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Roller Derby Remix

Page history last edited by PBworks 11 years, 5 months ago

Here is Lydia's most recent article/piece. We're looking at it together in class. So, we find a fishing metaphor to be useful when talking about audience etc. Let's remix this piece....

 

go back to Lyd B's Productions

 

What is Roller Derby?

If you’ve ever driven past the Police Athletic League (PAL) on a Wednesday night and glanced over at the outdoor hockey arena to see the lights on, you probably wondered what was going on. The scoreboards not on though, and there’s no one in the stands. The concrete rink does have movement, but you’re not stopped in your car on the street long enough to really notice what’s going on.

 

It’s not peewee hockey, and it’s not an adult league, it’s not even hockey at all, it’s roller derby.

 

“Roller Derby?” you ask. If you’re middle aged, you might remember something like that on TV in your childhood. If you’re older, you most likely are familiar with the sport. But if you’re a kid, or at least under the age of 25, you might not really know exactly what roller derby is.

 

Or maybe you do, roller derby is coming back by force, women around the state have joined teams such as The Bradentucky Bombers or the Sintral Florida Derby Demons. They skate under pseudonyms such as Suicidoll Hotline, Shovey Dovey and GiGi RaMoan. They are mothers, wives and single women all over the age of 18 who come from a melting pot of backgrounds.

 

Recruiting for the team is everywhere, including churches and the local flea market. The Bombers, are trying to increase their team’s size, the A-team goes by the Bradentucky Bombers and the B-team goes by the Nuclear Bombshells, all the girls are called Bombers. There are teams throughout the state, as well as the nation.

 

But what is roller derby? Some people consider it to be an entertainment sport like World Wrestling Federation; this writer believes it falls somewhere in the middle between sports for entertainment and real sports like football. But then, I guess it would depend on your definition of sports.

 

Essentially, roller derby is a sport of strength, courage, balance and camaraderie. Five women, from each team participate in bouts, or rounds, on a specific derby-regulated track. The Bombers are in a flat track league; that is they lay their own track down at the local roller rink, Florida Wheels Skate Center, the track has specific regulations intended to keep the derby girls safe.

 

The Bombers practice four times a week, but only require the players to make two practices. Three of the practices are at the skate center, this allows the girls access to whatever equipment they need for a small rental fee. Wednesday nights they’re at PAL, the team has a community gear bag for those who don’t have everything they need yet, the players will also bring extra sets of skates if they have them, so girls without them can play.

 

So how is the game played? According to the Bomber’s newcomer’s guide, each team has five players on the track, essentially it is a race called jams, there are three blockers, a pivot, and a jammer for each team. Each period last 20 minutes, and it’s crammed with as many two-minute jams as possible, the teams have about 30-seconds to change players before the next jam starts. There are three periods per bout.

 

The pivot is the lead blocker, and the jammer scores the points. The blockers and the pivot for each team form a pack, and skate together tightly around the track. The pivot sets the pace for the pack, and calls out plays to her teammates while keeping an eye on the jammers. She wears a stripe on her helmet. Blockers play both offense and defense.

 

The jammer is the player that scores the points; she wears a star helmet panty. The jammers start the race about 20-feet behind the blockers and pivot, her job is to score the points for the team. Points are scored based on how many opposing players the jammer passes in any given lap. The first jammer to pass the opposing teams pivot without penalties is called the Lead Jammer, she can call off the jam before the end of the two-minutes by placing her hands on her hips. This prevents the other team from scoring more points.

 

Okay, so we’ve got a group of 10 women skating around a track covered in pads, helmets, and helmet panties, do they skate uniformly? No! This is where the action comes in; the purpose of the blockers is to get in the way of the opposing jammer. There are two ways to block; one is positional, literally skating slowly in front of the opposing player to slow her down. The other is physical, you can bump with your hips or upper arms but you can’t throw elbows, trip, or fall in front of another player, that’s how you get a penalty.

 

The action can be brutal. These girls get going pretty fast around the track, at one bout a girl left with a concussion after she was knocked out of the track and her helmet bounced off the wood floor. Other girls have suffered knee injuries, or broken wrists, but they do it for the name of the game. However, this sport is about camaraderie, the teams are mindful of each other. They kneel for each other if a player is hurt, they high five each other, and party together after the bout.

 

Yes, it truly is a sport about camaraderie, probably first and foremost. These women have united because of roller derby, it’s an inclusive sport, a sport any spectator can enjoy.

This weekend, the Bombers are in the Sunshine Skate, a competition between all the roller derby teams in the state. February 22, the Nuclear Bombshells are up against the Sintral Florida Sinners, called the Heart Break Skate at Florida Wheels.

 

Up next, the Origins of Roller Derby, and how the Bomber’s got their start.

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