V8 Igor Maniac
This month in Skater Spotlight we catch up with Croydon’s co-head rule enforcer, Igor Maniac! Igor has long been a bearded jewel in the crown of Croydon’s ref crew and with his incomparable knowledge of the rules and his reputation for fairness and accuracy he is fast becoming an official of note at high-level games across the globe!
Why did you decide to become a referee?
I bumped into a few skaters at a rock festival back in 2010 and they said I would love it. They were right!
I had skated on inlines (don’t judge me!) and ice skated when I was younger and it was a natural progression. The rules and awareness soon followed.
I’m fortunate to have been trained by some amazing people and to have been surrounded by so many leagues that have got me to where I am today. I love being able to help those around me and be a part of something bigger.
How long have you been a referee?
Just over three years now.
Favourite game you have ever refereed?
My favourite game would have to be the Team England vs Team Canada game earlier this year. It was over in Nantes, France and the venue, crowd, skaters and officials were all amazing. The skaters were at the highest level possible and as an official it was awesome to be right in the middle of it.
Skaters you admire?
I admire so many!
The sport is full of people that aspire to do great things and push the boundaries of what is the norm. Some are so down to earth and promote the sport by simply talking to their fans, others go to open skate sessions and help out where they can.
Referees you admire?
Again, there are so many!
I have to say I admire Cherry Fury and Duncan Disorderly for what they have done in raising the level of officiating in the UK and Europe. They have devoted so much of their time to helping referees of all levels reach a clear, unified vision of what roller derby officiating is all about.
There are so many officials that I admire and have been very privileged to have already officiated with a few of them.
Next time you’re watching a game, take the time to watch that official that makes it all look so effortless. Have you seen Eric Rawk or Ump (Umpire Strikes Back) officiate? It’s like poetry in motion!
What is your goal in regards to your referee career?
My current goal is to achieve level two referee certification.
My long term goal is to assist the officiating crews around me by bringing the knowledge that I pick up at high level games and disseminate it to the rookies and officiating crews who want to learn. Hopefully in doing so, we can promote the sport.
What do you think of the new rule set?
I really like it! It promotes gameplay and allows for a better flow of action on track.
Worst injury skating?
For a while I played for Southern Discomfort and took a few knocks during the first Men’s European Roller Derby Championships in 2012. Later on that year, after a few more tough bouts, I managed to fracture the L2 and L3 lumber vertebrae in my lower spine and couldn’t walk for a few months. Fortunately it healed up quickly and I was back on skates 3 months later.
Favourite thing about Roller Derby?
The friendship and support that comes from a common interest. It doesn’t matter who you are or what team you are on, everyone is super friendly. Once that final whistle goes it’s all smiles and hugs.
As an official, I do this for the love of the game and it is so gratifying to see how appreciative skaters are after the game.
Who taught you to skate?
When I was a teenager, my parents used to drive us through to the nearest city, which was over an hour away, to take us all ice skating for a few hours. From there it was an easy transition to inlines and then only a few years ago, to quads.
Herbie Licious, Rolling Thunder and Logan Nighthawk have all helped me to improve my skating style since moving to quad skates, and for that I am grateful.
What has been the best moment in your career so far?
On track, it has to be my 100th bout when Croydon Roller Derby played their first international tournament in Nantes. It was a fantastic day of derby and I can’t wait to see what happens when Croydon go over to play in Belfast in May.
Off track, it has to be when I found out that I was selected to be a part of the crew for the 2014 Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas, Texas! I never dreamt that I would ever make the referee crew and I am looking forward to seeing the best the world has to offer.
And finally beards or no beards?
Have you seen me lately? Beards!