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2009 Nationals: Capsule Recaps

  • Madison's Jewels of Denile passes the star to Mouse - Photo by Darrell Budic
  • Anna Wrecks Ya balances on one foot as Harley Quinn blocks Darling Nikki - Photo: Phil Peterson
  • Assaultin' Pepa eyes the Houston jammer - Photo: Phil Peterson
  • A game a leapfrog breaks out on the track - Photo: Jules Doyle
  • Rocky Mountain celebrates its victory in the quarterfinals - Photo: Jules Doyle
  • Beth Amphetamine invents an unorthodox jammer-line stance - Photo Jules Doyle
  • D-Bomb holds back Suzy Hotrod - Photo: Jules Doyle
  • Psycho Babble and Bullet Tooth Tracy scope out the pack - Photo: Jules Doyle
  • 'Hey, I'm skatin' here!' Angela Death - Photo: Jules Doyle

Sunday Bouts | Saturday Bouts | Friday Bouts

(2E) Gotham 187, (3NC) Detroit 38 -- For about two jams, it looked like Detroit might have one of the greatest derby upsets of all time in them, as they held an 11-0 lead to kick things off. Gotham, though, rather quickly put paid to those hopes as their vaunted pack work and recycling began to click; that led to a 50-1 Gotham run that left the score at Gotham 50, Detroit 12 at the 15 minute mark. By the time halftime had arrived, Gotham was sitting on a 86-25 lead.

The second half was even more dominant for Gotham, as they dropped 101 points to just 13 for Detroit. Detroit's Sista Slitchya was ejected about halfway through the second half for a big clockwise block on Ginger Snap, but by that time the score was far out of hand.

Gotham advances to play Oly in the quarterfinal round on Saturday.

See DNN's archived boutcast here.

(3W) Denver 175, (2SC) Kansas City 89 -- This bout started out with extremely positional play from both teams, as neither team seemed interested in ceding the back of the pack on the opening whistle, leading to many very slow starts off the line. More than a few jams had a jammer start whistle more than 10 seconds after the pivot whistle, as jams consistently started with skaters barely moving towards the pivot line, or in some instances, scrambling backwards through the pack to get to their desired position.

On the bout's fourth jam, the Denver defense played a power play to a hilt by isolating a single KC blocker so tightly that the pack remained at a dead stop for nearly a full lap. The style seemed to agitate the crowd a little bit, but it did get Denver an early 27-6 lead on the 20 point jam for Kimmy Kimmy Bang Bang.

After a lengthy ref timeout was called at 15:36 left in the first half, the score was 31-19 favoring Denver. With the exception of that big jam, though, Kansas City was doing well -- but then it was Denver's Natalie Meagher taking advantage of Denver's deadly isolation game to collect an 18-0 that threatened to push KC to the edge early at 49-19. One jam later it was still a 30 point difference at 54-24.

Timely rescue for KC came in the form of a much-needed 20 pointer from team captain Hall Balls as KC turned the tables on the isolation game and pulled within 10 at 54-44. Unfortunately for KC, Denver answered with 23 unanswered points over three jams, leaving KCRW again in a dangerously growing hole at 77-44 with about 90 seconds left in the first half.

The last jam of the half was practically the perfect example of Denver's extreme positional style. Their isolation pinned a KC blocker behind them on a power jam, and when that blocker tried to escape the trap by running backwards on the track to put some space between them, the Denver pack literally followed her the wrong way on the track to stay close -- and the KC blockers far in front followed suit to avoid a 20ft call, creating a situation where every blocker on the track was skating clockwise. Meanwhile, Denver jammer Kimmy Kimmy Bang Bang was racking up lap after lap, finishing with a 23-5 run that left Kansas City in real trouble at halftime, doubled up at 100-49.

Denver's slow style continued to rile the audience as the bout went on -- with the score 114-62 Denver and about 18 minutes left in the second half, Denver's slow start off the line delayed the jammer start by a very long 16 seconds. One jam later, Heather Juska had an easy path to a 25-0 jam as Denver's blockers once again headed in the clockwise direction to aggressively isolate a KC blocker in the rear, and Denver was up 142-62 with about 15 minutes to play. That jam was the definitive game-clincher, as Denver poured it on to go up 175-74 with just a second left to play. KCRW blocker Eclipse took the jam star in the final jam for an immensely crowd-pleasing 15-0 full-length turn, but the conclusion was long decided by then.

Denver moves on to battle Windy City at 1:30pm on Saturday with a trip to the final four on the line.

See DNN's archived boutcast here.

(2W) Rocky Mountain 239, (3SC) Houston 46 -- The first three jams of this bout were pretty close, but Rocky Mountain changed a 8-0 lead to a 23-0 when their jammer Psycho Babble rushed for 15 points behind a killer defense, and Rocky's superior pack maintenance soon staked them to a 48-1 after the opening 15 minutes of play. Houston's offense was simply unable to get anything started against particularly hard-nosed defense from Frida Beater and DeRanged, and more than a few jammer penalties on Houston certainly didn't help matters. Houston remained stuck at just that 1 point through 20 minutes, and the score was a disheartening 85-1 with under 9 minutes to play in the first half. The only bright point came on a 3-0 for Houston's Speed-O, but the rest of the half was more of the same and Rocky Mountain held a dominating 142-5 lead at the end of the first 30 minutes.

By the time the second half began with a 13-0 RMRG jam for She Who Cannot Be Named, the only question was whether Houston would ever find some traction or whether RMRG would just keep dropping points on them. Houston's second half was better than their first, with much more offensive output, but that half was still a rout by any normal measure as Rocky Mountain outscored them 94-41 in the final thirty.

RMRG easily advances to take on tournament hosts and the Eastern Region champions, Philly, at 12:45pm EST Saturday.

See DNN's archived boutcast here.

(3E) Boston 104, (2NC) Madison 98 -- This back and forth contest -- five lead changes and a mid-second-half tie -- featured short segments where both Boston and Madison appeared to have the momentum on their side, but at no point did either team hold a truly comfortable lead. Boston held the lead early at 28-8 after the first ten minutes, and it looked like they were poised to take control until Madison dropped 3-0 and 10-0 to close to within 28-21. It was at this point that Madison started employing the usually rare star pass on a nearly regular basis. It opened up with a timely pass from Juke Boxx to Mouse in a jam that went 17-7 for Madison and gave them the lead for the first time at 38-35 with 13:05 in the first half.

Boston had been in rather significant penalty trouble multiple times in the half, often starting jams at a 4-2 disadvantage, but Boston's jammers, particularly Claire D. Way, were having decent luck managing to pull critical lead jam calls even with that starting handicap. Still, though, Madison continued the run and pushed their lead to 50-36 with 8 minutes on the clock, and once again, just when it looked like one team was beginning to find their groove, a big blast from the opposing team reset the bout. This time it was Boston's Claire D. Way managing to spin, twist and even split her way to a 20-0 jam that put the lead back in Boston hands, 56-50.

Of course, the way the game was going, that lead was safe for about 90 seconds before Juke Boxxx power-jammed her way to a 10-0 for Madison. At the end of the half, Madison was up 76-62.

The momentum -- and lead -- changes started again with 20 minutes left to play when Boston nicked away for ten minutes before finally edging ahead 82-80. The next jam saw Madison take it back on a 4-0 for Darling Nikki, immediately followed by a 2-0 for Claire D. Way, tying the bout at 84-84 with about 16 minutes left to play.

Boston pushed the lead to 104-88 with about 5 minutes on the game clock, but the rest of the scoring in the bout went to Madison. With 2:02 left on the period clock going into what proved to be the final jam, the Dairyland Dolls were down by six at 104-98 and needed at least two scoring passes to win or tie. But when the final jam began, it had a nearly farcical sequence that saw not one, not two, not three, but four jammer trips to the box in the same jam: Madison caught a huge break, squandered it, got it handed back to them, and then squandered it again.

Boston's jammer Krushpuppy hit the penalty box early in her opening pass, giving the Madison fans something to get hyped about, but opposing jammer Juke Boxxx followed soon after with a major forearm that sprung Krushpuppy. But K-pup couldn't stay on the track either, pulling a major track cut and immediately giving Madison another power jam. On coming out of the box, Madison tried to go back to the well that had worked earlier by passing the star to Mouse.

Mouse had what appeared to be about 30 seconds left on the clock when she finally broke out of the pack for the first time, just barely enough time to potentially get the two passes she needed to tie or win it for Madison. But before she reached pack on her scoring pass, her fourth minor was assessed -- a track cut during that opening pass -- and for the fourth time in the jam, the jammer was boxed. That trip, though, was the nail in the coffin, as jam time expired before Mouse was released from the box.

The period clock had 2 seconds remaining when jam time expired, but Madison's bench realized they had time for a final timeout just a bit too late, and Boston escaped with a very dramatic win to advance in the tournament to a date with Texas at 11am Saturday.

Photos: Phil Peterson

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Close Games?

Maybe tomorrow will have some closer games :(

Close games tomorrow

Yeah, here's hoping ...

Heart Attack Games!

With those matchups-Gotham vs. Oly, Windy City vs. Denver--Serious speed and hits.

Definitely

looking forward to Oly vs Gotham! Been looking forward to this match up!

Timeouts...

The period clock had 2 seconds remaining when jam time expired, but Madison's bench realized they had time for a final timeout just a bit too late, and Boston escaped with a very dramatic win to advance in the tournament to a date with Texas at 11am Saturday.

Madison had used all their timeouts at that point, so they didn't have the option, sadly.

Bout Photos

If photographers land any great action shots of RMRG (or DRD), I would love a couple high-rez to send to our local media. I will credit you, of course.

Please send one or two you are willing to share to pr@rockymountainrollergirls.com.

I am tracking both Denver leagues through the tourney for the Denver-area media. It is all part of my evil campaign to have derby covered as a sport through relentless sports promotion.

Wishin' I was in Philly,

Dangerous Leigh A'zon
RMRG PR

Thank you DNN!

Great recaps. Wish I was there. Looking forward to the weekend!

Philly RMRG WOW!!!

OMG RMRG!!! Congratulations girls!

CONGRATS RMRG!

We are so proud at home. So. Very. Proud!

Now this is a story

Last year as nice as the NY Times story on Nationals was there was one line that pointed out that as a sporting spectacle it left a bit to be desired ,not in terms of athleticism but in drama. Who in the world could say that now about this year's tourney?

Its like the great moments of March Madness. A hell of a story. I hope someone from Real Sports or ESPN or FOxsports or Setanta or anyone who knows sports is there documenting this and putting into perspective how huge this is. Gives me chills just thinking about it.

If Vegas was taking bets on this, I would have made a killing. Then lost it on the Texas-Boston bout.

rosietherioter

Well, the lady at the food line cash register in the venue responded when I asked her if she had seen any of the games and what did she think, "Oh, honey. You girls are gonna be on TV real soon."

Punching in the head is not OK. Ever.

"The most fireworks in the second half would be provided when DeRanged, jamming late in the half, apparently got frustrated with Texas blocker Angie-Christ and took a swing at the back of her helmet, earning her an immediate expulsion."

Uh, what's DeRanged's problem? When is it ever OK to do something like that? All this effort into making roller derby a respectable sport, and she's out there clocking people in the head, from behind, when her team is losing? She's an adult woman! Her coaches and teammates need to come out and publicly say that's not how real sportswomen play and that it won't be tolerated anymore. It doesn't matter if their fans eat that stuff up. It's detrimental to the sport, it's very dangerous, and could jeopardize insurance & liability for her league and the tournament's hosts. It also sets a bad example for junior derby. More skating (forwards, preferably), less fighting (none, preferably)!

Punching in the head is not OK. Ever.

mb5311,

Honestly look at sports!!! Guaranteed you can NOT name a sport that a fight has NOT happened??? Hockey, baseball(they clear benches), football, NASCAR, Soccer, and the list goes on and on and on!!! Oh wait maybe golf. Has this really killed a sport, has this really done anything bad for the sport(s) in which it happens frequently??? More than one time in a year!! really jeopardize insurance?? which by the way liability is insurance. I guess most of your American sports would be pushed out of insurance with high payments if so called "fights" raised it all!! And all sporting teams would have to be self-insured!!!

What lead up to the punch, to the helmet by the way. (Helmet = hard plastic object, also certified high impact resistance). Do you know what happened or just saw the punch?? You're taking something that lasted maybe 10 seconds and making that the WFTDA Nationals, did you miss the great skating from Day 1 through last night, so far????? What happened happened, was is it right?? wrong?? justified?? I wasn't on the track and didn't see what lead up to it, so I am one to NOT jump to a conclusion if it was DeRanged that was the only instigator or not!! Derby is Derby and while it is not a professional sport, even though all the ladies I've seen skate, skate harder than a lot of "true" professional athletes, this is going to happen once in a blue moon. Am i condoning it, no. But have been and played in sport youth to professional, it's part of the game of competition. So, it's over and let's look forward to some more GREAT derby today!!!!!!

What my camera saw...

I know full well two different cameras can tell two different stories about the same event. I got a lot of fantastic footage from Saturday's bouts - including the jam talked about here. Things happened very fast. I didn't see it live because I was watching through the tiny screen of my camera. What I see happening in the video is different from what people next to me said they saw happen.

From a videographer's perspective (and ONLY from that perspective), these are the two clips I was most pleased to have captured. I only had battery power to catch about 1.5 hours of video on Saturday so these were sheer luck.

DeRanged's punch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oMNKa_FHOg

D-Bomb's/Blonde An' Bitchin's leg whip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVWaOpa1_ic

video

I love video. Great captures, under such low light!!

Thank you

Thank you sooo much for posting that video of the leg whip! My connection freaked out and I missed it live. That was baaaad ass!

Beyond the pale

Thanks for posting these videos! I especially like the slow-motion replays. The leg whip was interesting; the only times I've seen them, they were just for show and didn't seem to be very effective, but that one really worked.

As for the punch, Feelgood must've been feeling charitable when he wrote the capsule recap. That full-on slug in the head from behind is the most egregious cheap shot I've ever seen in modern derby. Congrats to The Angie-Christ and her teammates for keeping their cool.

da Bomb, er D-Bomb

Someone had the perfect seat both times. Thanks for sharing. Love that slo-mo whip!

In regards to rmrg vs. texas

Let's just say I realize that punching is not ok, however tell me what professional sport does not have fighting. I realize that professional players who get paid to play, get fined for there blatant acts of misconduct, however we are not professional, and do not get paid. We put our blood seat and tears into this sport and we do not get paid to put our bodies through the abuse we sustain. I have faced the worst punishment that they could give me, I am not going to be there for my team when they need me the most... the fight for third and fourth at the national tournment. I am very passionate about roller derby I respect the decision that was made, and I will be watching from the sideline cheering my girls on because I know they are going to Fight Fight Fight.

Congrats

Not to excuse the behavior but yes, shit happens when passions are high, blood and guts are put on the track and things aren't going as well as you want them to.

Aside from the punch, you're a fabulous skater and competitor--Hope to see you skate against Rat City in the future.

thanks DeRanged

DeRanged, thanks for responding personally and for having a positive attitude. I wish it were the automatic, proactive response instead of a defensive one, but it's good to see nonetheless.

As a fan of amateur roller derby, I'm not very concerned about what pro sports do w.r.t. fighting, and what they do doesn't excuse anything. Amateur athletes play for the love of the game, and that's one of the things that sets this derby apart from the theatrical, "pro" version. I understand that this means passions run deep and that there's no one who can hand down sanctions, but these factors are exactly why the athletes & coaches should hold themselves & each other to high standards. When there's a brawl in amateur sports, women's sports especially, there's an attitude of "I'm not getting paid to put up with this" from the players, and it draws boos from the stands. Coaches normally rein in their loose cannons or kick them out. There's accountability. In roller derby, though, not so much. I think it's only a matter of time before it costs someone money.

I just heard there was a fight at the third-place game, this time reflecting poorly on your opponents...*sigh*

Eh?

I just announced the third-place bout. I saw no fight.

There was no fight.

None at all. Close to the end there was an injury, but no fight.

Catholic Cruel Girl was hit (accidentally) from behind by a jammer and fell forward. She suffered a dislocated shoulder and there was some delay while medics prepared to move her. Word from our teammates is that she is "A OK."

Whew

Info relayed to me about that was incomplete/erroneous. I found out right after I posted about it. Thanks for the clarification!

From one skater

From one skater rehabilitating a dislocated shoulder to another, I hope her time off skates is short and that she comes back better and stronger than before!

In regards to rmrg vs. texas

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here at DNN, we encourage vigorous, thoughtful, and courteous discussion. This comment was pretty much just a nasty snipe, and has been deleted.

Keep it friendly in here, please.

Gotham & Denver had no answer for Oly's Atomatrix

She's amazing! I hope Texas finds a way to keep her in check.

Oly is more than just Atomatrix

It's true Atomatrix is an unbelievably awesome skater....but Oly has many great skaters. AND they work together as a TEAM awesomely (is that a word?) They are all fast, agile, badass skaters. At Battle for the Coast last year I saw Mary Stoppins do things during a game that I wouldn't have thought was possible....getting through a whole in a wall that didn't look big enough for a mouse etc. Oly is an incredible TEAM and I am so proud that they are bringing the Hydra home to the West Coast. OLY OLY OLY! OI OI OI! Congratulations ladies!

Vi Suvius
VCDD

This will really piss everyone off

I promised myself not to wade into the brawl over this weekend’s big story. After all, I wasn’t in Philly. I was sitting at home watching the action and non-action on the track thanks to DNN. Thanks DNN!

But I just can’t help myself. I have an opinion about what happened in Philly. And I expressed my annoying opinion frequently on the text blogcasts. I drunkenly fat fingered my bad jokes and witty (to me) observations until my fingers bled. Sorry, blogcasters. I promise never to annoy you again. Meanwhile, something else was going on.

So here goes. Please pardon me for what I’m about to say. I know it’s controversial. Send me hate mail. I can take it.

The Oly Roller’s Cosa Nostra Donnas were the revelation of what has been a great year of derby. Watching them win the championship was sweet serendipity. The way they skated and handled themselves showed great class. Okay, I know they brought ringers.6 national level speed skaters? I swear I saw flames shooting outta their skates.

When I saw the photo of them holding their trophy with those sweet smiles it was enough to warm the cockles…no the sub-cockles of this old cynic’s heart. Congratulations!! You made a lot fans this weekend.

Oh and that other controversy? You WFTDA skaters will work it out. It’s nice to be in control of your own destiny, isn’t it? Meanwhile, don’t forget those girls from Olympia.

OLY OLY OI OI OI!

I don't think saying that

I don't think saying that will piss anyone off. Oly played really well - individually as skaters and as a team. They played the speed game and the slow game equally well, and those girls are almost impossible to knock on the ground. I think whether you liked them or not (I liked them) almost everyone had to admit they played some sweet derby and were classy as well.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

What's most important for everyone that is a fan of flat track roller derby to remember is that no team has ever repeated. There has been no "dynasty" sort-of-speak (yet). Do I think Oly is capable of that right now? Personally, yes. BUT, no one has done that to date in WFTDA.
What that proves is with each year comes a higher level of competition. As the sport evolves and everyone playing the game becomes more experienced on the track, more athletic, etc., everyone should WELCOME the tough teams. Everyone should be happy to see there is in fact a next level. Otherwise, sports overall would get boring.
Every sport experiences new/fresh/restructured/newly coached/trade-benefitting teams challenging others. It's what makes sports so much fun to watch. And ESPECIALLY this one.
We are all so lucky to be witnessing a sport in its infancy like we are.
I feel the "slow/stop play" is just one more evolution of the sport. You don't rewrite rule books to appease upset fans. It's growth, call it forward or backwards growth, but it's growth. So long as it's within the rules and no one is getting hurt, it's technically playing the game.
And I love seeing teams have to adjust to their competitors. That's what being an athlete is. Lets not forget that.

In regards to rmrg vs. texas

Mb5311,
I think it's absurd that any one would even suggest that DeRanged's incident yesterday was for spectacle or entertainment. If you've ever been in a pack before, you know how frustrating and emotionally overwhelming it can be, and sometimes we all make dumb moves in the heat of the mooment. Obviously DeRanged knows what she did was wrong on several levels, but she is feeling her punishment more than anything you could say to or about her. And quite frankly, if she really wanted to throw a punch intentionally, I'm sure she wouldn't have thrown it to the back of some one's helmet.
DeRanged is an athlete and an inspiration to derby girls everywhere, and I will stand by her decisions on and off the track!
-SB

Totally there with you SB!!

Totally there with you SB!!

RMRG FIGHT CLUB!

Your league is so proud of each and every one of you. You represented us with so much skill and heart. We want you to come home safe and sound so we can all love on up on you in person. (And then you can knock me down some more.)

Thank you Ecko, Shank, Annia, Pepa, 'Nona, She Who, Frida, De, Cruelie, Whip, Psycho and Robo for rockin' so hard all year.

I don't think it was for entertainment either. Still not OK! :)

I also think it's absurd that anyone would suggest that it was for entertainment; none of the leagues playing at this level would do such a thing. That wasn't what I meant to imply and I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. What I was saying was that even though her team's fans might like to see fighting, that doesn't mean it's any more excusable when a real fight happens. That's all. (Also it doesn't matter if she was provoked.)

RMRG and DRD...and DeRanged.

MB5311, I find it disturbing that a DRD fan would post something so rude about an RMRG skater. You are not a skater and you were not at Nationals to witness the events preceding the punch. To me, this really seems more like an opportunity for you to trash one of our skaters. We apologized to Texas and all is good. DeRanged served her punishment, felt horrible that she couldn't skate with her team, and was very mature about the entire incident.
I'm not going to go over the motivations for the punch, but I will say that DeRanged is a very, very, very kind person with an incredibly competitive and loyal spirit. She is a class act and everyone who knows her feels the same way. As co-captain of RMRG's Fight Club, I am consistently impressed by her character, humility, and sensitivity.
I don't know where on earth you have seen RMRG fans requesting fighting. Please don't trash our fans either.

To all DRD and RMRG skaters and supporters, I challenge us all to work toward a better relationship. We don't have to be the Sharks and the Jets. We don't have to hate each other. I know that a lot of people don't want that, but there are a good amount who are happy about the hatred and do crummy things to exacerbate it. We need to work with our leagues on an institutional level if we are ever going to make any progress; otherwise, we will continue to demoralize each other and our respective leagues will be weaker because of it.

Frida Beater
Rocky Mountain Rollergirls

Rude?

Why is this rude? I don't know anything about the history of Rocky Mountain and Denver (except there has been some exchange of skaters? and both are based out of Denver?) I am a skater and was at Nationals and think that this is a subject that should be discussed. We have a responsibility to one another to point out when something's totally messed up--- so that people "who's passions are running high" maybe stop and think before they swing or trip or whatever.. and particularly in the case of skaters who are so good and are potentially so inspiring.

For all of you who know her, you have a thousand other indications of character to mediate one punch. I don't have that. She's been punished, so I feel like we should let it go and assume that she'll keep her shit together in the future. But, I don't think people should be criticized for talking about this. (And, Mathmortician, I don't think it's easy to criticize...I think it's sad.)

