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Eastern Regionals: Complete Capsule Recaps


(8e) Madison 143, (9e) Minnesota 67

-- Home Madison kicked off their tournament with a solid win over Minnesota, jumping out to a 24-0 lead after just three jams. With Madison doing an excellent job of denying lead jammer status to Minnesota and Minnesota suffering from lots of jammer penalty trouble throughout the first half, Madison would find themselves sitting on a fat 42 point lead at 71-29. Minnesota could only do mildly better in the second half, with Madison's margin of victory steadily growing throughout the bout.

Madison's Princess Die, Stitch and Chop Suzzy had particularly effective games in the pack, while their jammers Mouse and Darling Nikki were the scoring engines; for the Minnesota crew, Harmony Killerbruise and Jawbreaker had a number of nice moments in a losing effort.

See archived boutcast here.

(7e) Boston 132, (10e) Grand Raggidy 30 -- This bout started out as a very low-scoring, deliberate contest with lots of positional blocking and point-denial strategies on the part of both teams. They traded the lead a handful of times until late in the first half, where Grand Raggidy lost a narrow 27-26 lead to the biggest Boston jam of the bout that far, a 13-0 for Boston's Krushpuppy over Dot Matrix.

That jam completely changed the complexion of the bout, as Grand Raggidy's offense was then utterly smothered by Boston's defense. The half ended 51-28 for Boston, and then an incredible performance by Boston's blockers, keyed by tremendous work at the front of the pack by pivot/captain Shelby Shattered, held Grand Raggidy to only 2 points by Racey Wreck'Hell in the entire second half.

Boston would win that second half 81-2, building confidence for a Friday night clash with 3rd seed Carolina in a bout that will send one of them to Nationals.

See archived boutcast here.

(5e) Detroit 124, (12e) Providence 70
-- Detroit took the lead from the first jam and was never really in trouble against a Providence team that was looking a little disorganized for the majority of the first half, and had very little luck claiming lead jammer, leaving them in a 82-25 hole at the end of the first 30.

Providence was able to put more points on the board in the second half and actually outscored Detroit 45-42 (in part due to a number of daisy-chained jammer penalties on Detroit in the second) but with the point margin so wide in the first, Detroit could easily cruise to victory.

Excellent all-around efforts from Racer McChaseher and Bytch Ryder were critical for Detroit's first-half opening lead, while the second half saw some tremendously hard hits from Providence rookie Kid Ace, who often sent Detroit jammers flying to the sport court.

See archived boutcast here.

(6e) Charm City 158, (11e) Cincinnati 83 -- An extremely physical battle between two hard-hitting teams saw penalties pile up on both crews throughout the bout, with more than a few jams ending with entirely full penalty boxes. Although Charm jumped out to an immediate 14-0 lead with a big jam for Flo Shizzle lapping Candy Kickass, Cincinnati stuck with the Baltimore girls for the whole first half, never letting Charm's lead get bigger than 20 points. Late in the half, Charm City's Rosie the Rioter would get the tournament's first ejection for questioning a referee's call a bit too directly. After 30 minutes the score stood at 72-52.

Charm City took control in the second half, though, helped out considerably by Cincinnati players spending lots of time in the penalty box. There were at least two short moments in the bout where there were no Cincinnati players on the track at all due to overlapping penalties, and many more where Cincinnati jammers struggled in a 4-2 pack. By the time Cincinnati had gotten over 60 points, Charm City had long passed 100, and would end up outscoring Cincy on the half to the tune of 86-31.

Cincinnati's Sadistic Sadie was a standout for her team, often managing to battle her way to lead jammer even though packs were lopsided in Charm's favor; Blu Bayou, Panterrorize and Sk8er Kinney also had good bouts in the pack. For Charm City, Joy Collision spent most of her time in the pack hammering open holes, while Flo Shizzle and Pistol Whip had remarkably good performances with the jammer star.

See archived boutcast here.

(1e) Gotham 138, (8e) Madison 70 (quarterfinal) -- The hosts of Eastern Regionals put up a game fight against the top-ranked team in the region, and managed to stick with the girls from the Big Apple for the opening 20 minutes. Unfortunately for their very vocal hometown crowd, a demoralizing 48-7 run for Gotham in the final ten minutes of the first half, along with a big loss for Madison when their jammer Mouse was ejected in the same timeframe, ended Madison's advancement through the tournament one step short of Nationals.

While Gotham was ahead from the moment Suzy Hotrod took a 1-0 win over Wildberry Punch on the opening jam, Madison kept it between 5 and 20 points up until there were about 8 minutes left in the half, when a 42-22 Gotham lead suddenly exploded into a 58-22 lead as Bonnie Thunders capitalized on a jammer penalty and thin pack for Madison with a 16-0 win over Stitch. Two jams later, star Madison jammer Mouse got lead jammer and was attempting to call off a jam, but was hit with a major before the jam ref called it off -- and disagreed with the officials slightly more candidly that the officials were willing to tolerate, earning herself a game ejection. The half ended with Gotham up 80-29, and there would be no closing the gap for Madison in the second half.

Gotham earned themselves a spot in Nationals with the win, and advanced to play Philly on Saturday night, with the winner playing on Sunday afternoon for the Eastern Regional championship.

See the archived boutcast here.

(2e) Carolina 77, (7e) Boston 75 (quarterfinal)
-- In what was unquestionably the most exciting bout of Eastern Regionals opening day, Boston came achingly close to delivering a major upset to Carolina, holding a 5 point lead with 3 minutes to play but losing it in the penultimate jam. Boston led the bout for most of the low-scoring first half, which ended 36-30.

The back-and-forth second half saw Boston take their biggest lead of the game with about 15 minutes to play and the score 60-44, but it was only a momentary high-water mark in the midst of four lead changes in the half.

Boston took over the lead for their last time on a 10-0 jam from Krushpuppy over Roxy Rockett, which made the score 70-64 with 7:20 to play, but suffered a fatal setback four jams later, when Krushpuppy was jamming with lead and a 73-68 Boston advantage, but committed a fourth-minor track during her first scoring pass that prevented her from calling off the jam.

With 56 seconds on the clock, the score 75-73 for Boston and Carolina's Roxy Rockett on the line unopposed, it looked like Carolina had claimed the win when Roxy got lead, picked up four points and called the jam, but she'd called it just a tad too early -- with 4 seconds left on the clock and Krushpuppy just freed from the box, Boston immediately called timeout to squeeze one last jam in there.

But Roxy's tactical error turned out to be just a tease for the Boston fans, as she claimed lead jammer once again on the following and final jam, and immediately called it off once again, this time for good.

Carolina advanced to the semifinal to face Windy City on Saturday night, with the winner advancing to the Eastern Regional championship.

See the archived boutcast here.

Consolation Bouts:
Grand Raggidy dominated an unstructured Providence team 136-21, and in a bout that was considerably closer than the final score implied, Cincinnati went back and forth with Minnesota for almost a full 60 minutes before Cincy finally pulled away in the last five minutes to win 89-58.


(4e) Philly 102, (5e) Detroit 92 (quarterfinal) -- Detroit fell in an early hole in this contest, having much more trouble keeping their jammers out of the penalty box than Philly did -- Detroit's Killbox hit the box four times as a jammer in the first half, fouling out of the half on its final jam. About 15 minutes deep into the bout, Detroit was looking at a 28-5 deficit and the margin would hover around 20 points in Philly's favor for the majority of the half, ending at 53-22 Philly.

However, Detroit would come roaring back in the second half to nearly take the game from Philly. A big second-half opener for Detroit saw a star pass from Polly Fester to Roxanna Hardplace that led to a 13-4 total for Motor City, and a few jams later a 13-0 for Kat Von D'Stroya over Shenita Stretcher  followed by a 4-2 for Boo D. Livers over Mo Pain made it a tight 5 point game at 64-59 with about 20 minutes to play.

But the jammer-penalty bug would be back to bite Detroit. During Detroit's next two jammer trips to the box, one for Racer McChaseher and one for Killbox, Philly would pick up 20 points while Detroit was unable to score, and this left this score 94-66 with 11:26 remaining.

Detroit had one last run left in them, though, managing to keep Philly off the board for the next four jams in the row while throwing up 22 points of their own and making it a nailbiter at 94-88 with 2:50 to play.

In the end, it would, yet again, come down to a jammer penalty on Detroit that killed their chances -- Mo Pain, jamming against Detroit's Racer McChaseher, played jammer defense against Racer and fell after Racer bumped into her from behind, sending Racer to the box and giving Mo time to rack up an 8-4 that left it at 102-92 with 45 seconds to play. (The foul, fittingly enough, would end Racer's game, as she was ejected on penalty accumulation.) Teflon Donna was on the jam line for Philly to get the final lead jam call and the win with a timely call-off.

The bout made Detroit the only Eastern team from last year's Nationals that will not be returning for 2008, as Philly took their slot with this win.

Read the play-by-play in DNN's archived boutcast here.

(3e) Windy City 137, (6e) Charm City 76 (quarterfinal) -- Charm City looked like they might be able to hang with the powerhouse from Chicago for the first 10 minutes of this one, trading small-margin jams and the lead until the teams were deadlocked at 16-16 with 19 minutes to play in the first, but after a huge 19-0 jam for Windy's Varla Vendetta that found nearly the entire pack for both team in the penalty box, WCR had a 35-16 lead that they would never relinquish.

The score went to 47-16 before Charm City finally got back on the board with a 10-4 for Charm City's Dolly Rocket over Kola Loka, but that was a very rare jam win for Charm, and the half ended with a commanding lead for Windy City, 87-29.

In the second half, another extremely light pack would lead to another huge jam for Windy City, as Shocka Conduit came within a point of tying the WFTDA tournament single-jam scoring record with a 24-0. That made it 127-54 with 7:22 to play, and it was academic from there (although there would be a scary moment late-game when a thunderous block from Joy Collision took Windy City's Eva Dead off her skates and left her motionless on the sidelines for about a minute -- but Eva proved to be ok and would return that night in the Carolina bout.)

Windy City qualified for Nationals with this one and advanced to play Carolina in the final four.

Read the play-by-play in DNN's archived boutcast here.

(1e) Gotham 96, (4e) Philly 91 (semifinal) -- In a bout that was much more closely contested than most observers had expected, Philly managed to erase a 89-72 deficit with only 4:49 left on the clock  to pull ahead 91-89 with 1:35 to play, but Gotham's Suzy Hotrod would deny Philly the upset with a last-jam 7-0 over Mo Pain to lift the New York girls to victory.

Philly  led Gotham for a significant part of the first half. Although the score was 17-2 for Gotham after about 7 minutes, Philly turned it around quickly and scored 26 unanswered points to hold their biggest lead of the game at 28-17 about halfway through that opening 30. Gotham's Bonnie Thunders dropped a 10-0 with the help of a 4-2 pack lopsided in Gotham's favor, making it a 28-27 game. Gotham would not be able to pull into the lead until the very last jam of the half, though, at Gotham 46, Philly 44.

Gotham started out the second half very strong, putting up 17 unanswered points to make it 63-44 after just two jams. The Gotham lead would swing from about 10 to 20 points for almost all of the second half, and by the time it was 89-72 with under five minutes to play, it seemed that Philly was going to run out of time before closing the gap.

