I am just a messenger

I asked a couple of friends of mine to watch Roller Derby on DNN recently….they work for two different sports networks.  I asked if this game is ready for prime time.

Image by iamwahid from stock.xchng.com.

#1 said it took him quite a while to figure it out and was confusing…..he thought the excessive scoring would not make it viable, especially if it is too one sided……a couple of interesting suggestions:  keep the power jam, but only at the end of the first half and the end of the game.  Otherwise, 5 points would be maximum on a jam. (“there are point limits per play in all of our games.”)  He thought all the officials in the middle muddled up the viewing.

#2 wanted it on a banked track, I said most leagues cannot have a banked track.  He also thought too much scoring and penalties…..he said unlike football or basketball, you had no ideas what the penalties are for and why so many officials.  Even having never seen the game before, he thought the stopping and/or going backwards made the game dull.  He loved the skill and speed of the women competing, and wanted to see more of that…..he actually was surprised at how professional the skating looked…..unfortunately, he had also watched some of the world cup and couldn’t believe the scoring.

Neither thought it would be good cable programming at this time, but promised to keep checking.  I explained that it was something I was not going to do, but just wanted their opinions.  I said nothing to either to influence them.

The realty is the WFTDA rules are dominant, and that is what the game is today.  Any changes (or none) have to come through that organization.

Please don’t yell at me…..I am just a messenger.  I have read all of your opinions, but feel free to add more.

161 comments on “I am just a messenger

  1. I couldn’t agree more with what your two industry freinds have to say with the current game of Derby.

    I hope they do keep watching because I think in the next 5 – 10 years there will be a shake up that gets it ready for Televisation.

    I just hope the derby fans can hang around until it gets to that stage because I’m already hearing from people who are over wathcing derby that has no real sense of competition and sportmanship.

  2. 1. Every sport is confusing when you don’t understand the rules so that’s not really a fair point. Excessive scoring is a legit argument but I think that will come down dramatically once the rulebook stops getting exploited and it goes back to being a game of skill moreso than a game of strategy. Just look at championships, those were fairly low scores for derby (because, since everyone was pretty much playing the same strategy, the skills and teamwork of each team were all that mattered). 5 points maximum on a jam is a TERRIBLE idea and really makes no sense if you know how the sport is played. Even if you make it one scoring pass, I think that creates too much dead time (more jams = more time between jams) and rewards a team for sucking (like MADE rules do). One scoring pass releasing the jammer from the box on a power jam, I could live with. There’s positives and negatives but overall it might be a good idea that WFTDA should examine.

    2. I think everyone wants it on a banked track when they first see it but after awhile, everyone gets used to it and most people forget that banked track even exists. The penalties is a legit argument and losing minors would go a long way in correcting that. Also, cleaning up track cuts is needed.

      • 1. More jams = more time between jams. That’s what I said.

        If every jam is 30 seconds, that means that 30 minutes of a 60 minute game is spent standing around waiting for the next jam to start. That leaves 30 minutes of action.

        If every jam is 1:30, that means that 15 minutes of a 60 minute game is spent standing around waiting for the next jam to start. That leaves 45 minutes of action.

        So, you would have more jams but less time skating.

        2. This is true but not every league has bought sport court. It’s also a lot easier to rent because there are many other uses for it. How many banked tracks are there for rent?

        I just don’t see what a banked track adds to the game other than the initial wow factor. I’ve watched many banked track games and I’ve felt no more or less entertained by them. However, I do like 2 minute jams better. The best players play flat and that’s how it’s going to stay until some multi-millionaire comes in and forms a pro banked track league.

    • What the heck do you mean “reward one team for sucking like the MADE rules do” you obviously have never seen a MADE game, or have any comprehension for how it works. Our scores are closer, because not only do you have to guard the jamme, but you also have to guard the Pivot. And you also have to have two blazing hot scorers per jam per team, instead of just one. We have way more fast people in MADE since we have to esssentially have 4 jammers per every jam. Someone is always chasing your ass. And the defense is intense.

      • Moe – don’t let ignorant comments like that get to you. Some people only know WFTDUH rules and that is all they want to know. OSDA and MADE games are MUCH more interesting and entertaining for the fans. If more people would check them out, they would be surprised at the better alternatives.

        But then, I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I? lol

        Also, I can’t see how anyone can’t see how much faster and better a banked track game is over a flat track game! Especially when skated by OSDA or MADE rules!

      • from what I understand, MADE is the original rules, on flat track and/or banked track, played by men and women either separately or in a co-ed game. I understand that are 40 MADE leagues now. Still haven’t seen it. Rules similar to OSDA.

        Jerry Seltzer

      • I’ve seen a MADE game and you described exactly my point. I saw almost no guarding of the pivot because, in reality, guarding the pivot means less people guarding the jammer which means a higher chance of giving up lead jammer. The pivot getting released as soon as lead jammer is called means that EVERY SINGLE jam is a boring 1-0, 2-0, at most 4-0. That artificially keeps the score close and rewards a team for sucking. They didn’t get their jammer out of the pack with any skill, the pivot just made sure she stayed at the front of the pack.

        It’s way more interesting, to me, to see a team work their asses off to get their jammer out of the pack to force the lead jammer to call it. Sure, this leads to larger score differentials, but a blowout is still a blowout whether you artificially keep the score closer or not.

      • @Jersey Joe

        I didn’t say a banked track game wasn’t faster. I just said it isn’t more entertaining. Considering how some flat track leagues are selling over 5,000 tickets a game in NBA/NHL arenas and the most popular banked track leagues still play in warehouses, I’m not really sure that you can argue that.

      • What MADE game did you see, a Class III one? There are many jams when neither the Jammer or Pivot can break, for either team. That’s called good defense. The Pivot does not “get released every jam” man. Not even close. There is so much more strategy than you understand. “Artifically keeps the game close?….having jammers duke it out to be the lead is the way it is suppose to be played. Who cares if you can break first? Whoopi. Half the times one Jammer is in the box and there’s a single person out there skating around in circles with noone blocking them in non-MADE games. As a person who has played alot of both styles of games, I know which one I find more exciting. I’m not even gonna touch banked vs. flat. We skate both equally now, and I see pros and cons in both.

      • I had no idea there were classes in MADE so I have no idea which one I watched.

        It keeps the game artificially close. There’s no way around it. A team gets lead jammer and suddenly they have to keep two people from breaking the pack. The team that broke the pack first is put at a disadvantage despite being the better team up to that point in the jam. It’s like if a soccer team just gave up a goal so they get to play with 12 players on the field instead of 11.

        I’ll grant you that the game I watched probably wasn’t the best version of the MADE rules that I could see. However, I don’t remember a single jam where the team not in lead didn’t get their pivot or jammer out. Maybe it was just bad defense but I don’t see how it’s possible for teams to physically hold back two skaters while getting their jammer through for more than 15 seconds unless they’re vastly superior to the other team.

        I can go either way on the lead jammer thing. WFTDA puts more emphasis on the initial pass and quality blocking. MADE puts more emphasis on speed and precise timing. I like WFTDA better but it’s not really something I’d argue about.

      • I have another question, what do you mean “boring 1-0, 2-0, at most 4-0.” Why would there be zeros, both teams are scoring at the same time. It’s usually like 4-3, 2-1, 6-4 etc. per jam.

      • This isn’t true at all…”The team that broke the pack first is put at a disadvantage despite being the better team up to that point in the jam.”

        Good MADE teams beat the hell out of the Pivot and the Jammer. Duel defense, just like in most sports, is a learned and practiced strategy. There is also a lot of red herring play in MADE.

        There is an incredible amount of blocking and hard hits in MADE. It sounds like you watched a shitty team play. Sorry for ya. Come watch two Class I teams play, you’ll form another opinion.

        I wouldn’t lump all WFTDA games into the same catergory when I see rookie leagues around here play.

      • Why would there be zeros? Because, for the most part, smart jammers call it off before the other jammer starts scoring. A 2-0 jam is better than a 4-3 jam for the lead jammer. Maybe this is different in MADE? But, I don’t know why it would be and I don’t remember it being different in the game I watched.

        Just for reference, the league I watched was at the end of their 2nd season when I saw them play (1st season played under OSDA rules). That doesn’t mean they’re good or bad but definitely not a rookie league.

        I don’t doubt there is great blocking and hard hits. I’m not saying there aren’t great athletes that play MADE or that games can’t be exciting. Leagues should choose to play by MADE rules if that’s what’s right for them. However, I just think that the rules lead to a mostly uninteresting game because the team that’s consistently getting beat is bailed out by getting to have an extra jammer. I have many problems with the WFTDA rules as well which I’ve blogged about. However, when it gets down to the base idea behind the ruleset, I like WFTDA’s better. WFTDA’s rules just have the disadvantage of having been exploited for years by the best minds in derby while MADE rules are just getting started and probably won’t be exploited until teams are playing for national or international championships (like WFTDA’s).

      • I’m once again missing something here. Isn’t the whole point of the game to score points rather then calling jams off because you’re worried the other team might also score? If there is a jammer from the other team out with you why wouldn’t you assume or know that the blocker for your team wil do their job and stop the other teams jammer?

      • YA Derbytron, that’s not how a MADE game really plays out. People don’t just call off a jam cause the other jammer is right behind them. You are fighting tooth and nail for every point, so both teams are going full blast for it. Our rules work cohesively together to form an edge of your seat experience. One team does not have an advantage over the other because of the rules like you seem to think. We’ve been playing MADE for 6 years, this is not a new thing. Just new to you. There have been hundreds of MADE games played, many in big convention centers and large scale venues. There is a whole wide derby world out there besides WFTDA. We have our own culture and use to just pretty much keep to ourselves. But in the past year something has changed and more and more people are flocking over here.

      • Why is the strategy different? Both jammers hitting the pack at close to the same time seems to be the same in either ruleset. A 2-0 jam would be better for lead jammer than a 4-3 jam, right? And, actually it seems much more important in MADE to call it earlier because if you take a hard hit and fall behind the other jammer (or the other jammer doesn’t get blocked), you’re no longer lead.

        This isn’t a negative post, just genuinely interested.

      • So, here’s what it looks like you’re saying. You’d rther call the jam off early so the other team doesn’t get any points. That’s like saying you don’t have any confidence in your blockers ability to stop the jammer from the other team. If the blockers for both teams are doing their job, neither of you will score, so why go into it assuming your blocker won’t stop the other jammer. That’s their job. If you can’t count on your blocker you need a new blocker. I know you guys always talk about strategy but that shouldn’t be one to be concerned with.