No one should be silent re: sportsmanship

Your assumptions about my motivations aside, it doesn't matter how nice someone is off the track if they're doing dangerous things on the track. Everyone, and I mean *everyone*, has a responsibility to say, after such an incident, "this is inexcusably poor sportsmanship and will not be tolerated in our sport." And of course it has to be not just empty words. This message should be coming first & foremost from the offending player's teammates and coaches and fans, but it should also come from any other fans who were there, and from fans like me who only saw the video and read the recap, fans of her own league, fans of other leagues (yes, even fans of rival leagues), from columnists and reporters...everyone. Yet I don't see very many people speaking out about it, so apparently everyone, including the fans you should care the most about, is OK with it, which is a disappointing situation. Maybe I shouldn't have singled out your fans, since my point was to chastise everyone for being silent. But I am saying that such apparent indifference shouldn't make you (or anyone else who cares) any less inclined to speak out about it.

Sportsmanship and the breaking down of negative stereotypes about derby transcends interleague relations. Who's complaining about whom, and how much the offending player has suffered in her punishment, really make no difference. This isn't an opportunity for someone to take a swipe at your league, it's an opportunity for your league and others to take a stand on fighting in general, and on cheap shots in particular. This kind of thing is just going to happen again, and the consequences could be dire, if people -- fans, players, and coaches alike, across all leagues -- don't stand up and say something about it, even if it means they themselves are going to be accused of bias and ulterior motives, or fomenting interleague discord. So go ahead and be dismissive, and suggest that people should remain silent if there's any chance they could be guilty by association, as you've already judged me to be. Meanwhile, if I see something like this happening in any bout I pay attention to, regardless what allegiances it calls into question, I'm going to speak out about it.

I accept your challenge,

I accept your challenge, Frida!

I would love to work toward a better relationship with our leagues. I mean if Catholic Cruel Girl can accept my apology for what can only be described as the worst back block I have ever delivered to a skater (which she did!) - what can't be forgiven?

Okay - I'm know that's easier said than done, but I also know that I am not the only DRD skater with hopes of increasing the positive interactions between our leagues. I believe that our leagues could learn a lot from each other, push each other to higher levels of play, and continue to make Denver the home of some of the nation's best roller derby.

P.S. Congrats, Oly! Amazing job!

Jessica "Bea Ware" Rivas
Denver Roller Dolls
Mile High Club

I'm crazy excited

For what our leagues can do if we increase the amount of interleague play between the two! I have really enjoyed getting to know many RMRG skaters and support staff and my respect for your league has only grown after this weekend.

Charli Horse
Denver Roller Dolls

The series is tied at 1 and 1.

As a fan and a long time support guy, sign maker, and overall derby dork I agree 100%. Whether it's home teams, travel teams or an afterparty worm-off, my only question is when is the tie breaker?

Do it!

Yes! I would love to see more same-city bouts scheduled in Denver and in other multi-league cities. Ultimately everybody wins, IMHO.

No clue where it stands ...

But I have heard mutterings about an annual bout, perhaps called "The Denver Boot Classic." I assume this means the A-squads bouting, but as a B-teamer, I would like to play DRD's B-team.

I also have this ridiculous fantasy about a Colorado-wide home team tournament, which would be so fun considering how many leagues our little rectangular state has. Personally, I do believe my RMRG Dooms Daisies would be in serious contention in that case. :)

Colorado Home Team Tournament?

I love it! I love it so very much!

Why is it ...

that these days when something in the derby world suddenly puts me up to my arse in alligators with derby duties, you are suddenly standing next to me in that pit - grinning? Just noting the trend, there, x-town rival. ;)

Ummm...

Because we're both awesome? Just my thought...

Team Co-op (Colorado Mix Team)

I'd love to see a more robust Team Co-Op established - we had a teeny RMRG-dominant team at RollerCon this year - to take on the WORLD! :)

It was only my second bout when I skated with them in August. I swear, I'm like 100x times better now!

Dangey - I did hear that y'all have the best jammer panties... :)

the name game

For the Colorado rivalry bout, "Denver Boot Classic" is pretty good, but I'm rooting for "The Rectangle Wrangle."

Credit where credit is due

The Denver Boot I believe was RMRG mascot Wolfie's idea. Wether or not something like that happens, it seems like a good idea to me.

And while I'm at it, since this whole recap is kind of being hijacked by RMRG, DRD, slow packs and the punch, I think it can't be stated enough what a great event Philly put together and what a great season Oly has had.

yes

I second Rectangle Wrangle.

How about both?

The Denver Boot could be the trophy you win at the Rectangle Wrangle.

where geometry and geography intersect

Actually, 'Rectangle Wrangle' might be more appropriate once the Laramie or Sheridan leagues in Wyoming get up to snuff.

Then you'll all get your butts kicked by TEAM RHOMBUS.

How about the "Quadrilateral

How about the "Quadrilateral Batteral?"

Really?

I think you can support your teammate or friend while communicating that they made a HUGE mistake, rather than saying you support bad decisions. DeRanged is easily one of the BEST jammers I've ever seen, which makes her decision to be violent even more frustrating. She can probably outplay almost anyone, so resorting to hitting is just so crazy. And, that whole "passions run high" and "what pro sport doesn't have fighting" is terribly lame. Referring to other people's bad decisions just lumps you in with others who can't control themselves. Better to just apologize without qualifying the apology. I'm glad to see that skaters who do resort to violence are facing punishment-- it hasn't always been that way this year.

That said, I'm sure this one moment/one mistake doesn't define DeRanged as a person or as a player.

An inspiration? Really? In my

An inspiration? Really?

In my mind, a skater who is inspiring is someone who can play smart and play well and keep their cool despite those darn "frustrating" packs. Not a player who completely disrespected her opponents and screwed over her own team.

still inspiring

one mistake should not forever tarnish the inspiration one skater has given hundreds across the nation (world?). it's easy to criticize, but everyone makes mistakes.

Congrats RMRG! #4! congrats

Congrats RMRG! #4! congrats to DRD as well #3! Colorado has so much talent it's sick. And the good news is Cruelie is OK.

agreed - Congrats to all the Western teams!

Agreed! I'm glad the downed skater is going to be all right. And congratulations to both Denver leagues for doing so well this year! Can't wait to see what next year brings. Also extra kudos to Oly for their much deserved victories in this tournament and all season. It's great to see the Western region getting its due!

The Boos

There were some pretty heated comments and things going on between spectators during the third/fourth place bout, but nothing on the track in regards to a fight. With that in mind, the folks who were booing during Denver's play should really feel ashamed. I heard so many outrageous comments, right down to 'Denver Sucks' being yelled by a few people during the complete silence that over took the place when the medics were attending to the downed RMRG skater. Denver skated a different game. They were using the rule set and playing smart, taking advantage of their ability to bring packs to a crawl. Teams got beat because they didn't know what to do with it. Clearly Oly was able to adjust and not let Denver get the best of them with the slow game, so if other teams couldn't then suck it up - you lost. That doesn't warrant people booing and yelling that a team sucks. Regardless, I am sure the new rule set will have something that attacks that sort of play.

Exactly!

Hung, I completely agree!

Quite frankly, I was embarrassed from the booing and slander yelling and spouts of how a particular type of play was morally correct.

Hung Solo wrote:

There were some pretty heated comments and things going on between spectators during the third/fourth place bout, but nothing on the track in regards to a fight. With that in mind, the folks who were booing during Denver's play should really feel ashamed. I heard so many outrageous comments, right down to 'Denver Sucks' being yelled by a few people during the complete silence that over took the place when the medics were attending to the downed RMRG skater. Denver skated a different game. They were using the rule set and playing smart, taking advantage of their ability to bring packs to a crawl. Teams got beat because they didn't know what to do with it. Clearly Oly was able to adjust and not let Denver get the best of them with the slow game, so if other teams couldn't then suck it up - you lost. That doesn't warrant people booing and yelling that a team sucks. Regardless, I am sure the new rule set will have something that attacks that sort of play.

A different way to look at it

"using the rule set" -- I actually disagree here.

There is a big tendency to view anything that complies with the letter of the rules as being fair game. I think those that boo probably think there is a spirit to the rules and that many "clever" strategies are at best unsporting. Refusing to skate or stopping skating to gain a rules-detail advantage seem clearly counter to the spirit of the game.

Since all refs can reasonably enforce is the letter of the rules (and to ask them to enforce the "spirit of the rules", on the fly, is probably making a relatively thankless and difficult job quite impossible), we're probably stuck with such "clever" play. But perhaps getting booed by some well-informed derby fans is the price those teams should pay.

I'll agree that shouting "you suck", obscenities, and personal attacks should be avoided, but booing is a reasonably mild way that fans have in expressing displeasure.

spirit of the sport?

100% agree. perhaps the reason the ruleset is so long is because (smart) teams keep finding loopholes so that every new revision needs a huge explanatory subsection preventing teams from exploiting it. personally, i'm hoping this is one area the WFTDA reconsiders the next go-around - maybe i've become an old derby fogey, but the constant clockwise skating and full packs stopping does not seem to uphold the spirit of the sport.

i've not personally skated under the new rules so my perspective is only that of a fan. i'm curious to hear from those of you who are currently skating if you've found or thought of effective ways to counter this type of skating (or non-skating). i can say though that from this fan's perspective, those bouts just weren't fun to watch. at first it was certainly interesting to see the stop-strategy but after the first few jams, the novelty wore off. it's obvious that this kind of skating takes great skill in positional blocking and pack control and denver executed it like a science - but - just because you can, doesn't necessarily mean you ALWAYS should.

still, i'm glad denver had the gumption to "go there" at a national tourney, especially when it was so blatantly unpopular. it's important to see how other leagues are interpreting the rules because it encourages discussion from both the skaters and fans alike. denver's strategy was ballsy and most of the time it worked so i give them props for their victories and for making the rest of us scratch our heads a bit and THINK. maybe there's a counter to this style of derby that thus far, only oly is on to. or, maybe it's time to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate what exactly IS the spirit of the sport.

i for one would like to see the spirit continue to incorporate speed, heaving hitting, strategy AND smarts and hope that on the whole, one is not sacrificed to achieve another. i know there will be plenty of people who will disagree and perhaps a few who are thinking the same way but for me, the best kind of derby isn't the one-trick variety.

big congratulations to oly and all the teams that competed.

Sweet N. Lowdown
UAE Roller Derby
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Spirit.

Maybe the spirit is different to different people, which is why I mentioned how obnoxious it is for us to go on and on about what is the "morally" correct way to play. I know if I wanted to watch speed skating, I'd go to a speed skating match, but I've never boo'd a team because they were simply sprinting, booring! I enjoy the technicality of speed control which often utilizes some of the hardest hits I've ever received.

But I think what it really comes down to is that the more skilled team will force the other team to play their game. Oly, for example, is a FAST team and they didn't fall victim to the strategy Denver employed and Denver obviously realized that and also adapted their strategy. In the Kansas City/Denver matchup, KCRW's mistake was that they also slowed considerably on the track when Denver slowed, so Denver had to come to a stop to go slower than KCRW. THIS is the reason that that game play was so slow.

COMPLETELY COUNTERABLE!!!

Sweet N. Lowdown wrote:

(smart) teams keep finding loopholes ... but the constant clockwise skating and full packs stopping does not seem to uphold the spirit of the sport.
... i'm curious to hear from those of you who are currently skating if you've found or thought of effective ways to counter this type of skating (or non-skating).

you say loophole i say strategy. tomyto tomahto.

counter: don't lag behind. if a team skates clockwise for no reason they are destroying the pack and will be penalized. if you are lagging behind hoping no one will notice you you are asking, nay, BEGGING for the team to swoop on you the fastest way they can (ie skating directly at you, not just slowing down and waiting for you to catch up), thusly making you, the lagger behinder, and them, the skating clockwisers, the pack. this is completely preventable and counterable. don't lag behind, gun it to pass them. just like when you don't have a jammer and don't want to be caught behind.
therefore, is not a loophole, but actually a strategy.

to me, when i see this happen, i think, "damn. now that's the definition of pack control", which is 100% the spirit of the sport.

perhaps time will tell...

maybe i'm not getting it cause i've never skated under this ruleset but visually, i don't like the clockwise skating - it just LOOKS dangerous and, for me, interrupts the aesthetic flow of the game. i see your point though and i can agree that this new style should probably at least be given a chance to breathe and develop (along with the counter strategies) before we all completely crucify it.

however, with that said... i remember first seeing what we now call a "runaway pussy" at dust devil 06 and at the time quite a lot of the derby community hailed it too as "good strategy." it WAS smart strategy at the time and it was completely legal then but as i think we can all agree now, not good for the sport or gameplay and was eventually revised (again and again and again).

i see the runaway packs as kind of the opposite of what was happening with the denver packs. the runaway packs required skill too - especially speed, awareness, and some level of pack togetherness - and usually the other team was scrambling to keep up and reengage so they could get their jammer through. the point is, both strategies are complete extremes and should probably be considered cautiously. with most things, the best ways are those that don't rely on extremes but are rather quite balanced. i prefer derby that EQUALLY combines speed and aggression with strategy and pack control. but, to each her own. :)

it's definitely an interesting development and i'm very curious to see where it all will lead.

Sweet N. Lowdown

Potato Potatoes

Everyone seriously needs to let go of calling Denver's play and strategy a loophole. (and boring and dirty, which I heard all weekend)

It's not a loophole.....they did their homework. They took pages out of every team's book and studied for their test. If anyone hates on them, it's probably because you skipped class to go smoke cigarettes in the bathroom and now you are embarrassed because someone schooled you.

I also saw NOTHING that indicated that Denver's play was dangerous. No more dangerous than any other team's or just the inherent quality of playing a contact sport. They skated a clean game, period.

I know you may see them skate backwards.....but it's with their bootys out ready to block. Then they come to a complete stop and then begin movement before they block. Completely legal. What is impressive is that all four blockers do it together at the same time. Their pack work is incredible......to see it is to see a textbook example of teamwork.

Also, Denver has a slow game, at times, as do many teams. But, they also have a VERY FAST game; their speed and acceleration is second only to Oly. It's their ability to stop on a dime and then their velocity that is amazing.

Anyhow, I hope people can try to embrace the growth of our sport instead of hating on it because it's different and challenges you to think in new and dynamic ways.

Glad you mentioned...

I'm glad you mentioned their fast game. Everyone was so hyper-focused on their isolation blocking during power jams that they completely neglected, you know, the remaining 75% or more of the game. As you said, they played a very good fast game, too. Denver was also incredible at breaking apart opposing walls, they had some of the best rear-pack defense I've ever seen, and very solid penalty management. But that, of course, gets ignored.

The thing is, Denver's isolation blocking has a number of counters to it. But you know what I actually really like about Denver's strategy? Ultimately, the best way to deal with it is to become more pack aware, and to not neglect the back of the pack. And anything that encourages more pack awareness is good for the sport, in my opinion.

As far as the "spirit" of the sport goes, I really enjoy a technical game with impressive displays of pack work, and Denver definitely succeeded in delivering that. But judging by the crowd reaction, I'm in the minority there.

I hope Denver wasn't too upset at the crowd reaction - I'd hate for that to put a damper on what should have been a wonderful and fulfilling weekend for them. I have so much respect for every team that played in Philly this weekend. Congratulations to Denver, Texas, and Oly on the top-three finishes!

Props to the OG's of the slow pack...

Duke City (looking at you Dahmer) started the slow pack tactic last year at Western Regionals and bumped out the reigning National Champs (Kansas City) from a chance at the Hydra in 2008. With the 2009 rules clarifications for splitting the pack I think we all anticipated that the slow Duke City style would disappear because it wouldn't be possible to execute under the new rules set. I guess this just goes to show that the rules don't shape the game too much...

I've been saying this...

... to anyone who will listen for the last 6 days! Just don't get caught behind!!! If you know they are going to employ this strategy, defend each other to make sure you get in front, 'no soldier left behind' but as a concept from the first whistle. And if you get a skater left behind and trapped somehow, concentrate on the advantage you now have on their jammer who is not being as efficiently helped by her blockers, make them have to release the trapped jammer to help her. It is still about pack control, just be smart and do not let that jammer get a scoring pass, not one damn point, when they are playing 'stop and bop' you are putting heavy hits on their jammer, this makes perfect sense, right? Obviously penalties play into things as they always do, but, other than that, am I over simplifying???
GO SDDD

On the boos.

When you hear boos at Nationals, you need to realize that if the home team isn't playing, or a questionable call didn't just get made by a ref, the boos were mostly coming from derby skaters, who were booing a tactic. Those skaters go home from Nationals, their WFTDA rep hears about what they didn't like seeing, the Rules Committee gets looking at how to "solve it."

If you take a look at what got booed each year at Nationals, on average you'd find tactics that have tended to get addressed in the next rules release.

So I find the booing to be kinda helpful, actually.

They weren't booing a team, per se. They were booing what a team was doing.

One item and then I will talk about other things...

Poobah wrote:

They weren't booing a team, per se. They were booing what a team was doing.

Hmm. When my cousin (who was at his 2nd derby bout ever) was called a "cheater" for wearing a Mile High Club t-shirt I can hardly believe that the person who called him that was concerned with what he was doing.

Unless he was trying to steal their Yuengling. Then I would definitely call him a cheater.

I'm not going to talk about what's already been talked about very eloquently; I'm too close to DRD for that. Rather I will talk about these things:

- Oly is amazing all-around--they won a hard-fought and a well deserved championship and I look forward to seeing them again, off and on the track.

- Philly is an amazing city and has an amazing derby league to have organized the nationals tourney as smoothly and excitingly as they did. Your volunteers and skaters are spectacular.

- DNN rocks my socks. Without you, we'd have no one place to talk like this and have such passionate debate that we can all be part of. And thanks for the fantastic coverage this weekend.

- To all the leagues that were participating, watching, watching from afar and fans, too: thank you for giving us and supporting the amazing sport of women's flat track derby.

- To the Marriott--did you know what you were getting into this past weekend for $99 a night? I don't think so...

Boston/Texas bout

With all this talk of boos and stuff, how come no one has mentioned the guy yelling during the Boston/Texas bout when a Boston skater was injured? I actually thought that was just as rude if not ruder than "Denver Sucks", and I'm from Denver.

that was...

that was because he wanted the skater who threw the elbow to the neck of the boston skater ejected. he wasn't cheering for the foul.

Thank you!

Thank you for making this post! We are skaters and derby players just the same as any other team. We happened to find a strategy that worked for us early on in this season and have capitalized on it. It really was no fun getting booed or yelled at all weekend. We worked our asses off all season and all weekend to get where we are!! I must say that for Denver and Rocky Mountain both making it to semi-finals and being for the same exact city and practicing 30 minutes away from eachother is amazing!

Juska #303
Mile High Club
Denver Roller Dolls

I also find it un-derby-like

To transfer the dislike of a completely LEGAL strategy that may not be what people are looking for to a dislike of a team. Feel however you want about the strategy, but don;t blame a team for using something perfectly provided fro within the WFTDA Rule set. Disheartening to say the least.

It made me so sad...

...has there ever been a team in the top 3 at Nationals who we treated this way, who played a clean game and didn't intentionally foul people? This should have been a time for your team to revel in your accomplishment, and I'm so sorry anyone took any of the fun away from you. Congratulations! So proud of you and RMRG this weekend, and so ashamed that people treated you this way. -xxxoooMercy Less

yes,

but I like the way you phrased your question.

You know and I know

and lots of people know what I meant, but I don't remember anyone shouting at the perceived offenders while an intentionally fouled skater was down on the track with the medics, back in the day... question carefully worded.

Congratulations Oly

This was the first Nationals tournament I have attended. And wow, it was such a fun experience. Congratulations on the victory Oly. That was quite a run you all put together.

Yes congrats Oly. You ladies

Yes congrats Oly. You ladies are out of control! And Gotham, know that Boston has a date with Oly next year-Maybe you guys can have a REMATCH!? That would rule.
-Buse

The Boo's

Honestly, I am thankful that Denver has taught all of us a newer game. They are not the first to use "stop defense" as a technical strategy, nor do I hope they are the last. It is a brilliant and calculated strategy that takes preparation and adjustment. Way to go Denver! ... Just like the apex jump, its hard to master but should not be abolished because it's unfamilliar!

Disagreed.

"Just like the apex jump, its hard to master but should not be abolished because it's unfamilliar!"

An apex jump doesn't stop the game dead on the track.

It's called "roller derby" for a reason. The skaters are supposed to be ROLLing.

Want Ad

Does anyone have an extra Nationals program they're willing to part with? Apparently they sold out before I was able to snag one. Please PM me or email me at joe@joyrides.com.

(And hey DNN, how about a classified ads page?)

SAME HERE!!!

If anyone out there in Derby Nation has an extra program they'd be willing to part with I'd be forever grateful! I, too, was told that they were sold out by the time I made my way to the merch booth.

Props to Philly on their well planned merch, it damn near sold out from what I've been told.

Oh and hit me up at valphonsecapone@gmail.com if anyone has an extra program they'd like to send my way. I'll trade you for one next year in my Sweet Home Chicago!

Or something else...your call.

Love & Derby,
Valphonse

Re-order in Progress

Stay tuned!

Hooray!

I need a program too!

Merch Re-Order from Dara Licks

Hey all!

Due to tons of requests and our love of tournament work, we're going to do a re-order of Nationals 2009 tournament merch. The items available to order are:

1.- Men's Lapis Tee (Nationals art on front, participating leagues and sponsors on back) American Apparel#: 2001

$15.00 + $5.00 S&H

2.- Women's Red Cap Sleeve Tee: (Nationals art on front, participating leagues and sponsors on back) American Apparel#: 6322 (zombie's note: these are the same style as the awesome ECE 09 ones, they fit more true to size, are more sleeveless than not, and have the open neck)

$18.00 + $5.00 S&H

3.- Unisex Lapis Hoodie: (Nationals art on back) American Apparel#: F497

$35.00 +$5.00 S&H

4.- Tournament Programs: $5.00 + $2.00 S&H

Please note that the red cap sleeve tees are true to size, despite being American Apparel. Also, the hoodies are unisex, so they run much larger than you would expect (I wear a size 10 pants and wear a size SMALL-- it's fitted, but not tight.) Feel free to email me if you're not sure about your size.... We really won't be able to offer returns or exchanges.

If you are interested in buying Nationals merch, please paypal your order to phillyrollergirls@ yahoo.com. Be sure to include the following information:

1.- Item to be purchased
2.- Size
3.- Shipping Address

The deadline for all orders is Wednesday, December 2, 2009. If you have any questions (like prices for combined shipping! or questions about sizes!), please email me prgmerch@gmail. com.

Thanks!!

dara licks
PRG MERCH
prgmerch@gmail. com

Derby Classifieds

Joe Rollerfan wrote:

Does anyone have an extra Nationals program they're willing to part with? Apparently they sold out before I was able to snag one. Please PM me or email me at joe@joyrides.com.

(And hey DNN, how about a classified ads page?)

For classifieds, we direct your attention to Derbuy.com, a project of MNRG's Wet Spot.

The Denver strategy

Here's what I don't understand about the Denver strategy, and I really hope someone can explain to me what the refs were thinking about this. If Denver is stopped or skating clockwise and they are holding an opposing blocker behind them, they are BLOCKING. They are positionally blocking while stopped or skating clockwise, and the rules do explicitly state you cannot block (and that means physical blocking OR positional blocking) while stopped or skating clockwise. Pertinent passages from the rules:

5.1.1.2 Only skaters who are in play (as defined in Section 4.3.2) may skate in front of
an opposing skater to impede her movement on the track (aka Passive,
Positional, Frontal, or Body Blocking). Positional blocking need not include
contact.
5.1.3 A skater who is in play and stepping or skating (i.e. not down or at a standstill) may block
or engage an opposing player at any time during the jam after their start whistle has
blown.
5.1.4.2 Skaters must not skate clockwise in relation to the track when executing a
block.

