Another spring; another rule set. What's a girl to do? Alas, it's the sport we play. The rules seem to change like the weather in March, and if you want to enjoy the sport you love and not spend the entire time in the box, then you have to hit the books! Luckily, I've become somewhat familiar with the new rules using my large brain and will gladly give you a run-down of how these new rules affect you. So come, join me, we'll walk through the glorious meadow of new rules together.
The Good: Power jams won't be so brutal. With only 30-35 seconds to score points, a jammer will only be able to make around 3-4 passes if they slice through the pack like buttah, which will only result in around 15-20 points; maybe even less than that depending on how great your wall is. This is a game changer. It will definitely make bouts a little more evenly keeled and better represent the distinguishing qualities between teams.
The Bad: When 30 second penalties were announced, there were praises of joy throughout the land! People danced in the streets! Maidens were kissed by strangers! As great as it is to spend less time in the box, skaters failed to realize right away that they'll fail out way faster, and if your jammer isn't disciplined, she can fail out before the first half ends (and then you're out one of your jammers for the entire second half). This means that your team has to be incredibly disciplined and play clean. I think it's even more important to stay out of the box now than it ever was before, and whoever can stay out of the box will take home the win.
Synopsis: You guessed it! It's the same as it's always been. Stay out of the box.
Yielding: Thank GOODNESS this rule got changed. This was by far the most asinine rule of all time. Having to go back a full lap for having a sliver of a wheel behind the line was lame, and frankly a bit dangerous. Now a player can yield (give enough time for the opposing team to gain position) and then re-enter the engagement zone.
The Good: It makes more sense. Being able to yield instead of going back behind the entire pack while staying in bounds is a lot safer. The old rule set caused a lot of necessary run-ins and collisions.
The Bad: Sometimes an opposing skater isn't paying attention to how close she is to the line, and you can draw that penalty. Now, you can't. She'll just have to wait a few seconds and rejoin the pack.
Synopsis: I like this rule!
The Good: The reason why I like this rule change is because it tried to take into account intent. I intended to yield, and because my intentions were pure, I don't get punished for making a stupid mistake. Now, this rule doesn't actually measure intent per se, but it does give you a break when you're obviously just trying to get to the back of the pack and you're skates just aren't agreeing with you.
The Bad: It's going to be a little harder to draw that track cut penalty now, which can really help a team out. With that, if you manage to draw the track cut penalty, it's a 30 second power jam. Going along with what I said earlier, this will mean less power jams in general and more evenly scored bouts when teams are mostly of the same caliber. Essentially, there will be less bouts where the team has a "bad day" and the score is a blow-out. It's also a lot harder for refs to watch for this, so mistakes will be made, and it might get a little heated because of it.
Synopsis: Hey, don't cut still.
Well that's all I'm going over today, folks. I know not all of the rules were addressed, but make sure to read them over yourself at http://wftda.com/rules/change-summary/rules-2014-03-01. Knowledge is power! And knowing the rules will give you an upper hand in any bout. See you on the track!
The Original Skankster
March 14, 2014
For many years I had been interested in roller derby, despite having never attended a bout. It wasn’t until I met two co-workers, Unchained Malady and Mollytov Maguire, who spoke so enthusiastically about their league, FoCo Girls Gone Derby that I finally decided to go to their 2013 Season Opener home team bout. I was sold.
After attending a New Recruit Informational Meeting shortly thereafter my derby dreams began to blossom. I was GOING to be a skater and I was GOING to skate in my first bout before the end of the year. I admired and idolized other skaters in my league, listened to their advice and pushed myself to become a better athlete. However, my body had other plans...
Towards the end of my 5th practice as a new recruit I sustained a patellar dislocation to my knee, a common injury amongst female athletes and the 9th I had experienced the same injury. Discouraged, I began the long road back to skating. For those considering skating themselves, I have since found training tips and gear to help prevent knee injuries like this.
Once seeded the love of derby can only continue to grow. Before I even began skating as a new recruit, I was invited by the league to attend scrimmages and learn the rules of Women’s Flat Track Derby as an NSO (thanks to my derby wife, ZZ Stardust.) Team Flamingo (nickname inspired by the pink official’s shirts) became my home as I worked to get back on skates.
It may not sound as glorious as being a skater, but it’s also a lot less work. It can also make for an awkward vibe when players with your league try to talk to you in the penalty box and you have to ignore them. Or maintaining neutrality by not cheering for your friends or gasping at a hard hit. Oh, also there is 100% less dancing...
Luckily for me, if there ever was a perfect league to learn NSOing positions, FoCo Girls Gone Derby is the place. FCGGD boasts four dedicated WFTDA Level 2 Certified NSOs: Bladeybug, JewJew Bee, Shake n Break &Whistle Blower (also a skating official.) All of which are happy to teach, share WFTDA knowledge and advice.
Slaughterhouse Derby Girls’ Mayday Mayhem tournament, and hope to go to Casper, Wyoming for the Wyoming Roller Derby Cup. These opportunities allow NSOs to develop their skills and meet officials and skater from all over the country.
Mind you, not every NSO gets certified or seeks to travel, just as bout after parties aren’t for everyone in the league. Many NSOs love the league and devote what time they can to volunteer wherever they're needed. It’s an easy sport and community to love. Everyone’s experience with roller derby is different and there’s a spot for all.
This month I’ll be celebrating my one year derby anniversary. Looking back, it wasn’t the year I thought I’d have, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. I look forward to what the future holds, and should my knee hold up I plan to get back on skates for Team Zebra as a skating official. Yay, roller derby!
P.S. Hello reader, thanks for stickin’ with me so far. Perhaps you’re interested in officiating yourself, either an NSO or skating referee? Well we’d LOVE to have you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 6, 2014
The Original Skankster