The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Monday, 27 October 2014

What happens at a Roller Derby Game


My first trip to Roller Derby was an unprepared one.  I've seen Whip It a few years back but basically had no clue as to the rules. Obviously this event was a little different to the Drew Barrymore film, it was daytime, there was no curved rink and no beer but I figured it was worth a shot.  From what I can gather every few minutes a guy blows a whistle and one girl tries to push through while the girls in the other team shove her with their arms and bum off the track.   It's all very odd but quite exciting as there's much shouting and cajoling that occurs.  Some generally accepted oddities I noticed within the first few minutes were:

Hand Actions
The players seem to be doing a weird 'I'm a little double handled tea pot' or 'time warp' dance, when they do this the whole thing stops.  The refs join in with their own dances, some favour a sort of synchronised swimming arm movement while others do impressions of orchestra conductors or flying eagles.



Synchronized Swimmer arms, minus other swimmers
Sin Bin
There are naughty seats which are pretty much constantly occupied though Lord knows what you do to be put in one. The chairs are labelled B and J... in that order, which is quite funny to those of us with a childish sense of humour.

The Style
There were some interesting helmets and legging choices and a wild cat theme seemed to run though 'our' team the Romsey Town Roller Billies  For the first 20 minutes of game 1 I thought the cute one that kept getting away from the others had collagen lips, but then realised she had a mouth guard that matched her lipstick.  A nice touch.
She's jammin' jammin' jammin' hope you like jammin' too!

Atmosphere
For a Saturday afternoon with no curved rink and no beer they do a pretty good job of keeping the adrenaline up.  This is through tunes from the student’s radio (decent ones, including Cannon ball by the Breeders and Hungry like the Wolf by Duran Duran) and the commentators.  To be honest I could have done without the latter quite as much as it made it difficult to concentrate on who was shoving who out of the rink.

And then suddenly, just as the second half kicked in it all seemed to click.  From my novice POV here's what I decided the basic rules are.  You've got a Jammer and 4, maybe 5, Blockers, hence the B and J's on the naughty seats. If your jammer gets past their blockers before their jammer gets past your blockers, yours is the main jammer and the one that can score points.  Points are scored when the jammer circles round and gets passed the blockers again, a point for each blocker passed (still with me?) Jammers can call off the jam by signalling (the 'time warp' dance).  Refs point out the main jammer and points they have scored with their synchronised swimmers move and second jammer with the flying eagle move, Simple no?

Blocking!
It was at this point I found I had become somewhat of an expert - like when you've watched Strictly for a week or so and now decide you know what the arm hold should be in the waltz and when an Alemana should be attempted. I did miss seeing the whip it thing that Ellen did in the film but going from the sign on the floor maybe it's better that move wasn't tried.

At this point I was truly involved, and the final game was as close as they come, we eventually lost, but only by 4 points (183 - 187) so it did get exciting, even without the beer (have I said beer too much in this post?).

If this has peaked your interest here are the real rules.   And if you're feeling brave they're having try-outs in January.  I'll not be there (bruise like a peach) but if you make it through I'll definitely be on the frow cheering you on.  All in all I think I'm rather hooked!
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2 comments

Michelle C said...

I so want to try roller derby looks awesome great post!

The Middle Sister Revolution said...

Thanks Michelle, Think I'll stick to watching, saw a broken ankle and nose bleed when we were there! #HardcoreGurls

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