Thursday, January 04, 2007

simply put derby basics

In a comment on my most recent post, Gem asks what the point of roller derby is. In a sense it's a race between the teams fastest girls while the rest of the team runs interference. That's a very simplistic description that doesn't do justice to the game, but it's a quick and pithy way to put it.

A roller derby match is made up of three twenty minute periods. The periods are separated into jams which can be up to two minutes long. The number of jams in a period depends entirely on the teams involved and on how each individual jam plays out.

Each team has five players on the track for each jam assuming that none of the players are in the penalty area. Those five players include a pivot, three blockers and a jammer. The pivot can also be thought of as the lead blocker while the jammer is the person that scores the points for the team. The pivot is the skater with the stripe on her helmet while the jammer is the skater with the star.

At the start of the jam the blockers are in a pack, pivots in front, with the jammers some distance behind. The jam begins at the ref's whistle at which point the pack begins moving. When the rear most blockers reach the point where the pivots began, the ref blows a double blast on the whistle which is the signal for the jammers to begin.

The blockers must stay in a pack and will move at a moderate speed around the track. The jammers must skate through the pack and then lap the pack before scoring begins. On her second and subsequent trips through the pack, the jammer scores points for each opposing blocker that she passes legally, and by legally, she must remain in bounds and not perform any illegal blocks. The blockers' job is to impede the progress of the jammer and knock her silly if possible.

On the first pass through the pack, the first jammer to legally make it through the pack becomes the lead jammer. She may call off the jam at any time after she begins scoring which just means that the jams ends and no more points can be scored by either team until the next jam. If neither jammer becomes the lead jammer, the jam will last a full two minutes. The lead jammer may elect to skate the full two minutes or may call off the jam by placing her hands on her hips.

The game may look like nothing more than a bunch of crazy bitches with a grudge and a death wish. Even after I understood the rules I was unable to make sense of the jams for some time. Over time, as I've watched and grown more in love with the sport, I've finally come to a point where it makes sense mostly. I still have a hell of a time trying to score jams. Many people do, and for this reason, there are jam refs. They are on the inside of the track and skate alongside the jammer, pointing at the jammer they are watching and keeping track of points accumulated by their jammer. If there is a lead jammer, her ref will hold his or her non pointing hand in the air to indicate lead jammer status. There are other refs who watch the packs and jammers looking for rule infractions.

There are indeed rules, though many people may assume there are not. The rules pertain in large part to blocking techniques and tend to try to put a modicum of safety on an inherently dangerous sport. I would wager that my brief synopsis is enough for most people. However I will give a couple of links to help out any prospective roller derby fans or hopeful skaters. If you want a more in depth version of the rules, look HERE. If you want to get involved in derby you can either check online for a local league or look HERE and scroll down for a listing.

roller derby video excitement

This is a video put together by Rollergirl extraordinaire Beverly Killbilly who is also one of Momma's teammates. It's a quick look at the first inter league bout of the Hard Knox Rollergirls featuring Momma's team, the Machine Gun Kellys versus the Black Bettys. Sadly, the Bettys took the win, and I'd love to say they didn't deserve it, but I can't honestly do that. I can say with total honesty that I'm proud of every single girl regardless of the team.

According to Momma, Killbilly has more video that the is working on, and I really look forward to seeing what else she puts together.

We are currently in the middle of a break from derby which both Momma and I had once looked forward to. However, the lack of exercise has started to tell on her in her knees. I believe she is itching to get back to practice and bouting as well as just the exercise. I didn't realize till watching this video how much I was missing the action. I think that as soon as I post this I'm going to go back and watch it again.

Momma's team is in black and purple. The Bettys are in red. I'd tell you to find Momma by looking for the hot girl, but they're all hot. So look for the hot girl with the skull face.

squeeze it out

Instead of doing any of the housework or trip prep I should be doing, I'm sitting here squeezing out a post about how I'm not doing those things. Momma even left me a list of things to do, and I have done one of those things.

Actually, Momma's list is things she planned to do, but I felt bad for her having to do things that the one of us not employed outside the home should be doing. So I told her I'd do them. She insisted that she would do them, but that didn't happen. She intended to do those things, but something else happened instead, possibly internet related.

I have a couple of baskets worth of clothes to fold. I need to clean the bathroom which now also includes sweeping up a certain Big Brother's hair. I have several garage trips worth of recycling to carry out, though the driving to the recycling center won't be happening today. I need to decide what clothes the boys and I are taking to Atlanta for our final Christmas celebration. I'm sure there are other things on the list, but I've left it in the kitchen and am not getting up just to be slightly more accurate in the blog post that is wasting my time.

I'm almost certain I'll come up with some other random tidbits of nonsense to post about before radio silence begins for a couple of days. I won't be posting from Atlanta I'm quite certain, and I'm also certain that, given my random silences in the past no one will even notice. I'll be gone just long enough for my meager page view stats to be a little more meager.

So, this isn't quite good bye yet. Hell, it's not anything but wasting time, and that's what I'm good at.