To my eyes, what Denver did all weekend was positionally block while stopped/skating clockwise and THAT is why I disagreed with it. Spirit of the game or whatever aside, it actually seems explicitly illegal to me with the current ruleset, unless someone can explain to me what I'm missing. I'd love to hear from some of the refs of those games to clarify why they didn't call this.

Equally Puzzled

I couldn't understand that either, Bombshell. What's the rationale for not calling penalties with respect to those rules?

Rules

Denver refs, coaches and captains are rules junkies. We know those rules and play to them. Watch the games again: we NEVER skate backwards when engaging, and while it's slow, also do not stop completely when holding another player back.

Thanks to the folks on these boards who are being complementary. As a newer skater in the league, I only know this style of derby, and I LOVE it. It seems much more of a smart, team game play than some of the races I saw this weekend. Its weird to me that people think ANY 25 pt jam is boring, and holding back a player helps that happen.

And for the folks wearing the shirts this weekend that said "the slow game ruined roller derby" - I bet people said the same thing when leagues started doing away with penalty wheels and fake fighting...

*disclaimer: I'm not on MHC.

I have to agree.

I've been watching DRD play with these rules all season. I have never seen them initiate a block positional or otherwise while skating backwards. If the opposing trailing blocker has forward momentum going into them, so does DRD. It worked wonders every time we played them this season and in all honesty, it is an exciting tactic to watch people play with and learn to counter. At least that is my opinion.

totally agree

...with you Bombshell. Positional blocking is still blocking and you can't do it from a standstill. Refs have at least been calling this consistently all year, even though it still makes no sense to me. Who wants to clarify?
Doom

What I don't get

is how, after knocking a jammer out of bounds, a blocker can skate clockwise thus forcing a track cut or forcing the jammer to skate clockwise. How is that not blocking?

Either way, I don't have a problem with this strategy. Ultimately, a good game would have super speedy packs when it's smart and stand still packs when it's smart. I hope WFTDA doesn't outlaw this just because people don't like it because it's good strategy.

I just don't get all the people booing. Booing isn't going to do anything. If you want it to stop that bad, come up with a strategy to beat it. That's all you have to do. Beat it and teams won't employ that strategy anymore because it's no longer advantageous. It's that simple. The booing and complaining was just plain dumb.

Probably ...

"is how, after knocking a jammer out of bounds, a blocker can skate clockwise thus forcing a track cut or forcing the jammer to skate clockwise. How is that not blocking?"

The way I read the rules, that's probably not blocking because the jammer is out of bounds, and because the blocker is allowed to skate in either direction.

Plus you can get into a whole lengthy discussion about there being no contact and the blocker isn't impeding the skating of the jammer in any way at all.

And there's the whole concept of the jammer being out of bounds and what not. You could get really philosophical about that.

Right

but it just says the blocker has to be in play to block. Maybe I need to read deeper into the rulebook but the idea is clearly to "impede her (the jammer's) movement on the track" and thus would be considered a block which would then not allow the blocker to skate clockwise.

"the blocker isn't impeding the skating of the jammer in any way at all." But they are. Obviously there's no contact but the jammer has to come in behind the blocker, thus impeding the jammer's ability to skate forward.

As a ref I've never

As a ref I've never understood the controversy about this. It is plainly within the rules and I don't think it even vaguely qualifies as a loophole.

One basic principle which recurs throughout the rules is that a out-of-bounds player has "lost position" relative to in-bounds players. The OOB player has no rights of position relative to IB players, so the IB player isn't "blocking". Right at the top of 6.8 in the rules it says:

"A skater that is in bounds need not yield the right of way to an out of bounds skater. Skaters that are out of bounds must find an entrance back in bounds that does not require in bounds skaters to move."

end of story.

having said that, the other rule that is clearly in play here is:

5.1.3 A skater who is in play and stepping or skating (i.e. not down or at a standstill) may block or engage an opposing player...

blocking while stopped was illegal, is illegal, and no "rules changes" are necessary mid-tournament. increased focus on a developing issue is always warranted, however, and HRs are free to instruct their refs accordingly.

I would think about calling an effect-based clockwise-blocking penalty on someone who was positionally blocking by skating backwards, yes, if it actually impeded an opponent. That too is seems clear in the rules, no changes necessary. But I would seek guidance from my HR on how she/he wanted to call the situation.

Here is where the loophole

Here is where the loophole happens in my mind though I might be missing something...

A skater gets knocked out of bounds by opposing blocker. Let's call this Skater A.

Opposing blocker skates CLOCKWISE, backwards in the pack, let's call this blocker Skater B.

Skater A must return in the pack behind Skater B to re-enter legally. Skater B continues to roll backwards until she is behind the pack 20 feet. Still, Skater A cannot return into play in front of her without taking a minor until a warning is issued or risks a penalty.

Skater A's teammates would need to also skate clockwise to go back and help her out or wait for Skater B to get declared out of play, 20 feet behind.

We all know 20 feet behind the pack is not enforced nearly as strictly as 20 feet in the front so .

Technically Skater B is not making any contact but she is still affecting Skater A's progress within the pack and ability to return to play. So Skater B's skating backwards could be considered positional CLOCKWISE blocking, which is illegal and potentially could also be considered positionally blocking someone out of bounds as well (greyer area). Whereas stopping and continuing at an excruciating slow but forward (counter-clockwise) roll as long as possible until out of play would not be clockwise blocking but instead just skating on the track as per the game. Thus, the loophole with the clockwise skating ...

The situation needs clarification.

Is it legal to skate clockwise because Skater A is out of play altogether and not a consideration at all? If so, how far backwards/clockwise can Skater B continue to roll? Can she keep going backwards all the way around the track until she is ready to rejoin the pack and herself get a lapped pack penalty? And also, if that's the case then it's worth it for Skater A to take the minor and cut her.
If it's not legal, it needs to be spelled out better and more explicitly in the ruleset.

Additionally, when a bunch of skaters on Team B skate together clockwise, and Team A is skating counter-clockwise, they would be the ones splitting the pack going against the established motion of the pack. Neither team is allowed to engage in any kind of blocking at this time.

-------------------------
Out of play penalties are applied for actions occurring outside the legal Engagement Zone. All actions are to be penalized equally regardless of position (Blocker vs. Jammer). Out of play actions include but are not limited to blocking, assisting, and destroying the pack.
6.5.1 A Blocker engaging, blocking, or assisting outside the legal Engagement Zone. A penalty should be applied to each offending Blocker for each action.
6.5.6 A skater who is more than 20 feet in front of or behind the pack may receive an out of play warning by a referee; however, a referee is not required to issue a warning prior to giving a penalty. Issuing penalties takes priority over issuing warnings. A warning does not have to be issued in order for a penalty to be given

6.6 SKATING CLOCKWISE TO BLOCK
Skaters must not skate in the opposite direction of the pack (clockwise) when executing a block.
No impact/No penalty
6.6.1 Incidental contact from skater getting spun around as a result of another block.
6.6.2 A clockwise block that does not force the opponent to adjust her skating stance or relative position in any way.

6.8.1 Re-entering behind the initiator of the block
When sent out of bounds by a block, an opponent must re-enter the track without
bettering her position in relation to other skaters. Re-entering the track from out of
bounds in front of the initiator of the block is improving your relative position, regardless of who is in front when the block is executed. An in bounds skater who forces an opponent out of bounds earns and establishes superior position. A skater may not return in bounds in front of the skater who blocked her out of bounds, except under the following circumstances where no penalty is to be issued:
6.8.1.1 When the initiating skater is considered “in the box,” having been sent off the
track for a penalty (see Section 7.3.2.2.1)
6.8.1.2 When the initiating skater goes out of bounds at any time after the initiating
block

6.8.1.3 When the initiating skater downs herself or falls at any time after the initiating
block
6.8.1.4 When the initiating skater exits the Engagement Zone at any time after the
initiating block
The outcome and aftermath of a block are complete when the receiving skater has reestablished control of her own self on the track. If the receiving skater exits the track
after the outcome and aftermath of a block, she is not required to re-enter behind the
initiator of the previous block. She is however, still subject to skating out of bounds
penalties.

i hate subject lines.

skater b's teamates would not need to skate back to help her, because they are the ones that are technically slowing the pack to a stop. If they maintain their speed then the pack would have to continue to move, or team b would get called on destroying the pack.

i probably wrote the wrong

i probably wrote the wrong thing in, but meant Skater A's teammates come back to help her.

same here.

whoops, that's what i meant too! the girl that got knocked out, her team is making the consciuos decision to go back and help her, thus giving the opposing team control of the speed.

I believe this phrase makes it illegal

"The outcome and aftermath of a block are complete when the receiving skater has reestablished control of her own self on the track."

In other words, a block is not complete until the out of bounds player reenters the track. Therefore, a blocker skating clockwise after knocking the jammer out of bounds is doing so illegally because they are still technically blocking the jammer until the jammer reenters the track.

Please someone tell me if I'm wrong about this because I almost want to be wrong. If I'm right it means that the refs called the entire nationals tournament incorrectly.

well this is where it gets more confusing.

Because if a skater is out of bounds (Skater A), Skater B does not have to let her back onto the track.
6.9.4 A skater who is in bounds need not yield right of way to the out of bounds skater.

but then there is this as well.

So Blocker B skating CLOCKWISE is actually in this weird limbo place between these two rules until clarification is made. Is she positionally blocking (clockwise blocking) an out-of-bounds skater by skating clockwise on the track so that Skater A must skate back further before entering the track? Because she is Actively choosing to roll clockwise. Or is she adjusting her own position and not yielding way to an out-of-bounds skater?

One could argue both points.

A skater who is skating at the very slowest counter-clockwise roll possible is less likely to be interpreted as *actively* positionally blocking the out-of-bounds skater.

6.9.6 An in bounds skater may actively block or hit a returning skater when any part of the returning skater's skate is touching any in bounds track territory. The returning player has crossed the track boundary but remains out of bounds by definition as long as any part of her skates are still touching any out of bounds territory. However, by entering the track, she becomes a target and can be hit.

See what you mean, but no.

Vixen, 20 feet behind is called -- good pack refs watch for that when someone's been blocked out. There's no problem... the in-bounds skater who has stopped will eventually be OOP and at that point they are having a Major impact on game play by preventing the OOB blocker from returning. Major penalty. If it's not being called as rigorously as it should, that's a problem of execution, not a loophole.

And Chuckbowski... I understand but I think you're misreading the rules here. The introductory language to 6.8 makes it crystal clear that an in-play skater is under NO obligation to allow an OOB skater back on the track. Obviously (see Vixen's comment) that changes once the in-play skater goes OOP because the pack has left her behind. From a ref perspective you're misapplying the "outcome and aftermath" language.

The question here is whether maintaining your 6.8 rights legally (by skating CW) is also a violation of 6.6 read together with 5.1.1.2. If you think 6.6 trumps 6.8, it makes the 6.8 language literally meaningless. I don't think the authors intended that.

So, not so much a loophole as a kind of overlap in the rules. Basically two solutions as I see it:
1) add "positional blocking" to 6.6 and delete the first line of 6.8. ech.
2) include "skaters moving clockwise" in the definition of "out of play". This would allow the OOB blocker to come in in front of them, and allow positionally-blocked in-bounds skaters to cut around them. That would be a big change.

But that's for the skaters to decide. I don't think the rules are particularly hard to apply in these situations as it is.

Still thinking it's illegal with more evidence

howie swerve wrote:

And Chuckbowski... I understand but I think you're misreading the rules here. The introductory language to 6.8 makes it crystal clear that an in-play skater is under NO obligation to allow an OOB skater back on the track. Obviously (see Vixen's comment) that changes once the in-play skater goes OOP because the pack has left her behind. From a ref perspective you're misapplying the "outcome and aftermath" language.

My point has nothing do with allowing the OOB skater back onto the track but whether or not it is still considered a block. Are the OOB skater and skater that knocked her out bounds still considered to be in an active block until the OOB skater reenters? I believe so because of this language: "The outcome and aftermath of a block are complete when the receiving skater has reestablished control of her own self on the track." To me that is saying that the block is not complete until the OOB skater reenters.

howie swerve wrote:

The question here is whether maintaining your 6.8 rights legally (by skating CW) is also a violation of 6.6 read together with 5.1.1.2. If you think 6.6 trumps 6.8, it makes the 6.8 language literally meaningless. I don't think the authors intended that.

Having the right to not yield doesn't give a player the right to skate clockwise. I'm reading the yielding rule as an in-bounds skater does not need to pay attention to any OOB skaters because they have the right to where they are skating and any illegal contact or track cutting would go against the OOB skater. Skating clockwise means the in-bounds skater is actively engaging with the OOB skater and really has nothing to with yielding because they are actively changing their position on the track based on the OOB skater.

I feel like people are reading 6.8 as if the in-bounds skater has the right to do anything has long as they don't touch the OOB skater. I don't read it that way.

5.1.1 Blocking is any movement on the track designed to knock the opponent down or out of bounds or to impede the opponent’s speed or movement through the pack.

The second part of that sentence is what I'm looking at. Clearly, the in-bounds player moving clockwise is impeding the opponent's speed. Thefore, they are actively engaged in a block. Therefore, skating clockwise is illegal.

on track != In-Play

"The outcome and aftermath of a block are complete when the receiving skater has reestablished control of her own self on the track."

In your scenario, the receiving skater is still on the track, but is no longer considered In-Play. Check the glossary for the 4.0 ruleset for important definitions.

The skater who was knocked OOB and is seeking to reenter the track has reestablished control of herself. The active blocking of the blockee must cease before the blocker goes OOB. Then the blockee must get back on the track without committing a penalty to do so.

So blue skater knocks red skater OOB legally, then blue skater skates to the rear of the Engagement Zone. As long as blue skater remains In-Play, red skater must enter behind blue skater or else receive a CTT penalty.

6.9.5

6.9.5 A skater may not initiate contact with an opponent who is completely outside the track boundary.

That is the only rule stating anything about an in-bounds skater blocking an out of bounds skater. Notice it clearly uses the word "contact." That doesn't mean a block ends as soon as the blockee is considered out of bounds as a skater can still be blocking without contact as stated: "Blocking is any movement on the track designed to...impede the opponent’s speed." Therefore, any movement the blocker makes to slow down or force the OOB skater to skate backwards is considered a block (as they are impeding their opponent's speed). Therefore, it is legal for the blocker to stop or skate very slowly with no contact but not legal to skate clockwise whether there is contact or not because it is illegal to skate clockwise while engaged in a block.

uh, not quite

6.5.1 A Blocker engaging, blocking, or assisting outside the legal Engagement Zone. A penalty should be applied to each offending Blocker for each action.

6.9.8 A skater who is straddling the line may be hit by a player who is on the track, since the straddling skater has one foot down inside the track boundary.

Both of these rules also cover an In-Play skater hitting an Out-of-Play skater.

And going back to the original question why a skater can block someone OOB, then skate clockwise to the back of the pack:

6.6.2 A clockwise block that does not force the opponent to adjust her skating stance or relative position in any way.

A skater who is knocked OOB has lost her relative position in the pack, so the Blocker skating clockwise is not forcing the OOB skater to adjust her position -- her position WRT the pack is already non-existent now.

Yes quite

"6.5.1..."

Yes, the legal engagement zone does mean inbounds, however, nothing in rule 6.5 references out of bounds specifically and most are in reference to 20' calls and the make-up of the pack. I don't believe this would overrule any of the previous rules I have cited.

"6.9.8..."

Straddling the line does not mean out of bounds and has nothing to do with the current discussion.

"6.6.2..."

It says OR. It doesn't say AND. Therefore, that rule could say "A clockwise block that does not force the opponent to adjust her skating stance in any way." It doesn't mean that if the relevant position remains unchanged that no penalty should be called. A penalty shouldn't be called if there is no adjustment to skating stance OR relative position. A change to just one of those could cause a penalty.

And since, skating clockwise after knocking a skater out of bounds clearly forces the jammer to adjust her skater stance, it is still a penalty. She has to make a 180 degree turn, forcing her to change her stance.

Actually.....

We do not skate clockwise when we block! It may have looked that way from afar but in all actuality we are not skating clockwise while blocking. If that were so then the whole team would have been in the box. Also we may come to a stop but in order to avoid a penalty our skates were slightly moving forward at all times just at a very slow rate and had an opposing blocker pinned behind us. This is what we have practice all year and it got us this far!

Juska
Mile High Club
Denver Roller Dolls

a question of clarification...

... it will have to come up in rule committee meetings since if Jesus Christ skated out there and granted eyesight to the blind it would have generated less discussion. I can see them tweaking the words of the existing rules to assure that skaters have to be in motion or they put their team at risk of some sort of pack destruction or 20 ft infraction, the solution will come, nobody wants to see this type of derby get any more popular, those using it are smart enough to know the rules and use it to their advantage, I ain't hatin', I (and I am sure the teams that employ this strategy to a large extent) just think that it is a crappy way to play and kills it for the fans who want speed and hitting and points and actual skating.

C'mon people...

let's end this talk already and leave it to the hands of those that make the rules, when have they ever made things a convoluted mess? I kid. Kinda. If this is not sorted out in the near future then, by all means, booze up and riot, I've already got an oil-soaked rag and a pitchfork handy for just this sort of thing.

I remain, even with all this crazy shit going on, a derby dork...

Oh and hey, muthatruckahs!!! How about The SDDD Swarm going undefeated in their first season in the LADD and beating the Krissy Krash led Tough Cookies last Saturday on the BT at the Doll Factory? Anyone? Anyone? DNN has shown ZERO love for them recently because of Nationals... I am hurt... how will DNN recompense? I will accept nothing less than a splash pic on the DNN home page when The Swarm win it all on Dec 5 with a snappy headline like, "The Swarm Buzz into LA and Make it Their Hive" or something like that...

Go Swarm!!!! I bleed yellow and black!!! I need to get that checked out, it is beginning to smell like almonds...

That was generally my

That was generally my question about the backward clockwise skating blocks. It still affects play even if they are not physically blocking, as a jammer as to slow down when they see a wall like that, otherwise they risk back blocking and get an penalty themselves.

I've been told when I asked our refs after couple of them came back from watching the nationals if that was really legal or not, and apparently you had to physically touch from a clockwise block. Since denver in most of the cases they did the they manage to stop and skate counter-clockwise just as a jammer enters the pack (yet in few cases, physically touched them and still did not called from what I can tell from boutcast watching), no penalties was called on them.

I got the impression of what Denver did is more like extreme and well practiced version of the slow starts and slow blocks I saw at ECE that seemed to been mainly by western leagues, as eastern leagues skaters at ECE like mine were WTF when Rat City stopped on the track and did slow and some stop starts. Since nothing came of it from the Western Regional, assumed it was considered the norm for a lot of west coast leagues, and mostly eastern league and skaters and fans taking issue of it.

What price fame?

It just occurred to me that as roller derby becomes more popular with the general public - especially now that "Whip It" has exposed the likes of Oprah to the sport - that we are likely to start seeing the crowds get ugly. Again, think about mainstream sports, and how much heckling goes on & is accepted. If those people start coming to our bouts, they're likely to bring that nasty attitude with them.

Dumb things are sometimes said when emotions run high; I have a hot temper, so I get that. But the booing & catcalling during the Denver-Rocky Mountain bout is INEXCUSABLE in our community. A skater is down. You fall silent out of respect. End of story. So how do we convey this to our audiences? I would hate to see derby lose its awesomely positive vibe.

well

"So how do we convey this to our audiences? "

In my short experience with the sport, I've found that everyone taking a knee as they do is a really good visual cue that something serious is going on. For the most part it works very well. People get quiet. (In fact, that's probably why the catcalling was so easy to hear, because almost everyone else had fallen silent due to a skater being down).

I know it's not really a solution to stop catcalling. But I did want to say that it generally is a really effective way of conveying that something serious is happening.

Who Was The Audience Though?

For what it's worth, I was near the person who yelled at Denver during the injury silence. I could be wrong, but I think she (like the majority of the audience by my estimation) was a skater.

Even if I'm totally mistaken and she wasn't, most of the people booing and chanting "Let's Skate Forward" were. This was largely a jury of peers.

I've never been into booing at sporting events, but it seemed like the crowd of skaters were expressing their feelings on the departure from what appears to be widely perceived as the 'spirit' of the game.

Thank you

Bazooka Joe
Pioneer Valley Roller Derby
Northampton, MA
www.pioneervalleyrollerderby.com

not representative

Don't lump all skaters into this. Some were booing. Some people didn't boo and some weren't rude enough to start a confrontation in the audience.

Bazooka Joe wrote:

For what it's worth, I was near the person who yelled at Denver during the injury silence. I could be wrong, but I think she (like the majority of the audience by my estimation) was a skater.

Even if I'm totally mistaken and she wasn't, most of the people booing and chanting "Let's Skate Forward" were. This was largely a jury of peers.

I've never been into booing at sporting events, but it seemed like the crowd of skaters were expressing their feelings on the departure from what appears to be widely perceived as the 'spirit' of the game.

Thank you

Bazooka Joe
Pioneer Valley Roller Derby
Northampton, MA
www.pioneervalleyrollerderby.com

If A=B but B does not =C...

Holly Gohardly wrote:

Don't lump all skaters into this. Some were booing. Some people didn't boo and some weren't rude enough to start a confrontation in the audience.

I didn't lump all skaters into it.

I did say: "Most of the audience were skaters" and "Most of the people who were booing/chanting were skaters"

I did not say: "Most skaters boo/are rude"

My point was that the people watching the games at Nationals were not the "Oprah audience" cited previously in this thread. They were people heavily invested in derby.

Thank you

Bazooka Joe

Listen to Wheel; he's right.

That's all.

To clarify...

I am only refering to people breaking the silence when a skater is down to yell out that so-and-so sucks. Booing and catcalling during an actual bout is a different story.

Booing

Trust me being out on the track at this point in time was not fun!!! Funny thing is whoever it was yelling "Denver Sucks"...........maybe the idiot didn't realize both teams are from Denver and practice 30 minutes away from each other. We were all Denver out there and for BOTH Denver teams to be in the semi-finals is pretty damn amazing!!!! Shame on the fans or other skaters for booing when both Denver teams made it that far. People may not like our style of play but that is no excuse to BOO or chant while we are out there working our asses off on the track for a sport that we all love dearly. As someone else had mentioned previously all skaters put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this sport and we do not get paid for it. I just hope that people realize how to be more respectful in the future.

Juska
Mile High Club
Denver Roller Dolls

taking a knee and the origin of...

Detroit (DERBY GIRLS!) were the amazing folks who started this tradition of taking a knee as a skater goes down. I had never seen that prior to being in the Motor City and Big Poppa Razzi, announcer supreme, explained to a very perplexed me that the ENTIRE league does this as a sign of solidarity and respect. This was several years ago when there were so few leagues in existence that I had seen almost every single one of them skate.

Other leagues began to follow this(what I feel is a) very important tradition. It's now generally the norm, which rules. Hate to see a skater go down, but great to see the familia behind it all is still there regardless of uniform color.

Just thought I'd post up something about it since many people are surprised to hear the history behind taking a knee. Perhaps Big Poppa or another DDG can elaborate.

