2012: Advent Roller Derby: Basics

by on December 6, 2012

It occurs to me that I haven’t really mentioned how roller derby works. That probably should’ve come first. Sorry.

Courtesy of the brilliant, wonderful, awe-inspiring London Rollergirls, here is a (really really really) basic track diagram for me to use as a visual aid!

So. There are two teams. Each team puts 5 players on the track for each jam, one jammer and four blockers. Everybody mostly skates fast and mostly turns left. The idea is for the jammers to score points, and the blockers help their own jammer to do that by shoving the opposing team’s blockers out of the way, and preventing the opposing team’s jammer from getting past.

Common questions I get asked around this point:

  • “Is there a ball?” No.
  • “Is there a lot of fighting?” No, none, it’s against the rules.
  • “Is it a game for lesbians who all hate men?” What’s that got to do with anything? Men play roller derby too!

Anyway, where was I… on the first time through the pack, the jammers try to get out at the front first, which makes them lead jammer (if they haven’t been penalised on the way through). The jammers start to score points on their second time through the pack by skating past the opposing team’s skaters. They either keep passing through the pack as many times as they can in two minutes, or the jam may be stopped earlier than the two-minute-deadline by the lead jammer putting her hands on her hips.

If you think wasn’t quite detailed enough, head over to this page on LRG’s website for a bit more of an insight, or come back here tomorrow for my next installment!

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