A huge couple of jams for Philly, though, would suddenly turn the bout on its head -- Shenita Stretcher found a way to pick up an 8-0 while opposing jammer Sweet Sherry Pie had to watch from the box, and Teflon Donna followed that up with a 11-0 over the unboxed Pie, using every last second she had before Pie could get into scoring position. That thrilled the crowd, as Philly was on the verge of a shocker of a win with a 91-89 lead and 1:35 to play, but in a final jam between Suzy Hotrod and Mo Pain, Suzy's lead jammer call and lockdown defense from the Gotham pack would let Gotham take the 96-91 win and advance to the championship bout of Easterns.

Read the play-by-play in DNN's archived boutcast here.

(3e) Windy City 106, (2e) Carolina 66 (semifinal) -- Much as they had in their opening bout against Charm City, Windy City took control of a close contest about 15 minutes into the first half and never looked back in this one. It was Windy City 18, Carolina 15 with 14:50 to play in the first, but Shocka Conduit lit up Carolina with a 15-0 that moved the total to 33-15, and WCR piled on the points before halftime, taking a 61-28 lead into the locker rooms.

Carolina made a run at Windy as the second half started, closing to within 18 points at 63-45 two jams deep into the half, but Windy City stymied their scoring for multiple jams to open it up again at 83-45 with 20 minutes to play. Faced with more speedy jamming from Athena DeCrime and Shocka Conduit, along with extremely effective blocking from Malice With Chains and Megan Formor, there would be no more narrowing the margin for Carolina, and the bout ended with Windy City advancing to face Gotham in the championship bout of the tournament.

Read the play-by-play in DNN's archived boutcast here.

Consolation bouts:
(6e) Charm City delivered an upset to (5e) Detroit, pulling away late in a closely matched bout to win 105-84 (read the play-by-play in DNN's archived boutcast here); (9e) Minnesota had no trouble with a (12e) Providence team heavy on rookies, taking the biggest rout of the tourney with a 143-16; (7e) Boston handled (11e) Cincinnati 131-76; and hometown (8e) Madison treated their fans to a big win over over (10e) Grand Raggidy, 120-73.


(4e) Philly 112, (3e) Carolina 48 -- Philly, clearly sporting some newfound confidence after nearly taking down prohibitive favorites Gotham in their previous match, took a 17-12 lead about 12 minutes deep into this bout and held it for the last 48, sitting on a 57-24 advantage at halftime and keeping it solid throughout the second 30 for a 112-48 victory. Notably, Carolina star Roxy Rockett did not play in this contest, nursing a sore shoulder sustained in the Carolina / Windy City bout. With Roxy out, the bout did feature some more turns with the jammer star for Holly Wanna Crackya, demonstrating very impressive speed away from the pack.

As the tournament's 3rd place team, Philly will face Bay Area in the first round of Nationals next month; 4th place Carolina will get the top seed from the West, Texas.

Read the play-by-play in DNN's archived boutcast here.

(1e) Gotham 133, (3e) Windy City 92 (championship) -- This one started out similarly to the Gotham-Philly bout, as Gotham jumped out to an early lead at 14-1 about five minutes in, but Windy came storming back with help from a big 16-0 jam for Eva Dead over Cheap Skate. Gotham took the lead back quickly and opened it up to a 50-26 margin late in the half, which was when Windy City suffered a dramatic setback when key jammer Shocka Conduit got expelled from the bout for complaining about a referee call too dramatically. (Gotham's Fisti Cuffs and Windy's Yvette Yourmaker would also end the half in the locker room, though they were able to return for the second as they'd just fouled out as opposed to getting expelled.)

Windy managed to keep it reasonably close into the half, down 62-43 at the intermission, and they'd be as close as 65-50 five minutes into the second, but a big 15-0 for Cheap Skate over a light Windy City pack would make it  81-50 for the New York crew with 21 minutes to play, and the margin slowly but consistently grew in favor of Gotham for the rest of the bout.

Windy City had a outside chance with 3:56 left and the score 119-92 for Gotham, but Fisti Cuffs got lead on a pivotal jam over Belle Diablo, and then when WCR stars Megan Formor and Varla Vendetta both went to the locker rooms, ejected on accumulated minors, Windy was both out of time and critical personnel for a last-second comeback.

Gotham's first-place finish will put them against Duke City in the first round of November's Nationals, while Windy City goes up against Rat City.

Read the play-by-play in DNN's archived boutcast here.

Consolation bouts: (11e) Cincinnati delivered their second and the tournament's fourth seeding upset by taking down (10e) Grand Raggidy 102-58, while (8e) Madison came heart-stoppingly close to a huge last-jam comeback, when a 18-3 final jam left them just two points shy of catching (7e) Boston, 90-88 (read the play-by-play in DNN's archived boutcast here.)

Team Breakdown

(1e) Gotham went 3-0 with victories over Madison, Philly and Windy City.

(3e) Windy City went 2-1 with victories over Charm City and Carolina and a loss to Gotham.

(4e) Philly went 2-1 with victories over Detroit and Carolina and a loss to Gotham.

(2e) Carolina went 1-2 with a victory over Boston and losses to Windy City and Philly.

(7e) Boston went 3-1 with wins over Cincinnati, Madison and Grand Raggidy and a loss to Carolina.

(6e) Charm City went 2-1 with wins over Detroit and Cincinnati and a loss to Windy City.

(8e) Madison went 2-2 with wins over Grand Raggidy and Minnesota and losses to Gotham and Boston.

(5e) Detroit went 1-2 with a win over Providence and losses to Charm City and Philly.

(11e) Cincinnati went 2-2 with wins over Grand Raggidy and Minnesota and losses to Charm City and Boston.

(9e) Minnesota went 1-2 with a win over Providence and losses to Detroit and Cincinnati.

(10e) Grand Raggidy went 1-3 with a win over Providence and losses to Madison, Boston and Cincinnati.

(12e) Providence went 0-3 with losses to Detroit, Minnesota and Grand Raggidy.


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Eatern Regional Predictions-Day 2

Damn...I'm feeling like a prediction stud! I went 8-0 on Day 1 of the tournament! Although I hated to pick against Prov, I had to. My 'Lil Giant Killers have made their victory over the Goths back in '06 a very distant memory. Still- I remain a Provvie.

So lets get on to my picks for Day 2 of the Eastern Regionals:

Game 9- Detroit v Philly

Manomanoman...who to pick in this bout?? It goes without saying that this game will be a nail-biting, hard hitting, closely contested one. Ya know, you'd have to be freakin' NUTS to pick against Deeeetroit. NUTS. But I AM feeling pretty cocky after my 8-0 run yesterday and so I'm going with a hunch. Or I'm setting myself up to go from Derby Genius to Derby Dumbass. Yes...I am picking Philly here. I know its a little bit of a stretch, but not TOO much of a stretch. Can Philly stay tuff in the face of Car City's physicality? Can those Philly Jammers rise to the occasion and chip away all bout long? Can those Philly Rollergirls play at the absolute top of their game for a full 60?? If they can then they can take this game. Yeahhhh...Philly baby. The City of Sisterly Love could rock today. If they do defeat the Mighty Detroit team then Violet owes me a brew (or so I figure!).

Game 10- Charm City v Windy City

You cant even imagine how badly I would like to go with my heart here and throw Derby-logic out the window. I have made it no secret that I think the world of Lovely Charm and I would love to get this pick wrong. But I have to use my Derby-logic in this one and ignore the pleas of my emotions and go with Windy in this bout. Chi-town has just been too dominant, too determined, too "together" as a team. There's no way I can pick against 'em here. But it would be CLASSIC if Lovely Charm could pull off the upset. Dont get me wrong or anything though...I have the utmost respect and admiration for WCR and what they have accomplished this year. Look what they did to KC!! Windy is a crusher. They crush you physically and mentally. They crush your will. If Charm can defeat Chi-town it will be CLASSIC. But put yer hard earned $$$ on those Chicago Crushers folks.

Game 15- Gotham v Detroit or Philly

Which ever team wins in Game 9 could certainly put up a helluva fight against the Gothic Queens. On the right night when the stars are aligned just so, they could even pull off the upset of the tournament. But I dont thnk that those stars are quite aligned enough to allow such an incredible upset. This is Gotham- where teams go to die a terrible death. This is Gotham-where willpower and strength fade quickly. These are the Mighty Goths, and they have assumed control...have assumed control...have assumed control. Resistance is futile.

Game 16- ??? Gotta pick this one when I know who's playin'.

Okay...its official. I AM

Okay...its official. I AM the Prediction Stud this weekend! I stand at 11-0! Even picked the Philly upset (mild upset). So now that we know that Game 16 pits Windy v Carolina its time to make one more pick. And um Violet? Ya owe me a beer. Philly is unbelievable this year.

Game 16- Windy v Carolina

Every damn time I pick against Carolina I get burned...EVERY TIME. Its getting to be downright ridiculous at this point. And ya know what?? I'm feeling pretty damn confident today given my streak and its time to end this Carolina curse I've been carrying around. Yeah...I'm picking the Chicago Crushers. Damn right I am. 'Cause thats the kinda guy I am. So Carolina...getcher celebratory cold ones ready!! In all seriousness, as great a season as Carolina has had I'm just not sure that they wont be worn down by those Windy Blockers by about 10 minutes into the second half of this bout. The Chi-town skaters have worn down everyone in their path thus far and I dont see them letting up one bit tonite. The Crushers will keep on crushin'. They better not foul up my pick perfection 8).

well, i may owe you a beer...

but calling philly beating detroit an upset is a bit silly considering we were ranked higher.

just sayin'....=)

Yeah Violet...that was

Yeah Violet...that was pointed out to me but I was, as usual, thinking FTS rankings not WFTDA. I really should have thought of it but oh well...
BTW- You Phearsome Rollergirls are just ridiculous. Ridiculously incredible. Philly kills!

A painful morning!

I have so much love for all of the first 4 teams playing today for different reasons, I won't be completely happy no matter who wins the first 2...tough calls to make, today, indeed, Dave! I'm just waiting to find my joy in Dirty Marty's announcing! Go Detroit, Philly, Charm and Windy! I love you ALL truly, madly, deeply! -xxxoooMercy Less

How many teams go to nationals?

Forgive me if this is posted elsewhere, but how does this tourney break down? How many teams advanced from the west, and how many are going from the east?

Is it two teams from Friday, and two Saturday, for an eight team bracket in the national tournament?

The Top Four From Each Region

Go to Nationals.

So, in the West you have Texas, B.A.D., Rat City and Duke City (seeded in that order).

In the East so far, you have Gotham, Philly, Carolina, and the eventual winner of Windy City/Charm City. The remainder of the tournament will decide the seeding order.

If I recall correctly, the top seed in one region faces the bottom seed in the other in the first round. So Texas will face the fourth place team of those top 4 (whomever loses their next two bouts, in other words).