Love & Derby,
Val Capone
WCR-skater
DNN-commentator

Taking a knee great, dead silence not so great.

val capone wrote:

Other leagues began to follow this(what I feel is a) very important tradition. It's now generally the norm, which rules. Hate to see a skater go down, but great to see the familia behind it all is still there regardless of uniform color.

I like the tradition of taking a knee.

I hate the tradition of absolute dead silence. No, I don't think people should fill that silence by yelling things at the other team.

I think the music could be turned down but continue playing. If the crowd is largely fans, a calmly-announced standard boilerplate announcement about how the skaters all volunteer and pay to play, and that they are taking a knee out of concern for a fellow skater, and so forth is perfect. An absolute dead silence where you could hear a pin drop and the injured skater feels like that candle that all the stoners are staring at kind of sucks.

Are there things worse than silence? Yeah. Jokes and shtick aren't good. I once watched a video where an announcer told the fans that that skater never would have been hurt if the game had been skated on a banked track. Uh hey, spiral fracture over here. Not a good time to discuss the politics of surface, OK?

Silence during injuries

This has been a topic of some debate in the announcer community, as you might expect. There have been proponents of silence, and proponents of low music.

The trump card, in my opinion, is what the medics want and need while attending to the injured skater, and at Nationals, I saw them specifically motion for silence from the music while handling injuries. So there you have it.

Totally...

The medics need to do their job is the bottom line. Lives are at stake here. As awful as the silence feels, it's ultimately necessary. I say this coming from the league with the worst Derby injury to date, a sad stat to report. If it weren't for the Windy City Rollers AMAZING medics on hand August 25, 2007, well, I don't even want to finish that statement.

I know it's awful.
I know it's awkward.
It needs to be at the medics discretion, default to silence. Seriously. They need to be able to communicate with each other as well as the skater who sustained the injury.

As a fan, it sucks, but what sucks worse is our girls not getting back on their skates because of a faulty situation at time of injury.

As a skater, it sucks, but not as much as your teammate, or self, sustaining a more serious injury due to distraction.

As an announcer, it sucks, but not as much as when people crack jokes and try to distract the crowd by playing the part of court jester.

Regardless, any injury sucks and thank you to the medical staff at each and every bout/practice/full contact musical chairs.

SPECIAL thanks to the medic staff, and Zombie darling, for always being RIGHT on top of every injury at DoD this past weekend.

(Also to Papa Doc & Mama Vendetta and Roe & the gang at ATI for all their support of the Windy City Rollers over the years)

Love & Derby,
Val Capone
WCR-skater
DNN-commentator

Cool

Thanks for the bit o' history there. It's always interesting to learn the facts and stories and traditions of the sport, even as young and fast growing as it is.

And now I want to add a Detroit sticker to my growing collection of Derby stickers even more than before.

I'm with you Bombshell.

I was thinking the exact same thing as I was watching this game. It seemed as though after capturing an OB, they would force that skater backwards with their momentum. That to me is blocking. I was wondering what the refs thought as well. Perhaps because the Denver pack didn't make contact with that skater they didn't get penalized for it?

This isn't the first time we have seen a team utilize the capture of a skater and slow the pack to barely a crawl. Charm City are masters of it. I understand the smart play of a slow/stopped pack specifically on a power jam. Of course it can be a very strategic and smart move. I wouldn't boo a team because of a particular strategy. But, I imagine fans got tired of watching the slow pack/stopping/backwards skating. As a spectator I love watching the bouts where there are fast packs and loads of recycling because it makes for an exciting game.

smart and savy

I skate here in Seattle but I am from Colorado originally and have the pleasure of skating with both DRD and RMRG whenever I visit family. Both teams are incredible people and skaters who have been working all season to develop strategies and drills to make derby their game. It was no surprise to me that the teams fared as well as they did because they have worked with their refs, staff and each other to play a skilled, legal, and inventive game. We will all be (if not already) working on how to combat this new style but god knows we will see something else, totally brand new, next year during tourney season. That is the thrill of this game; it is never the same, always changing, challenging, and brings you back for more.

wrap up

I have to say that I was really proud of both Colorado teams as they skated to 3rd and 4th place in the National Tournament. I know the ladies in both these leagues and how hard they skate and train. They were well deserved placings!!

Now - on to the chat boards during the tourney. I got cramps in my fingers from constantly defending our (DRD's) skating style and strategy. What I found to be the most disappointing was that no one complaining had seemed to do their homework, and thought that the slow game is all Denver skates - ever. Although we practiced this particular strategy for Nationals, it was because we were aware of the teams we would be skating against and studied their game. Had we seen a chance to push a fast gamer and win, I am sure MHC and its coaches would have chosen the fast game path to victory.

I understand people might think the slow game is "boring" or "dirty" (which I still can't get my head around that one), but I skate with these women 4 times a week, and I know the time and energy that went in to reviewing the rules, practicing safety and agility, asking questions and revising and improving the slow game. There is nothing boring about the time and energy that went into that strategy - now, if you think it's boring from a spectator position, I ask of you this question - do you skate to wow the audience, or do you skate to win? Is there a difference between inter-league season bouts and Regional/National tournaments? Of course the answer is yes - which is why if you ever attend one of our home bouts you see a very different type of bout. MHC went to Philly to win, not to win over the audience (my opinion, only).

We understand that our fans come to watch the excitement and pace of derby, but we are also athletes playing a very strategic sport. Yes, a sport. I know some people disagree and think we are putting on a show, but from my perspective, we are playing a very active, strategic game that takes hours and hours of commitment a week just to participate.

I am very proud of how each and every woman on MHC skated, and I think they worked hard, fought hard and skated hard to earn the right to be 3rd in the Nation.

The Third Dimension

I really want to get more into this, because I think it deserves a lot of thoughtful discussion; and of course, I have an opinion about it. However, I have two problems:

1. Work is busy and I don’t want to get fired (much).
2. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to say CONGRATULATIONS to OLY!

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S
T O
O L Y ! !

Ok, so real quick-like: I love that flat-track roller derby is an evolving sport.

I am excited by all the new strategies and forward-thinking tactics. Nothing thrills me like watching a team make a cerebral leap in the game and changing it forever. Just like the forward pass in football, or the three-point shot in basketball, new things are (rightly) controversial.

In my opinion, this new tactic of slowing packs to a crawl with skilled blocking (NOT splitting the pack, mind you, but fairly and legally isolating an opponent and slowing the pack to a crawl), and even skating clockwise to gain superior position is a natural evolution of our sport and I enjoy it.

I also enjoy watching teams learn how to counter new strategies, adding even more dimensions to the game. I saw a player at NC Regionals take the jammer out at the front of the pack, stop, spin around and run to the back of the pack, forcing the jammer to wait and re-engage all the way at the back of the pack as a ton of time ticked off of the clock which bought the other jammer a ton of extra time (and points). Later in the same tournament, a blocker did the same thing, but this time the jammer spun, turned around and raced her towards the back, too. WAY less time ticked off the clock and watching those duels was one of the most exciting things that happened in the tournament.

The speed at which our game can change right in front of our eyes is one of the things I love best about our game. It’s a (r)evolution of sport!

Our game is the offspring of banked-track derby. New strategies and forward-thinking tactics like those under discussion add a third dimension to our two-dimensional (flat) sport. Our version of derby is beginning to take on a very different look and style: it is evolving and growing and becoming something truly unique unto itself. You can’t effectively stop on a banked track (at least not for long to your advantage) and there is no outside out of bounds (at least not one you can continue to skate in). A ton of strategies that work in flat-track, won’t work on a banked track. Banked-track is fast and you wall up and skate specific lines based on inclines and turns and that’s what works best for banked track. Flat-track is fast and slow and forward and backward because all of those things can work effectively. I think that’s super-exciting!

I don’t equate “slow skating” with boring, because I’ve seen “slow skating” without skill and THAT is boring. This is deliberate and slow and VERY skilled. The agility and dexterity and savvy it takes to do what some of these teams do is astounding and thrilling to watch. This is forcing teams to have new skill sets so they can adjust. It forces packs to act in unison to counter other teams’ control of pack speed to an even greater degree than ever before. You can still go fast if you can force the other team to play your game. BUT, you have to be able to play fast AND slow effectively to do this.

In short, I think it’s good and natural and exciting and it sets flat-track derby apart from any other sport. If it’s fair and it’s skilled and it adds to the character and strat-ee-gery of the sport, then I’m all for it. I can’t wait to see the next thing smart players come up with!

(Wow, I’m totally gonna get fired.)

Booing: In Defense of Expression

The excitement of Nationals is the coming together of very different regions of the country for dynamic derby action! This includes different play development and styles. This also includes different social expressions, as the leagues represented are from all over the US and ever increasingly also from other countries. This is an absolutely fantastic thing, in my opinion. It is also a serious sport, something that was worked towards after the WWF-style that it emerged from, and therefore the reactions and responses to the sport are also taken seriously.

It is apparent that there are many arguments, passions, and differing of opinion about the style that Denver used to make the teams facing them loose, or as some people may refer to as a win. Personally, I am of the camp that very much disliked it. Do they have skills? Yes, I do not argue that. Are they probably lovely people who have worked hard in a sport they obviously love? You betcha. Do I think that having a stopped, occasionally drifting backward pack as the main strategy, which forces penalties, increases the chances of major injury to other players (physics), and becomes a very frustrating bout to watch, a "shady" (though seemingly not illegal) way to play? I believe it to be so. Do I hope for a rules change to make some of the specifics discussed in other threads clear to prevent this from becoming the "norm"? Absolutely.

But the discussion about Denver's play and whether or not it should be or not be encouraged and the reading of the rules is being hashed about on other threads. I would like to refer back to the first paragraph and the differences of expression in the very socially different regions of the country. I have lived for many years in different regions, and the US has a wide variety of cultures.

First off, the crowd in Philly that was watching it live, had a very palpable and negative response to the constant (repeat, constant) "stop pack" play. Strange bedfellows were made of people who were united in cheering against Denver. For those who were not there in person, I would like to say that unfortunately, there is an "energy" that is missed out on. The phenomena of the common phrase, "you had to be there" to understand. When other games were going on, there was general cheering for any play that was brilliant and a pleasant feeling of people passionate and positive about what was happening. Honestly, watching Oly play was magical and watching Rocky Mountain's heart-felt incredible upset over Philly was a tear jerker.

Booing and the chanting of "Let's Skate Forward" from the crowd during the bouts Denver played in, was a very valid expression of displeasure. It is a sport. Being a real sport, it generates incredible passions, not only in those playing it but also in those watching. And though booing is extremely rare from what I have seen in derby, it is the most common way, and in many parts of the country a very acceptable way, to show anger and displeasure. It is the opposite of cheering, and is a powerful tool that, granted should be used rarely, but certainly not a shameful one. Also, do NOT assume that those boos were being sent exclusively to the Denver team, don't forget about the "third" team out there, the refs.

I'm sure there are many who disagree with me, especially those from more sensitive areas of the country, who think that demonstrating anger and frustration verbally should not happen. Well, I disagree. Nothing is more refreshing to me than honesty. Booing is not the same as throwing tomatoes at people or beating them up in dark alleys. It is a blunt, direct, non-violent, and a crystal clear expression of feelings, just the same as cheering wildly.

Congratulations to all the teams at Nationals who made it that far. What an honor. And a big call out to those teams on the rise to greatness who haven't made it yet. Thank you to Philly, DNN, and all the volunteers and individuals that made the weekend event possible. Derby is a fantastic sport and one that I truly hope is around for a long time to come.

It was in Philly, I guess

I have no problem with a fan booing. Someone that isn't a coach or a player can boo away. That's fine, they don't like it, boo.

But, players and coaches should be spending their time working on strategy to overcome the slow pack strategy. Again, if you beat this strategy, they will stop using it. Why would they continue using a losing strategy? Rather than booing, you should be figuring out how to make it a losing strategy. Booing accomplishes nothing except being annoying. Do you think NFL players sit in the crowd at the Super Bowl booing everything they don't like?

It's also weird to me that teams that use this strategy (Charm City) that people love/respect don't get any scorn.

really

Who do you think is public enemy number 1?

thebigchuckbowski wrote:

I have no problem with a fan booing. Someone that isn't a coach or a player can boo away. That's fine, they don't like it, boo.

But, players and coaches should be spending their time working on strategy to overcome the slow pack strategy. Again, if you beat this strategy, they will stop using it. Why would they continue using a losing strategy? Rather than booing, you should be figuring out how to make it a losing strategy. Booing accomplishes nothing except being annoying. Do you think NFL players sit in the crowd at the Super Bowl booing everything they don't like?

It's also weird to me that teams that use this strategy (Charm City) that people love/respect don't get any scorn.

Maybe

But I personally haven't seen Charm booed nor have I seen 10,000 forum posts/twitter updates talking about how much they hate Charm.

I guess...

this is just like everyone thinking they're a second half team.

his uzi weighs a ton

Holly Gohardly wrote:

Who do you think is public enemy number 1?

I have it on good authority that Chuck D still holds that title.

;)

Wheel Smith, old school rap fan

Agreed

I agree wholeheartedly with with you on this. I would only like to add that, in light of WFTDA's constant work towards being recognized by the public as a legitimate sport, we are going to have to be willing to accept everything that comes along professional sporting events. Some of these things the players and fans might like (beer, for example), other things they might not (booing, in this case).

That having been said, I seemed to notice a lot more booing at the refs and calls than I did at the players... but I might have a bias.

-PaRappa the Bitch Slapper
Ref, RMRG

I view the slow pack bit as

I view the slow pack bit as derby's equivalent to the old Hack-a-Shaq defense in basketball -- no fun at all to watch, but ya got to admit it's logical and therefore valid. I've always sort of wondered why it wasn't more prevalent, actually ((apart from the fact that it would likely render the sport un-fun for most participants and viewers)). I also wonder why, in end-of-game situations where acquiring lead jammer status is of the utmost importance, teams don't just wrap the opposing jammer up in a bear hug and skate her out into the crowd as far as they can get her. I mean, skate her all the way to the concession stand, skate her as far away from the track as you can get away with without having the ref stop the jam. Sure, the blocker's getting ejected, but so what? It's probably the last jam anyway, and by the time the jammer gets back from the condiment table, hopefully lead jammer status will already belong to my team. Granted it's illegal, but so's a reverse poodle, and people foul all the time in basketball, it's part of the game. I mean, it would be a totally jerky thing to do, but it's just using the ruleset, isn't it? ((dramatic pause for absorption of deep profundity))

Wow. No.

Slowing the pack is not cheating to gain advantage.

Hack-a-Shaq is purposely committing a penalty to gain advantage, thus it's cheating. Tackling a jammer to hold her up is cheating to gain advantage.

Comparing these tactics to slowing the pack legally is not a logically valid or fair argument.

Controlling pack speed is to derby what controlling game pace is to basketball. In basketball, if you are good at fast breaks and you’re in better shape than your opponent, you speed up the pace. If you’re good at defense and you’re in the lead, you slow the game down by running more set plays and defending against the fast break.

In derby, you slow the pack to score more points and keep the pack manageable and kill the clock; you speed the pack up to wear down your opponent and make it more physical and keep the pack ahead of the opposition and minimize damage from power plays. NONE of these things is cheating or dirty. It’s part of the game.

Fan of the stop

I think having the ability to control your hits, to stop an opponent, thus making the pack where YOU want it is great. It's not cheating, it's not working around the rules, it's just evolution of derby. Some teams do it occasionally, some do it a lot. It's up to the opponent to work out it's own strategy against this.

I think any blocker who can force a player out of bounds, while remaining in bounds shows skill. I DO think however that this slow stopped play will change a bit once the Cutting Rule 6.2.10 is updated. Currently is only says player who are down, or on the way to the box have a no impact effect. I think that a skater who ends up being 20' behind the pack is out of play and therefor cannot force the cutting penalty. This will mean that the stop play will be less effective unless they can also keep the whole pack slowed, by trapping opponents and keeping the pack where they want it - which to me demonstrates amazing skill.

On the note of expressing displeasure, I'm all for it. It's a sport. Last night I spent 10 minutes taunting my friend about his team losing football. I yell at those players, and no one says a thing. Just cause this is a woman's sport I'm supposed to be nice and polite? We have the ability to ignore comments we don't agree with, or argue them if we want. But it's not a damn tea party it's a sport, people get all into their teams and booing is totally natural.

Wow.

I think I'm falling in love with you.

I mean uh...

Good points!

Already the case.

mindiannapolis500 wrote:

I think any blocker who can force a player out of bounds, while remaining in bounds shows skill. I DO think however that this slow stopped play will change a bit once the Cutting Rule 6.2.10 is updated. Currently is only says player who are down, or on the way to the box have a no impact effect. I think that a skater who ends up being 20' behind the pack is out of play and therefor cannot force the cutting penalty.

This is already the case. Part of the current cutting rule reads as follows (defining when a skater is no longer a target for a track cut):

"6.8.1.4 When the initiating skater exits the Engagement Zone at any time after the initiating block."

If you watch the blockers who are the best at this, they knock the opponent out of bounds, slow down while making sure that no other opposing player subsequently knocks THEM down or out of bounds, drag the blocked-out player to the very back of the pack, and then watch the referee to see when they raise the tomahawk for the out-of-play warning. Only THEN do they start speeding up again.

mindiannapolis500 wrote:

This will mean that the stop play will be less effective unless they can also keep the whole pack slowed, by trapping opponents and keeping the pack where they want it - which to me demonstrates amazing skill.

This is exactly what Denver was doing ... and getting MAD booed for it.

Ahh 6.8.1.4

I knew there was something in there, but I feel like back of the pack 20' is called way less often then front of the pack calls, so it happens way more.

Denver has mad skills with the slow catches!

it's an AMATEUR sport...

mindiannapolis500 wrote:

On the note of expressing displeasure, I'm all for it. It's a sport. Last night I spent 10 minutes taunting my friend about his team losing football. I yell at those players, and no one says a thing. Just cause this is a woman's sport I'm supposed to be nice and polite? We have the ability to ignore comments we don't agree with, or argue them if we want. But it's not a damn tea party it's a sport, people get all into their teams and booing is totally natural.

The difference between a football player and a derby skater is that Mr Footballer gets millions of dollars to play and is pampered off the pitch so that he plays as well as he can on game day. A derby skater pays for the privilege of playing, literally and metaphorically, and has to fit in their training and playing around making a living, just for the love of the sport. When making that level of personal investment in the sport, having years of unrewarded hard work met with derision is not exactly pleasant.

I think that fans are perfectly entitled to boo teams - you pays yer money, you can make your feelings known from the sidelines. But don't think that it doesn't hurt, because it does.

BOOs from players to players

I have been with derby for a long time. I have played, I have been a ref and I am currently a coach. I still see nothing wrong with the Boo. Boo can be for fun, Boo can be out of frustration for "your team" not winning, Boo can be displeasure about their uniforms, or mascot or cause it rhymes with the number 2 or 22... Boo can be cause the ref is blind or too worried about doing fancy dance moves, boo can be cause so and so hit so and so with an elbow, boo can be cause the announcer mispronounced a name... honestly, I feel like it's in fun, it's in the spirit of competition and hazing and swagger and not having your helmet panties in a bunch. Some skaters LOVE the BOO. You play roller derby, you're feelings are the last thing you should worry about being hurt.

Hack-a-Shaq? Geshundheit!

quad.almighty wrote:

Slowing the pack is not cheating to gain advantage.

Hack-a-Shaq is purposely committing a penalty to gain advantage, thus it's cheating. Tackling a jammer to hold her up is cheating to gain advantage.

Comparing these tactics to slowing the pack legally is not a logically valid or fair argument.

You're right on that; it's not apples-to-apples. However, as a general subset of "behaviors that are within the scope of allowable game actions that are strategically valid but perceived ((rightly or wrongly)) by the majority of spectators and players as neither entertaining nor within the spirit of the game," the two strategies are similar.

I disagree with your assessment of taking intentional fouls as "cheating" -- i'd consider cheating to be breaking the rules and attempting to get away with it, whereas intentionally fouling within the structure of the game with the risk/reward of the foul's positive and negative consequences aforethought is NOT cheating. Again, no one considers a reverse poodle to be cheating, nor is fouling in basketball considered cheating -- dozens of fouls are committed in any given basketball game and whistled by the refs; no one's trying to get away with anything -- it's a strategic gamble on the part of the fouling player: "My opponent has a certain basket so i'm going to foul him and prevent him from making that basket and take my chances that he miss a free throw or two, also bearing in mind that if i accumulate six fouls i will foul out of the game and if we accumulate too many team fouls then our non-shooting fouls are going to become shooting fouls."

This is getting a bit far afield of the original point; i believe a better derby-to-basketball analogy would have been a middle school basketball game in Upper Michigan a few years ago, where -- bearing in mind that there was apparently no shot clock nor eight-second rule in place -- one team simply dribbled the ball around on their side of the court for the entire game until the last minute, whereupon they finally marched over the center line and took a shot at the basket. I guess they won, so i applaud the evil genius of their coach, but, all in all, i'm sure the vast majority of people in the gym that night thought it was a fairly douchey experience.

Hack-a-Shaq = strategery

Gotta agree with the norb, here. Taking an intentional foul is strategery.

Poodling is not cheating, it is taking an intentional penalty as a Blocker, to avoid earning a 4th as a Jammer. I think most of us here would agree on that.

Hack-a-Shaq (a recent name for intentional fouling) was originally a strategy to stop the game clock. In the past decade, it was used in the middle of the game because Shaq was so dominant down low, but miserable from the line. The higher percentage play for the opposition was to have a deep bench to give fouls, and send Shaq to the line shooting ~52% from there, and play relatively cleanly against the rest of Shaq's teammates.

The clear strategy for Shaq to make HaS stop being used as a strategy against him is to raise his free throw percentage, which he is actually doing as a Cavalier.

Regarding Denver's tactics, it conserves their team's energy (rather important in a 3 day tournament), confuses opponents who don't know how the rules apply to this situation, and caused a sharp divide among fans who appreciate the rubbin' and racin' style of derby and those who appreciated the clearly evident amount of practice and teamwork needed to perform this tactic as well as Denver did.

The counterstrategy for this tactic has already been mentioned, and I look forward to an intense off-season as more teams prepare to face this tactic.

Congratulations to all of the teams who were skating at Nationals, and a major hat-tip to Oly for their exceptional play.

Non Skating Pack - Boring, yes, but advantageous?

Can't both team's jammers speed through a non-skating pack? Not sure where that's advantageous to the non-skaters....
If the non-skating team squats on the line and their opponents skate out
arent the squatters destroying the pack? Squatters might still get LJ but wouldnt they be short a blocker on an 'out of play' major?

Madison does it too

We played Madison back in August at the Duck Pond and were flabbergasted by how they slowed the pack. And I mean shocked. It was barely a crawl. We were not able to adjust and rightly so, were murdered by them. It was painful. But do you know what we did after that game to prep for NC regionals? We practiced the slow-pack strategy so we would be ready for it. I think that's what skaters should be doing when they see another team execute a strategy well: Practice it until they can execute it too. Congratulations to everyone at Nationals. I think next year, it's time for some North Central domination. What do you think? Time for me to start taking speed skating lessons...