      • It depends on the situation. But, if you’re already at 2-0, it isn’t likely that’s you’re going to get a better point differential than that even if you trust your blockers so you might as well call it off so you don’t risk either giving up lead jammer under MADE rules or ending up with a smaller point differential or worse under both rules sets.

      • To me that’s just sad.Can you imagine what would happen to a pro basketball player if he decided to just quit trying just because he had the lead and didn’t want the other team to score? His coach would throw him out of the game. I know you people are all about stratagies but when they make the game less then it could be as this and the standing still play do, they’re not very good strageties.. To me that’s not what this or any other game should be about.

      • Huh??? Have you ever watched roller derby?

        The base strategy of the game is to end every jam with the best point differential possible. If 2 points is the best you can do, it’s the best you can do. It would be stupid to risk ending with a 0 or even negative differential. Why would anyone do that? It’s not about quitting, it’s about being smart and “trusting” the jammer and blockers in the next jam to get themselves in a better position than you did.

      • No, they wouldn’t. I mean it’s a nice thought but it wouldn’t happen. I just checked the seating chart for the Sports Arena. They could in no way fill that place.

      • @Donald If that’s true then LADD and TXRD are completely stupid to continue playing in smaller venues unless they have no interest in making money. 14,000 extra ticket sales would pay for rent and then some and then some and then some.

        I think you’re wrong otherwise they’d be doing it.

    • The rules, either legacy or contemporary, are full of strategy and action. The problem is how these rules manifest into a game before THE FANS. In my opinion, the legacy ruleset manifests into a game more comprehensible to the fans of the sport thus making the game more exciting.

      • that’s the point of making certain each team has a jammer at the start of the jam……the beauty of the game is always having the pressure of the other team possibly scoring.

      • Okay, if that’s how you think your style of the game should be played who am I to disagree. We’ll just agree to disagree what we both consider real roller derby. For you what you do is, for me what you do isn’t. That’s fine.

  3. 1- agree with the excessive scoring, but this is a product of great disparity in ability and training. How in the hell is team brazil (or any of the other teams outside of north america) supposed to access the same level of experience and skill as say my league (oil city derby girls, edmonton alberta, home of TeeKnee) The only team that was even able to attempt takin Team America was Canada. In all fairness, I cannot think of a cheap or easy solution to this. I sure as heck dont like the idea of limiting points per jam or power jams though.

    2- ixnay on the banked track. too expensive, and unsafe. I’d rather fly into the crowd off a flat track than hit a post on a banked track.

    3- Agree with too many penalties. We should go with majors only

    4- If derby ever goes mainstream, I’m done. One of the best things about derby for me is the amateur/grassroots feel to it.

    5- Mr Seltzer: thank you for your input. tell it like you see it, good bad or indifferent. You are the closest thing we have to a Jesus!

    6- I myself dont want derby to become a mainstream, prime time sport. I like derby where it is: on the fringes and skirting the boundary between naughty and hot!

  4. Mr. Seltzer……I feel it is a little too soon to go cable. I am proud of what has been accomplished but we don’t want to rush things. To go cable now without more experience with the skaters and the officiating and with no banked track, it would not be to our advantage. Lets wait until we are sure it is a sell in all markets especially cable. I’m just saying…………

    • I agree. This sport needs to develop and improve on an International level. Many countries are basically on a rookie level and the recruitment base is not nearly good enough. I think the point issue might dissapear when the overall level improves. The USA team was a much better team at this WC, but it will not stay that way,

  5. You have all heard my comments, and this is not about me….I think the conversation is always good, and your input is what it is all about.

  6. Hi Jerry –

    We’ve had a TV show for a full season. It’s a local station (KCWX) that broadcasts over the air in all of Central Texas, and has a San Antonio cable and Dish channel that runs their programming, including our games. They have now made a deal with one of our Austin cable providers to have our show in the Austin market starting in 2012. It started as a 1 hour show, then moved to 1.5 & then 2 hours. We are really excited for the opportunities it’s presented us with sponsorship and exposure and have been enjoying the process of forging new territory!

    I’ll send you a DVD of one of the games, if you want, or you can check out clips at http://www.kcwx.com/sports/roller-derby. Enjoy!

    La Muerta
    TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls

  7. Rat City’s use of clear hand signals to non-skating officials positioned outside the rink made for a much clearer view of the action. It also made the calls easier to see/undersatand. They’ve been forced by WFTDA “standardization” to revert to a cluttered inner track area like most other leagues. Lots of debate about which system works better but there’s no question imo which is easier for the fans to understand.

    I doubt I’ll ever stop encouraging leagues to try “lead jammer is always the jammer in the lead” or 1 minute jams instead of 2. Especially considering most jams run about 42 seconds anyway. Both of those changes along with starting the jammers 3,5, or 10 seconds after the jam start whistle (not sure which time span would work best), would make the game easier to understand and more exciting. The Derby Dolls have used these rules for a long time.

    I personally hope the sport doesnt hit TV but thats a different topic.


  8. I have to ask a couple of questions. I’m not understanding some things you wrote. I’m refering to…the lead jammer is always the jammer in the lead. What’s the heck. How could the lead jammer not be the jammer in the lead? It’s the lead jammer.
    The other one is about starting the jam. Why would there be any time for the jammers to wait after the jam start whistle blows? Why would the jammers not start right when the whistle blows? That makes no sense.

    • WFTDA rules section 3.4 defines Lead Jammer. “3.4.1 Lead Jammer is a strategic position established on the Jammers’ initial pass through the pack during each jam. The Lead Jammer is the first Jammer to pass the foremost in-play Blocker legally and in bounds, having already passed all other Blockers legally and in bounds.” That Lead Jammer remains the Lead Jammer regardless of whether she’s passed by the opposing jammer. This is different from the way the Derby Dolls play. In their rules if the lead jammer is passed by the opposing jammer *that* jammer becomes lead jammer and may call off the jam. It makes it much more of a race and more exciting to watch.

      Section 4.4 discusses starting the jam. “4.4.1 The pack begins rolling on a single whistle blast from the Official. 4.4.2 Once the rearmost pack skater has crossed the Pivot line, the referee whistles the Jammers to begin their sprint through the pack with two short whistle blasts.” So you can see that the time between the 1st whistle to start the blockers and the 2nd whistle(s) to start the jammers can vary greatly..up to 2 minutes in fact! The Dolls’ rules give a specific period of time between the 1st whistle to start the jam and the whistles that start the Jammers (5 seconds I believe?).

      Get it?

      Hannah Grenade
      Officially Unaffiliated Official

    • In MADE its whoever is physically in the lead and changes alot during a jam. Lead Jammer has to be on their feet and in bounds to call off a jam. In WFTDA it is whoever breaks from the pack first and they retain that status for the entire jam and are the only ones who can call it off.

      • Moe – that is one of the WFTDA rules that is so stupid. Lead jammer should ALWAYS be who is in the lead and it can change throughout the jam. Just because someone started the jam should not give them lead jammer status, unless they are in the front and reach the back of the pack first. Why change the rules that worked for so many years? Makes NO SENSE!

      • Well that just makes no sense. Why would jammer who isn’t in the lead be able to do what the lead jammer does just because they got out of the pack first? That’s just silliness.

  9. They need to see more games. A MADE game, an OSDA game, a renegade game, a TXRD game, a Battle of the Banked game. Some co-ed, some men’s games, some banked games. If the program was well-edited and picked from the most exciting game of the week, they would have no problem. Only some games are blow outs. I am sure you can find a nice close game every week.

    • That is a good idea. The best of the week from whatever ruleset. But then whose to decide. Everyone will be fighting over that fcol.

  10. Here is a post I am adding because it was sent to me personally by someone who did not want to be known and will be surprised to see it here….just thought he/she raises some interesting points: (and I don’t necessarily agree)

    So I read your blog regarding comments from friends of yours who I suspect are TV people or close to it. Not surprised by any of the comments by them at all.

    Sadly, I’m not surprised by some reader comments either. It keeps becoming clear some people love derby as long as it remains their exclusive thing.

    If people are calling the World Cup a great success, then they are truly enjoying the kool aid too much. It they can’t see that flat track derby is to derby what indoor soccer is to soccer (a substitute for the pricier and real alternative), then they won’t understand why the Lonestar Girls are on TV and others are not.

    I gotta tell you, Commish, I think WFTDA is in for a rude awakening one day.

      • I have no idea what the numbers are on either one of those leagues so I can not really comment on whether one draws more than the other. It appears that one(TX) is one a local syndication channel and the other is on a government owned cable station. Considering NY is the largest media market in the nation that is potentially a lot of eyeballs on the sets. Potentially. Based upon that much free TV I don’t see a lot of asses in the seats comparatively. Still a nice house though if it covers the bills.

        With everything else in the e-mail THAT’S the thing to focus on?
        I think what may be a better point to look at is that two televised derby programs both come from leagues that are actual leagues with viable local teams. Entities that can exist and do well without WFTDA, MADE, or any other organization. The teams seem to be fairly balanced in each league. I can see where they can draw. But when talking about the 1000 plus “leagues” out there, that is not whats happening. Most are not “leagues” and most are not in a major media market like NYC. Of course, some of the “small markets” are drawing 2-5k, which is not bad, and get lots of local media love. For the growth and support of the sport, I have argued often that those smaller markets are where the future really lies.

        The ruleset the bank leagues are using and the mindset some flat track leagues and teams (regardless of affiliation) are using are designed to keep things moving and entertain fans. Though some will argue that “its a real sport so strategy prevails” etc, that ignores once again, the need or desire to sell tickets and perform in front of an audience. That is why some arguments for getting derby on TV are senseless. Its not about the skill invpled, or the dedication or hard work of the athletes. We know this in part because derby is constantly repeating how “strongand independent women” form the sport. Of course, every other woman’s sport seems to have the same things too, unless it suddenly became easy to run up and down a soccer field, or fight in the cage, or conquer the tennis opposition, golf course, or rugby pitch. No, its about what keeps them riveted enough to sit there and see the peanut butter commercial.

        When people critique how confusing the WFTDA game is the response so often is “Well every game is confusing until you know the rules.” Not THAT confusing for heavens sake. Forget what a die-hard fan thinks about how easy it is to understand the minutia, its the casual fan who has to like things enough to want to see it again. I can teach a casual fan baseball during a few innings. Football within the first half. Basketball in the first quarter, and soccer in two minutes. Thats a stark difference from this and Jerry’s friends pointed that out.