12-0. Yep. Sundays bout

12-0. Yep. Sundays bout features Gotham v Windy City for the Eastern Championship. Both Gotham and Chi-town had their hands full yesterday just to get to this point. Its gonna be a Classic battle today and I'm leaning towards those Goths. Both WCR and Gotham have had amazing seasons and so whoever gets bragging rights after today they're both going to the Tournament regardless. Interestingly there was only one WFTDA upset with 7 Windy defeating 4 Carolina. If you wanna go by FTS rankings the upset there was 9 Philly getting by 7 Detroit. To me, the rankings are still a little too "off" to call a 9 over a number 7 a real upset, and I'm talking WFTDA AND FTS rankings. They'll both get it down, it just takes some time and tweaking. Considering that "reborn" Derby is still a very young sport calling anything an "upset" seems sketchy. Would I be shocked if Long Island beat Gotham? Uhhhh yeah. But would I be at all surprised to see Houston beat B.A.D.? Not hardly. Derby is still a little chaotic sometimes and its that very chaotic state that can keep ya on the edge of yer seat and makes you believe that despite the "rankings" hey....anything can happen. Its Derby and we kinda love it that way.
Gotham will be victorious tonite...you will be assimilated...resistance is futile.

Going out on a limb/Crabbing about penalties

Now that my beloved DEE-troit has been eliminated from the tourney, I'm going with the Windy City Rollers to defeat Gotham! I believe WCR has the jammers and blockers to hang with the Beyonslay crew.

I also have to say that while I was not personally at the tournament, the penalty calling is making derby into a bad joke. Calling multiple major penalties for jammers cutting the last blocker is totally destroying the game, and will soon make derby unwatchable, just like the NHL is now.

And what's up with all of the "back blocking" penalties? It seems every time a blocker positions herself in front of a jammer, and the jammer then runs into that blocker, that the jammer is getting called for a back block!?!?!?!? Huh!?!?!?!? WTF!?!?!?!? Isn't that just a good positional block by the blocker in front of that jammer? Calling all those "back blocks" are also killing the game.

Does WFTDA need to adjust their rules again, or else maybe change the way refs are trained to call penalties? I know watching and listening to the games (including the West Regionals) has not been fun. And I'm not just crabbing about Detroit getting lots of penalties--it's happening to MOST teams. Now some would say that some teams have figured out how to avoid the penalty box. I would say that's just because maybe the refs in their games called the game more reasonably. In other words, they let the skaters play the game.

Rusty Wheeler
Let's rrrrrrrrrroooooooooollllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!

In 3 years of watching derby

In 3 years of watching derby I've never seen the amount of ejections for accumulated majors than I did in Houston. With the reffing inconsistensies that come with being an all volunteer sport that type of ejection could seriously alter a game on a questionable call. While there are a lot of things I don't like to see in a game such as blockers slowing way down to force an out of bounds jammer to do the same or cut the track, the game is a long way from being unwatchable. If there is ever a time when they stop the action every time a penalty is called like some other sports, that would be unwatchable.

RMRG Barnacle

back blocking

as a jammer, there are certainly ways to avoid being called for back blocking. i think back blocking should definitely be called if a skater slams into an opponent's back and think the position of the blocker is irrelevant. jammers should be able to avoid doing this for the safety of the skaters around her (not to mention, it's just looks sloppy and amateurish). if a jammer initiates the contact OR pushes off of a block from behind, then for the safety of the sport, i believe she should be called.

if, however, a blocker initiates a block from behind (like a johnny crash), the jammer should easily be able to absorb the hit without pushing off. this would be the difference between a jammer getting a penalty or not and it shouldn't be too hard for a jammer to simply control her forearms. besides, kudos to the blockers who, despite a jammer's best efforts, know how to force these penalties anyway. it's just smart strategy.

this was personally my biggest offense when i first started skating and it was SO frustrating be called on it every time. my argument was the usual - that i was going too fast to change direction and that the blocker essentially put herself in my way so what else could i do? ;) luckily, the refs didn't let up and i was forced to learn to skate better. i now wholeheartedly believe that jammers should (and can) have control of their speed, their direction, and whether or not they push off of a block. the tight calls make for better skating. :)

i'm still on the fence about the major penalty for cutting the last blocker. this, too, is definitely avoidable with a little more consideration on the jammer's part. over time, it could make for a more academic game (not sure if that's a good thing yet or not). if anything, maybe a minor penalty and an automatic DQ from LJ might be more appropriate?

Sweet N. Lowdown (retired)
Dominion Derby Girls (WFTDA)
Norfolk, VA

Maybe a deduction

of one or two points for a jammer cutting the last blocker may suffice. I'm not sure if I want the game to be more academic myself. I'd rather see skaters respond more instinctively to situations on the track and keep the flow of the action going rather than think a rulebook through for every little move out of concern for a penalty.

cutting the track majors

personally, i think cutting the last opposing blocker should always get you a major. because once you're out and free from the pack, you can start scoring again. however, i don't think cutting one of your own teammates should be a penalty, if you did not cut anyone else. as per the whole sliding through on the ground on both knees, that used to be legal and now it's not. I kind of think if you're out of play, e.g. on the ground, it shouldn't matter if you re-enter in bounds as long as you don't trip anyone or engage them. so if you were knocked out of bounds into the infield and slide through on both knees to the other side and a hand or foot or body part re-enters the track but doesn't knock any other skaters off their balance, then you should be okay as long as you wait to return to play, e.g. stand up and start skating again.

the one cutting the track penalty i find really annoying and in need of fixing is this one: when someone is blocking in the back of the pack, around the 10 to 20 feet range but just barely part of the pack... they force you out of bounds and slow down so they are out of play but still in track bounds. then you must wait to re-enter behind them without gaining any momentum out of bounds. but they can slow down from more than 20 feet behind and prevent your reentry to the track without a penalty if you cut them. that's a total loophole that needs to get fixed. I think it should be only illegal to cut skaters who are actively IN PLAY on the track. Once someone is 20 feet ahead or behind, you should be able to pass them either in/out of bounds.


I thought that IS the

I thought that IS the rule...I thought that's how we were playing at Westerns. Once the skater trying to force the cut was 20 feet behind the pack or if they fell down or went out of bounds then they were considered out of play and going in in front of them would no longer be considered a cut.

You can't make contact while

You can't make contact while blocking more than 20 feet behind, but you can stay as slow as possible while still rolling forward ever-so-slowly... so it can be hard for the girl to enter the track without getting that minor. And then it is easy for the blocker to speed up and hit her right back out as soon as she is within 20 feet. And if the blocker is 20' behind the pack, the jammer or blocker forced out still must re-enter behind that blocker if they stay in bounds, who can skate along the track border and block her re-entry without physical contact (unlike when you're 20' ahead and you must make an effort to get out of the way). Unless they addressed it recently, with tournament rulesets it was a loophole. Also in most games, 20 feet behind the pack is hardly ever enforced as strictly as 20 feet in front, since it's harder for refs to see so far back.

I believe falling down or going out of bounds are both called the way you describe. yay!




i totally agree qith you. slowing down until you're almost at a dead stop is, in my opinion, a delay of game. sure it's a 'strategic' move to keep that jammer at bay and away from the pack but i think you should not be able to deliberately slow down like that. it slows the overall progress of the game, is boring to watch and in my humble opinion, is just a dick move. skate back to the pack and get back in play. i agree that this rule needs to be tweaked. in fact, i'm sending something to teflon regarding this and what i think should be an alternative to this rule. contact me if you want to put in your two cents along with me and hopefully we'll get this fixed.

much love,

teacher a. lesson
Broad Street Butchers
Philly Rollergirls

derby is a contact sport!

after playing in the WCR - Gotham bout, and props to Gotham, it was ridiculous, the penalties. so what if some player gets mad about a call and yells at a ref? send her to the box, not out of the game. toughen up. in other sports, refs realize their calls are unpopular and deal with it.
so what if someone stops by their penalty box but slides over the line? do they really have to skate around the track again?
and, how on earth is a skater supposed to skate through 8 other skaters without touching them? there should be no pushing, shoving, hitting, kicking, biting, etc. but if a jammer touches someone's back to steady herself or her pelvis hits the butt of someone in front of her, these are not penalties. we are hitting each other. it is roller derby.
I could go on about the track cutting, but many people here have said it well, if your little toes goes out, "let them play"! it's impossible to play with 2 people on the track the whole time. and as someone pointed out, gotham and wcr are not penalty heavy teams in general. i know "we wrote the rules" but look at how they are being called. we are strangling the sport. it seems like the bouts are about the officiating and not the playing. something needs to be done.


I wasn't at Easterns this weekend but I've been noticing a growing trend of over-zealous reffing lately. Not only calling the incidentals and taking people out when they didn't majorly impact the game but I almost feel like the refs are getting a little too intense about interactions. When it's gotten to the point that you can't even look at a ref funny without getting a penalty, it's gone too far. There are people on DNN who even say the skaters shouldn't be allowed to say anything about reffing on a public forum! Not even when the games are all over!

Maybe I'm being too sensitive but I feel like we should be able to ....vocalize our positions a little more without being afraid of being called disrespectful or unsportsmanlike.

feeling the need to defend myself already

Ok I am already scared that I'm going to get flamed to death for that last post. See?

I like refs. I have been working really hard on being quiet during games although it's a struggle for me personally. And I have been succeeding at that. Except for the time I hugged a ref in the middle of a game this weekend and he didn't like that. I don't want to make refs sad. I think they are great at what they do and I don't think any refs make calls due to their alliances.

But something some lame ass stuff goes down and I think we should all be ok with talking about it openly without getting defensive and pulling the whole "thankless job and blahblah" card.


Kola wrote:

after playing in the WCR - Gotham bout, and props to Gotham, it was ridiculous, the penalties. so what if some player gets mad about a call and yells at a ref? send her to the box, not out of the game. toughen up. in other sports, refs realize their calls are unpopular and deal with it.
so what if someone stops by their penalty box but slides over the line? do they really have to skate around the track again?
and, how on earth is a skater supposed to skate through 8 other skaters without touching them? there should be no pushing, shoving, hitting, kicking, biting, etc. but if a jammer touches someone's back to steady herself or her pelvis hits the butt of someone in front of her, these are not penalties. we are hitting each other. it is roller derby.
I could go on about the track cutting, but many people here have said it well, if your little toes goes out, "let them play"! it's impossible to play with 2 people on the track the whole time. and as someone pointed out, gotham and wcr are not penalty heavy teams in general. i know "we wrote the rules" but look at how they are being called. we are strangling the sport. it seems like the bouts are about the officiating and not the playing. something needs to be done.

YESSSSSSSSSSS!! Thank YOU!!! I love my refs - nothing against them but I too think the insane penalties are killing the sport and changing the sport as a whole. I also wish we could just finally get a rule set that doesn't change every 2.2 seconds. Putting my helmet on, going down to the bomb shelter to wait for the irate opposing comments to settle. Aaaaaaaaaahhhh!

Good points Rusty. I would

Good points Rusty. I would tend to agree with almost everything you said except I dont think that its "killing the game" (yet). Maybe a rule adjust will happen soon. Ruleset 3.2 anyone? And for sure the back-blocking penalties are getting ridiculous.


I am really curious to hear what both refs and skaters who participated in Regional tournaments have to say about how 3.1 is working for them. I'm hearing snark from several directions, but I can't wait to hear what the takeaway opinions are from the people who were on the track at both tournaments! -xxxoooMercy


I will certainly be taking notes and asking questions.

"Jethro Skull"

Even the crowd was chanting "let them play"!

