WHAT IS ROLLER DERBY?
Modern roller derby is an international, full contact, amateur sport. It is played by two teams of fourteen. Five members of each team are on the track at any given point. Game play consists of a series of short matchups (“jams”) in which both teams skate in the same direction around an oval designate with a player (the “jammer”) scoring points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams attempt to assist their own jammer while hindering the opposing jammer.
Roller Derby is played on a (usually flat) oval track. A match is called a ‘bout’. Each bout lasts for two periods of thirty minutes each. Within these periods there are multiple point scoring opportunities, known as ‘jams’. Each of these can last up to 2 minutes.
At the start of the jam, four players from each team line up between the pivot line and the jam line (the two lines on the straight). These are the blockers. One of these blockers from each team will be wearing a stripe on their helmet. They are the pivots.
One player from each team will line up behind the jam line, these are the jammers. They will be wearing stars on their helmets. They are the point scorers.
When the whistle blows, the jammers take off and try to make their way through the pack as quickly as possible. The first jammer to make it through the pack without committing a penalty becomes lead jammer for that jam, meaning they can decide when to end the jam.
On their second pass through the pack, the jammers can score points. They score one point for passing the hips of each opposing blocker. Therefore, in one pass, the maximum points they can score is four, unless they also lap the opposing jammer, which is a grand slam, and scores five points.
Therefore, the blockers job is to help their own jammer get through the pack, while hindering the other team’s jammer from getting through, effectively playing offense and defense at the same time.