        The complaint about all the officials muddling up the game is not a new one. In terms of ratio of officials players on the field of play, derby in most of its current forms is overloaded.

        The argument about a banked track not being safer is hogwash,. Its a track built for the sole purpose of skating roller derby. Oh and of course the fact that the game was created to be played on a banked track so it would move faster. Not saying that one is BETTER than the other, that may be a point of personal preference (and mine is admittedly banked). But for someone looking to put something on TV and draw money, that banked track also creates a distinctive and awesome visual.

        The propensity for blowouts is a problem and not a new one. When the NY times did its first piece on Nationals one of the things it criticized was that as a sporting event (not as an athletic event, but as an intriguing sporting event) it was lacking. This was about two years ago and I am sure last year’s nationals and Western Regionals would have been deemed compelling. But there is that problem that blowouts occur not only frequently, but with mindblowing amounts. Audiences accustomed to games where a close game is seen as a 1-10 point difference (depending on the sport) will not be entertained by a game where a 20 point loss is thought of as a ‘close one’. And its a problem that really is not that hard to fix. The problem appears to be that so many people in this subculture are convinced that no change needs to be made.

        There is the other visual problem: how do you put a set of people on eight wheels each and have them slow down or stop? What contact sport has people just slowing down or dead stopping like that, save for being at the point of exhaustion? That problem has to be fixed because its illogical.

        I do not see the sport dying out but there is a serious plateau here. And its stagnation is fixable if people want to do it. The question is who is going to do it and why.

      • There are smaller leagues that get on TV. I’m pretty sure Cincinnati does. Kansas City definitely does. Rat City had a game on Root Sports. I’m sure there are plenty more that I don’t know about.

        I don’t think that WFTDA interleague games should be on national TV yet. The ruleset is too young and still has some major exploits that a casual sports fan won’t put up with. Minors need to go away. Starts need to be fixed. All the NSOs need to be taken out of the infield. However, the reality is that the best players are going to be the ones to get on national TV and the best players play flat track. Unless you know any multi-millionaire that’s going to buy some banked tracks and hire a bunch of players to play on those tracks, flat track is going to continue to rule this sport. To try to argue for banked track is really kind of pointless. Interleague national competition is what will get on national TV, not Derby Dolls games.

        I can easily explain roller derby in a half. If you can’t, you’re doing it wrong. Can you explain every little rule? Of course not but you’re not explaining every little rule in baseball and football. Are you really getting to the balk or illegal shift in someone’s first game?

        Sorry, but people will understand that 20 points is not a blowout as soon as they see a 15-20 point jam. Different sports have different scoring differentials and people aren’t completely stupid and can understand that. A 7 goal game in hockey is a woodshed blowout. A 7 point game in football is really close. A 7 point game in basketball is a comfortable margin. It all depends on the game. Just because roller derby is different doesn’t make it bad.

        And, yes, there are too many blowouts right now and, once again, it’s because the sport is too young. Once the rulebook is no longer being exploited and every team understands all the various strategies, it will come down to skill and teamwork, rather than sneaky strategies. When that happens, blowouts won’t. Look at championships this year.

        Basketball players slow down and stop pretty much every time down the court. Football players do it between every play. Soccer players are rarely at a full sprint. I’m not sure there is a contact sport where slowing down and/or stopping isn’t a major part of the game.

    • Saw what you posted…and the continuous pressure of the other Jammer is what keeps the scores close (don’t know why Derby Tron said artifically)…that was exactly what I was trying to point out above.

      • Those weren’t the original rules. The original rules had two minute jams and three teams playing at once. It’s in the book about your own league. Not the one you’re always hawking, the one written by Sports Illustrated’s Frank Deford.

        Of course, the original rules were co-written by a playwright (“Guys and Dolls) for a “sport” that had someone’s mom sticking skaters in the butt with her hairpin…

    • I hate to keep doing this but here’s another thing I don’t understand. It’s about the jam where nobody goes anywhere. I watched a video where this happened and it seemed that both teams knew this was what was going to happen and they both worked together to do it. It didn’t look like one team decided to do it and kept the other team from moving. If it’s true that both teams planned to do it, that means it was a set play which is what the girl’s claim they never do. Setting a play is completely the opposite of playing a legit game. So could someone explain which it is because the girl’s claim to play a 100% legit game. Maybe I’m just not seeing it right.

      • This was not a set play, This was 2 teams each deciding the best strategy a that moment was to delay the start of the jam. Most of the jams I saw where this happened, the reason seemed to be that neither team was willing to skate forward and give up control of the back wall at the beginning of the jam. The team that was behind in points wanted to take control of the back wall of the pack to change the momentum of the game and the team with the higher score was content letting the clock run down since they were ahead anyway. There have been slightly different apparent motivations for this play, but I think the above example is representative.

      • Saying this as nicely as I can and not meant to be insulting..that makes absolutely no sense. So, both teams decided to do the stop play at the same time. How did one team know the other was going to do it? It seems that if it was just a regular start to the jam but both teams decided not to move how were they aware the other was going to do it and if it wasn’t set why didn’t one team start the jam the normal way? Some sort of agreement or plan between the two teams had to take place. If one team didn’t move when the whistle blowed and I was on the other team I’d have done what I had to to get the jam going. Isn’t that the point of the game? It just seems odd to me that if neither team knew the other team was planning the stop play (or whatever it’s called) the team that wasn’t planning it would have started the game the regular way. It’s just way to coincidental that both teams decided to do it on the same jam if they didn’t know if the other team would go along with it. Maybe I’m completely wrong and I’m just not getting it, but it seems there had to be some way each team knew the other was going to do it.

      • You’re not getting it. The team that was losing wanted the back wall, so they wanted the other team to skate forward first. At the same time, the team that was winning also wants the back wall, and doesn’t care if the clock runs out, because it’s less time for their opponents to score. So they sit there, basically playing a game of chicken until one of them decides to move. I know it’s not exciting, but it’s not a conspiracy between the teams. Not to mention a lot of derby is about communication on the track and adapting quickly to situations. One team could have easily heard the others saying, “Stay back!” or something and adapted their strategy to stay as well and let the clock run down. It’s not like we have ear plugs in out there.

      • Oh okay, in that case I just think it’s a dumb thing to do that does nothing for the game but make it boring for the fans. If it’s a strategy, it’s not a good one.

      • O_o .. dumb strategy? Admittedly, this is the first time someone was able to explain that play to me so that it made sense.. Boring as all get out.. but not a dumb strategy.. don’t let the other team get the upper hand.. pretty much strategy 101 isn’t it?

      • There is more then one way to keep the other team from getting the advantage but as far as I know there’s only one that makes for a boring and uninteresting play. This is a sport, not a chess match. Play the sport and use the skaters to score or keep the advantage over the other team. That’s what they’re there for and if they are talented skaters they should be able to do their job rather then relying on something silly like nobody skating.

      • derbyguy, i touch on slow derby a few places below, you’re right, let the players skate, however folks will always use the rules to their advantage, and there are going to be folks who value winning more than playing.

        the trick is wftda rules are skated at least 10 more often than any other rules set i’m aware of, heck some cities probably have more wftda rules bouts than all of osda does in a year. that means that there are a LOT more folks playtesting those rules and finding loopholes to be exploited. i am quite certain that were other rule sets exposed to the number of games that wftda is they’d have equally quirky exploits demonstrated.

      • That there are people who value winning over playing a good game saddens me. Why can’t they do both? Play a good, strong game so your team will win. You get your win and the fans get their money’s worth.

      • ***n.b. this is NOT intended to spark an unrelated rules debate, but is an example of why i believe wftda rules have so many complaints***

        in example of playtesting exploits and discovery with lots of use, after a quick read of osda rules, i believe that under that ruleset:

        a blocker who has blocked an active jammer to the outside, but ends up even or behind them must immediately incur a delay of game penalty or illegal block penalty.

        if the jammer tries directly to return to play, the blocker must yield to the returning jammer, and if not yielding straight inside, by dropping back they incur delay of game (as intent is not judged, they could be trying to slow the jammer and preventing them from returning incurs an illegal block)

        thus, an active jammer can pass a blocker on the outside *if* they were blocked to the outside; if that blocker yields to the inside producing a non-scoring state on the jammer (because they were in front of the jammer when they initiated the block), provided that blocker is removed from play that jammer is now able to score again.

        as one of the jammer’s blockers gets the stubborn blocker out of bounds before the jammer re-enters the back of the pack they’re none the worse for it,

        now i don’t expect that’s how it’s being called (having never seen a osda game up close), but it’s a reasonably straightforward interpretation of the rules that seem to make it impractical to block to the outside, especially to interior curves where the jammer could inherently end up in front of them.

        without going into whether or not my interpretation is in fact legal, or legitimate, the fact that it *could* be and isn’t reasonably clear demonstrates that enough working over of any ruleset can produce things that seem to go against the spirit of the game.

      • Okay..is all that gibberish you wrote real? If it is I think it would make for a total cluster##ck of a jam. If this one does that then that one has to do this and if they don’t that, they get a penalty except if he does this and another person does that. I have one word for this…simplify.

      • derbyguy, it’s not as easy as say make the rules simpler. i believe the *intent* of this rules is that it’s illegal to gain position if blocked to the outside, but an active jammer *could* risk not being able to score if position is more important for other reasons, which seems straightforward but without the clarifications of when you have to yield, (e.g. you don’t have to yield to someone you blocked out would remove this penalty catch-22 for blockers) you have to end up with more and more complex explanations of *exactly* what you mean, which is why law is so absurdly complex.

      • Can I assume that these rules are for flat track games because if they are playing on a track the jammer couldn’t go outside. The rail, as well as the bank of the track would stop her. I would think that considering it’s harder to stay in bounds when getting blocked on a flat track…because you don’t have the rail or the bank to keep you low..that that rule is a bit harsh. The other parts of what you wrote still make no sense to me.

      • derbyguy: i agree exactly, (re sad about winning over playing) however some folks seem to value winning more than playing in good faith. ironically, as best i can sort out a team needs to be made up of more skilled skaters to win a slow derby strategy, so the team that could win legitimately, instead is winning with the rules instead of playing the game.

        again though, there *are* legitimate reasons to want to slow down the pack (as in a power jam situation) but that’s different from what i consider “slow derby”

      • You’re right. In cases like a power play, stopping or pulling the pack makes sense. I’ve seen it done in the real derby lots of times. However, it still is a pretty fast play. As the jammer comes up you pull the pack so the jammer can go by then it’s done and on goes the game.

