Okay, so what is Roller Derby?
Roller derby is a full-contact skating sport, played on a flat, oval track, in which points are scored by lapping members of the opposition. A team consists of up to 14 players, with up to 5 on the track at any given time.
How do you start the game? Who scores the points?
To start a play, four blockers and a jammer from each team line up in front of the jammer line but behind the pivot line. The blockers line up about 30 feet ahead of the jammers. When the referee blows a single whistle, the pack of blockers starts to skate. Once the pack is past the pivot line, the referees release the jammers with two quick whistle blasts.
Points are scored by lapping members of the opposition – one point apiece – so the jammers begin picking up points on their second pass through the field of blockers. The initial, non-scoring pass matters because the first jammer to cleanly navigate the pack is awarded ‘lead jammer’ status, giving her the ability to end the jam at a time of her choosing.
The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Is there an easier breakdown of the game?
2 minute plays – aka “a jam”
2 x 30 minute periods
30 second break between each jam
3 timeouts per team
1 penalty = 30 seconds in the penalty box
7 trips to the box = player ejection
What are the Penalties?
Penalty—A rule-breaking offense observed and called by a referee.
Cutting the Track—This happens when a skater goes out of bounds, passes an in-bound skater, and re-enters the track in front of that skater. This is a minor penalty, but if a) the skater cuts multiple players, or b) the skater she cuts is the foremost member of the pack, then it is a major penalty.
False Start—This occurs when a player crosses the designated starting line before the appropriate whistle is blown. Specifically, a false start is called if a blocker crosses the pivot line before the first jam whistle is blown, or if a jammer crosses the jammer line before the second jam whistle is blown.
Illegal Procedure—This is a catchall phrase that is used to describe a penalty in which a procedural rule is broken and the offending team has an advantage without interfering with the other team’s play. Examples include false starts, having too many skaters on the track, or removing required safety gear.
Multiplayer Block—This is when two skaters are grasping onto one another and are using this link to block an opposing player. If the arms are not unconnected when the opposing player makes contact with them, a penalty will be assessed.
Referee—Also referred to as a zebra. There are two types of referees - jam refs and pack refs - and both are dressed in black and white stripes, have whistles so that they can start and end jams and draw attention to penalties. Jam refs keep track of jammers, while pack refs (some inside the track boundary and some outside) keep track of the pack.
Penalty Box—When skaters receive a penalty, they must skate off the rink and spend time waiting “in the box” until they can return to play. It is possible to receive more than one penalty at a time.; each penalty issued incurs one (30 seconds) infraction.
So…Where’s the ball?
We still haven’t found it!