-Mickey Dismantle
North Star Roller Girls
Minneapolis, MN

Crowd

Here's the deal Denver"s MHC as a Fan in Philly was Just plain BORING to watch it makes the sport not look legitimate. I think Playing like THAT people would think its not real!!! BTW @minium rage.....Seriously You should not comment it really just equals Trader and its annoying!!!!

Denver is more than the slow pack

Regardless of how you feel bout the slow pack, you gotta admit that when they skate forward, the MHC are among the best in derby: It was seeing art in motion watching Juska and Death skate and slither around Windy City and RMRG blockers.

Defeating the stop pack.

It's very simple.. Take a step.. and knock them down or OOB. If they are down or OOb they aren't part of the pack, then speed up. They are forced to keep up with YOU otherwise they get the penalty for not getting back in play.

How do you beat the 'stop pack' Good hard, clean, legal physical play.

agreed

Darkjester wrote:

How do you beat the 'stop pack' Good hard, clean, legal physical play.

agree!

and CONGRATS to OLY! quite an amazing team to watch!

agreed 2

Oly beat it and Windy City started to adjust and close the gap in the second half of their bout.

From the sidelines

I have been touting how awesome derby is to my nephews and brother-in-law, and finally had a chance to show them what I thought was an exciting sport when Denver played here in Atlanta; unfortunately, it was the first time anyone in Atlanta had seen Denver's peculiar strategy. Even the refs were taken by surprise. Since it's inception, even in the 50s, roller derby has been a fast sport. Stop skating is, frankly, boring and uneventful, and ultimately, not a sport.

My nephews were absolutely unimpressed. They called it "boring". I was asked by both of them, "Why aren't they skating?"

Is the strategy legal? Yeah. Is it safe? Let the rule geeks decide. Does it advance the sport? No. Slow/stop skating is the anti-thesis of roller derby.

As for the booing, face it - every sport has a villain team. Denver is the villain team of WFTDA. Get used to being booed. It isn't likely to end any time soon.

slow pack

Shutter Trap wrote:

My nephews were absolutely unimpressed. They called it "boring". I was asked by both of them, "Why aren't they skating?"

Does it advance the sport? No. Slow/stop skating is the anti-thesis of roller derby.

that's funny, for Atlanta used that strategy on Dominion in May. I was the one asking, why isn't Atlanta skating? I was bored during that game as your family was when Denver played you. But like you said its not illegal and until it is i'm sure we will be seeing it alot.

As has been mentioned above -

As has been mentioned above - new strategies of play will incur new reactions to those strategies. Slow-playing will die when it become an ineffective strategy.

As far as Atlanta employing the strategy, NO ONE can slow play as well as Denver. So they got that going for them - which is nice. :)

the scope of slow

that's actually not true. for the dominion game, we employed a strategic slow pack a couple times to maximize the number of points we got in a power jam. it's a pretty common style, lots of east coast teams do it- charm, philly, carolina, it's not news, i'd be shocked if you said you skated for dominion and hadn't seen it before.

denver actually didn't skate when they were here. like..whistles, and the pack was still. no rolling. almost every jam. it was an eye-opener.

while i didn't enjoy the game, it's obviously a strategy that works with 4.0. we'll see how it all shakes out.

rebel yellow
dirty south derby girls
atlanta
charm city expat

an opportunity

>I was asked by both of them, "Why aren't they skating?"

And did you explain the rules behind it? Our announcers do a great job at letting the audience see how Denver is in complete dominance of the speed of the game. Let's face it, people ask all the time how skaters even score points in our sport. We shouldn't bemoan the fact that our game IS moving beyond "skate fast turn left" and some explanation may be required. Otherwise, we could just watch speed-skating, right?

That's what is so fantastic about Oly. When they first entered WFTDA, they had mad skating skills, but they were still learning the nuances of WFTDA rules and play (and hence, used to crowd the penalty box). They were outstanding individual athletes. Seeing them at Westerns and then at Nationals was thrilling to see how they now get the rules and are playing cohesively as a team. THAT'S what makes them champions: they have both individual power and team cohesiveness. You can't do a leg-whip by yourself!

leg whip!

KendraBlood wrote:

You can't do a leg-whip by yourself!

Was hoping someone would bring that up in the midst of all this debate. How awesome was that?

I can't call nationals boring. At all. The skating skill on display lived up to its billing as the best of the best ... everyone should be so proud of themselves for their athletic performance.

What do you find exciting about derby?

I'm not sure that the reason a newcomer to derby would find it boring is because of the slow pack play. I've brought plenty of people to fast derby games and they've still found it boring...because they didn't understand the rules and strategies. I find football and baseball boring, but I will freely admit that it's because I don't understand those games. If I took the time to learn the minutiae of the rules, strategy, and history of those games, I expect I would enjoy watching them almost as much as derby.

There were many times during the tournament when the pack play was just a paceline due to skaters chasing each other. Hmm...now I find that to be boring and the anti-thesis of roller derby.

I wish this comment were mine!

Education is the key to enjoying a game! Any game!

It's all about context.

yinan wrote:

There were many times during the tournament when the pack play was just a paceline due to skaters chasing each other. Hmm...now I find that to be boring and the anti-thesis of roller derby.

To me, the single most exciting jam of the entire tournament was the final regulation-time jam of Rocky Mountain vs. Philly. RMRG was down by 4 points, and there were quickly only 2 Philly blockers on the floor. Both jammers (DeRanged and Elle Viento) finished their opening pass and were hauling ass to come around for points on a SUPER fast pack.

The entire drama of that jam was the Philly blockers desperately fighting to run to the top of the pack, and once succeeding, trying to race away with control of front of the pack to avoid getting caught up by RMRG blockers. For over a minute, the game hung in the balance of whether or not RMRG could catch up to and pick off a Philly blocker. And after that full minute of chasing, the RMRG blockers finally got in front of a Philly blocker, and slowed her down enough for their jammer DeRanged to enter the pack and get those points to tie the bout -- and call just before the Philly jammer could score any points of her own. It was a jam completely about blockers chasing blockers, but TOTALLY NOT BORING.

Video of this jam (courtesy Bitches Bruze):

Fair enough!

I was exaggerating! I actually don't find any type of derby boring, not even men's derby!

at 1:21

doesn't the Philly jammer pass a rocky blocker? and rocky only had 3 skaters in the pack that I can see, which would mean there is another girl on the bench that Philly also should have received a point for. Meaning Philly should have actually received 2 points in that jam. Am I seeing that wrong?

-OMG

It's hard to tell...

...on the tiny screen as I surreptitiously watch this at work, but it looks like Rocky starts calling it off at 1:19, so it depends on how fast those four whistles were. That said, it was about ten feet from my face on Saturday, and what I mainly remember is that it was insane and amazing and a second's difference would have completely changed the game/tournament. Either way it was an incredible bout, and easily one of the best I have seen all year!

minor cut?

It's hard to tell from this angle, but it looks like that may have been a minor cut on the RMRG blocker.

Zoomed in Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brID9BmxMAo

I clipped just those couple seconds and zoomed in.

The Philly jammer is knocked out of bounds by the RMRG blocker and passes her hips while out of bounds. Then a Philly blocker knocks the impeding RMRG blocker to the inside and the Philly jammer comes back in. No point. No penalty.

I don't have much video from the tournament because I only had a hybrid camera and one battery, but I feel fortunate to have captured some of the most memorable moments from some of the best views (not that there were bad views).

Thanks to all these teams and the Philly Roller Girls for an amazing event and year of derby!

i was right on it

re the 1:21 mark

I was right on it watching from the rules committee dais on the Jammer line.

not awarding the point (and corresponding not on the track point) was 100% correct.

The Philly Jammer is forced out of bounds, passes the Rocky Mountain Blocker while out of bounds and then re-enters the track. No point(s).

Endless Justin
WFTDA Rules Committee

Does she then also not get a

I do see her get knocked out of bounds it looks like her and the blocker went out.... Does she then also not get a point for the opposing blocker in the box once she has entered the pack?

8.4-8.4.6

She gets that box point upon earning her first point on that scoring pass.
The Philly Jammer never earned a point on that scoring pass therefore no NOTT Points are earned.

See Rules 8.4-8.4.6 for details.

I guess what i am getting at

I guess what i am getting at is, Judge Knott does NOT appear to give her a cutting minor during that play, since he does not motion one, which leads me to believe that the RM blocker stepped out of play, which would then lead me to believe she didn't cut that blocker. But she also didn't legally pass her in bounds....

Speaking of refs..

From my perspective while sitting in the audience during Denver games-specifically the Denver/WCR bout, I felt as though a lot of the boos were directed toward the refs. Which is another can of worms but thats what I was gathering from the grumbling in the stands. Just trying to ease your minds a lil' bit Denver. :)

-Maura Buse
Le Pantless Militia

Booing refs?

Say it ain't so. Is there no limit to the depths of depravity to which these roller derby fans will sink?

Box point

OMG_WTF wrote:

I do see her get knocked out of bounds it looks like her and the blocker went out.... Does she then also not get a point for the opposing blocker in the box once she has entered the pack?

The trigger for jammers scoring the box point is not "entering the pack" but "legally passing an opponent." No legal pass, so no box point.

"8.4 The Jammer earns a point for each opposing skater who is not on the track immediately upon scoring her first point on an opposing blocker. If the jam ends before the Jammer scores, the additional points will not be awarded."

edit: Yeah, what Justin said.

Slightly better angle on that call

(comment edited because I finally figured out what I was doing wrong with clipping the video)

Here's DNN's coverage of the last jam, with our camera on the opposite side of the track.

If you look at about 1:13 to 1:16 in this clip, you can clearly see the Philly jammer Elle Viento get knocked into the infield. The camera pans away to follow DeRanged immediately afterwards, but if you cross-reference that moment with the one on the Youtube video above, it is obvious that Elle made no attempt to re-enter behind after that hit (and although it didn't work out, it was probably a smart gamble, since she only needed one point at that moment and there were more potential points available by hauling ass towards the remainder of the pack.)

Watch live video from Derby News Network on Justin.tv

well, it would have been a divine kind of karma

...had we been shorted a point. =)

from where i was standing way

from where i was standing way up in the bleachers, i really thought you had been... but i missed that hit in the back.... oh well... next year...

Wow, I don't agree.

I watched that game too, and even in a tiny 4"x4" square window I thought that that was one of the most entertaining games I've ever seen, and it was a massive blowout. I've never said "ouch" "oh shit" or "goddamn" so many times in a game - those hits were HARD, the timing was incredible, and the frequency of the hitting was just insane. Every time I watch Denver skate, it's electric. Their control borders on jedi-level, and teams that don't know how to adjust (or do) become passionate and really have to battle because they're outside of their comfort zone.

You don't think that maybe your cousins were bored because the home team was being blown out?

And this says nothing about Atlanta - watching their players respond, learn, and give it as good as they got it in terms of hits was just so rad.

Hockey players aren't moving 15mph all the time. I don't need to repeat what Mindiannapolis has already said, but the level of agility, timing, finesse and teamwork that Denver brings in those floppy silver spanks is never boring.

subjective

now that we're all agreed that it is legal and counter-able this is getting into the realm of subjectivity. this person thinks it's boring, this person thinks it's exciting. blah blah blah toe stops vs not, sport court vs wood, real names vs moikers, lather rinse repeat. are we over it yet?

Wow, bummer for me to have my comment right after yours.

Good point.

one correction

The opinion about if this tactic is "boring" or not to watch is certainly subjective. However, the gathering and analysis of these subjective opinions is factual-- i.e. statistics.

Let me expand on this. Take a look at ShutterTrap's comment above: "My nephews were absolutely unimpressed. They called it "boring". I was asked by both of them, "Why aren't they skating?"

This is the opinion of someone who has never watched derby. It's opinion for sure, but you can plot it as one unique view, and seek others. We could gather crowd opinion of fans (who are not also in the derby community- but purely fans) and we could ask them: "was this bout boring". If we're doing such a survey we should also ask them "will you come to roller derby again". The gathering of these two answers turns into statistical fact about their subjective opinion.

Based on these statistics you can get a general sense of what the market is feeling. Yes, what the "market is feeling" is still subjective because it's just opinion and feelings, but in anything related to entertainment this is about as close to fact as you can get without actually measuring things like ticket sales of leagues which routinely adopt such strategies (proving correlation on that would be tough at best anyway).

My main point is--- it doesn't matter if it's subjective opinion or not. I'd be willing to bet that 90% of FANS prefer to watch bouts with fast packs, no pack destruction and no stand stills.

Furthermore, I'd also be willing to bet that there is roughly a 90% correlation of the data for the question "is this boring" and "will I come again". In other words, if the person is bored they most likely are not coming back. And again I'm talking about fans, not derby players from other teams or refs. I'm not sure if anyone in the "derby community" category can truly be unbiased enough to give an answer (self included!)-- our answers would be largely dependent on which teams/styles we more identify with (due to geography, past experiences, etc). We wouldn't have a truly untarnished opinion.

I'm only discussing this for illustrative purposes, I don't actually think anyone should go perform a survey; the results of said survey are pretty obvious and it's probably a waste of effort to gather this data. The reason I mention any of this at all- and the reason I care is that I love derby. Being in the field I'm in, we've taken alot of new people to derby. Unfortunately some of them have found it boring, and it usually is true that the boring ones are the ones with extremely slow packs due to strategies.

That said, there is an argument to be made that SOME of the "derby community" (ie. fans, refs, non-skating-officials and skaters from other leagues) actually PREFER this kind of strategy and furthermore are a large enough market in-and-of themselves to say "heck with the rest of the market- the ones who don't know derby, we don't care about them". I'm not making a stance one way or the other, but it might be helpful to realize that this is a conscious choice being made.

stats 101

mechanodroid wrote:

blah blah blah i took a stats class

Oh my god, did you really just say all that (538 words!) when you could have just said, "player/ref opinion is less important than fan opinion, if you bore the fans they won't come back"
?
anyway, just because I'm grumpy, I'm going to add that any stats 101 text will tell you stats aren't factual, they are just for descriptive and interpretive purposes. They will also explain that correlation does not imply causation and there could be lurking factors. For example, maybe the fans think the game is boring but they will ALSO come back because they like to see at least 28 pairs of fishnetted buttcheeks. (+/- a little bit because some home teams are large than 14 players, and some girls wear long shorts).
blah blah I'm going to cut this off here because I can say with unspecified certainty that length of a post and the chances someone will continue reading it are negaively correlated.

Dahmer

I promise to read every post you ever write...
unless it's long.

>blah blah I'm going to cut

>blah blah I'm going to cut this off here because I can say with unspecified certainty that length of a post and >the chances someone will continue reading it are negaively correlated.

Yeah, that was my strategy. I didn't really want anyone to read my post other than the people who were in that sub-section. Hahah ok thats a joke. But honestly, I care but I guess I don't care enough to make a succinct argument in an acceptable number of words (it's hard for me to write a small number of words, but easy for me to write a great many). That said, it's nice you read it- honestly.

I actually never took a stats class in college, I just went to class in the same building as the statistics building and I sort-of had to pick it up along the way for my primary discipline. Also I slept once in a hallway outside of the stats lounge so I figure I am now the worlds foremost expert on the subject. ;)
---

Agreed on the stats/facts correction, if that's how the meaning is being cast. But as I said I never took a stats course so I don't know how that field defines fact. Whether it's right or wrong, but basically due to my trade- I tend to equate fact with truth (and not some ethical version of truth either, the mathematical/logical/philosophical version). Contextually I was saying that, from a logical sense I guess stats are factual/true in that ratios and percentages are factual/true due to the foundations of math. IE if you say "2 out of 5 doctors agree with X", that itself is a fact/true if those 2 doctors in fact do *agree*. But none of this factual in the same sense as --say, cause/effect relationships, and the foundations of scientific method--- that wasn't my point. I suppose the wording I should have used is truth (instead of fact), and furthermore the logical definition of truth.

Also I didn't mean to imply any one mindset, only to call out that this is the heart of the argument. Personally I am on the fence about who is more important-- the opinions of refs/skaters or that of the crowd. That's not really a subject which I want to have an opinion about right now.

No, not done...

What's a moiker?

I thought I would take this opportunity to add nothing new

In the national tournament bouts that I saw (not all of the bouts), Madison, RMRG, Denver, and Oly (in the championship bout) were teams which completely stopped their packs.

Counter-strategies are available to derail the stopped pack tactic; Oly successfully employed one such strategy (or was just so overwhelming that the stopped pack tactic had no chance at all of working against them).

Tactics, strategies, and rules are still evolving in contemporary, competitive derby. Currently, pack stopping is a sometimes successful tactic, one employed by three of the top four placing teams in this year's WFTDA national tournament.

We shall see what the future holds.

The spectator addiction to constantly fast, forward-motion skating seems a throwback to scripted derby. Scripted derby is available for those spectators who still require a constant, counter-clockwise velocity.

Best to all. I had a blast watching what I could of the tournament. This past weekend just blew me away. Great job, everybody!

definitely not boring~!

hey, the stop game... the reverse game... the reverse poodle game... well... you may or may not like all the strategies going on out there - but this weekend may have been a lot of things. controversial. crazy. surprising. but it definitely sure was not boring! hey, if it got so many people's shorts in a bunch, it definitely was not boring, or they would not be talking about it at all. ;)
sad that philly didn't win... but congrats to oly oly oly! those girls are fast and almost never fall down.

PS - who won the Afterparty?

WORM!

vixenvangogo wrote:

PS - who won the Afterparty?

I heard something of a 6 person worm from the Denver peeps. Sadly I crashed out way too early and missed it.

Charli Horse
Denver Roller Dolls

My first Nationals...

I'll be recovering for at least a week. In honor of Poobah, please offer a "DNN Got Me Drunk" t-shirt.

Congrats to Oly!

While we're talking about strategy...

Can we (please god) talk about something else for a minute? Don't worry, it's still about Denver.

High-level derby has very much been evolving into a front-pack heavy game. I know this isn't true with everyone, but it seems like most games are won or lost in the front of the pack. And, I mean, it makes sense. It's in many ways much easier to maintain, for one - you can break up a rear wall by getting in front of them and slowing down (although OH GOD DON'T SLOW DOWN YOU MIGHT RUIN ROLLER DERBY), while breaking up a wall in the front of the pack generally requires either drawing out individual members of the wall and getting them to commit to blocks that break up their formation, or, you know, getting through that friggin' wall in the first place. Easier said than done.

So most games end up being these terrific battles in the front of the pack, where everyone is jockeying for position and it's really impressive and amazing, and I've often been a front-pack chauvinist myself. But Denver this weekend often completely abandoned the front of the pack. Seriously, Windy City has one of the most punishing front-pack defenses I've ever seen - and Denver let them take the front without a fight, often didn't even try to break them up, and set up these beautiful little rear defensive walls that were surprisingly effective and difficult to shake. They were only possible because of really quick and effective replacement and excellent speed control on Denver's behalf.

And the more I think about it, the smarter I think that is, as a counter-strategy to what you commonly see. If everyone's going to fight for the front, why not let them have it, and train up a rear wall that's just as strong and effective? It has its faults - stronger jammers that can block their way through a pack like Tannibal, Atomatrix, and PsychoBabble tended to have less trouble with the rear-pack recycling. And it meant that Denver was in less of a position to play offense when both jammers were in the pack. (Of course, when only their jammer was in the pack, they were perfectly free to ruin roller derby and slow things down).

That being said, three teams very much impressed me in that they played an equal game in the front AND the back, rather than favoring one over the other. Those three would be Oly, Texas, and Gotham. Those three teams might be the most adaptable I have seen in the sport, and I think it showed in their performance this weekend.

Again, awesome job by everyone involved. Three days of derby are going to keep my head buzzing for weeks...

Dylan going electric

He got booed as well...no need to get worked up over this outrageous analogy.

Slim-I like your insight into the back of the pack strategy employed by Denver. There jammers definitely take some abuse from that front wall with no one there to break it up for them, but I guess they return the favor to the opposing team's jammer.

Now back to the booing...

I wonder if some of the booing was frustration on the part of teams from the east and mid-west that are used to winning and expected to advance and got beat in the opening rounds. Personally, I think Denver would have beaten Windy City employing a more traditional strategy as well-they are the better team.

Congrats to Philly for putting on a great tournament. Congrats to Oly-you girls are amazing. Lots of lateral skating though-try to keep skating forward in the future.

1-2-3-4?

It's not so much Dylan going electric as it would be the Ramones going acoustic. Anyway, i think Denver definitely won the gold medal in brand identity this year!

Re:3621

My guess is that you are referring to my transfer early this year from RMRG to DRD when you call me a trader. Assuming that is correct, I'd like to point out that I have done nothing but be supportive of RMRG since I left and that we have skaters transfer all the time between our two leagues (I bet you didn't complain to get Ro, or your other new transfers). You may harbor bad feelings for me, but quite frankly, I am skating with a league that I enjoy, and that is all I care about. I was just as excited to see RMRG in the top 4. This is definitely your issue, not mine.

3 things

1.

Minimum rage wrote:

...quite frankly, I am skating with a league that I enjoy, and that is all I care about. I was just as excited to see RMRG in the top 4. This is definitely your issue, not mine.

Word. Why the hell anyone would do this if it wasn't fun is beyond me.

2. NERDS!!!

3. 3621, I think you meant t-r-a-i-t-o-r. Or maybe you meant trader. I have no idea. You seem kind of like a jerk.

3a. Yay Colorado and Holy Crap Oly, way to go!

I'm pretty sure I love you

I'm pretty sure I love you Lady Quebeaum!

i was gonna point that out

but i thought maybe she meant i trapped fur and sold it for a living...who knows? :)

Derby Ambassadors - We All Are...

Love the debate. Throwing my hat in the ring.

CONGRATS to the OLY Rollers. Wow. Power, skill, speed, team work. Incredible.

Thanks to the Philly Rollergirls for hosting another fun, fun, fun Nationals.

Congrats to all the teams that made it to the Nationals. I went in still believing in the power of the East, even after seeing the West at Derby on the Rocks. Ya gotta respect what RMRG, Denver, and Oly accomplished in sweeping as a Region. This time last year it was hard to envision anyone taking out Gotham. Same can be said for Oly now. I'm betting some team will.

After four champhionships, the host has not won, there has been a new Champion each year, Texas is the first team to get back in a Championship bout, and each year there is a central polarizing element that sparks debate, discussion, and demands for rule changes (sometimes justified, sometimes not).

Last years track cutting and jammerless jam were insanely disrupting. I don't think this slow/stop game is in the same area. It initially struck me as very odd and I was curious to see how it would be attacked. Certainly, Oly could play it and bust it. The thing is that as a sport, the rules of competition should reflect fair play and allow for a multitude of strategies. This sport is sometimes hard to explain to Newbies as the scoring and action can get very complicated (also making consistent reffing a real challenge).

Whether you find it boring or not, We can still try to describe it to the new folks. It's clear to me that there is a Derby Nation, and we are all it's ambassadors. Stuff happens, and it's how it is handled that shows the professionalism and heart of this unique group. If changes are made JUST to keep fans happy and excited, that is not sport. Changes are required when something is broke. This slow game is weird, but as someone reminded me, many things today were initially strange. This doesn't feel broke.

I loved that Denver addressed the crowd reaction in the best possible fashion. They won! And it is clear that RMRG v. Denver games will result in crazy things happening. I have to say, they gained a fan (yes - both teams).

Lastly, did anyone watch the whole tournament on DNN?

WFTDA Nationals weight gain

mrbombshelter wrote:

Lastly, did anyone watch the whole tournament on DNN?