      • yes, those are from their flat track rules. although they seem to cover both flat and banked track competition as an organization (i’m not affiliated, but looking at derbyroster and the osda websites) as best i can sort out there are 2-4 flat track leagues who skate under those rules and and several banked track leagues who are co-listed as made rules leagues.

        as to making it clearer, i’m not sure that i can, simply because the rules aren’t clear, in part because they’re too simple on that point.

  11. As a referee and as a fan I have to agree, the best game hands down I’ve seen all year, Luckily I was working security, and was able to enjoy most of it, was the 3rd annual mashup bout with Alamo City Roller Girls who had Girls from Assasination City, Houston Roller Derby, Texas Roller Girls 1 girl from Duke City Roller Derby and Sin City Roller Girls. The score, to my knowledge with the exception of one jam, was always within 4 points. The last jam had almost everyone on their feet because one teams jammer was put in the box near the end of the previous jam, who were ahead by just 1.

    most other bouts I’ve been to, watched online or officiated on or off skates have been 20+ point differences. only worthwhile to watch in the end (as a spectator) seeing a team come back from an even bigger deficit and it looks like they could possibly make it.

    As a suggestion 10 secs or less to release jammers after jam start whistle. As far as chicken bricking/rugby derby I can’t think of a quick simple suggestion. Hope WFTDA can with the next ruleset and go forward with the no minors (would clear out the center of the track to just refs)

  12. I believe that everyone is heading in the same direction and I love reading the
    comments here.

    I’ve set up my co-ed leagues in Seattle to be instructional, competitive, and I
    will pay our all stars when we get there; my guess is towards the end of 2012.

    http://oneworldrollerderby.com (come on men, we’re waiting for you).

    We are attempting to mainstream this sport by making it more accessible and
    we’re working with USARS rules; hoping that they will “pave the way” for WFTDA
    skaters (as Michelle mentioned) while preserving the sport’s competitive and
    athletic aspect. I am teaching derby classes through the Seattle Parks
    department and a local community college. I’ve written a coaches manual that
    utilizes sports psychology along with specific instruction for teaching basic
    skills / core strength / weight transfer / self confidence / accountability and
    will keep adding to that as I go.

    As the (new) president of OSDA (I’m working to earn the title) I am hoping to
    combine efforts with all organizations to find one ruleset that can be agreed
    upon via USARS.

    NRDA, MADE, OSDA and any other group out there could NOW form one new powerful
    organization that can use the same agreed upon rules, respect each others
    differences and agree to disagree along the way while paving the way for
    standardization. We need ONE other circuit that is not just women and not just
    flat track.

    Forming another new organization will not take away any of the wonderful WFTDA
    groups that are out there, nor should it pose a threat. My hope is it would
    train many new skaters that could ultimately make their way to ANY league that
    is a good fit for them (WFTDA included).


    I invite anyone to contact me to discuss logistics of this. We can grow and
    change the landscape together while respectfully honoring all WFTDA leagues with
    open communication and open doors.

  13. one comment (I’m entitled!): being on TV isn’t as important as a few changes to the ruleset might make the game more appealing to spectators, if that is what the intent is.

    • I don’t see the two as mutially exclusive, spectators and tv audience would benefit from the same changes to the rules that make the game…… well better as defined by all other comments above and below.

    • the trick is there we are starting to see several skater intents in derby. there are folks who want it recognized as a legitimate professional sport, folks who just want to have fun, and any number of positions in between.

      then you have the spectators, and what their interests are, be it big fast hits, outstanding athleticism, girls in skimpy/silly outfits, creative strategy, or just athletes having fun.

      anyone who puts it on tv will be/is targeting their market, and i sincerely hope matching the interests of the skaters, with those of the viewers, rather than using the skaters to get viewers.

      given that the current sport IS so skater driven i suspect that it’s where we’ll see the national broadcasts come out of. someone with a passion for the sport selling it in a format that’s marketable.

  14. I don’t know, at the grassroots community level people love the game and keep coming out in all of our communities. Some leagues may have the goal of their game being broadcast on TV, but a lot of leagues either don’t want that or it’s not on their radar. I don’t think flat track is like “indoor soccer” but there’s a lot of derby that’s not “the big leagues” that debates like this barely touch (and thus those leagues stay relatively underground and away from debates like this). That being said, I can’t wait for No Minors! XO

    • Okay, your statements made me think. I’m curious what the goal od the gil’s leagues actually are. Since there are so many leagues there may be just as many answers. Are they looking to get on TV and be viewed as other sports? Are they just looking to have games and enjoy themselves? Or is it somewhere in between? The answer to this wouls, I think, determine the teams goals and how you present yourselves.
      As for the comparison to indoor hockey, I can see it. I recently saw something on TV about the defunct Extreme Football league. It kind of reminds me of the flat track compared to the banked trackers.

  15. People are just not used to seeing this sport and the rules are not that complicated it is just that people have not grown up around it like they have football. There are hand signals just like football and all they need is a person in the middle who already keeps track of the penalties to have a headset and communicate the penalty to the announcers. Scores are not that much higher that that of NBA games and blowouts are part of every sport even the ones on TV. Thanks for taking this to them and it should be put on TV in my opinion.

      • Now, Jerry! That’s not right! lol

        I hope you’re right and eventually the rules are more simplified and minors are eliminated. Penalties should be called and executed immediately, not after the jam. No stopping allowed. Supporters can call it strategy, but the fans were booing and they call it stupid.

        OK – Jerry. You can return to your nap now.

    • Actually, I disagreeo. I have rarely seen a game in which the scoring is only one or two points..which excludes football.. have games with 30 or 40 point spreads, let alone 300.

  16. w.o delving into the rules discussion (much); jerry, i think your friends have some truly bizarre apples to studebaker comparisons going. this is gonna get long, but i want to be clear why i feel they’re not making any sense.

    figuring out any sport on your own is absurd. i’ve got NO clue why football refs keep throwing their yellow kerchiefs about, and rarely can my die-hard football friends i’m watching with explain. i still enjoy watching football. most folks don’t care about the minutiae.

    i can explain to a derby virgin almost all of the unusual situations they’re likely to see in their first bout in the first 5 jams, and have them explaining it to the folks behind them by the half. i’ve gotten a few beers of thanks out of this trick.

    i’m not aware of any sports that have points limits per period (at least that are routinely reached) there are points per scoring method, but you don’t stop the *half* in basketball because one team got a 3 point shot. the game keeps going although a player might get swapped out.

    a jam is not “a play” but a series of plays as a hockey team works together trying different methods to score. each “play” would be passing one blocker, or a whip. have them think of jams as rounds in boxing, not downs in football.

    slow derby sucks. it’s not about competing against the other team, but the rules. yes, if you’ve got a power jam your blockers want to slow things down, but if you have to use a rule to gain advantage you’re not being a good sport but a good lawyer. good lawyering is fun to watch … ok no it’s not, it’s fun to read about for some folks(like me). good sportsmanship makes everyone feel good.

    lets be honest, there are folks doing an amazing job webcasting and releasing recordings of bouts, but not in the same manner that pro-sports are filmed. watching it is often like watching the friday night prep sports wrap up on the local news. it’s awesome if your kid’s school is playing, but if not, it’s poorly lit from less than ideal camera angles. if we had serious lighting, professional camera operators with good vantage points, overhead shots, and replays with the little drawn on circles and arrows it would look AWESOME.

    scoring inequality. part of what makes the game so interesting to me is that you can easily have a 25 point swing in one jam with two very evenly matched teams. it’s the same in football, if you’re w.in 3 points it’s anyone’s game. the big issues is often that there are some *serious* differences in skill level and coaching strategy, so that unless you’re w.in a few regional seeds of another league odds are it’ll be a blowout. because it’s easiest and fairest to seed tournaments, odds are very good that most bouts will be unevenly matched teams, and that’s less interesting to watch.

    what would make great tv is pitting similar skill level teams against each other as often happens in local intra-league bouts and fix the slow derby issue. i think that derby as a sport is ready for tv, but it needs to be the right level of play and production style for the right tv audience.

    • The fact that anyone thinks that a 25 point jam is “normal” is absolutely ridiculous to me and many others. It proves that the other teams’ defense is severely lacking.

      Also, I totally disagree with you if you think that “derby”, as it is now, with fake names and holey fishnets is ideal for TV, True, two similar skill level teams will help, but the image must be cleaned up – measurably. Also, like other sports they’d want to call it a GAME.

      • Jersey, you said exactly what I was thinkng on both points. I would add that if in this game a 25 point jam is considered normal, it’s not going to hold the audiences interest. People want excitement and players who are good at what they do. If a team can score 25 points on the other team you get neither. You guys may not think so but watching a skater going round and round with, apparently nobody doing much of a job of blocking them is neither exciting nor shows any talent.

        As for the second point, right again. Trashyness doesn’t go over with most people and that will limit your audience. People also don’t want to watch a TV show with people who are still learning to skate the game. That’s for game shows, not real sports. If you want to be considered a legit sport worth watching on TV you best put on a real, professional looking sport and at the moment there aren’t enough teams at that level. There already was a documentary style show that showed the girl’s working on getting their league and games together and it bombed. When people turn on a sport on TV they want the real thing, not a work in progress. So no, girl’s leagues aren’t ready for mainstream TV. Small, public access or local stations may be interested and if that’s where you want to stay that’s fine.

      • What is unique about this sport is that it can be many things to many different people. Some people are there to enjoy the silly names, the attitude, the community overall and SOME are there for the athletic aspect / outlet of the sport; overall the latter is not there YET.

        I think that derby is still in its infancy. I expect that maybe 1% of my league’s skaters (at best) will have what it takes or even want to be true all star athletes, and my guess is that it will take around 1 more year at LEAST to even be able to form a quality all star team with the focus on pure athleticism.

        In the meantime, I’m hoping I can find a place for people who want to learn, improve their skills and their confidence to have a venue to do just that. And it is very true that there are very few skaters in the entire derby population that are at the caliber of “pro”.

        First we need to “teach” it and give the general population the venue to see if derby is the sport for them. Then we need to work together to form a circuit that can agree on the rules and what it is about for them. Then we need to have a clear and concise consensus on how to form this “circuit”.

        WFTDA has their rules and circuit, it is what it is, it is also growing and will most likely continue to change. WFTDA has opened doors that would have remained closed had they not worked so hard and I am forever grateful for that.

        I mentioned before that there are very few rules that “I give a rip about”, please know that is not actually true, but the rules right now, today, are a moving target and I have much to experience before being a loud and clear voice for “what I think is right”, I am still learning more about what I think that looks like.

