Women’s Roller Derby: A quick look into this Exciting Sport
For the longest time roller derby was known as fake, similar to the WWE. Most people will compare it to the movie “Whip It”. I have personally seen it and I liked it. When a close friend of mine, who does roller derby, invited me to watch her and her team I was excited. I thought maybe it would be like the movie and in some cases it is. I exchanged messages with her all week and she told the movie makes it look fake. When I went I was surprised that she was right. There is no comparison between the real thing and the movie.
Just like any sport, there are rules in place. They have EMS staff on site for when players have an injury. The women who skate are tough. In fact, they take hits similar to NHL players. The aggression is what I think makes it different from the movie. These women are not afraid to hit each other. They also have very cool nicknames.
The contest is broken up into 4 quarters. Each team will put 5 players on at a time, 4 blockers a 1 jammer. The jammer is the only person that can score. The object is to move your jammer through the other teams’ blockers. Once the jammer has established her way through the pack she then is looking to become lead jammer. The jams last a minute long and the more players the jammer gets past the more points the team can score.
The jammer wears a star-shaped symbol on her helmet. One of the blockers will be wearing a stripe on her helmet. She is the only one the jammer can pass the star shape too this process is known as the panty pass. Further, if the jammer knows she can’t make the pack she will pass the star only to make sure her team scores. If the jammer that is behind the lead jammer catches up to the lead jammer that jammer can tap her hips which calls off the particular jam.
If a team commits a penalty they will be either short a blocker or a jammer. When the jammer commits the penalty the opposing team will get what they call a power jam. The power jam is where there is only one jammer and only her team can score. The jams last 15 minutes so the team will try to score as many points as they can during the 1-minute jam. The team consists of 16 players which the team uses as a blocker or a jammer. The coach will normally try to determine which player fits in what role.
Now it is not all about aggression. The game also involves strategy. Indeed, there are plays that each team has in place. Thus, they are hoping these plays will help them obtain as many points as possible. As we all know not every play works. Sometimes they fail. With those failures comes success. If the plays are off by an inch or a player leaves her spot it could lead to a defeat. Now the blocker is there to make sure that they help their jammer get through the pack and prevent the other one from scoring.
Roller Derby has me hooked. These women are strong and full of heart. They get knocked down and get right back up like nothing happened. Most people would not put themselves through the pain and determination. In the end, they have bruises, take ice baths and have injuries for one goal to attain a victory.
Follow Brad on Twitter @bradwalker3083