read 4925 times)

Offline Artimus Pyledriver

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Is it appropriate to intervene in response to perceived dangerous but only POTENTIALLY illegal gameplay?

I have officiated in several games and scrimmages where the head referee has elected to take an official timeout in response to what he or she has determined to be overly aggressive and potentially dangerous gameplay. 

Actions taken by the head referees during these official reviews have included consulting with the other officials concerning this gameplay so that there is consensus amongst the crew and/or advising the captains of each team that the continuation or acceleration of the grievous gameplay may result in expulsions.   Obliquely, the secondary purpose of these timeouts is to give the skaters a minute to, “cool off.”

8.5.9 states that “ Referees have the option of calling an official timeout if they feel that there is a situation that would interfere with the safety of the skaters or the crowd.
8.5.2 states that “Safety is the number one priority for referees.  Illegal gameplay that causes an unsafe environment is not to be tolerated.  The referees are to assess and enforce penalties and expulsions as described in Section 5 and 6…..”

Recently, I have related these experiences with a skater who has objected that these actions are overstepping our duties, that calling these timeouts if no illegalities warranting expulsions have actually taken place, would inappropriately affect gameplay.  That officials have no place to give skaters a minute to , "cool off."

What do my fellow officials have to say about this?   Is it appropriate to intervene in response to potentially dangerous and illegal gameplay?   If so, what actions are appropriate and what are not?

Offline Kent C. Forshette

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I think I've been that HR. For example, a Ref may approach me after sending skater X to the box, recommending an expulsion. Maybe X performed a back block that didn't knock an opponent down or out, but seemed reckless.

I'll call an OTO with all refs, learning who witnessed what. If it's determined that the action neither rose to the level of a penalty (no positional advantage was gained), nor expulsion (wasn't reckless), I will absolutely let both captains know that skater X was being considered for an expulsion. Then I'll warn both captains about possible recklessness.

[rule]8.3.1 The consensus of the Officials will be the final decision on any disputed point that is not clearly spelled out in these rules. An Official may increase the severity of a penalty at their discretion. Similarly, an Official may decrease the severity of a penalty to a warning as the Official sees fit.[/rule]
Kent C. Forshette
Cedar Rapids RollerGirls
Ref Coord and WFTDA officials rep

Offline FNZebra

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May want to double check the Rules version you were looking at...
[rule]8.2.9 - Referees have the option of calling an Official Timeout if they feel that there is a situation that would interfere with the safety of the Skaters or audience members, or that would interfere with proper game play.[/rule]

In a situation of escalating activity that hasn't quite become a penalty, but is veering toward increased passions for the wrong reasons, it is appropriate for the Head Ref to take an OTO to:

  • gather the opinions of all officials (NSOs too!) regarding the potential illegality of an action
  • make certain the officiating crew knows what everyone should do, if things become ugly
  • speak to both benches, and warn them that continued undesired play may result in expulsions

If things happen to cool down, and/or players and coaches manage to help particular teammates to chillax a little more during that same time, then that's just a fine coincidence.

I have extended that officials conferencing before during an OTO, to help better ensure that coincidence happened.
You will bout as you practice.


Cheers,

FN Zebra
Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby (WFTDA)
Bloomington, Indianer

Offline Laddie

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I have extended that officials conferencing before during an OTO, to help better ensure that coincidence happened.

Of course, there is a bell curve with this strategy.
Laddie - 1107
Memphis Roller Derby
WFTDA Level 4 Certified Referee
MRDA Recognized Referee

Offline FNZebra

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I have extended that officials conferencing before during an OTO, to help better ensure that coincidence happened.
Of course, there is a bell curve with this strategy.

Yep. It was after our initial discussion went very quickly.
The other obvious part is that the lightbulb has to want to change.
You will bout as you practice.


Cheers,

FN Zebra
Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby (WFTDA)
Bloomington, Indianer

Offline SeerSin

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Recently, I have related these experiences with a skater who has objected that these actions are overstepping our duties, that calling these timeouts if no illegalities warranting expulsions have actually taken place, would inappropriately affect gameplay.  That officials have no place to give skaters a minute to , "cool off."