        At this point in time what I DO give a rip about is figuring out a way to unify ALL non-WFTDA groups to agree on coming together in some fashion that can create a powerful alternative and competitive circuit of competition knowing that we have many kinks to still work through.

        Everyone should start to problem solve right now about how to agree on what we are doing and then figure out how do it together. I fully believe this can be achieved.

      • I agree with you. There needs to be a place for skaters to learn and to get their skill levels improved. We had the exact same thing when I started skating. It was called a training school and we did just what you’re saying needs to be done. The one difference is that you didn’t get out of the training school and onto a team until you were at the skill level to skate the game with the pros. Even then it was usually a couple of years before you did anything other then pack work and a couple of plays if they let you. Most skaters in those days said you were still a rookie until about 5 years of being on a team. Some skaters were lucky and progressed quicker for different reasons but in general it took quite some time to be a real pro in derby.
        What I see on youtube is about the level of what the trainees did in Jet games. The amatuer league, not the pro. From a business standpoint it doesn’t do your product any good to put out an amatuer game if you’re looking to go legit, which people keep saying they want to do, to be recognized all over the world as a real sport. If you want to keep it a fun game where girl’s skate for various reasons..the exercise, the fun and comradery, things like that, you’re there now. If you want to be considered a real sport that is the equel of other sports played around the world, you’ve got a ways to go.

      • at no point did i say a 25 point jam was normal. please do not put words in my mouth to inaccurately prove your point.

        it is not common, however it can, and does happen. similarly, a grand slam in baseball, or punt return touch down in football does happen *rarely* which is what makes it exciting.

        a constant battle with a few point margins is not compelling to watch. one of the most exciting bouts i’ve seen ever was last month when a team fought back to loose by 10 from almost a 50 point spread. it was not monster jams, it was just a consistent 5 point spread after one 15 point spread.

        i fail to see how fake names and silly costumes have anything to do with tv readiness of a sport. lingerie football seems to be doing fine. if you think that joe six pack won’t take derby seriously because it’s got light hearted elements, i fear you’re confusing showmanship with quality of sporting. derby came out of showmanship, and while it’s a feat of athleticism (and a sport) the reason pro-sports teams wear bright uniforms is for the show.

        i don’t think they’d call it a “game” anymore than they call a cricket or rugby match a game.

  17. watching a powerjam situation that can result in a big point swing is riveting. with good opposing blockers running the pack fast, it may not result in anything, but watching a goat fight free from 3 opponents can be pretty compelling as it immediately becomes a 1 on 3 test of skills.

    again, i think you’re not comprehending what i’ve written. at no point did i say that every derby bout from every WFTDA-A league should be nationally televised. if the local high school football game is on cable access by all means air the local start up derby league. however for major market you want to have some of the big nationally seeded teams (who generally don’t look like they fell out of a 5 year old’s closet) competing against each other.

    please try to take things in context, and read them with respect for intent.

  18. Alright, you didn’t use the word normal. I got that from Jersey Joe and said it because it seems to fit. If something happens regularly it is normal and these huge scoring gaps do happen in your games so to me that’s normal.
    What I find hysterical is that you think a game that is close in points is boring. To me that’s the same as saying basketball is boring because in most games the points are close. That is what makes a game exciting. Two, assumedly, even teams trying to beat the other. Not one team running away with the game and the other trying to catch up. But, as they say, to each his own. What you find interesting, I find boring and vice versa. Derby jams that make alot of points simply says to me that the other teams defense is lacking.
    As to your comment about silly names and tacky uniforms I once again say you’re wrong. Extreme football went somewhat that way and bombed. Lingerie football? I never even heard about it until recently so I looked it up. They have a striking similarity to the derby girls. Lots of teams playing a limited amount of games being shown on minor TV channels..MTV?…and the women as sex objects rather then sports players. One player was quoted as saying the lingerie is a necessary evil and hopes someday they won’t have to wear lingerie to get people to come and see them. So admittedly, the dress code is a gimmick to get people to watch and doesn’t contribute to the actual game or do it any good other then getting horny men to watch them. They’ll never be taken seriously. They are a novelty and it seems most are happy with it being that way. I would have to say the girl’s derby has moved somewhat beyond that point but not enough to be taken seriously and if you’re happy being a novelty item, go for it.
    As for the silly statement that pro teams wear bright colors for the show, that’s ridiculous. They wear colors so their team mates can readily and easily see who is on which team. I skated a game where the teams wore very close to the same uniforms with only slight color differences. It was hard to play. That’s why they wear the colors. Not for show. In basketball if you’re running at top speed down the court you want to be able to see exactly where the rest of the team is and uniform color helps with that tremendously. It’s not a gimmick as it is with the girls.

    • again you have inserted your own context into my text, and ignored the point that i’m not making clearly enough. let me try to explain.

      personally i find it more compelling if both teams are constantly within striking distance of each other but not atop each other. if every jam you see a 1 point lead change both teams are very evenly matched, but they’re also not taking risks and trying out new strategies to pull ahead. slow and steady can win the race, but it’s boring to watch. if you’re within the point spread that can be accomplished within a jam no one has run away with the game. do not confuse that with an uneven match up, or an even score with an even match up. both are logical fallacies. .

      yes, you DO see a lot of bouts that are lopsided. i contend that the teams are unbalanced, and the current bracket tourney will continue to produce a lot of high stakes high publicity lopsided games. seed 1 vs seed 12? not gonna be a big contest or compelling watch in almost any sport. i don’t need to see team A take apart team B if it’s clearly no contest; i don’t care if it’s a 100 or 10 point spread if it wasn’t a good match.

      if telling the teams apart was the only goal you’d see only solid color black and white or red and green and each team would have a set of each depending on who was home in every sport. stripes, muted tones, metallics, shaped uniforms, piping, those are all marketing or brand identification items. football, hockey, soccer, baseball, they all make use of those items, even basketball does, although to a lesser extent as the nature of their sport brings certain necessities to their uniforms.

      most of the nationally competitive teams (as i stated above) don’t dress all crazily campy. a skater or two might have on stockings, but i’d argue that’s the exception not the rule. the big national teams aren’t (generally) wearing tutus or lots of face paint. i think they’re ready for serious media consideration, not because they dress conservatively, because they’re excelling at their sport, and compete well.

      likewise, there are many local bar sponsored baseball leagues (and even minor leagues) that do all sorts of goofy fun stuff that have just as much a passion for baseball as do the boys making tens of thousands a game. to argue that baseball isn’t ready for prime time because there are leagues that have a pig on the field is absurd. to argue that because there are more folks who aren’t on top flight teams and play for the passion of the game one shouldn’t broadcast it at all is absurd. i assure you there are more serious committed folks playing baseball, running marathons, and downhill skiing for the love of it than there are on tv.

      • Great post. Pretty much agreed with everything you said.

        However, I don’t agree that derby is ready for primetime right now for two reasons. 1. Like you said, there aren’t that many teams that can play without blowing each other out. We’d obviously want the best teams on TV so that means basically 11 of the teams at championships and maybe a couple additional teams from the West and that’s it. There simply aren’t enough teams on that level, yet. In a couple years, I think there will be. 2. The rules aren’t ready for primetime. The standing around, the jammer line shuffle, rugby derby. Minors. All of that is ugly and confusing and would not go over well with a casual audience. The rules need to be able to go a couple years without having to go through any major changes before they’re ready for a national TV audience.

        I just don’t get the rush. Just like everything in derby, the momentum will build when it’s ready. There’s no point in rushing derby onto national TV when it’s not ready yet. Derby is still an incredibly young sport with some issues still to work through.

      • All you said would be fine if all you’re looking to do is have a bunch of minor league or amatuer teams. It’s my understanding though that you’re looking to become a pro league and gimmicks like pigs in the field don’t fly there.
        I absolutely disagree with you that close scoring games are boring. It doesn’t have to be specifically one point a jam but if too many points are scored it, as I’ve said repeatedly, shows a lack of skating talent. Watch old derby tapes from the 50’s. It was 100% legit and they were lucky to even score on some of the jams but it was exciting as all get out. That was because the pace of the game was fast, the blocking of the jammers was strong and the jammers never gave up. That’s what makes a game worth watching. Lopsided scores, jams that don’t even happen and stopping jams because you either don’t want the other jammer to score or you think you’ve made enough points…that’s not exciting, at all. I keep seeing posts about all the different stratagies. I think possibly less strategy and more agressive, strong game playing is what is needed. This really is a not difficult to play at all. That’s one of the things that I like about the sport. Keep it simple.

      • pigs in the infield do in fact fly. i used the example because it’s a (relatively) well known minor league baseball schtick from st. paul.

        right now, for a variety of reasons (primarily the relative infancy of resurgence of the sport) we’ve got what could be described as a complete lack of divisions in college sports. you play the teams that are near by and kinda in your skill level. it costs $$ to travel. both in time away from work and transit and hotel.

        once most towns of 30,000 have a 2 team league, i’m sure we’ll end up with classes and see much more even match ups.

        i dunno, men’s league bouts tend to be more “aggressive” than strategic, and what makes them interesting is stuff like a goat fighting free, or one team trying to slow the pack in a power jam situation. watching a men’s league develop those strategic skills over a few years has made them a lot more entertaining to watch.

      • The pigs may be flying but as you said that’s minor league schtick, the same as the silly names and costumes is in girl’s derby. If they’re happy being minor league then don’t change.
        I’ve also watched the men’s leagues and I agree with you. Their more agressive skating style does make for a more entertaining game. I do have to say though, that going down on one knee when a skater is injured bit is a little too cornball for me, but that’s a minor thing that I’m being nitpicky about.

    • Well, I’ll be. We get you and Poobah on the same page and we’re gonna have ourselves a derby-apocalypse.

      Who doesn’t love a sassy robot, anyway? Truth is truth – derby works right now in certain markets at very specific times for very specific reasons – going national or international with televised games and pushing for an NFL acceptance just isn’t right for now in WFTDA rules derby. There seems to be a mad rush for ESPN and the Olympics. If this gets pushed *correctly*, those things are possible, but if it gets pushed right *now*, it’d be an epic failure. There’s plenty of time to work out the kinks.

  19. One thing I have to say, how Poobah has twisted fiction to be facts. Damon Runyon was the leading sportswriter in America, akin to Frank Deford today…..He never wrote a play, he wrote columns, and Guys and Dolls was made a play long after he died. And the three team concept was probably just one thing tried at the original Coliseum, and it always was two teams afterwards. You all have your points of view, but remember, I vas dere, Charlie.