I did. I even rescheduled a PT appointment on Friday to watch Gotham take on Detroit. And I ended up dreaming about derby Sunday night. Val even made an appearance in my dream. Never met the woman in person, yet she still made it into my dream.

I have nothing else to add to the debate(s) at hand, other than I appreciate ALL the contributions. Something tells me that Brady guy who plays football probably doesn't sweat his ruleset as much as we do, which is why I love this sport.

THANKS DNN for bringing this amazing weekend into my home.

Maura Lee Bankrupt

I'm just sayin...

If I made it into your dream that WFTDA Nationals weight gain is +202 lbs.

Is anyone else having WFTDrAwl(say it out loud)? I'm totally in need of a derby fix...

Queen of the Hive!

Love & Derby,
Val Capone
WCR-skater
DNN-Commentator
Maura Lee Bankrupt made me blush

Nearly ...

mrbombshelter wrote:

Lastly, did anyone watch the whole tournament on DNN?

I missed the Friday bouts because I had to work - I had a choice between Saturday off to see the Friday games (ah, time differences - not confusing at all) or Monday off to see the Sunday ones. But I get dedication points for staying up all night to watch the Saturday games with only a 60 minute nap at dinner break time (what was it, 8am Sunday my time?), then getting up at 5am on Monday to see the finals, right?

100% worth it but man, I wish y'all would stop scheduling your tournament games to start at 3am Oz time. I got something akin to jetlag from skipping sleep every weekend during the run of Regionals.

Next Nationals...

...Should be on a cruise ship, everybody gets a room, bouts on the upper deck, ballroom dancing. Imagine the possibilities!! Just saying. :-)

Dr.Johnny Capote
Montreal

lady quebeaum

cracks me up. hahahahahaha

anyway, interesting discussion for sure. again, i'm even more interested to see how this all pans out in the next year.

no hating going on here, btw - just questioning things i long held to be derby canon. i've never heard anything but positive things about DRD and i have no doubt they're a great group of ladies.

on the booing - living in a country where free speech and free press really ain't so free, you start to appreciate good old american liberty. and what's more americana than roller derby? i'd hope people are demonstrating some level of respect - common sense things like not booing while a skater is down, no violence or excesses of profanity (many of us are mamas who would love to continue taking our kids to bouts). boo away if it makes you happy because really, no one can tell you not to.

or don't, and maybe take some notes instead and send them my way. ;)

Sweet N. Lowdown

whaddeye think about all of this noise

I'm hardly an unbiased source on all this. Believe me, I'm full of sour grapes, piss, and vinegar, but overall what I learned from this weekend is that Roller Derby is changing, and for the better. This is what we want! New strategies, new levels of ability, and even a little controversy isn't so bad. And if a rule change comes out of it, great. If not, so be it. It's certainly worthy of discussion but unfortunately what's getting lost in all of this is just how rad Oly is.

Oly really blew my mind this weekend, and they fully deserved to win the championship. Kudos for your unbelieveable skill, speed, endurance, and strength. And Denver beat my team (I'm on Windy City). Regardless of what I personally think of their strategy, it worked against us. I'm not going to lie, I was happy to see Denver's strategy fall flat against fast, powerful, and excellent skating. But this is exactly the point that people are making. Clearly this strategy is counterable. Oly forced Denver not to use it by completely outskating them.

What I worry about is that more and more teams are going to use a Denver-like strategy to compensate for a lack of skating ability. Not that I think Denver can't skate, clearly they're a skilled team. However, if more teams than Denver start using this style of play, Roller Derby is going to quite literally move backward. I really hope that what comes out of this weekend is Oly is setting the bar, not Denver. Clearly Oly could play the slow game, but they don't, because ultimately it's not a winning method. Athleticism, power, speed, and teamwork are.

As far as the defense of this sort of play as a smart strategy goes, splitting the pack by taking a knee used to be viewed the same way. Was it legal within the context of the ruleset? Yes. Was it successful? Yes. Was it coordinated? Yes. Did it reward athleticism? No. Did the rule change make roller derby more exciting to watch and play? Absolutely.

I'm kind of of the mind that skating clockwise to positionally block shouldn't be legal, but I really don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Having a little bit of backwards motion in Roller Derby can actually make the game more exciting, dynamic, and reward skilled skating. Frankly, I don't know what the answer is. What I do know is that I don't want to see a rule made that damages the sport more than it fixes it. Whatever comes out of this controversy, this weekend was definitely an amazing one for the sport. Kudos to all the teams who participated and all the fans who came from near and far to support the sport they love.

Thx to the Windy City

Thx to the Windy City Rollergirls, I've become a recent convert to the derby--enough that I watched a lot of the boutcasts this weekend. I'll admit I'm new and perhaps a little biased in favor of a Windy City skater, but I'm in full agreement with the points Shocka made. Oly was a truly spectacular team; it's a shame discussion of Denver's strategy is overshadowing that, but it's also completely understandable.

I've read the WFTDA rulebook and the insightful dissection of the strategy--particularly by Bombshell Shock and Howie Swerve. At first, I was completely in the "make it illegal" camp (maybe because it was so effective against Windy City), but I can understand the desire to let a counter-strategy naturally evolve. Nevertheless--and I'll admit to being rather new to this--the Denver strategy seems to make for boring derby. As a newbie, I have a limited view of how the game should be played; to be honest, I naturally expect the pack to skate at a more-or-less constant speed and remain pretty closely spaced (bunched over about 1/4 of the oval, or about 30-40 ft.). Now, it's silly to insist that all roller derby be played this way, but IMO the Denver strategy is such a major deviation from this (personal) ideal that I had a lot of trouble appreciating it as anything but a gimmick. I really hope someone develops an effective counter-strategy, but given the history of the similar-yet-opposite "runaway pussy" tactic, I think a rule change is inevitable--perhaps not one that specifically outlaws the strategy, but at least makes it more difficult to execute. I think Shocka's idea to severely reduce the opportunity for backward skating, for example, is a good one (even if she said counter-CW when she meant CW:-).

Finally, let me highlight a comment from Shocka's final paragraph: "I don't want to see a rule made that damages the sport more than it fixes it." I couldn't agree more; even though I think the situation cries out for some kind of rule change, that rule change should be incremental and tested in real competition rather than a major rewrite. My guess is the rules--particualrly the rules on pack formation--are still in an evolutuionary stage, and this is just one of the growing pains in what is still really a great, great sport.

Rewarding Athleticism

Shocka Conduit wrote:

.

Did it reward athleticism? No.

I'm not sure I agree. I think it takes a lot of lateral skill and power to be able to hit a jammer all the way out of bounds from an almost dead stop. I've always told my teammates that they can't hit a jammer when they're practically standing still and the jammer is sprinting. But I watched Juska do it over and over again. She had explosive movements side to side and still had so much power with so little momentum. At first I was screaming at my monitor "Move your feet! Move your feet!" but then I was like, "Dang girl, you can hit just as effectively the way you're doing it."

Linear Momentum

killervee wrote:

She had explosive movements side to side and still had so much power with so little momentum.

Gotta add something on this. From a physics perspective you will get more power in a standstill hit than you would from a skating hit. When you're moving forward you have to exert more energy to counteract your body's forward momentum. Which, by the way, is why it's easier to hit skaters out on the curves - you're using momentum to your advantage.

Another way to think about it is swimming across a pool in a straight line takes less energy than swimming across a river in a straight line. The extra energy is to fight the current trying to drag you downriver.

The other end of this the timing it takes to execute a hit from a standstill. The closer in speed two skaters are to each other, the larger the window of opportunity for a hit. So to be able to time a hit from a standstill is actually the greater skill involved.

Real. Athletic. Revolution.

I gotta agree. I've seen Denver play. They are a VERY athletic and talented team... not to mention smart, innovative and good at derby at any speed. Damned impressive, great team.

Akers?

I think maybe you mean Akers? Heather Juska is a former speed skater and one of Denver's dedicated jammers. Tracy "Disco" Akers frequently played in the back and did what you are describing.

As for athleticism, perhaps athleticism means different things to different people. In the world of derby, some people think it applies purely to how fast you skate. Other people think it also applies to your timing and explosive lateral movements. Still other people think you can include playing smart as opposed to just hard and good teamwork with it (waiting for the right moment for a hole to open, skating clockwise when needed, etc.). I can assure you both Juska and Akers, along with the rest of MHC, are capable of displaying athleticism in every sense of the word.

I don't really understand the concern about teams using strategy to compensate for lack of skating ability. Not that I think that is something that anyone who skated at Nationals does, but theoretically what is wrong with that? It seems to be the plot of every sports movie I've ever watched.

Yup, that's who I meant!

Yup, that's who I meant! Silly "real last names" are confusing to me :)

Juska??? Akers???

Killervee wrote:

But I watched Juska do it over and over again. She had explosive movements side to side and still had so much power with so little momentum.

As much as I would LOVE to say I can block like my teammate Tracy "Disco" Akers....................I can not block to save my life!!! (So ive been told by my loving coach Anus) I only wear the star cover and you would never see me move like Akers does in the back of the pack =) She is truly amazing at what she does and I am honored to call her my teammate!

Juska
Denver Roller Dolls
Mile High Club

New Standard Set By Oly

National level Roller Derby has been taken to the next level by Oly Rollers.
The play this weekend displayed what strong, fit, skilled women can do with this game, and knock it into next week. This does not take away from the other great teams at the tournament but Oly turned the dial up to 11. Even the haters have to admit that the Rollers kicked pure ass this past weekend. Skating talks, bullshit walks......
It will be awesome to see what comes around next year now that a new and powerful template has been set, this will only help this SPORT and enable it to continue to gain credibility as the premier venue of athletics for kick ass women.......

ouch.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, My head just popped off, after reading all this. I Love it.

Apology for comment regarding OT games

I want to correct a stupid personal error I made in calling the RMRG-Philly game on the DNN video boutcast. In my excitement over a great game I mistakenly said this was the first overtime game in tournament history. Of course, the Detroit-Boston game in the 2007 east regional Heatland Havoc was the first, and Texas-Windy City last year at nationals was the second. I think that I meant it was the first OT in this years tournaments, but at the moment it was admittedly hard to think clearly. What an amazing game! Regardless, I am sorry for my mistake.

Nyet, Caesar

Brewcity-Burning River at the Brawl of America went into OT. I'm uncertain if there were others.

ah geez. dnn time to hire

ah geez. dnn time to hire fact checkers and buy teleprompters, lol!

Maybe we need media guides,

Maybe we need media guides, like other sports have. I get a copy of the Milwaukee Bucks media guide every year, which is probably, i dunno, 192 pages thick or something, and it's got, like, every score ever, every player ever, who played what jersey number ever, every record ever...it might be nice to get that stuff down on paper for ready reference as opposed to having to troll the internet for info, or just having it passed down to future generations via oral history.

Regardless, nice job this weekend, Ceaze!

Media guide-type info would be good for more than just media

Announcers and the media would surely benefit from such a guide. It would also be of great interest to a lot of us derby junkies & nerds. And having details archived would benefit the sport itself, from a historical perspective. I'm amazed at how much I can tell about a game just by reading a standard WFTDA stats sheet for a bout.

Quite a bit of derby history gets lost when it's not written down or entered into a spreadsheet promptly when it happens. And things that do get saved tend to disappear for one reason or another, unless that information is published and disseminated.

It seems that on a per-league basis, it's really rare to see any stats at all on league websites, and even then, it's only either very recent or very old. flattrackstats.com is nice, but still relies on people to send in info, so it has many gaps, and only has basic info (scores and total major/minor penalty counts). League sites also are very spotty in their acknowledgement of former players (a pet peeve of a few retired skaters I know!).

So is there any kind of concerted effort among derby league stats people to collect and publish their info anywhere? Who do we talk to to get something like that going?

(sorry this is kind of off-topic from the recaps)

Fact checking

Damn now I have to find the half dozen people that were watching my laptop @ the bar and tell them I was wrong! Thanx for the coverage! You did an awesome job & we were all glad you did it!

Caesar

I am your new fan!!

Juska
Denver Roller Dolls
Mile High Club

I was catching what you were throwin'...or was I?

I didn't correct you simply because I thought you meant at Nationals. Not this tourny season, or past, but this specific Nationals Tournament.

I mean, HULLO!, the Windy-Texie bout last year left me with a headache from all the screaming I had done during it! I think my tea kettle was on overdrive following that one.

Not to mention Detroit's amazing victory cued with precision to DJ Moxy's playing of Europe's The Final Countdown in '07 over Boston when the pantsless wonders still had their old skool uniforms.

OR Brawl of America's spine tingling finish between Brew City and Burning River!

So, yeah, my bad for not correcting this mid call. Perhaps it's because I was entranced with the magic that is Caesar. He is my Ohio-Wife-In-Law, afterall.

Does this mean I forfeit my card carrying privileges to be a member of the Walking Derby Encyclopedia Society?

Love & Derby,
Val Capone
WCR-skater
DNN-commentator
Mrs. Barracuda to you

to the skater who broke my nose at the Pants Off Dance Off

You: No pants, doing a backwards handspring on the dance floor.

Me: No pants, getting kicked in the face.

I am a happy drunk so at the time it was cool that you kicked me in the face and broke my nose, but now that I'm sober and have to take a month off of skating it's slightly less cool. I would accept flowers, a dozen cookies, and a bottle of whiskey as an apology.

love,
stank girl the stench wench
dairyland dolls

Pantless backflips oh no......

stank_girl wrote:

You: No pants, doing a backwards handspring on the dance floor.

Me: No pants, getting kicked in the face.

I am a happy drunk so at the time it was cool that you kicked me in the face and broke my nose, but now that I'm sober and have to take a month off of skating it's slightly less cool. I would accept flowers, a dozen cookies, and a bottle of whiskey as an apology.

love,
stank girl the stench wench
dairyland dolls

Damn I swear some of the worst injuries in derby come from the afterpartys. I think all after partys should be held in bubble wrapped venues. Hope your nose heals nicely (and while I do get drunk, pantsless and do backflips - it wasn't me, I swear I wasn't there!)

A Big Thanks!

This was the post I originally wanted to write yesterday.....before all of this spirited debate began.

HOLY CRAP!

OLY!

You have raised the bar.

CONGRATS and thank you for knocking my socks off with the ILLEST skating the derby world has seen yet. We know you have some fab world class skaters, but together, you pretty much rule.

CONGRATS AND THANK YOU TEXAS!

For being our Fairy Godmothers and giving us the MOST AWESOME SPORT IN THE UNIVERSE!

Also, Big props on keeping the Texecutioners in the top 5 since the beginning of time and keeping things competitive. Ya'll had a great team this season.

HOLLA!

DENVER!

Nice job on the three spot! You grew so much this year and it is obvious how hard you have worked. Thanks for keeping everyone on their toes.

RMRG!

Wow! Excellent playing all weekend and thanks for bringing us such exciting games!

PHILLY!

THANK YOU FOR HOSTING THE TOURNAMENT! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

YO GOTHAM!

Thank you for what was probably the game of the year. The Gotham vs. Oly game. I don't think I moved or took a breath for 60 minutes. And, I know you didn't win...but you will always be winners. You have the longest record of wins in the history of the sport. Oh yeah, and you still totally kick a lot of ass.

And a fat congrats to all the teams that made it to Nationals. The skating was the best of the best and it sure didn't disappoint. Not at all.

Its all fun and game until someone gets hurt.

As someone alluded to earlier if you weren't there, you weren't there and should not comment on the discussion at hand. Denver took slow pack to a new level of stop skating and skate backwards. Since there is debate whether their play was a loophole or strategy. I'll find a loophole in the dictionary and call it a clever trick. Sort of like in football if a player hid the ball under his jersey saying well "the rules don't say you have to carry the ball visibly." There was a time when texting while driving wasn't against the law. Doesn't mean its a good idea or should be continued.
Every time Denver reverted their stop play I heard derby people grumble. One quote was "I'd rather watch OSDA than this s#*."
An opposing player went to the hospital during their stop play shtick. That fact should be point of whether it is safe or a good idea. They continued their unpopular play even after that injury. Of course they were booed.
Hopefully the next ruleset will put an end to it.

Congratulations Oly

Let's be fair, now

flamescagney wrote:

An opposing player went to the hospital during their stop play shtick. That fact should be point of whether it is safe or a good idea. They continued their unpopular play even after that injury. Of course they were booed. Hopefully the next ruleset will put an end to it.

I've been trying to stay mostly out of this discussion, but I gotta respond to this...

You're insinuating that Denver continued to play an unsafe game after it had been proven to be unsafe, which is not accurate or fair. The injury you're referring to happened with literally one minute remaining in Denver's last bout of the weekend. For the record, it also turned out not to be a very serious one, at least judging by the ferocity of Catholic Cruel Girl's dancing at the afterparty.

Even if that hadn't been the case -- even if CCG had been badly hurt -- I don't think it's good logic to say "somebody was injured while a tactic was being used = tactic is an unsafe bad idea." I simply don't see how getting hit by a perfectly executed 90 degree Sheriff is any less of a potential injury threat than skating towards an extremely slow pack. Derby is just an inherently dangerous game. Sometimes people get hurt. If you start outlawing everything in derby that might conceivably contribute to an injury, you will quite quickly have no game left.

Thanks Justice

Justice Feelgood Marshall wrote:

You're insinuating that Denver continued to play an unsafe game after it had been proven to be unsafe, which is not accurate or fair. The injury you're referring to happened with literally one minute remaining in Denver's last bout of the weekend. For the record, it also turned out not to be a very serious one, at least judging by the ferocity of Catholic Cruel Girl's dancing at the afterparty.

I was just about to say the same thing! I'm not certain on this but I don't remember a lot of game stopping injuries from the Denver bouts. This strategy tends to reduce the number of injuries that occur and as we all know this is a volunteer sport. Many skaters don't have insurance other than through their leagues.

All of DRD is so thankful that CCG was not seriously injured.

If we can look at a different sport for a second

Football players move in opposite directions almost 100% of the time. It's the basis for the entire game and yet no one is calling for football to be banned. The stop game isn't even as extreme as football as one player is moving into a motionless group. How often are football players motionless?

Pick a different one.

The New Yorker Magazine compares football to cockfighting.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/10/19/091019fa_fact_gladwell

If you don't like our game, make us play yours.

As a founding member of the Denver Roller Dolls and ex-skater of the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, I just want to say how proud I am of Denver and what we brought to Nationals. Both teams were amazing and am so impressed by how we represented our city. Can you imagine if we were all on 1 team??? ;) After playing for 5 years, I can't image a better send off into retirement for me. Actually, that's a lie. 2 things that could have made it better would have been not going to the box twice while jamming in the last moments of my career (after avoiding the box for the whole rest of the game!) and the hostility we encountered from other skaters. I can excuse booing fans. They may not really understand strategy and are just looking for speed and big hits. I thought skaters would have been more respectful. We weren't cheating or playing dirty. We weren't being dangerous. We're actually friendly, dedicated women who love roller derby as much as anyone. We aren't the biggest girls or the hardest hitters. We aren't the fastest or most agile. We don't have any Olympic athletes. What we have is teamwork and strategy (and a 6 person worm for after-parties). When other teams were focusing on speed or hitting drills, we focused on building our teamwork and pack control. The amount of time our captains and coach spend thinking about roller derby is actually kind of sick. I'm not sure they do anything but think about derby. They constantly showed up to practices with drills that barely made sense at first and pushed our team to think outside the box. I think it was their dedication to the sport and our skaters' commitment to each other that got us to 3rd place. When we draft players on MHC, brains matter more then brawn and I'm proud of where it got us. I wish I hadn't been threatened in the hallways and elevators at Nationals. I wish I hadn't repeatedly been called a cheater and told that I suck when taking a victory lap. Regardless, I would suffer through all the abuse again to walk away from Nationals with that 3rd place medal around my neck. I never dreamed to have made it this far and I am so proud of my league. I love the Denver Roller Dolls and I love roller derby. I love all the skaters who cheered for us and showed their support when it was incredibly unpopular to do so.

Sincerely, Jessica "Jersey" Reutlinger

P.S. Backwards and slow skating isn't all we know how to do, but if that's what gives us the advantage over a team we will use it until it stops working. Obviously, it wouldn't work against Oly and we had to change our game. My challenge to you: If you don't like our game, make us play yours.

P.P.S. Oly is amazing!!! Heffer's hip checks were pristine. Oly deserved their win and a standing ovation.

P.P.P.S. I'm so glad I can finally get Duke the hygroma surgically removed from my leg now and start a more gentle exercise routine. My life and body has been forever changed. Thank you roller derby...

Everyone needs to read this post.

Well said.

Reading the rules

Good point. What dedicated coaches/captains do not anxiously await the new ruleset, read it as soon as they can get their hands on it, and subsequently spend several hours going over it in detail and thinking of new strategies that apply to it?

Hear, hear!

And congratulations on your derby career.

Congrats and all the best ...

Well said .. great job and great post.
Congrats to both Denver and Rocky Mountain, and Texas and OLY! And THANK YOU, Philly! for putting on a great tournament!

Farewell Jessica "Jersey Trouble" Reutlinger - we love you!

Since we're mentioning the injury when Jessica "Jersey" Reutlinger ran into Cruelie anyway, I wanted to tag on and wish her the best! This was Jersey's last game of her derby career.

Jersey started skating with RMRG in 2004, and was a league founder of DRD the following year. She was on the Mile High Club from the start, including their first interleague bout back in 2006 when they played against.. the Kansas City Roller Warriors.

We few proud DRD fans in the stadium were especially excited to see Jersey take the star on Sunday, because Jersey has moved from jammer to front blocker this year. It was a great send-off from her team for this amazing athlete.

All the best Jersey - you'll be missed!

Very fast, or very slow, wins the game

Or both for that matter. It's hard to imagine that when the rules that allow clockwise skating on the track or coming to a complete stop were discussed among the rules committee members, they did not foresee this kind of game play.

It's long been known that anything that is allowed in derby, develops into a full-time strategy if not a complete school of thought on playing style. And I think "Denver style" will be highly emulated. Of course, it could make enthusiastic phrases like "Genuine flat-track action" quaintly obsolete.

I would find it extremely hard to believe that during rules discussions, someone didn't say "If we allow this in this circumstance, what's to stop people from doing it all the time as a tactic." Having worked on two rules sets in a system outside the WFTDA, we had those discussions ALL THE TIME. And with far more interleague game experience than we could ever see in the Derby Dolls system, it's impossible to believe it was not foreseen and that someone responded, "So what if it does? That's just smart playing." Any experienced referee in the discussion would have predicted it, and spoken up about it I'm sure.

One of the unique philosophical stances made very early-on in the WFTDA, was to give an advantage to smart play over raw speed and action. That is the very basis of the break with tradition that made "lead jammer" an award of permanent-in-jam-superpower status, instead of sticking with the definition that the very words "lead jammer" implies. The same thing goes for the "bridging" rules, opting to tie "track cutting" to the blocker who blocked the player out of bounds and keep the rules that way when it became clear how it was used in games, basing the pack on the largest group that contained at least one opposing player, etc. Fast action is NOT a WFTDA game-style priority.

Saying that "Denver style" will be highly emulated, there is also an implication that strategies to defeat that type of play will become commonplace. I'm not a player or a coach, and I've thought of multiple ways to defeat the tactic or for an opponent to use the rules in the same way to take advantage of the fact that a stopped team can't quickly coordinate and execute opposing blocks or teamwork, since they lack forward motion to transfer into lateral motion. Coaches and team captains across the derbyverse are thinking about this right now.