I heard the announcers on the webcast of the championship game between Windy City & Gotham mention the crowd was chanting "let them play" in reponse to the over-the-top number of penalties.

I'm thinking along the lines of Sweet N Lowdown in that cutting the last blocker should be merely loss of lead jammer and a minor. To give SO MANY MAJORS for it unduly influences the game.

And the back blocking should only be called a back block if it's a skater (like a jammer) who deliberately runs into the back of an unwary opponent. When a blocker gets in front of another skater and BLOCKS, well, that's what the blocker is trying to do! To call a penalty on the skater WHO IS BEING BLOCKED and who runs into the back of the blocking player is like adding insult to injury. That would be like in hockey calling the player who got tripped for falling down!

One of the reasons I can't stand to watch NHL hockey any more (and I used to be a big fan before Gary Bettman ruined the game) are some of the asinine "interference" penalties. A lot of times when interference is called in the NHL, it looks like they're calling the wrong team for the penalty! It looks like the player who was actually interfered with is the one who gets penalized. And the "back blocking" penalties in derby look much the same to me.

If derby turns into a game where players will be afraid to contact each other for fear of a penalty, it will result in some dreadfully boring games! It makes one wonder how "classic" derby could have such relatively few players sent to the penalty box, in spite of their old-fashioned roughhouse ways!

Rusty Wheeler
Let's rrrrrrrrrroooooooooollllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!

I've gotta say

I agree that the reffing this weekend really interfered with the games. I was really disappointed with the championship game. I think there were only a handful of jams with full Windy City and Gotham packs so we missed out on seeing what these two teams can really do. (If I wanted to see them run 2 on 3 drills, I'd visit their practices.) These teams are known for being clean athletes and even they couldn't stay out of the box. You've gotta hand it to Cheap Skate from Gotham for keeping her cool after being called out on three back-to-back track cutting majors.

The refs seems to have forgotten that its all about impact. Majors have major impact, minors don't. When a skater lays a low block on a jammer who keeps sailing by, she should not be tossed on a major! And with track cutting, if a skaters slides on her knees across the infield and re-enters the track ON HER KNEES, what impact does that have when she waits for the pack to pass before getting up and skating? It just doesn't make sense. Refs are there to make the game safe and fair, not to change the course of the game.

Sarah Doom
Boston Derby Dames


I was thinking something similar about situations when a skater accidentally lets just a tiny part of her skate or body cross the line after being blocked out, but pulls it back immediately. As far as I can figure, that actually has NO game impact. Yet it's nearly always a major!

I am wondering if the reason this is an automatic major is because letting it be completely "ref's discretion" and impact-based allowed for too much ambiguity, which is no good either. But, I think the way it is now is way too far in the opposite direction. Especially after watching it happen over and over again throughout an entire tournament, I am pretty sure that the current ruleset is forcing majors to be called in a situation that does not impact the game. I'm hoping there is some kind of middle ground that can be reached in the next ruleset that will keep things from being too ambiguous, without disrupting the flow of the game so much.

Ada Hatelace
Windy City Rollers


I agree with Ada Hatelace

These types of calls got under my skin. Small incidents like this that have NO IMPACT on the game. Last night fans (which most know and understand the sport) were getting annoyed at the calls and they are the ones that support roller derby.

Yup yup

Totally agree about sliding and having a knee touch inbounds, then getting thrown out on a major. Why is that a rule for which impact is irrelevant? I used to think that the people who complained so vocally about 3.0/cutting penalties after ECE just needed to adjust to the learning curve and stop whining. But the degree to which overzealous cutting majors really changed bouts this weekend was ridiculous. Boston and our opponents all got burned on *zero* impact cutting majors a few times each bout.

And there were so many jammerless jams because of it, and no matter how many times Dirty Marty said it, jammerless jams are in NO WAY the most compelling part of roller derby and it DOES get much more exciting than that. In fact, pretty much every single other thing about roller derby is more exciting than stopping play because of an ever-more-academic ruleset.

PS, since I'm feeling pedantic, the jam that follows the removal of both jammers isn't a jammerless jam, as I heard it frequently called. The one that saw them both hit the box was the jammerless jam--a situation that only exists for the fraction of a lap that it takes for the second jammer to hit the box (or the refs to finally notice that both jammers are in the box and stop play.)

Ruby K
Boston Derby Dames


It did seem like an unnecessary amount of penalties.

Dude, don't think of it as

Dude, don't think of it as an unnecessary amount of penalties -- think of it as a wealth of opportunities for the refs to hold hands!

refs holding hands

was undeniably cute. but in one of my bouts we waited for several seconds after the second jammer had sat her butt in the chair of the penalty box for the jam refs to get to one another, skate over to a central position, hold hands and blow the whistles. I'm in favor of both jam refs agreeing that the jammerless jam is appropriate before ending the play- but I lost 3-6 seconds of my bout to the jam refs being physically far apart from one another and far away from the penalty box area. Is there a way to avoid this happening to others? can they just both hold their hands up and look at one another? perhaps a hand signal that the head ref can interpret and act upon? Those seconds sometimes count at the end of the bout. plus, prolonging an up and comming jammerless jam is not very exciting. kudos to the many refs I saw who made a noticable physical effort to achieve the hand holding ASAP, rushing into position in anticipation of the second jammer's arrival in the box.

Cutting the track majors

Is sucking the fun out of playing and watching derby. Something's gotta give.

Cincinnati Rollergirls

In agreement with Hannah

If an obvious effort is made to not cut the track than it should be a minor. If a jammer was blocked to the inside, fell, and their skate happened to land within the track, then it seems crazy for that to be a major. There are times when it just cannot be prevented. There needs to be some understanding of what is and isn't an "impact on the game". If a skater accidently cuts the track and still enters at the rear and lets the "cut skater" in front of them, it should be seen as low impact.
It definately sucks the fun out of derby for both the players and the fans.

Cincinnati Rollergirls

Totally agree-

the sheer number of penalties took away from the game.

The other aspect I think was WAAAAAY over called this weekend was incidental contact. With some of the refs, anytime a jammer even touched an opposing player, a major was called. If there was no impact on game play - no harm, no foul.

To be fair, I think the way 3.1 is written, it seems to be really hard to call the game uniformly, evenly, and fairly. I think we saw good refs make terrible calls repeatedly this weekend. Maybe it's time to rethink what the rules are asking of the refs... Are the rules too hard to call?


Per the rules...

Incidental contacts are NEVER a penalty. I'm sure there's refs out there that'll incorrectly call minors on incidentals, I've seen at least one or two.

The problem at this event wasn't the refs, and wasn't incidentals as minors. It was the rules you gals voted upon. Largely cutting the track. The trick however, is "How do we change this so as to prevent the behavior we put it in for, while making the game still work?"

The 3.1 rules are FAR easier to officiate under. VERY SPECIFIC EXAMPLES are given which explain what is not a penalty, what is a minor, and what is a major. Under 2.1.1, a LOT was left up to the discretion of the refs.

Fact: WFTDA 3.1 is easier on blockers than 2.1.1 was. It's tougher on jammers. The wierd thing is that this hasn't trimmed scores much. All of those "powerjams" means a lot of jammers are skating unopposed and if their team can slow the pack enough, you get the 15-20 point jams that these bouts were turning on.

-Barely even speaking for myself...
Grand Poobah
Sin City Stat Pack
Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls

Cutting the track redux

My thoughts on the "cutting the track" penalties is still that the refs MUST have a "slow whistle" where they wait to see whether an out of bounds jammer/skater tries to continue skating forward or whether they try to slow down and fall behind before rejoining the pack. When jammers get whistled for majors IMMEDIATELY when they're pushed out of bounds by blockers, it really detracts from the game. Refs should count 1000, 2000, 3000, before blowing the whistle in that situation. If the jammer falls back and rejoins behind the blocker who pushed her out, it's a "no harm, no foul" situation. Jammers should only be penalized for being out of bounds if they are trying to take advantage of that by continuing to stride forward. Merely coasting out of bounds while trying to slow and rejoin behind a blocker shouldn't be penalized.

I also noted a couple of times watching the video on the web where it seemed jammers got called for cutting the track on a blocker who was clearly out of play by being too far out in front of the pack! Jammers should NEVER be penalized in that situation!

I also wonder if maybe there are too many refs trying to ref a derby game? I used to ref amateur ice hockey, and there were only two officials on the ice to call penalties. Perhaps when you have seven refs in derby each one of them feels they have to call as many penalties as they can? Maybe derby needs to go to only three refs--one jam ref for each jammer to count points and one head ref to call penalties?

Rusty Wheeler
Let's rrrrrrrrrroooooooooollllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!

If You Are a WFTDA Member

There is an appropriate place to discuss these issues.

This is not it.

Discussion is GOOD!

I disagree. I don't think there's anything wrong with discussing the rules on this forum. Of course, I am sure the WFTDA rules committee is discussing this, and I know that I can always email my league's WFTDA rep to be sure my thoughts reach them, but neither of these is a good reason to stifle discussion elsewhere. Open discussion of the rules should not be inappropriate! To suggest otherwise feels kinda Big Brother.

discussion IS good!!!

adahatelace wrote:

I disagree. I don't think there's anything wrong with discussing the rules on this forum. Of course, I am sure the WFTDA rules committee is discussing this, and I know that I can always email my league's WFTDA rep to be sure my thoughts reach them, but neither of these is a good reason to stifle discussion elsewhere. Open discussion of the rules should not be inappropriate! To suggest otherwise feels kinda Big Brother.

I completely agree!! There was a comment posted earlier where people were questioning why a ref would be reffing a tournament game his/her home team was playing in and the question was referred to as "juvenile" and "disrespectful." We should all feel welcome to express our opinions openly and question whether or not we think something was fair, or whether there's a better way of doing things. That is what makes things BETTER. I think some really valid points have been made and need to be addressed. The thing that initially sparked my interest in roller derby was the fact that it is a place for strong people with many different backgrounds and opinions. I think it's really important not to stifle those opinions by telling people where they may or may not discuss them.

and THAT's just MY opinion.

DNN is the place...

I second, no I third...drat I guess I fourth that emotion, discussion IS good.

I can't think of a better place for skaters, refs, rule committees, derby staff, etc. to come together and speak their minds. I feel things evolve better/stronger with open discussions between all parties involved. I'm not speaking FOR DNN but I really like what they are doing and I love their attitude. DNN has moderation control and as far as I know the Site Code of Conduct is simple; "Don't be a douchebag". Their slogan speaks volumes: "roller derby on demand and without apology".

So um yeah, speak your mind and be considerate and for heavens sake, don't be a douchebag, unless of course you belong to some fringe club known as Team Douchebag, then you should have mom proof all your posts. ;)


gotta piggyback. we're making this thing up as we go along, we have been for years. this is it. discussion is not only good but necessary.

there are no proper channels for this discussion.


i agree, boss hogg. everyone that's been actively involved in this thread has been nothing but respectful to the refs, WFTDA and the organization of derby as a whole. we can discuss this ad nauseum within our own leagues but seeing there are SO many derby leagues flocking to this website day after day (especially this time of year), what better forum than this to interact with refs and skaters alike?

and as you said (in so many words), as long as you're not being a dick, what's the problem? i think skaters have been bringing some real concerns to the table and that the WFTDA board will take them not as criticism of the organization, but as a possible flaw in the new ruleset and something to be fixed for next time. everyone's being really positive so as long as it stays that way, i don't see the issue.

much love,

teacher a. lesson
Broad Street Butchers
Philly Rollergirls

In defense of the Professor...

