Thursday, March 31, 2011

In Play - When a skater is positioned within the Engagement Zone and is in bounds, the skater is in play and may legally block and assist. Downed skaters are not in play. Jammers may engage each other anywhere inside the track boundaries for the duration of the jam, but must be within the Engagement Zone in order to legally initiate engagement with Blockers.

Once again I am going to the Glossary for today’s rule. I feel it is a good time to revisit just exactly what “in play” means. The first line seems a little redundant, explaining that a skater is in play if the skater is within the Engagement Zone and in bounds, since the Engagement Zone is on the track, thus in bounds. The Glossary entry also says that downed players are not in play. So now we have three criteria to being in play: in bounds, in the Engagement Zone, and not down. Skaters are not required to be skating to be considered in play. This may confuse some, because stationary skaters are not allowed to block or assist, but that is a different rule altogether. It is Section 6.9 Direction of Gameplay that penalizes skaters for blocking or assisting while stopped. Section 6.10 Out Of Play is the section that penalizes skaters for being out of play. Once again, a stopped skater may not block because the skater is stopped, NOT because the skater is out of play. A stopped skater MAY be part of the pack.

The other part of this Glossary entry to note is how it differentiates Jammers from Blockers. When dealing with Jammers is when the seeming redundancy from the first line makes sense. Jammers are in play if they are in bounds and not down; they do not have to be in the Engagement Zone to be considered in play. Jammers must keep in mind the in/out of play status of other skaters that they may try to block, assist, or receive an assist from. Engaging or assisting with out of play skaters will earn a Jammer an Out Of Play penalty, minor or major based on impact.