  20. I’m a casual derby fan who watches many other sports. In fact almost any sport that’s televised I’ve probably watched at one time or another. There are several things I’ve seen in the bouts I’ve attended that make me think the current WFTDA rule set would not catch on with other casual fans.

    1) Skaters spending a lot of time leaving and re-entering the outside of the track during play. Obviously they were not leaving on purpose, but I felt it contributed to or at least allowed the pace of the game to be very slow. A banked track with a rail eliminates this.

    2) The “slow” game plan seemed not only ineffective for the losing team, but it also meant there was action only for a few seconds when the jammer was moving through the pack. The rest of the jam was spent speed-skating around the track to catch up to the barely moving pack again and again, which is not very visually compelling for the average person.

    3) Tons of minor penalties, players leaving the track constantly resulting in half the bout being minus one or more players per side. Again, it takes away from the ‘action’ part of the game, when jammers are actively competing to pass the blockers.

    Frankly, I don’t understand the resistance to rule changes designed to make the game faster and more visually compelling. The current incarnation of the sport is only a few years old, now is the perfect time to make adjustments so the sport can continue to grow and attract a larger audience.

    My primary interest in derby is from the perspective of a physical preparation coach, so I think it is worth considering that shorter jams would most likely result in more explosive athletes throughout the game as well. A 5 (or any number) point limit would likely have the same effect, with more ‘rest’ periods between shorter jams.

    • Brandon, as an impartial observer, I feel you have hit it right on the head……we are not trying to take over the game but just trying to get it to be continuous skating and more spectator friendly…..hopefully, there will be some compromise and rule changes; if not, it is what it is.

      • Jerry – I do hope that WFTDA will eventually “get it” and make the necessary changes to make the game more spectator friendly! Ridding the game of minors, putting the skaters into the box immediately when a penalty is incurred, no stopping on the track, and less time-outs would certainly go a LONG way in making the game move faster and more enjoyable for the spectators.

      • I have another “long winded” opinion coming up in a min. but i had to pipe in here..
        the statement “I do hope that WFTDA will eventually “get it” and make the necessary changes to make the game more spectator friendly!” annoys the crap out of me. Do people honestly think that some of these things are not being talked about, or considered. There are some not so appealing things that have been allowed to sneak in since the last rule revision. Do you all think that after every boring game watched, mid level tournament, large tournament, international games.. that within minutes of it ending, the WFTDA should form a round table and have a new set of rules hot off the presses before the weekend is over?.. Good grief, get real. These things take time, research analyses, stats, facts, ect

  21. Toronto Roller Derby is broadcast on local TV here in Toronto.

    But why would anyone think that flat track roller derby is ready for prime time anyway??? It’s eight years old…no sport has been ready for prime time after only eight years in existence.

    What roller derby needs is what it is currently getting: patience and room to grow and continue to refine itself. The last thing the sport needs right now is to start worrying about being ready for prime time. As much as I am looking forward to that day, I don’t think the sport is anywhere near ready right now. I also don’t think, in the grand scheme of things, that this is a bad thing at all.

    I think the sport has come remarkably far in a very short period of time: the change in game play, the coverage of, and the interest in the flat track version of the sport in the five years from 2006’s Dust Devil to this year’s Continental Divide and Conquer is actually quite astonishing. It also seems like a realistic and healthy growth rate. It takes time to build a sport and, more importantly, a culture to surround it.

    • Let’s leave the TV part out of it, I think the two and others on this post have brought out things about the game that currently would not appear to help the audience grow (including attendance).. Just take what they said as well as others like Brandon and hopefully changes will come about……What bothers me is the attitude that this is the rule set, and this is what it has to be. For instance, jammers starting from a line comes from Rollerjam in 1999 and was never part of Derby. And 5 points was always the limit any skater could score on a jam. (not in Rollergames though.) just listen and be open to suggestions.

      • I’d like to make a correction to your statement. Rollerjam did not have the five points on a jam limit and if my memory is holding up, very few leagues did that. I think the WRF did but that’s about it.

      • derbyguy – No, the WRF did something rather silly. They changed a grand-slam, which was originally 5 points to 7 points. Derby did not have a 5 point limit because they had up to 2 jammers per team, which could yield a double grand-slam or 10 points.

      • You’re right. I forgot about that silly bonus thing they did. I was thinking that they had the scoring limit even though they had two jammers I don’t remember ever seeing both jammers go out. It was always just one.

      • derbyguy – the WRF only allowed one jammer per team. I don’t have a problem with that at all. I grew up watching Derby and Games which allowed two jammers per team, but I don’t have a problem with limiting it to one.

      • When I started skating with Roller Games..back in the stone age..they had the two jammer rule. I always liked it better because that made for many more plays that could be done on the jam. With one you’re pretty much either just trying to outskate the other jammer or the two of you are beating on each other. I never skated the one jammer games.

    • I don’t think flat track derby will ever catch on as far as a sport that the masses would want to watch. It’s like a minor league version of the real game. If derby caught on they’d want to see the banked track version.

  22. Dil Mented I have no doubt that those who change the rules are as aware as any of us; there are obviously at all the games where the audience (and often skaters) display their displeasure. However, what I and others who are interested in and love the game offer a forum. There certainly should be no limit on discussion on what we like about the game or think it might make it better. Perhaps the rules committee should add some people outside of the participants who are engaged in sports (never me, I get enough shit as it is).

    • Of course Jerry.. My issue is never with discussion and debates.. i’m all for them.

      My issue is when they are proposed in such as way that makes it appear that no one cares and the powers that be are just sitting on their thumb with no intention of trying to improve things. We don’t know one way or the other what the new rules revisions will be. We can only state our opinions for and against (insert topic of the day) and wait 🙂

      • The problem is that the last revision was a LONNNGGGGG time ago. Two years was way too long to go between rules revisions. It should have been a year tops. I understand why they made the decision to go so long but I really hope WFTDA voters learn from that mistake and go back to year or 6 month revision cycles. To the average hardcore fan who kind of but not really understands what’s going on, it really does seem that these are the rules and nobody wants to change them, especially when people defend certain stupid things that go on. I know that isn’t the case but how many fans know the inner-workings of the WFTDA? Nobody, because if they did, somebody broke their confidentiality agreement.

      • I dunno..
        It’s really a tricky situation.. you can’t go around changing the rules mid season.. it’s something that should only be done in the off season.. Issue with that is depending where you live and the availability of a proper venue.. there are many different playing seasons.. (which is likely another thing to change as the sport grows, and will help with the unified front sort of thing)

        There also needs to be some time to properly gauge the implications of either changing the rules or not. having a bunch of people on line whining about slow play and point spreads, isn’t really a good form of stats collection 😉

        I’m sure looking at the number of fans 1 year vs another year.. or tickets sales,, ect ( and a bunch of other stuff i can’t fathom considering) is more likely going to guide critical decisions like this.

      • But, the next change IS going to be in the middle of the season. It’s going to go in effect at the end of June, right before playoffs. The whole WFTDA rules situation makes absolutely no sense.

        I really don’t think WFTDA voters are going to listen to fans. Derby skaters have a knack for not listening to anyone outside the bubble.

        Think about it, though. I think we all agree that the starts situation needs to be fixed. Well, it’s not going to be fixed until the end of June. We still have 7 months to go. That’s crazy.

        And, I really don’t think rules changes should be based on ticket sales or anything else like that. It should be based completely on what keeps the sport safe while making the sport better. Being better is a matter of opinion but that’s why WFTDA is a democracy, majority wins.

  23. I’ve read so much that i don’t even know what topic we are on now.. So i’ll cover a bunch all at once 😉
    My opinions are as follows.

    Blow outs are not a rule problem, they are a skill problem and an admin problem. If people would take the time to gauge and study an opposing team to see if they are on a similar level before agreeing to a bout. This would even that right out. Stop pitting titans against infants and we’ll be all set.
    Yes, i know that depending on location and opportunity.. it’s a better than nothing scenario because there are so many infant teams.. All in good time. It will come.
    Also it was mentioned that a 12th seeding team against a #1 seeding team game is for sure going to be a boring shit game. When more teams are on a higher lvl. There may not be such a gap in skills between 1 and 12. Where 1 is still likely to win.. but…maybe not. Imagine 1 point separation between each ranking score of each of the top 12.. that’s not big difference.

    Only the Titans teams should be playing on national and internationally televised levels. We want to show the world the best of the best and prove the legitimacy of the sport right? (those that are for the going pro aspect)
    Issue with that is that there are only a drop in the bucket amount of Titan teams that are on that level.. Again.. all in good time, let a few more teams come out of the woodwork and start putting up a decent fight against the titans before we worry about that stuff.. Keep it in mind and have a long term goal for it, but don’t try to push it out too soon.

    I agree with the no minors.. unless you are listening to some of our kickass announcers, most ppl have no idea why skater X was just sent the box, she was skating on the other side of the track by herself. ( This is coming from a skater watching the game, i can only imagine as a newbie spectator). i either did something wrong and should be sent to the box immediately, or i didn’t.. none of this ” well you kinda did a bad thing, but only kinda” O_o

    On that topic, i think that the ref either saw it/ called it, or not.
    None of this huddling to figure out who might have called what wrong. It’s over, move on. It was either a good call or a bad call, either way, it’s done. If a jammer was sent to the box on a bad call and then it was over turned, They don’t give her the points that she might have scored had they not messed it up. Yet they take away points after the fact if a huddle results in a penalty that was not called at the time it happened ? Makes no sense.

    The power jam is an exciting part of the sport and i think it should stay.
    The 2 min Jam make athletes have to train endurance as well as explosive.
    The lead jammer to be the jammer in the lead debate.. Meh.. there are valid points for both. But i don’t think one is any better than the other.. it’s just different.

    I think that all skaters should start on one whistle.. There is no reason to hold the jammers back until the second whistle.. the fact that the 2nd whistle blows when the last blocker gets over the pivot line.. the jammers know when it’s coming. they just have to watch the pack.. kind of makes the whistle an unnecessary formality.
    This will get rid of a lot of the BS at the start of a jam..

    I see a lot of “this sport will not be taken seriously because” (insert BS reason here)


    This sport will be taken seriously as a sport, when it’s proven to be a viable sport. MOST leagues are still small grassroots leagues.They need time to grow.