While I absolutely agree that discussion is necessary and vital to our growth and learning as an organization and a community, I'm fairly certain the Prof's warning is in response to incidents where WFTDA refs and skater reps alike have discussed what could be considered confidential WFTDA info on public message boards, including DNN. Those folks have been strongly admonished by their peers, so I get the whole "shh! not here!" response. I think we're fine engaging in open discussion anywhere as long as everyone remembers to keep confidential info confidential, and speak only for themselves and not their leagues, the org, or Team Douchebag.

The rules are a public document, the tournaments were public events, and nothing in our organizational documents says skaters can't have public opinions about the games they played in. I also don't think people mean any disrespect to the refs who worked hard in both tourneys to enforce the rules that we all voted on. I hope discussion gets more people fired up to get involved in the rules process, and I like that our fans have a place to share their views about the new rules, as well (they don't have a WFTDA rep to send their opinions to WFTDA through...and not everyone has figured out that you can contact the Rules Comm with questions on the WFTDA website). I, for one, am really interested in the discussion - keep it up! -xxxooo Mercy Less, Board of Directors, WFTDA

I disagree, sir

Professor Murder wrote:

There is an appropriate place to discuss these issues.

This is not it.

I have no problem with skater/announcers/fans discuss "lousy" officiating in this forum. I also have no problem with fans screaming BULL$#!+ when the refs blow a call even Stevie Wonder could see.

What I DO have a problem with is when Chip Queso tell fans like myself to use poo instead, because derby is "PG-13"

The Original GGRDonald
if you have a skater on the track called Blonde And Bitchin', that bout deserves a R rating. ;-)

F&*@ing Amen!!

What I DO have a problem with is when Chip Queso tell fans like myself to use poo instead, because derby is "PG-13"

Amen brother. Are there certain circumstances cursing would be allowed? Clearly saying, "what the F$#%???" is strictly prohibited. But, would there be any cases where using curse words directed at refs WOULD be appropriate? For instance, I often find myself saying, "Justice Feelgood Marshall, I f$%*ing love you."

Would I be ejected for that? Just curious.

Nurse Wretched
#0.5mg STAT
Charm City Roller Girls

Refs shouldn't have "rabbit ears"

Getting back to my ice hockey ref training, we were taught in ref clinics to NOT have "rabbit ears." In other words, don't go around listening for any negative comments that a player may have about you. If a player says to you quietly to go and perform a physically impossible act with yourself, or if they question your heritage, ignore it and let the player blow off some steam.

But, if the player says something where it's obvious they're disrespecting you, especially when they shout it out loudly, then you must penalize that player immediately.

It seems a couple of ejections at the recent East Region playoffs were based on a player's demonstrable actions. Was anyone ejected for just quietly saying "eff you" to a ref?

Rusty Wheeler
Let's rrrrrrrrrroooooooooollllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, discussion is good!

Some of us are trying to make Derby News Network into the information station for all things derby, so what better place to discuss rules than right here?

Folks have heard me rip on the NHL and their "rules" in the past. Check out how many websites/blogs are anti-Gary Bettman! For those who don't know, Gary Bettman is the current NHL commissioner, and many folks feel he is hopelessly incompetent in his job, and that he is ruining the NHL with various silly rules and rules interpretations.

So I feel it is good to discuss WFTDA rules in an open forum like here.

I don't recall so many complaints about derby rules at last year's tourneys, so something has changed since then. And we need to "nip it in the bud" before the rules get worse!

Rusty Wheeler
Let's rrrrrrrrrroooooooooollllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!

this is not going to make me popular

as a skater in this tourney, i felt the refs did an overall excellent job executing the current rule set.

if we don't like the fact that refs are calling tight games by the letter of how the rules dictate they be called, it's up to us to improve the rules- not criticize the refs for enforcing what is on paper. the rules need to be called how they're written so that we can see the flaws and write them better.

let's keep the feedback positive with the goal of making a better game for the skaters, the fans and the officials. complaining and placing blame is neither constructive or working towards making improvements.

Amen Violet!

As a spectator at this weekend's tournament and a WFTDA representative, Violet is on point.

I will also add that I agree that discussion for the sake of influencing change is great. Discussion for the sake of persecuting refs for enforcing a rule set that the WFTDA membership voted in, is not great.

Evolution baby- our ruleset should continue to evolve as skaters and refs gain experience and find places for improvement.

Miss Jane RedRum
Fort Wayne Derby Girls

the forest for the trees

I don't think any individual ref should be blamed for the current overall problem we experienced at the last 2 regional tournaments. I was at the ref meeting before the tourney and they are very serious about their roles. I respect them as I respect all my derby sisters.
It seems 1 of the issues is "they are missing the forest for the trees", meaning they are implementing the rules so literally, the overall game is suffering. I think we need to give them the opportunity to think.
"No cutting" was intended to stop skaters from blatently cutting around a difficult blocker. Now, it has become "a millimeter of your wheel goes out and you are cutting".
We definately need to deal with the rules as they are written, but I think we can give the refs a bit more credit and let them decide on impact and intent rather than exact wording. It's like when a blocker is trying to get out of someone's way 20' from the pack. No one thinks refs can't tell the difference there. Why not in other critical situations?
P.S. This is not a roast of the refs, but the rules.

Violet...this is true. This

Violet...this is true. This young sport wil continue to evolve and these little kinks will be worked out given time. Sometimes we dont know what will work until we try it. Ruleset 3.2 will happen soon. Right WFTDA?

whatever, you're popular to me, Violet

I think the calls were very tight and very by the line. I think if there was any waivering from what's on paper, the integrity of the regional and national tournaments would be a wash.

I'm not saying things were absolutely perfect all of the time. There were some weird moments here and there, but once the jam is over, you gotta do the massacre ruffle duck dance (ask for a demo next time you see one of us!) and move on.

Oh and my favorite part of the tourney besides refs holding hands was Prosecutor's whistle blowing. It brought a smile to my face EVERY time!

Boston Massacre: The pantsless wonders of Massachusetts

it's true

the prosecutor is the best whistle blower, and tourny roommate, in flat track derby today.

love & derby,
val capone

It may be an interesting

It may be an interesting sidebar to note how referees in other sports are perceived in terms of individual discretion and quality of performance:

NFL: Little discretion, perceived as giving an overall fairly decent performance
MLB: Some discretion, perceived as giving a so-so performance -- but this can be tolerated if idiosyncratic calls are applied to each team equally
NBA: Lots of discretion. Perceived ((and, in one case, proven)) as corrupt and manipulative. Known to favor superstars. Presumed to favor large media markets in the playoffs. Assumed to favor home teams in order to keep paying fans returning. Etc.

My point here is that, while giving the referees the power to use their own judgment on whether or not a de facto infraction merits a penalty SOUNDS like a great idea, everything i know about mainstream sports indicates that it is NOT. I think the WFTDA is fluid enough that the rules in question can be relatively-speedily tinkered with, and that the burden of interpretation need not be shouldered by the stalwart goofs in the stripes!

That said, BOOOOOOOOOOOOO for ejecting Mouse! Chucking the home team's star jammer in the middle of a tournament game??? Jeepers!

You forgot the NHL

The NBA, NFL, and MLB have not made changes to their rules recently.
Are these your opinions or facts?
FACT: There has been a 21% drop in viewership since the new rules were implemented in the NHL in 2005. That is a more accurate comparison since their rules were changed to address contact during play and fans have had similar complaints. I don't want the same thing to happen to our sport.

But you omitted...

Fact: the NHL screwed itself by having a year-long lockout that turned both casual and die-hard viewers away. So the lesson may not be so much about rule changes as it is to avoid getting greedy with your contracts. All of you out there who have contracts (ha!) would be wise to learn from that example.

A slight disagreement with

A slight disagreement with fact there. The NFL changed their rules this year, like they do every year. Some of the rules introduced or changed this year made it so that referees have less discretion in their job. Other rules that have been introduced in recent times to improve safety or other concerns.

The thought that the WFTDA is the only sport that changes their rules on a yearly basis is false. Almost every professional sport does an annual review and adjustment to their rules.


Skaters who can't control their temper on the track are only letting their team down. And it's absurd to suggest that someone should be given leeway for being on the home team.

There were no rookie leagues out there this year. Every skater who got ejected for directing gestures and foul language at the refs should have known better. You can do that stuff from the stands if you have to.

Boston Derby Dames


Rosie the Rioter was tripped and said "what the f" not directed at the refs, she could have yelled it to her own bench. Lesson learned, even if foul language is allowed, I guess we all know now to not say anything in the vicinity of the refs.

Holly Gohardly
Charm City Roller Girls

ah but yes...

it was made excessively clear(at a rules meeting on thursday) that ANY SKATER showing disrespect towards any official(zebra OR pink shirt) would be expelled(as in for the whole game, as opposed to ejected for the remainder of the period) if any amount of disrespect was shown. this is a tournament, folks. the officiating needs to be top notch, as does the skaters respect for those officiating. it was the responsibility of the captain to convey that message and the skaters should've adhered to that.

that all being said, do i personally feel skaters saying what the F, are you frickin kidding me, etc. etc. should be EXPELLED from the game? oh hells to the no! then again, it's only that skater and that official that truly know what happens in the moment.

AND, as an announcer, i feel it's our job as the Voices Of Reason to educate the crowd to such policies/rules being enforced(specific to each tourny/bout).

see ya'll in portland!

love & derby,
val capone

Are the rules really ruining Roller Derby?

After reading these comments, I feel compelled to add by two cents (which is probably worth a lot less)

The rules are not ruing Roller Derby; the current style of officiating is ruining the "sport" of Roller Derby.

Most every subsection of Section 6 contains a No Impact/No Penalty section. These were not used at the regional tournament level. Sections 8.3.2 and 8.3.3 cleary state no penalty should be called when the ref is in doubt on a call or when the ref is unable to determine "clear intent". This was definitely not done at any of the bouts I watched at Eastern Regionals this weekend (and I saw most of them).

All of the officials involved in WFTDA are working their butts off to do the best job they can. Unfortunately the current mindset is that getting better means getting more oberservant and watching more closely to catch every minute detail of a player's play and calling ANY illegal contact as a penalty.

What does this mean to the "sport" of Roller Derby? As a fan who doesn't understand the detailed aspects of the game as well as most everyone else here, I'd like to offer an outside perspective.

During the championship bout, I couldn't follow the game. I was very angry at many of the calls, only to have members of our home team officiating crew (in attendance as fans) tell me the call was right. They could see every little infraction --- I could not!

From a fans perspective, this totally ruined the game for me as a Sport. I think it will ruin it for nearly all fans as well. Fans will still come out, and they will come out in good numbers, but they will not be there to watch the Sport. They will be there to watch the Spectacle. The fans love the hard hits, the girls sent flying across the track; the rest they don't and can't understand. says the referees job is to keep the game safe, fair, and consistent. The current style of officiating is doing the exact opposite.

