Tell us a little about yourself and your involvement with the Gotham Girls?
I’m mrRAWK aka Eric DePalo, a Gotham Girls Roller Derby Referee and a graphic designer in the mortal world. I’ve been a member of GGRD since August 2006. I had guest officiated for them for a few bouts early in the 2006 season before transferring over from the Long Island Roller Rebels. In 2007, I was elected head referee, and in 2008 I was reelected the first two-time head ref of GGRD. I was also elected the Creative (Director) Chair of the league; it’s been a busy, but nevertheless amazing, year!
How did you get involved in derby?
My best friend, Captain Morgan, co-founded and then ran the Long Island Roller Rebels. We learned derby together and somewhere in the process I learned how to roller skate way better than I ever could at elementary school skate nights. Aside from studying the rules and learning the sport, I helped out designing flyers, a Web site, merchandise, and whatever else was needed.
How do you find dealing with a league full of women to be?
We have league reps to deal with that! The ladies involved in derby (and not just GGRD) have heads full of smarts, athletic bodies to swiftly move those heads around, and more than enough sass to ever let you doubt their intelligence or toughness. I’ve always had a bunch of female friends, so I’m a bit familiar with this environment. But, being around and working with such an amazing group of strong woman is just awesome. They are the ones who make this sport and make it as badass as it is.
What’s your favorite part about the sport?
My favorite part about the actual sport itself is the strategy and just the overall game play. At tournaments, when I probably should be taking a nap, I’m usually wide-eyed and scream compliments at the edge of the track. My favorite thing about being involved in WFTDA is the community of rad people across the country (and if you include aspiring leagues, the world; what up Ballistic Whistle!) of which I am now a part. Derby people are usually the most fun and kindest people in each city, and thankfully over the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit and skate with a solid amount of them.
Where do you see the sport in ten years?
I’m not sure exactly, but people that have to think about that kind of stuff tell me big things. I just know I want to be on the infield in stripes and quad skates, blowing whistles wherever the sport is at.
What would you tell other guys about looking to help out/get involved with derby?
It’s a great thing to be a part of, but you better be in it for the right reasons.
What’s the hardest thing about being the head ref for GGRD?
Writing procedures and policies. I hate having to figure out how to account for all of the instances/situations that may come up, predict for uncoolness that could potentially go down in the future, and/or try to account for the restrictions non-derby life throws in the mix. I’m just trying to structure the GGRD Officiating Crew so it can continue to prosper and maintain its status as the best league officiating crew in WFTDA, why does all that other nonsense have to get in the way?
Give us a few reffing pointers and tips.
Read the rules…a lot (www.wftda.com/official-rules/ and rules Q&A www.rules.wftda.com)! Make sure your calls are based on the impact related to the immediate situation/play you are calling. And practice blowing your whistle so you can be clear and concise and your multiple whistle blasts don’t sound like long whistles.
Would you do it all over again?
Hell yeah! Unquestionably! I’d probably start roller skating a bit sooner though.
What do you do outside of derby?
I’m a graphic designer by profession but it definitely spills into my free time. I have a ton of hobbies: snowboarding, cooking, painting, music and going to shows, street art, I’m a huge movie dork, I’m a pretty big football fan, tattoos, I read as much as I can, I love art, and I go to a lot of gallery shows.
What is your worst vice?
That might depend on what your definition of “bad habit” is. But let’s just say “No” is not a common word in my vocabulary.
Any final words or future plans?
The GGRD All-Stars continue working on WFTDA domination at the upcoming WFTDA National Tournament in Portland, Oreg., Northwest Knockdown. You can help those badass ladies get there and make it happen at Gothamgirlsrollerderby.com. I and some of the other GGRD referees will be officiating at the tournament.
As for myself, I’m working on moving out of NYC and out west. I’m not saying where just yet, but I’ll still be involved with WFTDA Derby. And let’s just say it will be with a Bomb league that I’ll be Fortune-ate enough to get my Parts over to and Phil a spot in stripes mopping up Carnage and getting Wile. I’ll be way bummed to leave GGRD, but no bitchin’, and bravo to new things.