    It’s a woman’s sport (yes a know men play now too.. but for this point.. i’m sticking to the woman.. and the boys can’t hope to be at that level until there are WAY more teams competing)

    Just about all woman’s sports go through this. ALL of it.. LuLu demon posted a link the other day about woman’s boxing trying to make/ encourage female boxers to wear skirts while in the ring.. can you imagine.. Because they think it will bring in more spectators.. this goes for a lot of other woman’s sports. So Derby people thinking that the way we dress is going to be socially acceptable for a woman’s sport, is not that far fetched..
    Most of the extra flashy / fishnet outfits are kiboshed for actual uniforms at higher levels of competition anyway. Fishnets suck ass when thats all you have on and you are sliding across the floor. people figure that out eventually 😉

    spectator opinions are going to be formed by whatever they are exposed to, regardless of rules and names and fishnets. If that is how it is promoted in advertising, during bouts, ect.. that is how it will be perceived. If it’s promoted properly, it will be seen in a much different light.

    • And this is not going to make me any friends .. but my opinion on the World Cup.

      I hang my hat to all those who organized the event, worked it, participated in it. I am in no way dissing the effort that went into this.

      However, in terms of going pro and getting the “prime time” media people to take derby seriously, i think this was one of the worst things to have happened. AS has been discussed. the venue and team skill differences being it’s biggest downfalls. Taking my personal “i love derby” feelings out, and ignoring the “we want grassroots” arguments. As a simple spectator.. from watching online, It looked kinda ghetto, underground. Which is fine for anything other than something called “the world cup”, in a sport fighting like hell to be taken seriously by the big sports media

      I think it is fantastic that Argentina got to come and learn from the best teams they could possibly get a chance to play. I think everyone there had a great time. I do not think that is what THE WORLD CUP should be about.

      For me, if it was called just about anything else, i would think it was one of the greatest things for derby.

      A World Cup, implies, that the best of the world are competing for the most prestigious award you can get in your sport ( to me anyway, and possibly new to derby folk)
      To allow in a team that pretty much none of their skaters have participated in an actual bout before.. does not a world cup make.

      I think it’s a fantastic idea to get all the countries together and great event. I don’t think that derby is ready for a “world cup”. I think it was jumping the gun, much like trying to get into the Olympics. Do people really think that the Olympics is going to let in a sport a decade old, that has the best 2 teams in the world have a 300 point spread.. Not a chance

    • Excellent post Miss Mented. Well thought out and alot of good and valid ideas and suggestions. Just wondering if you know how many men’s teams are out there.

  24. I’m sorry, Derby guy, I deleted the comment you are referring to as it was absolutely abusive. Everyone who has commented on here with that one exception has stated what he or she wanted without personal attacks……Fortunately, she had nothing new to add in my opinion; even if she did, I still would have deleted it.

    Let’s just keep talking.

  25. Lizzie, I had to remove your other post again……please no personal attacks and Derby guy, I would appreciate the same.

    By the way, Joe was correct, that in Roller Derby each jammer could score 5 points each maximum on a jam……..it almost never happened ad I remember.

  26. at the risk of making this reply thread absurdly long, i’ve a few observations on things tangential to the broadcast readiness of derby, (which i tried to stick to) but are thing’s i’ve pondered a bit more due to this thread, and it seemed apt to share. i’m gonna come off the rails a bit from several firmly stated opinions, but please take the time to re-read my thoughts before pointing me out for the idiot i can be.

    n.b. all of this should be considered “imho”, and i’d love to hear answers on #2’s question at least.

    1) slow derby–

    i suspect that everyone who skates wants (amongst other things and in no particular order) A) a more fun game, B) to win, and C) to skate fast and bonk into/dodge folks. because of certain rules, folks who are more in the B side of things have resulted in the “slow derby” strategy that is really more about skating against the rule set than the other team in order to win (rather than play the sport imho).

    rules changes (and/or creative/strict enforcement of existing rules) regarding destroying the pack or skating forward direction would fix that to a significant degree. you will always have a particularly agile team w.o speed endurance who play a slower game than speedier teams, or power jam pack control type issues but overall things would have to move ahead, which would force the rules gamesmanship back into the sport/strategy side of the game.

    2) minors in wftda–

    _why are they confusing/bad?_ (i’ve not gotten a consistent or clear answer to this yet)

    it seems to me that they allow for the tracking of minor infractions and a penalty for them, just a enough majors will get you ejected. most professional sports have a myriad of penalties from scooting the line back and forth to do overs and others in football alone. in high level competition i can easily see folks “getting away with” things that are no longer minors, or skating very conservatively in order to avoid ejection for what were previously minor infractions. that doesn’t mean that a casual/community league needs to call them anymore than a pickup game of basketball is going to call every single double dribble.

    there is a HUGE communication issue between officials, the bench and the crowd. i believe this is the cause of the “minors are a problem” argument. the vast majority of officials however, have only been at this (like the skaters) for a few years at most and instead of a skater “only” knowing (exaggeration) how it’s ok to hit someone, the officials have to be intimately familiar with not only the actual verbiage of ALL of the rules, but how they can be interpreted in every possible situation, as well as keep up with and dodge the skaters.

    from one year to the next, just as skaters are getting faster and more agile, calls are getting more accurate, refs are knowing the fine points of certain situations better, and as a result, the game is making more sense.

    3) multiple/switching jammers–

    the argument seems to be that there is a perception that this makes for a faster game. i don’t think that it in and of itself would. without fixing other rules that massive play testing have shown to be exploitable into “slow derby” this will only result in a functionally more complicated set of circumstances, meaning more possibilities for exploitation. it may be true to the history of the game, or more fun to skate, but that’s a different issue.

    in wftda you *can* turn your pivot into a jammer, it’s just very rare. (i’ve only seen it once live)

    4) point caps per jam–

    this will only serve to decrease the relative scoring potential, and increase the down time for the spectator. it will further drop the average jam/reset ratio from over 2:1 to closer to 1.5:1 or less. instead of being more exciting the bout will loose a quarter or more of its potential action. similarly, it will mean that with if you’re down 20 points, the bout can be called well before the last 3 minutes as it’s now impossible for the down team to come back without the time for 4 massive sprinting jams, further reducing actual time on the track and making it less interesting for spectators by a minimum of 2 jams.

    the argument has been made that improved blocking/overall skills will keep things more even, but with the potential of only a 5 point differential shift per jam, the impetus should be to deliver those points faster; meaning better jammers and better jammer support, resulting again in even shorter jam durations, and the inability to recover from even small point leads. every sport i can think of has the ability to proverbially score big and recover at nearly the last moment.

    5) a unified *single* alternative to wftda–

    this will only serve to bifurcate the sport, which i don’t think is terribly cool, as it implies that any one group knows what’s right for everyone rather than just their self selected membership. grow support for *your* favorite ruleset based on it’s merits, and respect other folks opinion that their set is better for them. if it’s a “not them” rule set, you’ve defined yourself by the other rather then by who you are.

    i like my martini’s wet, perfect with a twist. you may prefer dry with an olive. they’re still martinis, and neither of us is destroying the cocktail called a martini for making them the way we like them any more than teeball is destroying the major leagues.
    (don’t get me started on the misnomer of cocktails served in cocktail glasses that are called martinis but contain no gin (or vodka))

    • one more bit–

      6) rules changes timing and fans
      no, you can’t practically change the rules mid season. it’s bad all around.
      simple solution, you change them at the *end* of the season during which they were announced. an individual league may happen to be off six months for their home games, but after the end of the nationals, for travel games, everyone should be on the same rules. it’s kinda a pain for the skaters on the travel team for some leagues for a few months, but if announced early, leagues could choose to adopt them early for home games.

      changing them every 2 years makes sense as it allows for robust play testing before revision and helps deal with knee jerk reactions.

      i’m a fan, i don’t skate (really, i have enough trouble with gravity without the floor being covered in ball bearings) i see absolutely no reason why i should have any formal say in how someone else plays their sport. for the most part modern derby is not a for profit enterprise(although leagues may be structured as such, they’re not making a living at it), but one that is participant driven, and supported by folks who love that.

      as it becomes more profitable and there is money to be made in it, rules will shift to increase that fiscal return, but i sincerely hope always for improved enjoyment of the participant.

      • divided into two. kinda like pants are bifurcated, where as kilts are not. or the unites states congress is functionally bifurcated.

        whether or not you agree with the rest of it, did i manage to come out coherently and logically?

    • 2. Minors are bad because they’re impossible for fans to keep track of. It has nothing to do with refs communicating with the crowd. If refs communicated every minor to the crowd, they wouldn’t have any time left to call majors. Try to think of another sport where there is something so important to the game that fans are not privy to. Also, when players do get their fourth minor, it always seems to come out of nowhere. If you don’t see the ref’s signal, you have no idea why that skater got sent off. There’s also usually a delay before a 4th minor is called which means, if it’s a jammer, points are scored or lead jammer is given when they shouldn’t have been.

      Really, though, the most important thing to me is that skaters can’t just play the game. They’re always worried about picking up ticky tack penalties that it just creates a tedious game to watch sometimes. Penalties are supposed to be called when a skater does something that gives their team an advantage, the other team a disadvantage, or is dangerous. Minors, by definition, are none of those things so why do they exist? The “no minors” games at ECE were so much more physical and interesting than any other games this year. The Windy/Charm game was amazing.

      Imagine, in hockey, if every time a stick just touched an opponent, they got a minor. Every time they got a hold of a jersey for half a second, they got a minor. Every time they didn’t execute a hit exactly perfect, they got a minor. Four of those got you a box trip. The box would constantly be full and it would completely ruin the sport. While I don’t think derby is ruined, I do think that derby without minors will take a gigantic leap forward in terms of entertainment and fan understanding.

      • ok that makes a bucket of sense to me. i don’t agree with the “minors are bad” outcome, but the argument makes sense to me. it’s a lot more coherent than “they’re just confusing”

        on the crowd, again, this comes to a communication issue. because of the nature of derby, you can’t throw a flag on the track, or stop the jam every penalty to explain, so the fans themselves must either be fed more information (announcers, scoreboard tracking of penalties) or be more educated and understand the hand signals. the second is impractical because on the opposite side of the track, half the crowd can’t see the hand gesture. removing minors won’t fix this communication issue. (side note, i’m working on a system to help with this locally)

        the rules can be absurdly complex, however if skaters are worried they’re going to get a penalty for something they don’t understand, i’d argue that they’re not familiar enough with the rules. . in general, don’t skate out of bounds, don’t hit illegally, reform the pack (and don’t break it) and you’re kosher. now, it’s a lot more nuanced than that (>3 seconds of a hand on an opponent) but there’s a bucket of things that ARE designed to speed up the game and make it safer that are minor penalties, enforcing them as majors would result in a much more draconian game that folks live in fear of an inadvertent blooper sending them to the box that they might have only racked up a few minors for before.

        if ref’s aren’t calling a 4th on time, that’s a reffing issue, not a rules issue. it would be easier for them to not have to track 4th penalties in their head, but in theory, as soon as they call it the penalty tracker would inform them it’s a 4th, and the reiteration of the minor as a major wouldn’t lag behind a skater having not heard the first time the ref yelled.