In a 4 on 2 situation, skilled skating will not get the job done. Putting a super hard LEGAL block on an oppposing skater, sending her flying across the track reduces the advantage to 3 on 2 for a short period of time. This is the only recourse left to skaters when clean skating (to the best of their ability) still racks up 4 minors and lands half the team in the penaly box.

The rules need some tweaking in a few areas, but overall the rules, as written, are pretty good. The way officiating is calling the rules needs to be addressed.

If the current state of officiating continues, 2 things will happen.

1. The game will be come MORE dangerous with MORE injures.
2. Roller Derby will evolve into exactly the thing I hear everyone say they don't want --- Spectacle and not Sport.

I have watched most every WCR home bout (both home league and travel league) since 2005. If I can't understand what's happening on the track, how can the casual fan?

P.S. to Professor Murder.

Thanks for telling us "there is an appropriate place to discuss these issues", but not mentioning what that may be. BTW - I am not a WFTDA member. I am a serious fan of the Sport (not the spectacle) who also volunteers in various capcities to help out.

P.S.S - If there is a formal way to address these concerns directly to WFTDA, can someone please let me know what that is? I tried not to make this too long (probably didn't suceed), but I could address a lot more - and also recommend solutions (I am not a person who whines about problems without presenting resonable suggestions for ways to resolve those problems)

Al Naturel
Windy City Rollers
Track Setup/Teardown Crew
And Avid Fan.

Think you've argued against your own point...

alnaturel wrote:

Unfortunately the current mindset is that getting better means getting more oberservant and watching more closely to catch every minute detail of a player's play and calling ANY illegal contact as a penalty.

Calling illegal contact as a penalty is specifically the job of referees, simple as that. I don't follow your argument, nor do I understand the inference that the current state of officiating will lead to more injuries and spectacle: if anything, I would expect the opposite to be the case.


I agree with Statsi; I don't understand how tighter officiating can lead to LESS safety in the sport.

I also can't tell you how many times in any given jam I say "Forearm! Nah, no impact" in my head, and decide NOT to assess a penalty for that illegal contact.

I definitely understand the frustration fans feel when they can't see the minutia of contact that causes referees to call some penalties. From the sidelines, I can't always see it myself. Rolling along side the skaters and the proximity referees have are essential to accurately observing the kind of contact that roller derby entails. I was watching WCR for three years before I started volunteering as a referee, and it wasn't until I began that training that I could see things the way I do now.

Al, Loco Chanel and Kami Sutra are our WFTDA reps, and you should feel free to share any concerns you have with them.

Statsi, thanks for the comment and your continual, succinct, and effective defense of officals.

Windy City Rollers

Not that simple.

I don't think it is "simple as that." There are many grey areas in the rule-set which do allow for some illegal contact to be made that should not be called as any penalty because it has no impact. There are other sports where this is evident, such as in basketball with hand checks.

If I put my hand on another girl, it is illegal contact because I am not allowed to block her with my hand, however, if I touch her for a moment and do not apply any pressure to her body and do not cause any change in her position or impact on game play then there should be no penalty assessed. That would be the difference between "calling ANY illegal contact as penalty" and calling only some illegal contact as a penalty.

The rules currently do state that if there is no impact there is no penalty, but I think what Al is trying to say is that from a fan perspective, there seem to be a lot of calls made that perhaps shouldn't because the fans can't see where the impact took place.

While it may be easy to dismiss fan opinions for a variety of reasons, I think it is important to listen to what they are saying so we can continue to grow and improve our sport. I am sure that no skater, fan or referee wants to play a game that is impossible for the fans to follow and enjoy. When fans start to tell us that the game is too confusing for even long-time fans to follow, I think we should consider that a sign that there are still flaws and kinks to work out.

We are still a very new sport, and the fans, skaters, and refs are really all in this together to grow our sport into something that we can all be proud of and enjoy. I am so glad that we have the opportunity to hear from people in every position and with every perspective so we can continue to identify areas that we can improve.

Nina Millimeter
Windy City Rollers

Guess it depends...

... upon your definition of "illegal."

No impact/no penalty, hence condoned and not illegal. All illegal contact should be called by the referees. No condoned behavior is illegal.

Just to clarify...

Just so folks know, I'm not trying to rip on the refs or on WFTDA. I am trying to stimulate a discussion so that the rules can be improved in their next version.

As I stated previously, I used to ref amateur ice hockey (and also umpired baseball & softball). Every hockey season, in order to ref league games (that were then sanctioned by AHAUS although the organizing body is now "USA Hockey") a prospective ref had to attend a referee clinic (they were offered in various parts of my state, Michigan) and had to pass a 150-question rules examination. You could incorrectly answer up to 15 questions (10%) and the rules exam was open book (they wanted you to actually have to dig through the rule book to find answers to very difficult questions). The most I ever missed was 7 questions, and one year I only missed 2 questions.

Anyway, as an example, let's look at hockey "slashing" penalties. In USA Hockey's page at , they say this about slashing:

"The use of the stick will be limited to only playing the puck. Any stick contact, as a result of a slashing motion, to the hands/ arms or body of the opponent will be strictly penalized. In addition, hard slashes to the upper portion of the stick (just below the hands) of an opponent, with no attempt to legally play the puck, shall also be penalized."

The NHL rules at say:

"a. A minor or major and a game misconduct penalty, at the discretion of the Referee, shall be imposed on any player who impedes the progress of an opponent by "slashing" with his stick.
b. A major and a game misconduct penalty or a match penalty shall be imposed on any player who injures an opponent by slashing."

The NHL rules also add:

"(NOTE) Non aggressive stick contact to the pant or front of the shin pads, should not be penalized as slashing."

So obviously the NHL rules allow the referees discretion into what constitutes slashing. When I attended the hockey ref clinics, the amateur rules stated that *every* time a player slashes another player he must be penalized. However, the experienced refs who taught at the clinics stated that if you called *every* time a player slashed another player then you would have an endless parade of players to the penalty box, and they taught us to interpret "incidental" contact as a no-call (like in the NHL NOTE above).

Besides reffing, I also played a lot of ice hockey. Players got to know the refs in their league and what each ref's threshold for calling penalties was. Some refs would literally let teams get away with murder as those refs didn't want to "ruin the game" by calling penalties. Some refs called too tight of a game. There was, of course, a happy middle ground somewhere, and you know you had reached it when you never even noticed there were referees at the game. That doesn't mean the refs never called penalties, it just means when they called a penalty everyone in the building knew it really was a penalty as it was obvious.

OK, enough rambling on my part. I guess what I'm leading up to is that derby refs should have and use more discretion on calling things like cutting the track. There should be an intent to cut the track and continue on before its called. As another hockey example, we could look at tripping. It so happens that if a hockey player plays the puck and happens to trip an opponent on a follow-through, it's not a trip. The players knew the tripping rules, but the fans didn't and they would call the refs all sorts of vile names.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. The OSDA flat-track rules simply say this about "back blocks":

"Blocking from behind is permitted as long as only the shoulders to triceps are used in executing the block. No hands or elbows are allowed to be used in back blocking."

Rusty Wheeler
Let's rrrrrrrrrroooooooooollllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!

text overload

Ok I love hockey but trying to get through all that made my brain hurt.

rules and derby

There is a place to get your rules questions answered: If you have a question about the rules, first read the rules. The WFTDA rules can be downloaded off of www.wftda.com. If you still have a question go to www.rules.wftda.com to see if it has been discussed on the Rules FAQ page. If your question hasn't been discussed you can submit a question, however, you can be sure that the Rules Committee and the WFTDA reps are discussing every minute detail on the WFTDA board and are working to make the rules the best they can be for our sport.

My two cents about this topic: this is not about the officials or the rules. The skaters make the rules and the officials enforce them. The rules are the reason roller derby will evolve into a sport and not just entertainment. We are setting the bar higher every year by ensuring that the rules are there to keep skaters safe and to keep the integrity of the game. We skaters need to strive to be better at the game by not committing penalties. Yes, I saw some poor calls but that is the nature of a young sport run by volunteers (as dedicated as they are). I also saw some amazing officiating and I dare any one to try to remember, observe, process, and make split-second calls like they do.

Derby has come such a long way in such a short amount of time. This is not the derby of two, three or four years ago and that's a good thing. The fact is that skaters need to learn to play differently. Heck, I heard they kept a running tally of penalties at the first Dust Devil for each game and they were in the 300s. It will be hard to break old habits but we made the rules and we need to figure out a way to match our skill to the higher bar that has been set. There are still some changes to be made to the rules, but we're getting really close. The skill and technique will have to catch up to it. I think we can do it and it will make the sport of derby something that will be sustainable through the years and not just a fad.

Officiating culture and talking to refs

Was something I had not given much thought to before this tournament. As a skater I was aware that I had TWO reps who could discuss (on behalf of the team) any and all concerns with the officials. I was also aware that I could not, under any circumstances, gesture/speak/communicate any sort of attack or displeasure with any official. (though my assigned reps told me I could express displeasure in general- just not direct it at a specific ref) And this seemed reasonable, since having personal squabbles with individual officials has never benefitted me during any athletic event. What I hadn't been acutely aware of is that in my home league I have direct exchanges with referees all the time during the course of play. If I don't know what the ref is trying to communicate with me I ask "What?" "Where?" "Who?" "Do I have lead?" "Really?" and so on. Sometimes my winded/battered/confused/impassioned tone is not as cordial as it would be over coffees, but with no threats/insults I presumed that this communication was not disrespectful. And if the ref responds and I now understand what is being directed I will ALWAYS abide by any direction given.

At regionals I was not allowed to communicate directly with any official, and I discovered that expressing displeasure without directing it at an offical is hard to do when the sheer amount of officials surrounding the track makes it likely that which ever way I turn I will be facing one.

I missed interacting with officials at regionals. I felt that without direct exchange the "them vs. us" overtones clouded my accustomed "we love derby and are both an essential part of it" relationship with the volunteers who do a complicated and invaluable service in the center of the track.

Can we find a way to question refs sincerely and appropriately in the moment? When I sent my reps to the center of the track between jams they had a hard time locating the refs in question and explaining to the them the situation that inspired their visit.

tournament policy

While keeping a low profile on this overall topic, I do want to add one point of information.

Reckless writes:

"At regionals I was not allowed to communicate directly with any official."

This was not the policy at this tournament. There was no tournament policy forbidding direct, polite, and brief information-based exchanges with referees or non-skating officials. If your team's management told you not to communicate at all with the referees, that was on their own initiative, for whatever reason.