Windy City figured this out too late in the game to reverse the outcome, but they did come up with neutralizing tactics that will also be emulated by smart teams. Slow or stopped has huge tactical disadvantages, and the advantage goes to whoever races to the back 20 feet and uses reverse bridging to give them a sprinting buffer. The Power-Jammer would face coordinated opposition that is moving counter-clockwise, while the defenders have limited lateral maneuverability. In the run-up to that moment, it will appear that the game is moving in reverse direction to the normal counter-clockwise flow of the game. Clockwise sprint speed and ability to hockey-stop,"power slide" or backward toe-stop and reverse direction instantly will be extremely valuable skills to drill on.

I think there may be a safety issue when this tactic is emulated by teams with less control than you see in the nation's top leagues, but that is a boat that hasn't sailed yet. I think the tactic succeeded largely because skaters with a good sense of self preservation hesitated to force a back block on the speeding Denver jammers. That's like volunteering to become a crash test dummy. But my crystal ball says it's going to happen, and often, involving jammers who aren't as good at the lateral dodge as we saw in Nationals. The WFTDA rules aren't just for the top 12 national leagues/teams, but are used by over 95% of the roller derby world, and truthfully, the skill level drops off sharply from the top to bottom of the WFTDA membership ladder alone, let alone the 70% or so who aren't members.

As for football playing in direct opposition all the time to stopped speeds, there are some notable differences here: football players are heavily armored, and you don't see differential speeds of 20 mph. 20 mph, a commonly achievable jammer speed on straights, is world record human speed territory, and you will never see that in a football game. You will rarely see direct opposition combined differentials (10 mph from two players running opposite directions at each other) of 20 mph. You especially won't ever see a 20 mph differential speed rear impact in football, though you might see 10-15 mph under very rare circumstances. Metaphors to other sports rarely work in roller derby, because it has too many qualities that make it completely unique.

Denver style?

Not sure why everybody keeps saying this is a style unique to Denver or that Denver originated it. The "Denver style" is itself an emulation of "Duke City style" which is probably itself an emulation of something I don't know about since I'm a relative newcomer to derby. I used to skate for a small, newish, non-WFTDA league in California (go SVRG!) and even we played the "Denver style" long before ever seeing Denver or Duke. Or I should say we ATTEMPTED to play it. The only difference is that Denver does it so well that it is bound to be really noticed. Believe it or not, it is not easy to get your entire team to all slow down to the exact same speed and keep a tight wall while going that speed.

SVRG

yinan wrote:

I used to skate for a small, newish, non-WFTDA league in California (go SVRG!) and even we played the "Denver style" long before ever seeing Denver or Duke. .

SVRG may be non-WFTDA but they are WFTDA Apprentice!

And badass, i might add. ;)

The reason I'm referring to

The reason I'm referring to it as "Denver style" and not attributing its forerunners, is that Denver is the first to use it in a national championship level tournament, and exhibiting it in such a refined concentrated and consistent form and to such a high degree of success, that it has reached new heights of successful application and the controversial aspect is tied to their games in the National Championship Tournament.

Picking a nit: Madison was the first team to use the tactic

at this year's national tournament.

Of course what my friend JeLLyPiG calls "western-style pack control" was much in evidence at Western Regionals.

Anyway, I don't blame you for calling it "Denver style." It's definitely a prominent style now (much more so than when the local intra-league teams that I follow found themselves and their fans in a discussion very much like this one last Spring), and the women from Colorado are the reason for that prominence.

I BLAME DOLLY ROCKET!!!!

Remember kids, ultimately, whatever transpired this weekend, or hell, anything that you don't like or ever goes wrong in the world of Roller Derby, we can all pretty much point our finger in just one direction.

;)

True Dat.

That punch...

Yeah, skating out in the last few minutes of the Texas RMRG game and hitting that girl in the back of the head was just a new low for Dolly. But man, did you see that killer leg whip she gave Blondie? Love her or hate her, Dolly Rocket plays roller derby.

...and more

LOL...but when she kept slowing the pack to a near standstill, and at one point got everyone to skate clockwise, man, I don't know, she practically ruined roller derby right then and there! And then she started booing everybody...

I saw that too!

i think i just pissed myself! bawhahaha

lovable losers

yinan wrote:

Not sure why everybody keeps saying this is a style unique to Denver or that Denver originated it. The "Denver style" is itself an emulation of "Duke City style" .... The only difference is that Denver does it so well that it is bound to be really noticed.

That's true but I'd extend that to argue that REAL main difference is that Denver placed at Nationals with it and it only took us (Duke) through Regionals. No one would care if Denver hadn't won so much. No one is mad at Oly for winning because they're clearly the fastest team on the planet. But everyone's mad at Denver for doing something everyone feels that they could do, yet didn't (or didn't think to).

Wish it were true....

After the KC bout, I walked back to the hotel behind some Windy City players and they were already LIVID about 'the slow game'. I believe the quote was something along the lines of "we're going to tear their (blank) faces off". Seriously, at least the most vocal player was very, very angry about our play before our skaters ever set foot on the track against them. So it's not a matter of sore losers.

different interpretations of the rules

I think that the confusion was that for some leagues, they just did not interpret some of what the clockwise skating strategy was as legal. so the anger was coming from what some felt to be playing an illegal game.

i think everyone in derby has seen the slow game by now. last year's nationals used a lot of similar tactics to force cuts.

as the refs were not calling most of the clockwise skating illegal except when contact was made clockwise, some teams used it. i saw texas skaters roll clockwise against RMRG to try to force jammer cuts too, and a crazy block from vicious van go-go turn around and skate backwards... chest bump a RMRG girl, and spin back around. (not sure if that was legal or not but it was rather badass). others didn't need to use it at all or often because they had a different strategy.

whether you call the teams "unprepared" or "differing in rules philosophy" (e.g. their ref staff and nearby ref staffs they were in contact with felt it was not legal) - they did not have a definitive answer for it until too late in the game to catch up. Philly made RMRG play their game in the 2nd half but it was after they were down by a huge deficit and in the end RMRG took it. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. Oh well.

so it goes. it's a game. it was interesting yet controversial.

if it is found to be legal under specific situations, you sure as hell know everyone will throw it into their tactic book for the right situation. Teams will start incorporating it into their drills in practices.

That is why derby is so exciting - because it's so dynamic and things change from game to game, and year to year.

I think that right now some leagues just found it fundamentally a sound and legal rule and others found it a fundamentally illegal tactic. So you are hearing their first-hand visceral reactions and some aren't pretty.

different interpretations indeed!

vixenvangogo wrote:

I think that the confusion was that for some leagues, they just did not interpret some of what the clockwise skating strategy was as legal. so the anger was coming from what some felt to be playing an illegal game.

I think that right now some leagues just found it fundamentally a sound and legal rule and others found it a fundamentally illegal tactic. So you are hearing their first-hand visceral reactions and some aren't pretty.

I concur. Which is why in my post defending the expression of booing, I also made sure to state that Denver shouldn't think that the Boos were coming towards them exclusively. There was some huge amount of unhappiness directed at the ref team, for this very reason the above poster describes. (Though, I personally think there were some serious problems with the reffing in the Windy City vs Denver bout, which had nothing to do with the Stop-pack strategy, but other calls being made or not, and scores being apparently incorrectly recorded. Though before people demand examples, I don't have the specifics ready to list out. Sorry.)

Huh?

Bustaarmov wrote:

As for football playing in direct opposition all the time to stopped speeds, there are some notable differences here: football players are heavily armored, and you don't see differential speeds of 20 mph. 20 mph, a commonly achievable jammer speed on straights, is world record human speed territory, and you will never see that in a football game. You will rarely see direct opposition combined differentials (10 mph from two players running opposite directions at each other) of 20 mph. You especially won't ever see a 20 mph differential speed rear impact in football, though you might see 10-15 mph under very rare circumstances. Metaphors to other sports rarely work in roller derby, because it has too many qualities that make it completely unique.

Huh? World record human speed? Try 27.45 mph or what Usain Bolt was calculated as running when he crossed the finish line on his world record 100 meter dash. It is pretty safe to assume that many athletes in the NFL can run at least 2/3 as fast as Usain Bolt. Do you really think Atomatrix would beat Usain Bolt in a race?

Not to mention that NFL players are bigger and stronger meaning they have more momentum and would cause a bigger hit even if they're going slower.

You are right on more padding for certain parts of the body but roller derby uses more padding on the knees, elbows, and hands.

There's statistics, and then there's "damn statistics"...

I don't think it's safe to assume that many athletes in the NFL can run 2/3s as fast in a *game* at all. Not with their gear on. Their speed should be something that has documentation anyway, you shouldn't have to guess. And Atomatrix should be able to reach a top speed of at least 35 mph on skates in a straight run. Heck, I'd put money on it that she could do it on the LADD banked track. Others have on quads, and that was an average lap speed (5.1 seconds with an average circumference of 260 feet). If she shows up, I'm buying a speed gun.

The flat track imposes terminal speed limits due to the traction limits in the turns, which I've stopwatch timed skaters during games, and which is how I arrived at the 20mph speed (roughly about .66 seconds between the 20 foot marks on a straight). 20 mph is 29.33 feet per second, and I'm pretty sure accelerating someone at a relative dead stop to that speed can cause severe neck, spine and internal organ injuries, depending on where the impact occurs, how much contact area there is and what their stance is.

The fact that a skater cannot legally assume a counterblocking stance to optimize impact absorption exacerbates the situation. I believe any skater that assumes a posture to defend against an impact, such as turning a shoulder and leaning against the impact, will have that stance interpreted as a "counterblocking" major if she is not moving in a counter-clockwise direction.

In safety considerations, theoretical injuries don't carry much weight. Let's just hope that it just remains theory.

Then there's real statistics

Bustaarmov wrote:

I don't think it's safe to assume that many athletes in the NFL can run 2/3s as fast in a *game* at all. Not with their gear on. Their speed should be something that has documentation anyway, you shouldn't have to guess. And Atomatrix should be able to reach a top speed of at least 35 mph on skates in a straight run. Heck, I'd put money on it that she could do it on the LADD banked track. Others have on quads, and that was an average lap speed (5.1 seconds with an average circumference of 260 feet). If she shows up, I'm buying a speed gun.

Why even bring up banked track speed? This strategy is neither possible on a banked track nor is it legal by my understanding.

Bustaarmov wrote:

The flat track imposes terminal speed limits due to the traction limits in the turns, which I've stopwatch timed skaters during games, and which is how I arrived at the 20mph speed (roughly about .66 seconds between the 20 foot marks on a straight). 20 mph is 29.33 feet per second, and I'm pretty sure accelerating someone at a relative dead stop to that speed can cause severe neck, spine and internal organ injuries, depending on where the impact occurs, how much contact area there is and what their stance is.

Not that I doubted your stopwatch skills or math skills but I just had to time it myself. I timed jammers from the Oly/Texas game in situations where they were out of the pack so they were going about as fast as they would go. I clocked them between the jammer line and pivot line. The distance from the jammer line to pivot line is 30'. I calculated an average time of 1.521 seconds over that distance giving us 19.724 feet/second which is 13.448 mph. Remember also that these are some of the fastest jammers in the country, it's only going to get slower from here.

From a Popular Mechanics article: "a DB's mass combined with his speed — on average, 4.56 seconds for the 40-yard dash — can produce up to 1600 pounds of tackling force,"

That is 17.943 mph.

So, not only are football players moving faster but they're also heavier meaning they carry more force meaning bigger/harder hits. That's also not even calculating the probability that the two players are moving in opposite directions at the time of impact. Yes, they have more padding on their shoulders but derby skaters have more padding on their extremities. That's also ignoring the fact that in football, these impacts happen almost every play, whereas in roller derby, it would be rare for an impact like this to occur.

I don't doubt that roller derby skaters could be faster than a football player on a long straightaway but that's obviously not a part of either sport so it doesn't really matter.

The safety factor

I just want to start out by saying that I don't have an issue with the way Denver skated at Nationals. They are a highly skilled team with great athleticism and they implemented a strategy that was effective against most of their opposition. That said, I *do* see the potential for safety issues in this method of play as other teams try and figure out how to combat it.

One quick example:

Let's say a skater turns about-face and starts skating in the opposite direction to slow the pack speed, reverse bridge, make a jammer have to follow her or force a cut, whatever the reason... We'll call this skater who is turning about-face and skating in a clockwise motion blue skater A. Red skater B is positioned behind blue skater A (who is now skating directly towards her). Red skater B decides to pick up speed and head straight into blue skater A - she drops a shoulder into blue skater A's chest. As far as I know, this is a completely legal move on the part of red skater B, as the contact being made is with her shoulder to the chest of blue skater A and red skater B is skating in the forward direction - she is using a legal initiating contact zone (her shoulder) and planting the hit into a legal receiving contact zone on Skater B by hitting her chest. Not only can blue skater A not counter-block in any way (as she is moving in the clockwise direction and would get a major for doing so), but now she's possibly headed backwards in her fall to the ground. We only wear limited padding - all of which is located on the front of our bodies (none on the back) - safety issue #1. Safety issue #2 is that now skater A is more exposed to hitting their head first and not their knees or hip to break their fall, thus more likely to increase the number of concussions in our sport (sp?). Safety issue #3 - In this scenario, their head is going straight towards the feet of skater's who are likely within close proximity and skating in the forward direction - allowing potential for their head to also be kicked. Safety issue #4 (and one of the bigger potential risks) - This allows a direct hit to be made to the heart of skater A (at forward-moving high speed / high impact), which could cause her heart to stop.

I'm not sure if anyone employed this defense in response to Denver's clockwise skating - I didn't see anyone do it - but I do see this as a potential safety issue going forward as people begin to find ways to combat this type of play.

Then again - maybe I'm totally 100% wrong...just something I can see as a *potential* safety issue.

Escalation!

shellby_shattered wrote:

Safety issue #4 (and one of the bigger potential risks) - This allows a direct hit to be made to the heart of skater A (at forward-moving high speed / high impact), which could cause her heart to stop.

Wow - I've heard people call Denver's play boring, cheating, unsportsmanlike and dangerous, but this is the first time I've heard it referred to as potentially murderous.

(I love you, Shattered, not making fun of you, and not intending to dismiss safety discussion. I just think the escalation is a little amusing. If this continues, we're gonna hit Godwin's Law territory pretty soon...)

stopper derby: fascist?

We clearly have no choice but to adopt the "Keanu Reeves" solution: each skate is equipped with a bomb that is armed once the jam starts. If the skater falls below 2 mph, the bomb shoots out little bits of confetti that say "booo!"

This is the only way to prevent Hitler from turning us all Nazi.

:)

Techinically...

I'm not talking about Denver's strategy - but the counter-strategy to a portion of what Denver was doing. But, hey, we can just do it and see what happens - I'd always rather see someone get hurt than try to prevent it. ;)

home team bouts

I think our home team bouts are a decent starting point to see what happens when everyone knows the same rules and style of play - http://www.vimeo.com/6866554

This is what is illegal

KendraBlood wrote:

I think our home team bouts are a decent starting point to see what happens when everyone knows the same rules and style of play - http://www.vimeo.com/6866554

This is a great example of exactly what I was talking about in my earlier post -- cases where the "slow game" turns into clockwise positional blocking which is illegal. Watch 1:35-1:45 of this video. There is a red blocker that blocks the green jammer out of bounds and slows down to force the green jammer to come in behind her. Once the green jammer does come in behind her, the red blocker stops and then actually skates clockwise a teeny bit while blocking the green jammer. The red blocker is never called on this.

I think there were a lot of instances of great legal plays and blocks from teams employing the "slow game" at Nationals, but I think there were also a lot of cases of this sort of thing occurring and not being called. That is what was frustrating to watch from my perspective.

But you could do that as a

But you could do that as a counter-strategy to anyone skating clockwise but going forwards for any reason, be that to create a slow pack, to more quickly rejoin the pack from out of play, to just be intimidating, or whatever. So if safety is the issue here, I don't see how you could eliminate that danger unless you made all clockwise skating illegal, or made hitting someone while they were skating clockwise illegal.

"murderous" - Ha!

Justice Feelgood Marshall wrote:

and not intending to dismiss safety discussion

Aw - I love you too Justice. ;)

I'm not saying roller derby or any strategy related to roller derby is murderous - come on now - that's crazy. I'm just sayin' - this type of injury *has* happened in sports like football due to direct impact (and not just from a ball, but from direct force/hits)...and is a published sports-science topic that has become the foreground of many discussions and research regarding safety and protection in sports. Maybe it just scared the b-jesus out of me and it's an over-reaction, but it gives me nightmares none-the-less.

Here are some links:

http://www.theacc.com/sports/m-lacros/spec-rel/030105aaa.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commotio_cordis

Roller derby and women's contact sports likely do not have enough history yet to be included in these studies, but I don't think it precludes it from being a concern or topic of discussion. Even *one* rare case of this is too much in my books and in a sport where I care about my peers - especially if it is something that can be prevented or protected against.

I'm not saying "OMG - change this strategy" - I actually think it's great to have to figure out how to adjust to these things - it's like an awesome roller derby puzzle that makes us (and the sport) better in the long run.

Godwin's Law

I just realized that Howie beat me to the joke. *laugh*

yup, it's happened..

>Red skater B is positioned behind blue skater A (who is now skating directly towards her). Red skater B decides to pick up speed and head straight into blue skater A - she drops a shoulder into blue skater A's chest.

It's happened before and at Western Regionals (and no, not always towards Denver). Obviously Blue Skater A can't initiate a block if she's moving clockwise, but even if she's stopped or drifting backwards (which is now CCW), it's still a dangerous position to be in. I don't understand the motivation for turning and facing like that, other than intimidation. And if that's the game you're playing, I think you deserve whatever lumps you end up with.

We've had some debate about what exactly is going on with this shot: I think it looks like Angela is picking DeRanged up? http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2479/3995850749_09e8e1cd33.jpg

Have DVD ...

will try to figure it out when I get some time and let you know. :)

That was easy ... now with shameless plugs!

So, about nine minutes into DRD v RMRG in Denver at Regionals, Angela Death and Whip on the line. Two RMRG blockers (Pep and De) and three DRD blockers. Whip pulls ahead and DRD blockers are pretty focused on her. De blocking Angela D. with booty. De turns and briefly skates backwards in the proper direction. Angela D. runs into her (someone snaps great photo) De crouches swiftly and bumps a block using her right shoulder into Angela's chest while skating backwards in proper direction. Angela falls for nanosecond, De turns back around and skates forward. The jam continues.

I love a good mystery, which I solved with my handy-dandy DVD of a Western Regionals 2009 Bout DVD. Gee, you ask, where can I get me one of those? Well, luckily for you, the hosts of Derby on the Rocks (RMRG & DRD), who were kind enough to wear red and blue uniforms for dazzling contrast in action photos and video, can still get you these wonderful collector's edition DVDs if you visit www.derbyontherocks.com and contact Pink Champ-Pain to place your order.

Live DangerousLeigh,
Dangerous Leigh A'zon

mystery solved!

thank you Dangey! :)

Interesting, your explanation made me go back to the rules, because for some reason I thought there was a rule against clockwise blocking - even if you were skating CCW, something related to your hip movement that prevented you from blocking in a reverse direction - De hitting Angela would be just that. But I combed the rules and can't find it... funny how we get something in our heads.

thanks again - I'm gonna go get me one of those DVD things - they can actually be ordered right on the site via PayPal!

Yup

There's no rule whatsoever about skating backwards and blocking. The rule is against skating clockwise while blocking. A LOT of people (even the occasional ref) have misread and/or imagined that into the rules. Which direction you are facing has nothing to do with the legality of your block.

What skating backwards in a counter-clockwise direction does do is make what would normally be a back block for your opponent into a perfectly legal block to your um, "tickets." Provided she does it with her shoulders, that is. Her natural instinct might be to put her hands our wrists up to defend against you, which could get her a penalty. Some skaters may freeze up while you're backwards facing them, they aren't used to seeing it, they're considering whether what you're doing is legal.

Backwards counter-clockwise blocking is something you'll see a lot more from So-Cal leagues like Angel City and the Derby Dolls. If I were them I'd probably discuss this at the ref meeting so that they don't get any Skating Clockwise to Block penalties they don't deserve.

Angel City

Yes, that's where I saw it most at Western Regionals.

Of course, now that I think about it, the CCW blocking doesn't make sense - it would make can-openers (t-bones, whatever your league calls it) illegal. Which they're plainly not.

Incidentally, so much love to DNN for giving us all this forum to try to figure all this stuff out! Obviously leagues and regions have developed their own interpretation of rules and strategy and its great to have a place to try to work out why things happen or don't.

Actual blocking backwards

Actual blocking backwards tends to be a difficult proposition, something my wife excels at but doesn't use too often against a jammer. You're not in as good a position for lateral movement when you're skating backwards, and jammers should be really good at lateral movement. Blockers too, for that matter, but it's usually not as urgent, depending on your teammate's position at the time. Former figure skaters are the best at it, and their lateral movement is impressive.

The backward blocking part is more of an action contingency. The main value of it isn't blocking, but assessing the pack status from the front of the pack. If an opposing blocker assumes that you're vulnerable, you better be able to block.

Lets skate backwards!

Bustaarmov wrote:

Former figure skaters are the best at it, and their lateral movement is impressive.

Which is why we probably excel at this move! We have a few ex-figure skaters on our team!!! Also was amazed at LADD when they were doing this at western regionals. Diesel did it probably the best that I have seen!

Juska
Denver Roller Dolls
Mile High Club

LADD *is* amazing

Juska wrote:
Bustaarmov wrote:

Former figure skaters are the best at it, and their lateral movement is impressive.

Which is why we probably excel at this move! We have a few ex-figure skaters on our team!!! Also was amazed at LADD when they were doing this at western regionals. Diesel did it probably the best that I have seen!

Juska
Denver Roller Dolls
Mile High Club

... but they definitely weren't at Western Regionals. That was ACDG. LADD is the banked track league in the city of angels. But they are also good at lateral moves. :)

My bad

Oh wow that was totally my bad for mixing up the two. We played ACDG at regionals and I was just impressed with their abilitity as skaters. LADD I have watched on the bank track and was amazed! I would love to try skating on a banked track.

Juska
Denver Roller Dolls
Mile High Club

O RLY?

Juska wrote:

Oh wow that was totally my bad for mixing up the two. We played ACDG at regionals and I was just impressed with their abilitity as skaters. LADD I have watched on the bank track and was amazed! I would love to try skating on a banked track.

Juska
Denver Roller Dolls
Mile High Club

In totally-almost-completely off-topic news, anyone who's in LA and wants to drop by to check out the Derby Dolls track just has to drop us a line. We'll make it happen, and we love visitors!

Tara Armov
LA Derby Dolls
DNN boutcaster
stillrecoveringfromNationals
thoughtDenverrocked

Recovering

Tara Armov wrote:

stillrecoveringfromNationalsthoughtDenverrocked.

Think I am still recovering as well!!!

And thanks!! We worked really hard all season for that 3rd place =)

Juska
Denver Roller Dolls
Mile High Club

I just got my Derby on the

I just got my Derby on the Rocks DVDs and it was great to see this on the video. It's so clear cut and visible... definitely a good moment caught on tape!