      • There was one thing you said that summed all this up for me. You said the rules were absurdly complex. Now I admit, I’m seeing this as a derby skater in leagues where the rules were simple so I have trouble understanding why they have become so complex. Heck, even the book about derby said it in the title..’A very Simple Game’..because it was. The sport itself was simple..get your skater by your opponents skater and keep theirs from scoring. Other then that the penalties were also simple..illegal blocking, fighting, delay of game and maybe one or two others but that’s it. Jerry said keep it simple and he’s right. That’s what should be done.

      • I have to agree with you on this one. The minors seem a little too nitpicky and it sounds like any little thing gets you a penalty. One thing though. You mentioned getting a penalty for grabbing a jersey. That shouldn’t be happening in the first place. This is supposed to be a sport, not a cat fight.
        I have a question about the major penelties. Why get penalized if a skater gives their team an advantage or the other team a disadvantage? That seems like what you would want your skaters to do. Maybe I’m not understanding the girl’s leagues definition of giving the teams an advantage or disadvantage but that just sounds odd.

      • @derbyguy I meant inadvertently grabbing a jersey that doesn’t hinder the opponent at all. When you’re battling for every little advantage you can get, sometimes jerseys end up in people’s hands in every contact sport there is. In no other contact sport would that get you a penalty unless it actually slows the opponent down.

        As far as gaining an advantage or disadvantage, that’s through illegal methods. Obviously, you’re always trying to gain an advantage. That’s how you win. The problem is when you do it illegally. Minor penalties are illegal but they don’t give anyone an advantage or disadvantage so they shouldn’t be penalized.

      • Okay, that makes sense. Yeah, accidental grabbing of a uniform is no big deal. It’s usually completely inadvertent and if it doesn’t cause the skater to fall or be passed it ‘s no big deal…unlike the time a guy grabbed my jersey from behind and slowed me down so much the pack completely left me behind. I don’t know what a team can do that is illegal that would help them get an advantage so I’ll trust you on that one.

      • @mike I don’t think it is a communication issue. There’s just WAYYYY too much information to get that across to the audience especially if this is a discussion about TV. In the venue, you can maybe get away with having a dedicated big screen with the penalty situation on it (assuming a venue has that ability which most probably don’t). But on TV? Not gonna happen.

        When did I argue that players are getting penalties for something they don’t understand?

        Every minor is not going to become a major. Go read the beta ruleset. That’s my point. If every minor became a major, I would argue that it’s a terrible idea because it would make for an even more tedious sport. However, the majority of minors would become no impact/no penalty which means all those little forearms, elbows, jersey grabs, etc that have no effect on the game whatsoever would no longer be penalized. This would allow skaters to go out there and just play the game instead of playing to avoid penalties.

        Here is an example…a jammer comes up to a stopped 4 wall at full speed. Currently she has to slam on the brakes (and bring the game to a screeching halt) because she’s pretty much guaranteed at least a minor back block if she tried to make it through there without stopping. However, if minor back blocks aren’t penalized, a jammer can try to squeak through there without slowing down. As long as she doesn’t run directly into the opponent’s back and knock her down, she won’t be penalized. If jammers become successful at doing this, guess what? The 4-wall stopped pack becomes completely pointless. If that’s the case, those blockers would rather speed the pack up than bring it to a stop. Don’t you want the slow game to go away?

        Why do you want to keep minors? What does it add to the game?

      • Okay, so I assume that isn’t a problem for teams that shate banked tracks since they wouldn’t have to worry about going too high. Of course if they go infield that should be a penalty. It always has been. Here’s a question for people in general. Do you see the future of girl’s derby as a flat track game or a banked track game if it were to become successful as it is hoped it will be? Depending on which it will be, there are a number of different factors to take into account.

      • sorry for the delay, got a little busy, and the net got snarky.

        most of the minors i’m familiar with have to do with a mechanism to enforce following the intent of the rules, fair play, and preventing rules exploits that may inadvertently occur. if you goof a little you’re forgiven, a lot and it’s naughty.

        a comparable argument to the backblock wall issue is if a pack finds out they won’t get a destroying the pack penalty for stopping or skating backwards, they’ll do it. fix the exploits, and you’ll get positive results, if you remove enforcement of small goofs, you’ll get small goofs that become strategic.

        in terms of tv, i have significant confidence that if someone savvy wanted to communicate minor penalties as they were issued they could do so. a ticker running on the bottom of the screen would be an easy solution.

        on jerseys, if you’re getting a penalty for incidentally touching another player, as best i can sort out that’s bad reffing, if you’re touching them for a while to gauge where they are, that could be an unfair advantage.

      • Okay, so we know my understanding of the girls game is limited so here’s a couple of questions. What is the backblock wall and what does destroying the pack mean?

      • on the future flat/banked, both.

        while in many ways the same, they are in a practice very different.

        as derby gets more popular with every small town starting a league, and (hopefully) schools fielding leagues, banked tracks are impractical from a cost standpoint. spending cash on a track and football field makes sense as they can be used for general gym classes, and a myriad of other sports, but 15-30k on one sport is fiscally impractical.

        it’s easier for banked track to look slicker just as a custom logo painted field with fancy netting looks nicer than the community rec fields. for that reason i can see major tv pickups sooner as it’s already got some of the polish that flat track is not required to have.

        both have different excitement going for them flat, you’re much more likely to get a skater in the lap if you’re trackside, but banked has a different style of play because of the artificial barrier of the railing.

        i suspect that we’ll continue to see growth in both, but in similar proportions to the current flat:bank ratio. almost every community league will be flat, but bigger internally commercially successful leagues that can afford it will be banked.

      • So here’s what I’m thinking..but then what do I know… If the girl’s are looking to get onto TV as a more mainstream sport they should only show the banked track version and not flat track. To me the comparison between the two is like pro baseball and a local game between friends or businesses or games like that. If they show both styles it’s going to confuse viewers even more and they’ll prefer the more professional looking version. Not that either are bad but banked track just does look like a more real thing.

      • backblock wall is a little complicated, but grossly oversimplified in wftda you’re not allowed to hit someone in front of you (back blocking) so if you can have 4 skaters cover the width of the track, they can be functionally impossible to get around. of course, really then your blockers should be making a hole for you imho.

        destroying the pack requires a bit more background (and again over simplifying). blockers are only allowed to engage opposing skaters with in the engagement zone, which for practical purposes we’ll just call the pack. if you’re too far in front of or behind the majority of mixed skaters you can’t block. typically this is called when one blocker near 3 opposing blockers speeds up or slows down to regroup with their team mates, but it means that the 3 blockers she was with can no longer block her jammer as there is no pack. if her blockers had a goat and she dropped back the pack would move from the other 3, to her group.

      • Dang, those are just a little too complicated in my opinion..once again take that for what it is. Walls were done in derby, mostly in Roller Games then Roller Derby, but to not allow a jammer to do anything seems kind of counterproductive to the game. So the jammer would just be stuck back there doing nothing? How boring is that?
        As for the other one, you mean the blockers can only block in the pack? I would suspect that is why we see so many skaters falling over each other in the pack. Derby had rules about how far back a blocker could be, but a blocker could be behind the pack on their own as long as they were within that space. I can’t remember..was it 20 Feet or less? In Games they blocked wherever they felt like but I won’t say too much about that. It really seems the girl’s games are just way too complicated and overly done up.Simplicity is what works best.

      • i dunno, while banked has more inherent pazaz, flat track can be pretty slick. local flat leagues have robotic lighting and electroluminecent tracks, as parts of their production packages. which ever folks see on tv they’re going to want to participate in, and flat is so much more accessible. a good producer can sell anything if they want.

        in a community center gym or local armory you can set up 2 tracks to scrimmage on for the cost of a roll or two of masking tape in an hour compared to a big chunk of time for 1 banked track, plus storage for it.

      • We had a game with the league in Pomona that also had the lights and sound effects so that sort of thing isn’t limited to flat track. And sorry, but for a professional game that would be shown on TV, the major part of the track consisting of masking tape is pretty cheesy. I also think that with flat track being something where you can get knocked out of the track so easily or simply slip and go out, that brings down the sport, at least for me. That’s why banked is better, I think. You have a definite area and not having to worry about going out of it by mistake is a big plus.

      • i think you missed my point on the masking tape. it’s SO much easier and cheaper to set up a flat track that it’s a much more practical decision for rec/local/regional teams w.o a single purpose practice space to skate flat. more people will continue to skate flat because of the practical barrier.

        on sound/lights, exactly either CAN make it look snazzy, but it’s going to be the caliber and quality of the tv production that sells it. either can do that.

        i wonder if banked carries with it more of a staged entertainment stigma where as flat as more visually akin to speed skating may be seen more as a “sport” as it’s the “new” version of it?

      • I think it’s been long enough that the image of derby as wrestling on wheels isn’t known to most younger people so I don’t think it’s much of a problem anymore as long as the skaterskeep it real. As to the other, yes, I did misinterpret, partly because having skated professionally I look at any league as being one that is looking to do the same. For local and smaller games I would agree that flat would be much easier to set up. I just really like banked track skating.

  27. I’m sure you’re hoping you hurt my feelings but sorry, it didn’t happen. When a childish person is yelling and warning people they better watch out or she’ll kick our asses, that person needs a beat down. Also do you seriously \think anything of the sort would actually happen in real life? Come on, get real.. It was one person trying to be tough and scare people getting a bigger holler thrown back at them.. One last thing Liz. I’m on these sites because I’m disabled and can’t work so I have lots of free time. I assume you work, so I’m sure you have less time then me, so why are you here so much?

    • jerry, the sad absurdity of that is that as anything as simple as “skate forward” has to be tightly defined as “in the direction of the jam” lest a skater turn around and argue that they were skating forward (for them)

      as i said above, wftda derby IS simple, and i can explain it in depth to a new spectator in a few jams, but once you have folks wanting to know the *exact* rules because the winner of a bout (or tournament) could hang on it, you’ve got to have specifics ironed out.

      we’re digging into some really complex issues, the theory of which are simple, the practice, much less so.

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