... though there was no guarantee the ref would respond either


i think we can all agree with the automatic cutting track major thing impacting outcomes of games to a severe degree and probably needing some revisions. I think we can also all agree that "we the people" wrote that rule, and will have to deal with re-writing it.
and i think we can all agree that the amount of jammerless jams this weekend was, excessive. No one really wants to see a jammerless jam, let alone 6 a period.
But those are all things we can change on paper, so write to your local WTFDA rep and put in your two cents.

now. What i see the role of a referee in any sport as being is: making sure players are all safe, making sure players do not use unfair advantages to swing games in their favor, and making sure the game runs smoothly.
my biggest peeve this weekend was the amount of excessive ref time outs there were, without any apology or explanation (in our windy city v charm city game there was actually a useless ref time out called AFTER THE WHISTLE BLEW, stopping the jam, only to have the jam start again a few seconds later, with no explanation). And then head refs seeming irritated that the skaters were wasting time after the refs were done doing whatever it is they were doing. I was also surprised by the lack of communication (at least in our bouts) that the head refs had with the skaters during confusing calls. If something is confusing and the skaters don't know whats going on, perhaps the head ref should take the extra ten seconds to explain the confusion, and then maybe next time, we will all get on the line a bit more quickly. Maybe i'm spoiled having johnny zebra and justice feelgood marshal being head refs for my league, but they respect the skaters and always take the time out to explain something if there is confusion, and it is always appreciated. The refs are there during a game to (lets say it again for good measure) make sure everyone is safe, make sure no one cheats, and make sure the game runs smoothly. So, if there is confusion, it is the head refs job to communicate properly with his ref staff and the two teams bouting. And if they are a stand up guy or gal, maybe making it clear to the fans, too.

i guess actually the confusion during play would be my second biggest peeve. my first biggest peeve would be that 2 girls this weekend were kicked out for using foul language in the vicinity of the refs. i'll back up reckless here when she said "At regionals I was not allowed to communicate directly with any official."
this is the lesson we learned after one of our girls was kicked out of the cincinatti v charm city game in the first 15 minutes of the game for saying "what the F?" near a ref. it seems to me that losing 45 minutes of playing time for a potty mouth is a bit excessive. And i'm sure some of the windy city girls could agree with that, too. it may not have been said or written in any pamphlet, but the vibe i got this weekend was we should not communicate with the refs for fear of being booted from the game. What is more important, the refs feelings and ego, or fair even play on both sides? i can see excessive cursing or yelling directed towards a ref, but come on. I think in general, the current set of wftda rules needs to be judged on whether the punishment fits the crime. Because it seems a lot of time, the punishment is a bit harsh.

Dolly Rocket
Charm City Rollergirls

The Difference in Tournament Officiating

As a ref, I am sorry to hear the skaters felt they could not communicate with officials at all. I cannot speak for every ref in the country, but I am confident that the majority of us are not interested in an "us vs. them" dynamic in this community, on or off the track.

One thing to consider is that the large amount of officials surrounding the track was necessary to run the tournament. Each pink shirt you saw was carrying out an indispensible roll, and we ended up adding two more officiating jobs throughout the weekend that refs and NSOs stepped into on a volunteer basis. Not every league has the luxury of an long list of officials at home, and skaters may not be used to that amount of people helping run the game. But at the tournament level, with a national pool of officials to pick from, we were simply trying to execute things like penalty reporting in a way that keeps the game running as smoothly as possible for the skaters.

On a similar note, skaters are able to develop a rapport with their ref crew at home from working together over and over. The referees and NSOs enjoy their own dynamic from constantly relying on each other and having the opportunity to build communication. Many of the refs and NSOs at Regionals were working together for the first and only time, so the norms that each league has established at home as far as communciation between skaters and officials didn't always translate.

The purpose of the Thursday night meeting was for officials and captains to get on the same page about what kinds of behavior were expected from everyone, and what results they would have. It was the captains' responsibility to convey that message to their teams. Due to the varying norms that different leagues have with their officials I can understand a range of interpretations, and certain expulsions left me surprised as well. I hope that skaters understand officials were only trying to perform their rolls they way they were asked to.

Windy City Rollers

Nothing but gratitude

to every official who participated. no doubt. I have attempted to penalty track and I do not envy the task in such a high visibility set of bouts, with unfamiliar players and crew mates, over and over again throughout the weekend. certainly my complaint was not that there were too many officials, but that I do skate with my heart on my sleeve (I find it enjoyable for myself, my team and fans to do so) and was in fact nervous that I would be expelled for exclaiming in celebration or in disagreement any time I was on the track or the bench. And it had everything to do with the ejections, and the illegal procedure penalties I was personally issued and couldn't get clarification on. Maybe I missed the actual words spoken, but for the number of skaters directed to leave the field of play I just didn't see aggression of the magnitude I would have expected to bring about such a consequence.

For the record. "Big sports" have days and weeks and years of heated discussion about controverial calls between fans across the country, so I'm all for us doing so as well. "Big sport" fans tend to be outright abusive of the officials and I would hope we can steer clear of that-- but as long as we get to debate the calls and not the personal value of the individual refs, I would hope that discussions could exist in forums like these. Because I would not want to have others attack my humanity for bad decisions I made on the track (I've got videos if you'd like to see some) I would decline to do so to referees. but if you point out something I did that was dumb (again, video is available) as a pivotal effect on a game I played in, I would not take offense at your 20/20 hindsight and would hope to learn something from it. It's why I watch bout footage.

I love me some refs and some rules. Looking forward to the feeds from nationals and the bound to be breathtaking 3.2/4.0 and beyond.


Possible Reason Some Skaters Thought They Could Not Talk to Refs

I think the confusion about skaters communicating with the refs during the game comes from Thursday night's meeting. As I recall, what was said was "I only want to talk to a team Captain, or an Assistant Captain. I will ignore anyone else including coaches/managers." While this was said about discussion during time outs, I can see where this could be taken back by team officials and taken as "Just don't talk to the refs unless you are a captain, or an ass capt."

Uncle Bbagz

talking to refs

i could have sworn that there was a rule somewhere stating that only captains and bench coaches were allowed to speak directly to refs. that's how we've always played. but when i looked through the rules, to my amazement this was all i found:

8.2.9 In the event that there is a disagreement regarding a referees’ call or scoring, only the
Captains or their Designated Alternates may discuss the ruling with the referees. Skaters,
coaches or managers may act as Designated Alternates.

can someone define what constitutes a "designated alternate?"


Sweet N. Lowdown
Dominion Derby Girls (WFTDA)
Norfolk, VA

An "A" on their uniform. Any

An "A" on their uniform. Any skater or bench manager may be so designated, and there may only be 1.

-Judge Knot, PRG


that makes sense but do the rules specifically state anywhere that a regular skater may NOT address a ref for whatever reason? (assuming it's done politely.) ;)

Sweet N. Lowdown
Dominion Derby Girls (WFTDA)
Norfolk, VA

Address Unknown

I'm not finding anything forbidding addressing a ref.

And Gross Misconduct (Expulsion) is defined as either ...an indiscretion so serious..., interference from an outside skater, or deliberate and excessive insubordination to a ref. I'm not seeing cussing (in general) on the list.


Alt Cap

The alternate captain isn't anything in particular: as you wrote, it is a role that may be filled by a skater, coach, or manager. It is someone that your team feels should be imbued with the ability to discuss issues with the refs should any arise - so ideally s/he knows the rules, is level-headed, and will present solid arguments whenever a discrepancy is perceived.

The captain must be a rostered skater: in the event that the captain is injured or ejected, the alternate leaves the team with a fallback plan for calling timeouts and/or communicating with the officials.

As long as the person is wearing a visible A, like the one on Buster Cheatin's tie, then s/he's the designated alternate.

designated alternate

is different from a roster alternate. just to clear up any confusion.

back blocking

I never really post I am usually just a reader but I had to add my two in here. I know this will not be the most favorable of opinions but I have to say that I was glad the back blocking was called as tightly as it was this weekend. As a blocker, our job is to block and be blocked but in LEGAL blocking zones. However occasionally we make mistakes, which land us in the penalty box.

When the new rules set came out initially, I cringed at the idea of jammers being able to crash into the backs of blockers to get by. If you’re a jammer be a jammer and be agile don’t latch onto my back and make me give you a piggy back ride lol…although this may seem strategic to some ultimately it is careless and dangerous. I was glad that the refs were paying close attention to this particular rule this weekend and that they called it strictly I for one still had a great time played my ass off and didn’t feel upset about any call I got. Bottom line no one likes to get penalties however, the tight officiating this weekend I felt limited the overall amount of injuries that could have occurred.

If you are from the east (no disrespect west), you know we are some hard hitting creatures of nature that if unleashed could really so some damage to one another. So I think the strict calling was necessary to alleviate what could have happened if things were called more lenient. Plus this was regional tourney officiating its going to be called like that and you have to expect the refs that are at tourneys are going to be some of the best in the country so getting away with what you may on some days ain’t gonna happen.


I will make my comment

I will make my comment briefish, but I was troubled at how the rules were called this weekend. Scary as some think it, I'm a fan of 3.1 (including the cutting the track), but I am not a fan of how those rules were enforced.

The concept of incidental contact was completely omitted from the entire tournament.

There appears to be competing philosophies; one is, 'let them play' and the other is 'strict calls make better skaters'. What I am mystified at, is when, we the skaters, decided to have our regional (and assumable national) tournaments called under the later philosophy?

I am not a guru in the upper levels of the wftda (but should you have to be to know something like what went down at regionals was brewing?), but I have a firm grasp of the rules and best practices, and had no idea that there would be such a stark differences between regionals and say ECE.

Perhaps I missed a vote when we decided to call our sport like this, but I vote no.

I am passionate, and I'm not going to apologize for that; but when someone who loves derby like I do, is in tears after (what should be an exciting) championship game (that her favorite team won) because they were so upset and confused about how OUR rules were enforced, well something is a miss.

Not everyone agrees with this philosophy, including some high level officials. I can extrapolate that claim from the fact that both ECE and playing in Texas were not under that ('strict calls...') theory. I respect and appreciate all of our refs, but the louder voice is not always the best voice for everyone.

There needs to be an open and honest dialogue about how we want OUR rules to be enforced, which is separate from changing the rules. Though, the rules may need to be modified, that is not my point. It is a false argument to say that the rules WE wrote necessarily precipitated the way they were called at regionals, they were called that way under a philosophical interpretation.

viva la roller derby


1) Incidental contact was not being called properly at westerns

2) Track cutting as a major with no major impact-BOGUS
I understand in this case this is how this rule is written, but I think we need to add a section to the rules that explains the intention of the rules, so they would be interpreted how we intended.

3) Quick ejections for communications with refs, or foul language used on the track-ARGH!

4) Talking about this stuff on public boards, of course should be okay.

Taxi Scab
Not representing B.A.D. , Team Douchebag or Team Dance Party

My 2 cents on reffing after this weekend--- why not?

I, for one, am deeply troubled by the over reacting of skaters to hits in order to pander to referees. I believe you know what I am talking about, but just in case, here are 2 examples: a skater who has another skater come up on them and the first skater overacting in order to get the back block. A skater receiving a bit hit, and immediately putting their hands up to their face and acting as though they were hit in the face by the impact, where there was no hit to the face, but just in hopes that the ref will only see their reaction to the hit, and call it based on the skater's reaction.

The issue I have with this is that if the referees buy into this overacting in order to have penalties assessed against the opposing skater, this runs the risk of turning roller derby into a WWF type spectacle --just like derby of the 70's-- where every player knows that it is to their advantage to over act to any type of impact---which I beleive we are trying to get away from. I see this as becoming a trend for some players who intentionally over react as a strategy of play. I know that some players attempt to do this in the NBA, however the refs are very aware of this type of drama and for the most part, do not give into it.