Your strategy is THIS-N-THAT!!

Honestly, when it comes to sports, we are all hiding our weaknesses and hammering in on what we are good at!!!

If you can easily pull the pack and make moves to turn the game in your favor, SWEET! Do what you gotta do.

If you can Go so damn fast that no one can touch you, AWESOME!

If you can shut out every jammer with your blockers and never let the other team score one point? ROCK ON!

Point is, we all have different strategies because we are all good at different things. Not every bout can be a nail-biter and played in the EXACT SAME MANNER as every bout before it. And you sure as hell cant expect every team (what do we have, like 400 in the country now!?) to play the same way across the board. Its just not going to happen.

If something works for you, whether its traditional or non-traditional, then EXPLOIT IT. If it aint illegal and its the way you play your game, then DO IT! Why not use something youre good at? Some things are hard to counter, i agree. But thats just even more of a challenge to find a strategy of your own to counter those that you might consider "douche-baggy" or what have you. People should use whatever they are good at to their advantage. It makes the game fun when the playing styles are really different. Someone is STILL going to win and someone is still going to lose. The question is, are you advanced enough at whatever strategy you use to take the game? hmmmmm....we'll see now wont we...

Team of the decade?

First off congrats to OLY for making this thing look easy. Where the hell did you come from? Buy some away uniforms darn it. (Your track jackets are sweet) Who the hell is going to win this thing next year? Glasgow? Oly wasn't even in DNN rankings until April!

Ok so it wasn't a full decade, but the decade is over, and I love these debates.

The accomplishments of Texas have gotten a little lost in all of this. I have to give mad props to Texas for what they've done in the first (half) decade. Sure they got a head start on the rest of the teams but they haven't fallen off. They won two of their three regional tournaments, and have finished in the top 4 teams at all 4 national tournaments. Correct me if I'm wrong, but no other team has finished in the top 4 twice. (did Carolina?) Their staying power has been really impressive.

Big thanks to Philly for all the hard work.

Congrats to all the teams that made it in. Once again the bar has been raised. I figure it probably will happen again next year. C'mon Glasgow!!

Great Stategy decent execution.

I loved the Pack control strategy. I thought it was effective & executed well for the most part.
I speak of only what I saw on the live feed.(THANK YOU DNN!!!!) It did look like positional blocking while @ a standstill or skating backwards was not being called & that's a little confusing, but I am a ref & you know how blind we are. So I may have just missed it!

Never mind, they weren't

Never mind, they weren't engaging or moving into blocking position unless they were moving forward.

decent strategy, great execution

verminskum wrote:

Never mind, they weren't engaging or moving into blocking position unless they were moving forward.

Yes, and that's why they weren't being whistled for illegal play. When the archives come back up, watch for those dainty little steps that had them moving ever so slightly in proper derby CCW direction.

Where did it come from?

I need to interject a personal comment about something that I think is just *so funny* about this whole debate. Read to the punchline, it's long but pretty funny.

Last year, at the beginning of Duke City's season, we were looking at a few pretty big challenges. We've always been a small league, but when our season was cancelled after we decided to leave our charming alligator-pit of a venue (Jersey Trouble Reutlinger skated there once) league attendance dropped off more than ever. We were looking at a nonexistent season with probably nine or ten folks who wanted to do this derby thing more than anything, but we weren't sure we could survive, much less be *good*. One of our first and only games that season was against the Denver Roller Dolls. Like most devotees of The One True Religion of Roller Derby, a few league members scouted the heck out of Denver, and what we saw made us nervous. These girls were great. They had gone toe-to-toe with KCRW, the reigning champions, and aquitted themselves very well. They were all fast, to a member, all fit, and we had heard that they practiced in a rink that was actually owned by one of their skaters - unlimited practice time! Going into that game, all I hoped for was that we wouldn't be slaughtered.

So we started to get this idea that gradually evolved into a sea-change for our league. How do you play a team that's faster? We had always been a slow team, and getting fast wasn't easy for us - we didn't even know how to do it. No one here knew about proper form, no one had background (to this day, Amanda Jamitinya is the only Duke City skater with a background in competitive skating). We could work and sweat as much as we wanted, but we didn't understand the mechanics of skating well enough to even pace DRD.

Then the lightbulb. Our liabilities were our strengths. No coaches? Every skater is responsible for understanding and developing strategies, and that responsibility translated into better teamwork on the track. Only a few people? More scrimmage time, more track time in drills (better endurance), and better teamwork. No venue? Nothing makes you tougher than skating on a cheese-grater track in the middle of winter, as TXRG will attest. Slow? Well, it's physically impossible to make someone skate faster than they're capable... but if you can block well, you can make anyone slow down.

So yeah. We developed the extreme version of the slow-pack strategy *specifically to contrast the Denver Roller Dolls' exceptional speed.* Good joke, right? We ended up winning that game, incidentally, and then the next time we met DRD, they schooled us with the very same game!

If you were just reading for the punchline, you can stop here.

When we lost Bullet Tooth Tracy to TXRG, we tried frantically to train another pivot half as competent or dominating or skilled as she is. We couldn't do it (duh)... so again, we said: liability=strength. We can't dominate the front of the pack, so fuck it. We're building super scary walls in the back, putting our most agile, skilled and communicative players there (traditional pivot) and we'll see how it goes. And it turned out that the pivot's traditional roles didn't make a whole lot of sense. Calls "plays" to her pack? Why would you want the person farthest in front (gets the information last) to determine your pack play? If you put your best communicator in the back, she gets a read on jammer position and pack set-up first, and builds the pack from the back up. Pivot is your "last line of defense"? Why would you want a jammer to encounter your best blocker *last* after everyone else has been scored on? Why would you make your jammer struggle through the pack to reach the person most capable of helping her? All of these strategies are extremely obvious now, but at the time we were just reacting to the cards we had been dealt.

In the interim, I think we've actually managed to become pretty skilled skaters in spite of ourselves, but the *beauty* of this game has always been that almost anyone can come to it and contribute something meaningful. It's transformative athletically, yes - but otherwise, too. That's why we wrote Oly a letter of recommendation to the WFTDA when people misinterpreted their rough transition from male-dominated skating disciplines to our DIY-feminist culture and wanted to keep them out. That's why we wrote Denver a letter when people had much stronger opinions about the ability of a metro to support two leagues.

Every year there's something that is going to "destroy roller derby". Boys, volleyball uniforms, two regions (they aren't equal, oh noes!) - four regions (!), jammerless jams, cutting track penalties, no banked track - banked track, MRSA/SARS/Swine Flu? But this vitriol is the only thing I see as a real threat. What this is to the people who *need* it is a community, an opportunity to develop something meaningful and be a bit bigger than "real you". I like it a lot more when we act like one. Don't buy the hype. I've seen leagues who barely know that our rules exist, and you might be surprised to learn that it's still roller derby - people fighting fake wars with made up names to just have fun with people they love in a context they create.

Thank you Muffin!

I had just joined DRD prior to this bout and as a newbie I was crazy impressed with your mad skating skills and I still am! I love that we have been able to take something you taught us so well to Nationals! I know there is crazy love for Duke City from DRD.

Charli Horse
Denver Roller Dolls

Muffin Rulz!

'Nuff said.

Oh Muffin...

Muffin was my first derby crush, many years ago. I've always had a love for the awesome Duke City ladies!

Just to add to Muffin's thoughts and share

After we (Denver) watched Duke City at regionals last year, we had a good idea that we would encounter them at Four Corners that February. I despised the no engagement, pack split of 3.1 used by a number of leagues to great success (BAD, Gotham, and Philly come to mind) and whether it went away or not, I knew we weren't going to be playing like that. No way. But there were times when we saw Duke City trap a skater and that was something we knew we'd have to prepare for. Funny thing is that during our preparation for Duke City, we found that with our speed and existing athleticism that we were pretty damn good at the slow style ourselves. Like Muffin said, we went on to beat them at their own game at the time. Duke City was definitely the impetus behind us learning how to play slow, but we became exceptional at it over the course of the season. Funny how things play out.

Oh yeah, just to add something else, the slow start wasn't originated by us either. The first time I recall seeing it was against KC last season at regionals when Princess Slay-ya would delay the start to kill penalty time. For the record.

As for the debate, I think the detractors are hilarious. Go back and watch the KC and Windy bouts. Then tell me how they were completely unprepared for us. They weren't. All this grumbling comes across as sour grapes because the strategy they chose to try to counter us didn't work. Plain and simple. They did their homework (it was evident in what they tried on us), but that isn't always enough.

We played a similar style at regionals and there were no grumblings about it coming in to nationals. Obviously, people underestimated us and/or overestimated themselves. Teams tried to beat us at our style and failed. In fact, the way that KC and Windy tried to play us greatly contributed to some of the slow starts and backwards skating. But that's not readily apparent so that doesn't need mentioned I guess. Or maybe I should mention that if a trapped skater is going to skate backwards to tee off on our jammer, then you better believe our trap is going to go backwards to get them. Only a dumb team would let their jammer risk getting smoked when they could have done something about it. So the lesson from this is apparently if we can't beat it, let's ban it. Hilarious.

It's an amazingly narrow-minded viewpoint for so many to take and it overlooks the inherent skill and agility involved to be great at playing slow. By all means, we shouldn't have free thought, but should instead strive to be the biggest and fastest so that we can ping pong hit everything near us. That style of derby is obsolete at this point and is more than I personally can stand to watch.

This equates to the jocks trying to bully the smart kids. Fantastic fun. True colors are a bitch ain't they?

Signed,
Your Loving Uncle Anus
Head Coach of the Denver Roller Dolls' Mile High Club
Wearing the villain's horns and proud of it

Thank you Muffin!

Wow, awesome insight and history on strategy and great perspective on derby and the derby community as a whole. Great *joke* too! ;) Way to keep it alllllll in perspective.

<3 you Muffin!

Muffin wrote:

That's why we wrote Denver a letter when people had much stronger opinions about the ability of a metro to support two leagues.

I wasn't around until this 09' season of derby but believe me we love Duke City like no other and for them to back us getting into WFTDA was an awesome gesture.

Also thanks for this post Muffin!! Just goes to show that obviously our style of play is really nothing new other then something evolved over time.

Juska
Denver Roller Dolls
Mile High Club

<3 Muffin

Amen sister. amen.

oh the refs....

I'd just like to point out that on several occasions I watched jam ref's gesture for jammers to come back onto the track because it was no longer a cut situation.

douchy if you ask me.

Did this really happen?

mirandaslambert wrote:

I'd just like to point out that on several occasions I watched jam ref's gesture for jammers to come back onto the track because it was no longer a cut situation.

douchy if you ask me.

I don't recall seeing this. Could you perhaps go to the saved videos and provide a bout and jam or time where this happened? I've got DVDs of the better bouts, I could review that portion of the game and see what it was you're referring to.

What I believe you're interpreting as a signal to come in was more likely the referees giving an out of play warning to the blockers who'd knocked them out of bounds. These aren't required to be given, but they were being given throughout the weekend.

Ref's hand goes up kind of like a backwards "L." If an actual out of play penalty happens this converts to a "karate chop."

This isn't the referees colluding with the jammers to make their lives easier, it's a jammer using her smarts and "ref awareness" to her advantage. Would that more jammers would peek at their jam ref after they've cleared the pack and heard the "lead jammer" whistle.

my personal opinion on the whole debate

I think we should separate this as a debate about how Denver played...as other ppl have said, many other teams have played this style...

Also, in terms of the boos, this isn't the first time a team has been booed (Boston got booed some at RollerCon too)...you may not agree with it or like it (I don't), but it's a sport....and it's going to happen. I don't think there's much that can be done about that.

But in terms of the strategy, the great thing about roller derby is that we collectively own the rules and the sport. If the majority of people don't like the rule that allows you to skate backwards, let's change it! We could simply add a rule that you can only skate counterclockwise on the track.

Just a thought...

Changing the rules- not gonna happen

Three things that I have heard over this debate about people's displeasure with teams' play and therefore the rules should be changed to address it:

1. Stopping on the track

2. Skating counter clockwise or backward skating

3. Minimum pack speeds

Now, let's look and see about the real possibility of each being changed.

Stopping on the track-
well, since the hockey stop and the plow stop are two of the pillars of the sport with concerns to play......eh, not gonna happen.

Skating counter clockwise or skating backwards-
well, you are gonna eliminate a whole bunch of sweet moves by people. what, no more 180's to get out of a block? no more backwards whips? what if you hit someone out, hockey stop at the line, and your wheels drift backwards a quarter of a rotation before you take off again. is that worthy of a penalty? who is looking at these minute details during game play to monitor it?

Minimum Pack speeds-
again, I want to know who is going to be standing trackside with a radar gun busting people for going too slow.

Final thoughts, these rules....even if they were to be brought to a vote and passed...they would eventually get thrown out just like the last rule's version of cutting the track. We figured out that it is just plain asinine to put a downed skater in the box just because their pinky slid over the line. Why would we want to institute more rules that require referees who can already get too caught up in the minutia to start regulating even more ticky-tacky crap? Don't we want the sport to be progressive? Don't we want to see all the people on the track and that when they are called off it's because their actions are truly committing fouls?

Re: Changing the rules- not gonna happen

rosietherioter wrote:

Three things that I have heard over this debate about people's displeasure with teams' play and therefore the rules should be changed to address it:

1. Stopping on the track

2. Skating counter clockwise or backward skating

3. Minimum pack speeds

Now, let's look and see about the real possibility of each being changed.

Stopping on the track-
well, since the hockey stop and the plow stop are two of the pillars of the sport with concerns to play......eh, not gonna happen.

Skating counter clockwise or skating backwards-
well, you are gonna eliminate a whole bunch of sweet moves by people. what, no more 180's to get out of a block? no more backwards whips? what if you hit someone out, hockey stop at the line, and your wheels drift backwards a quarter of a rotation before you take off again. is that worthy of a penalty? who is looking at these minute details during game play to monitor it?

Minimum Pack speeds-
again, I want to know who is going to be standing trackside with a radar gun busting people for going too slow.

Final thoughts, these rules....even if they were to be brought to a vote and passed...they would eventually get thrown out just like the last rule's version of cutting the track. We figured out that it is just plain asinine to put a downed skater in the box just because their pinky slid over the line. Why would we want to institute more rules that require referees who can already get too caught up in the minutia to start regulating even more ticky-tacky crap? Don't we want the sport to be progressive? Don't we want to see all the people on the track and that when they are called off it's because their actions are truly committing fouls?

Banked-track rules have a provision that stopping or skating backwards in regular play is not permissible. I think modern banked-track leagues are doing just fine. Not that the rule really needs to be in there anyway, since you're always skating downhill on a banked track, it would be very difficult to stop someone from going around you with the momentum they can generate.

The problem with doing that on the flat track, as I see it, is that the 4.0 rules don't allow any easy way for a player who is being stop-blocked to get around the blockers. For instance, if there was a wall of three blockers who were stopped on the track, the player being blocked can't go around them without cutting the track, can't run into the back of them to break through, can't use her arms to wedge through, and her teammates can't come back to help without getting a blocking backwards penalty. How is that fair? Talking in general roller derby terms, the pack is supposed to be dynamic entity that lets both teams play offense and defense at the same time. The moment a wall goes up, that dynamic is lost.

WFTDA 5.0 should add in rules that give a penalty to any blocker in the pack that deliberately stops or skates clockwise in an effort to stall the pack. That would solve everyone's issue with it, and it's a rule that would make sense. Lone blockers that are out ahead of the pack can still stop until the pack catches them up without worrying about getting penalized, since they weren't in the pack to begin with. Blockers that get hit or do a quick move will slow down or stop or fall down, but it's not as if they were doing it to make everyone else slow down. It could be enforced similarly to a destruction of pack judgment call by the refs, which no one has a problem with. If everything keeps moving then there's always going to be a chance for someone to find a hole and break through a defense with assistance by teammates. That's how it should be played.

I know a lot of people are saying "it's okay because it's in the rules," but that's a pretty weak argument. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's not going to be changed for the better in the future. If you're a fan of hockey, for instance, the rules have been changed dramatically since after the player lockout. The changes have opened up the game tremendously, increased goal scoring, and made the on-ice product much more entertaining. Consider if everyone started using more and more stop-blocking techniques, just because it was legal and affective, the whole game of WTFDA roller derby would slow down, become less entertaining, and turn more people off from it, hurting roller derby as a whole. Yes, the slow game is strategic and people who know derby may appreciate it, but to an outsider who doesn't know any better, they'll take one look at it, see that nothing's happening, and move on to something else. Not what a growing sport needs.

To be More correct...

Modern banked track rules don't allow stopping on the track. They used to in the Derby Dolls game, but skaters would get to the front of the pack and hockey stop or power slide while the pack was running fast, and the result would be a "reverse bowling ball", where the entire pack would get taken out and pile on one another sometimes at speeds far in excess of 10 mph. For the most part, the track is a uniform <12 feet and the rail on the outer perimeter limits the escape routes for lateral action to avoid massive collisions, as well as forcing a large number of people into a back-block situation. It's a spectacular move, but the skaters decided that keeping it served neither the best interests of the game or safety overall.

This also included pinning a skater to the rail (which is considered "holding").

Another justification for banning stop blocks and stopping on the track, was that it would force skaters to skate clockwise on the track to escape a stopped block under some conditions.

So allowing one, forces you to allow the other. Disallowing one, allows you to disallow the other.

Skating and blocking while backwards skating in a counter-clockwise direction has always been allowed under Derby Dolls rules, and Battle on the Bank I rules, currently the only multi-league-agreed-upon banked track rule set. From the "Battle on the Bank" rules, v0.97 (the last agreed upon version of those rules): "5.2.3.5 Skaters may block while skating backwards, so long as they use legal blocking zones against legal target zones, and as long as they are skating in a counter-clockwise direction."

It's also interesting to note something while I have those rules open. They are largely based on WFTDA 2.1 rules, the flat track rules current at the time they were being drafted (with permission). It's interesting to note how the wording of the old 3.5.5.2 was changed:
"3.5.5.2 A helmet cover may only be recovered in the normal course of counter-clockwise skating. Neither backwards nor forwards skating in the clockwise direction is allowed. (W)"
(The "W" signifies that the wording was not changed in any way from the WFTDA rule as written at the time)

4.0 reads:
3.5.8.2 A helmet cover may only be recovered in the normal course of counter
clockwise skating. Neither backwards nor forwards skating in the clockwise
direction to retrieve a dropped helmet cover is allowed.

So effectively, a decision to allow clockwise skating under other conditions was very deliberately allowed, and the helmet cover retrieval wording was added as a specific exception. In fact, it's "no-effect" if a skater actually blocks skating clockwise if it doesn't affect an opposing skaters stance or skating path. This sort of thing doesn't happen by accident, it happens because someone lobbied for the change, and others agreed.

I don't think that is going

I don't think that is going to happen either, because everyone loves this rule when they want to burn time off the clock to release their jammer or blocker(s) who are standing up in the box when a jam is starting and it's a power play for the other team, but they hate it when the other team does it, or if it's used all the time as a regular strategy.

Plus again, that could also end up penalizing skaters who change speed to get out of a block and then find another path through the pack for whatever position they want to be in.

-->

"WFTDA 5.0 should add in rules that give a penalty to any blocker in the pack that deliberately stops or skates clockwise in an effort to stall the pack. That would solve everyone's issue with it, and it's a rule that would make sense. Lone blockers that are out ahead of the pack can still stop until the pack catches them up without worrying about getting penalized, since they weren't in the pack to begin with. Blockers that get hit or do a quick move will slow down or stop or fall down, but it's not as if they were doing it to make everyone else slow down. It could be enforced similarly to a destruction of pack judgment call by the refs, which no one has a problem with. If everything keeps moving then there's always going to be a chance for someone to find a hole and break through a defense with assistance by teammates. That's how it should be played."

agree

WindyMan wrote:

The problem with doing that on the flat track, as I see it, is that the 4.0 rules don't allow any easy way for a player who is being stop-blocked to get around the blockers. For instance, if there was a wall of three blockers who were stopped on the track, the player being blocked can't go around them without cutting the track, can't run into the back of them to break through, can't use her arms to wedge through, and her teammates can't come back to help without getting a blocking backwards penalty. How is that fair? Talking in general roller derby terms, the pack is supposed to be dynamic entity that lets both teams play offense and defense at the same time. The moment a wall goes up, that dynamic is lost.

This pretty much sums up how I feel about his strategy. Where is the well played strategy in just stopping and making a wall? I understand it worked, but does that automatically make is a genius strategy? A non moving pack is 1) a total snooze fest to watch in my opinion and 2) feels like (to me) that it takes away the point of the game, as you put it, the "dynamic entity of offense and defense at the same time" I think being at a complete stop should be revised with regards to blocking. Trying to regulate actual speed pack would be a nightmare and a bit too much, but the blocking while at a complete stop should maybe be re-looked at.

Lippy Wrongstockings
Tri City Roller Girls
Ontario

Suggested solution

Would it work to make back blocks only apply to moving victims? Granted they could simply take a step, but I'm all for changing that rule too... taking a step is not the same as skating IMO. I don't mind the slow/stopped play as much as how easy it is to be stopped and force a back block penalty by taking a step. But that's my own personal issue.

Argue all you want

and change the rules to where there will be no stopping on the track. Go ahead.

But first, please take an hour out of your day and sit down with note paper and re-watch or watch the Oly/Texas game and write down how many times players stop on the track. It's a good bit. Then look to see why and when and what circumstances skaters use this.....it varies.

This game was one of the fastest games of the tournament and with the two best teams in the land. Did the occasional briefly stopped skater deter from the skill, excitement or entertainment of this game?

Next, watch Blonde An' Bitchin' work the pack. Watch how she plays catch and release with the other team's jammers. I can tell you as I sat rinkside during Nationals....she does hockey stop on the track after hitting out an opposing player, even if ever so briefly, to get them to slow or cut. Now of course, because she is blazing fast as is the whole team....she takes back off pretty quickly just to pull the move again. Please provide a reason as to why she can't stop on the track for 1-3 seconds.

What I think we need is for someone who is a proponent of stopping on the track to give a solid, fair and reasonable way that referees are going to be able to regulate stopping on the track. Remember that when you institute a rule....let's say, no stopping on the track.....you are going to have to say absolutely no stopping on the track ever and for no amount of time or reason....or you will have to say...no stopping on the track....but only in this instance and and for this amount of time.....which gets you sliding on that ever slippery slope. And if the constituency votes to have no stopping on the track ever, even for a second.......where are the referees eyes going to be the whole time? Looking at skaters feet to see if they are actually moving at 1 inch per second or stopped. Is this where we want the referees to be caught up during game play?

My two-line rules "fix":

1) Don't skate clockwise.

2) The track is divided into 10' wedges already (for the purpose of engagement-zone determination). Do not spend more than three seconds in one wedge.

I will surely regret putting this out there before I've written the whole article, but, this permits the interesting stop-block tactics while eliminating the game-comes-to-a-total-halt element that so many find so antithetical to derby.

Clockwise

If skaters aren't allowed to skate clockwise, how do skaters 20 foot out of play at the front get back to the pack?

And if you're a trapped skater at the rear of the pack, how do you do anything if you can't skate backwards to create distance from the trap?

wait three seconds.

It's long enough to allow for slow or stop tactics, but not so long that stuck out of play/stuck behind a stopped wall is perpetual.