That time out is something good for the head ref to have at their disposal if a game gets out of hand or something seriously dangerous happens. But it should be used very sparingly and with the utmost caution. It's very easy to overstep our bounds in these cases. It's also very context sensitive. Is this a game with a bunch of brand new skaters or people who've been playing for a while and know what they're doing? Was the action actually a threat to safety or did someone just fall down kinda hard and go "ooof!"? Have tensions been rising? Have there been any confrontations around the bench? I need something more than "that looked kinda scary" before I'll take any action.

If you do call the timeout keep it to the point: what you saw, what the problem is and identify the consequence. What you shouldn't do is call a time out and then tell the skaters how you think they should play their game. :)

Offline Artimus Pyledriver

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Thank you , everyone!

Offline Shiny

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Interesting... I can see how the OTO might be warranted but I've been at a bout where an OTO was called for "cool off" purposes, to the degree that the HR said explicitly "I don't have anything to discuss, I just think it's getting a little heated so we're just going to make everyone take a cool-down here for a minute or two and pretend to be discussing something." I'll admit that at the time I was a bit horrified. It seemed to me that if you had two "hot" teams, making them sit and stew for a couple of minutes could be just as likely to get people even more worked up.

I had a discussion with a coach months later when a more reasonable and better-handled OTO to similar purposes had happened at a bout (not that the coach knew it). He was complaining about OTOs that break the rhythm when a team is 'in a groove.' That's another thing to consider, as this might be argued to have a measurable impact on the game. I'm certainly not arguing that stopping a scoring streak takes precedence over keeping things safe, but it is something to keep in mind when trying to decide whether it is necessary to call an OTO for those purposes.

Offline Mountie

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I do think that is something that can be done, but use the power wisely. 
Things between two good teams can get pretty rough and fast.  It is finding the line of rough and legal play that all teams are engaging in and rough play that is encouraging 'revenge' hits. 
Things can get very keyed up and rough but still be in the legal end of the spectrum.  You can see the teams are excited and yelling, hitting hard, but recovering to try harder.  I feel it becomes an issue if there are hard hits and you see that the recovery is more along the lines of your hit my player and now I am going to put you on your ass.  At the point where this is going beyond one player (which is manageble through penalties or explusion if required), then an OTO should be called (in my opinion).  When one or both teams are getting more into a revenge kind of blocking taking a cooling off period is good.  The players cool down and the bench has a moment to get a grip on the players to get their heads back in the stratagy of the game and not just revenge for preceived wrongs.

Offline ttjustice

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Interesting... I can see how the OTO might be warranted but I've been at a bout where an OTO was called for "cool off" purposes, to the degree that the HR said explicitly "I don't have anything to discuss, I just think it's getting a little heated so we're just going to make everyone take a cool-down here for a minute or two and pretend to be discussing something." I'll admit that at the time I was a bit horrified. It seemed to me that if you had two "hot" teams, making them sit and stew for a couple of minutes could be just as likely to get people even more worked up.

I had a discussion with a coach months later when a more reasonable and better-handled OTO to similar purposes had happened at a bout (not that the coach knew it). He was complaining about OTOs that break the rhythm when a team is 'in a groove.' That's another thing to consider, as this might be argued to have a measurable impact on the game. I'm certainly not arguing that stopping a scoring streak takes precedence over keeping things safe, but it is something to keep in mind when trying to decide whether it is necessary to call an OTO for those purposes.

Take an OTO, grab your jam refs and go over to the scorers table and confirm the score.  No need to say anything fancy, just that it was for your own piece of mind.  Keep it quick so that the stoppage in gameplay is under 1 minute.  Go back, restart the game.

Seen it done before :)
Timothy T. Justice
Ohio Roller Girls Head of Officiating 2011-2013
Retired Level 3 Skating Official
WFTDA Rules Theory Clerk

 

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