I think this type of response as an intentional strategy runs the risk of destroying all of the hard work that we have put into this sport in order to get away from the spectacle/WWF image that people once associated with roller derby, and I find it very troubling. I believe that this type of behavior on the part of skaters needs to be recognized by the referees and addressed -- so that they make sure that they are not calling penalties based upon the aftermath of a play, rather than upon the actual play itself. I know that refs have alot to focus one, but again, taking their cues from an overly dramatic skater after the impact is not a substitute for actually seeing the action occur.

hasn't really been addressed yet, so I thought I'd put it out there.

Ying O'fire!
Windy City Rollers
"you'll go down, down, down and it burns, burns, burns..."


I remember that play...


ying wrote:

I see this as becoming a trend for some players who intentionally over react as a strategy of play. I know that some players attempt to do this in the NBA, however the refs are very aware of this type of drama and for the most part, do not give into it.

They learned it from watching soccer, and soccer learned it from baseball. Every sport where contact is severely restricted has a phase where people will fake a foul in hopes the officials assume bad contact. Eventually the rules and officials catch up and the faking happens less often.

Still doesn't keep the Italians from diving like they're addicted to sod. They just never learned.

- bjmacke (a.k.a. Apron)


Other than my specific feedback on the rules in general, my biggest concern after this tournament is that the current best practices rarely have refs looking at the right sight-lines to see a head hit.

The inside refs are typically right beside the pack ... and most hits are hidden from view by the skater on the outside.

We need better skating refs on the outside or otherwise looking head-on to the pack so they can truly see the hit. I dare say stationary on the ends and elevated may not be a bad thing at all. Too many of those are missed and too many fakes get called.

Oh, that's interesting--- I

Oh, that's interesting---

I would have thought that an elbow to the face causing your opponent to sit out for 10 minutes in order to stop the bleeding would be more of a spectacle/WWF style image. But maybe that's just me.

That is exactly

... the kind of thing we need to think long and hard about site-lines for in the future.

There was at least one hit where a ref in the crowd could clearly see it but due to the bodies, he was SURE it was impossible to see from the inside of the track and to see it from the outside would have required the outside ref to be (basically) in a much different placement. It left the girl who got hit bloodied.

I've not been a fan of elevated, stationary refs but I would like to consider moving some (we have too many already, so lets move some around) to an elevated position so those hits are not missed ... and if not that, the outside ref that is leading the pack needs to be skating backwards looking at the pack head-on.

(less of an issue on banked tracks which give you the sight lines)

Inside pack reffing

Many times when I am inside pack ref, I sometimes over-shoot the pack on the turns and look behind me to see the pack. This is where I end up making most of my calls because I can see up the middle of the pack and catch all the stuff happening in the middle that I can't see from the side. I like getting that perspective of seeing the middle. Not every venue can have stationary/elevated refs, and sometimes they are too far up to see clearly. It is more beneficial for the refs to be at every practice and scrimmage for any team/league they can practice with, as this will help the refs adjust their line of sight and be able to focus without blinders. No, you won't have x-ray vision to see through a skater, but you would be able to adjust your position quickly so you aren't blocked from seeing what is happening. It all takes time to develope.

Leonora Da Bitchi
Ref/Stats Maven
The Chicago Outfit

its a contact sport number one

and number two, you cannot say for sure that what caused that hit was an elbow to the face. It wasn't you that got hit. Frankly, it could have happened in a pile up.

Point being, for a ref to call an after the fact penalty on someone for the presence of bloody nose, is not the way the game should be called, and there was no penalty assessed for that. The difference is purposely exaggerating impacts in order to try to get penalties assessed. Absolutely different issue.

You're Absolutely Right

You're absolutely right. I personally cannot say for sure if it was an elbow to the face or not, but I would think that someone who *did* get a bloody nose would know if it happened in a pileup, or if it was someone's elbow. And frankly, it didn't happen in a pileup.

I don't think I brought up anything about penalties and when they should or should not be called; I only said that elbows to the face seem like they would make the sport more of a WWF type of spectacle than holding your face after someone does actually slam their helmet into it.

on another note


Ying O'fire!
Windy City Rollers
"you'll go down, down, down and it burns, burns, burns..."


All the penalty chat has drowned out the major thanks the Mad Rollin' Dolls deserve for putting together such a well run weekend. The venue was great, as was the perk of the party bus between hotels and afterparties. Amazing job!


I also agree!
This tournament was awesome! I was impressed in Ohio last year; they set a high standard for Madison to follow, and Madison met the challenge head on. Kudos to Madison, their staff, volunteers, and tournament organizers. Great job!

amen to that

I am so in love with Madison now!


not only has it taken away from madison being super awesome hosts, but it takes away from the fact that there really was a lot of amazing skating this weekend. i learned so much from watching and playing and am so impressed with how far this sport has come.

I'd like to thank the

I'd like to thank the announcers for using the phrase "Frozen Codebase Scoreboard" so many times i thought i was gonna puke...my boss will be happy though...

...best overall bout was Gotham-Philly, followed by Boston-Madison. That last jam of the Boston-Madison game was UN-FREEKIN-BELIEVABLE. Gotham-Windy was a classic just for the knock-down-drag-outness of it all ((among other reasons)). Carolina-Detroit and Carolina-Boston probably round out the top 5.


revnorb wrote:

Carolina-Detroit and Carolina-Boston probably round out the top 5.

Carolina didn't play Detroit... maybe you meant Philly-Detroit?


I stand corrected

Justice Feelgood Marshall wrote:
revnorb wrote:

Carolina-Detroit and Carolina-Boston probably round out the top 5.

Carolina didn't play Detroit... maybe you meant Philly-Detroit?


Sir, you are indeed correct. The first bout on Saturday.

You all did such a good job

You all did such a good job on that Beta version of the game that once we saw it, we couldn't stop talking about it and about you!

Thank you, Mr. Dog!

Corndog wrote:

You all did such a good job on that Beta version of the game that once we saw it, we couldn't stop talking about it and about you!

Thanks! That's not actually beta though -- just a publisher demo. We're still a long way from beta! I *wish* we were at beta!


I heard on Ustream from the announcers that they were selling DVDs of the Eastern regionals. Are those still available? Or when are they available?


I heard they would be available on the Mad Rollin' Dolls site, but they're not up yet.

"Jethro Skull"
DCD; no venue, no fans, no season, no problem.

Video - yes, it'll be for sale!

We didn't expect to completely sell out of duplication supplies this weekend, so we need to get all of that in order first... but it should only be another day or two before we're ready to take your orders.

I'm really proud of the quality of our video, too - sometimes the camera cuts can take a little getting used to if you normally view footage from one or two cameras, but once your brain understands what's happening, it's great!

I'll post more info about purchasing video when I have it.


PS: Our videographer put a helmet cam on the outside refs, too. This footage won't be available for purchase, but they're putting it on YouTube!

Derby in Dairyland Footage

It's up! Hurry and order if you want to do your research before nationals:



Something has got to give

It is clear that refs making calls to the letter of the rules made for some bouts that were at best confusing to watch and at worst frustrating and infuriating to watch this weekend.

I am convinced the way the refs adjudicated the bouts this weekend contributed to artificially lopsided final spreads and uncompelling bouts to watch for the fans. I don't recall last years eastern regionals or nationals having the refs calls so overshadow the gameplay. If the rules have changed that much since last year, then maybe the rule changes have to be re-examined.

I've only watched derby for about three years, so I don't pretend to understand or even know of all of the rules. What I do know is that I do not like what I saw this weekend, and that I am not alone in my assessment.

I believe I can safely assume that no skater wants to win (or lose) a bout because their jammers (or the opposing teams' jammers) are constantly sent to the penalty box for (at least visually) the most insignificant of contact or as some have pointed out, a toe sweeping onto the track as the skater tries to regain some composure after being blocked out of bounds. No fan wants to watch a bout decided by that sort of thing either. The best referees in any sport are recognized for using their best judgment in conjunction with the letter as well as the INTENT of the rules.

I say give the refs the latitude to make judgment calls or adjust the rules because as things stand, the sport is simply not as fun to watch and unnecessarily hard to understand (and likely not as fun to play).

judgment vs letter of law vs intent of rules

Brad Habit writes:

"The best referees in any sport are recognized for using their best judgment in conjunction with the letter as well as the INTENT of the rules."

As a ref in 5 of the east region games this weekend, I've been trying to bite my tongue in this thread but at this particular moment I'm failing.

I totally agree with you there, Brad, but there have been months and months of (appropriate) effort by the WFTDA games and rules and refs committees to push the opposite notion: that the best refs are the ones who call everything to the letter of the law, in as predictable a fashion as possible.

A year ago, skaters (quite understandably) complained that there was a disconnect between:

- I do X, I get punished Y.

Skaters (again, quite understandably) want to read the rule and know the answer. If I do this, it's legal. If I do that, it's illegal.

It's IMPOSSIBLE to train rookie skaters by telling them, "well, theoretically you SHOULD get called for it, and sometimes you wont... it really depends on the ref's mood, or what the score is, or what the ref feels like, or how skilled your blocking opponent is, or your own reputation, or where the other jammer is, or if the moon is full, or if it's late in the period, or if it's a blowout, or if the jam is almost over..." That's no way to train skaters in a nascent sport.

The refs at this tournament did a great job of fulfilling the written threats of the rules. Either you like that, or you don't, but that was our job. And this post by Wernher Van Bombed (http://www.derbynewsnetwork.com/blog/gnosis/2008/10/cutting_track_a_fans...) has it EXACTLY RIGHT. Well said, Wernher, I owe you a beer.

Personally I would be happy to see referees given a little more well-defined and limited latitude to take into account a larger swath of context. I will be even happier when feedback about the 3.1 language gets trickled through all the appropriate channels and we all wind up with a rule set which still allows skaters to know exactly what to expect, on a consistent world-wide basis, yet doesn't generate so much frustrated vitriol. It'll be great.

Putting my teeth back around my tongue,
- Hambone, wftda certified "level 3" ref


having gotten my rant out of the way, kudos to the Mad Rollin dolls for producing a tightly run tournament and for being such fine hosts. Madison is a way fun town!


It was great to be in Madison for a gorgeous fall weekend of derby. We were all looking beautiful too. Where can I find the thousands of photos I know were being taken all weekend long? They've gotta be out there somewhere. It's 3AM and I need somethin to do at work.......

Just 2 Comments --- (for now)

1. Mad Mad props to Madison for the fantastic job they did putting this tournament together. I've organized several charity events in the past and have some idea of what it takes to bring an all volunteer group together to organize something this massive. The final result was nothing short of amazing. It took an extreme amount of dedication, time, and sweat to put this together. Madison was so fantastic, it wouldn't surprise me if they even organized the great weather we had for mid October.

2. Deep respect for all the referees and officals out there. They are all volunteers and do what they do out of a love for the sport and deep care for the safety of the skaters. My personal perspective is that of watching an overprotective mother smother her child. I can comment on the overprotectiveness, but I also have to respect where it is coming from.

Al Naturel
WCR track crew

Rules and Refs

I cannot honestly say I've made it through this entire page of comments yet, BUT I keep seeing people complain about refs calling what they consider bad rules. Skaters make the rules, refs enforce them. If you as a skater have an issue with the way a rule is written, stop downing refs and please talk to your the WFTDA rules committee.

edit (because I can't seem to delete!) made it through, thankfully I saw other people say the same thing, glad I'm not crazy in thinking that! ;)