Sunday, July 14, 2013

Roller Derby: Jammers, Blockers & Pivots, OH MY!

Sometimes you need to do something out of the ordinary. Well, Saturday was my out of ordinary day! Instead of having a night out on the town, a couple of friends and I decided to head down to Nashville's Municipal Auditorium and watch the Nashville Rollergirls do their thing! If you have never been to a roller derby... YOU ARE MISSING OUT! These girls are hard hitting, low skating, power house athletes!

 The first thing I noticed as the announcer introduced the Music City All-Stars was the unique nick-names that the skaters had. "Ann T. Histamine" and "Britches N' Hoes" were two of my favorites.

Now, I have to admit, I was completely lost when the "bout" first began. I didn't know how they scored, why one person had a star on their helmet or why the "pack" was staying in one place the whole time. I was confused to say the least.

So to make things a little easier on you, here are your roller derby "need-to-know" items:

Roller Derby Basics:

 The Bout: A bout is the entire event. A bout is split into two 30-minute periods. The 30-minute periods are broken into 2-minute 'jams'. 

Jams:  The jam is basically a time for the teams to earn points. It is almost like having a shot clock in basketball. Between jams there is a 30-second break for substitution skaters to rest in their starting

The Pack: The pack is the defense of derby world. It is the largest group of blockers that skate within 10 feet of each other. 

Who's Who?

  • Jammer: To identify the jammer, look for the skater with a star on their helmet. The jammer is the only one who can score points, they do this by lapping opposing team members.

  • Blocker: To identify a blocker, look for the skaters that have plane helmets. The blocker helps their jammer through the pack and prevents the opposition jammer from scoring by blocks or "body checks."

Basic Gameplay: 

Like most sports when the first whistle blows the pack begins to move. When two shorts whistles are blown the jammers are released.

Blockers try to stop the other teams jammer while trying to get their own jammer through. The first jammer to pass through the pack legally and in-bounds becomes the "lead jammer." 

Jammers score one point for each blocker they pass after the initial pass has been made. Jammers can also earn "jammer lap points" by lapping the opposite jammer (5 points). 

The lead jammer can choose to end the jam strategically by touching her hands to her hips repeatedly. The jam ends when four short whistles are blown. 

Penalties: Major penalties will earn a skater 60-seconds in the penalty box and their team must skate without them. If a skater gets 4 minor infractions they will also get 60-seconds in the penalty box. 

Before each bout, skaters and their safety gear get inspected by referees .

Now, that you have an idea about what is going on it is time to cheer on your favorite rollergirls!  Once we got up close and personal in the "Suicide Seating", this is seating right on the outskirts of the track where all the action happens, we quickly became big fans of one specific skater! 

I think I can speak for my group when I say "Lady Fury" is the beast of the team! This 5ft3 (that is also her number) hot pink bandanna and ripped fishnet pantie hoes wearin' girl may not seem harmful but don't let her small stature fool you. She isn't afraid to throw a shoulder into her opponent or give a little attitude to someone who tires to get in her way. All I know is I would not want to be up against all the fury she has going on!

My first experience at the roller derby won't be my last.  Here are some pictures of the "out-of-the-ordinary" adventure I had!

So, next time you want to have an "out-of-the-ordinary" night out try something new! See if there is a local roller derby team near you or if you are brave enough, see if there is a rec league roller derby team that you could join!


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