Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2.4.4.2 Pivots and Blockers are considered in position and ready if they are in bounds when the first whistle of the jam blows (this is the whistle to start the pack rolling) (see Section 6.13.4). They are subject to false start penalties if they are not in position (see Section 6.13.5 and Section 6.13.16). Pivots are permitted to put on their helmet covers after the jam has started. However, each Pivot must have her helmet cover in hand before the jam starting whistle. A helmet cover cannot enter a jam in progress.

Today’s rule explains that Pivots and Blockers must be in position at the first whistle of a jam, the jam start whistle, or else they are subject to false start penalties. Oddly, this rule seems to contradict itself. What it says is that Pivots and Blockers are considered in position if they are in bounds at the first whistle, but will be penalized with false start penalties if they aren’t in position. That appears to make no sense. Oddly, this rule was worded differently from when it was first reworded to include “in position” in version 3.0 of the WFTDA rules. Up until the December 1, 2009 version of the rules this rule said that “Pivots and Blockers are considered in position and ready if they are on the track when the first whistle of the jam blows (this is the whistle to start the pack rolling) but are subject to false start penalties if they are not behind the Pivot line and in front of the Jammer line”.It was then changed to the current language. The part of this rule that mentions false start penalties references two sections, 6.13.5 and 6.13.6, which are the sections that explain false start penalties for Pivot Blockers and non-Pivot Blockers. Why I am confused about the change in language of this rule is because of what 6.13.5 and 6.13.6 say. Here’s an example: 6.13.5.2 A Non-Pivot Blocker false starts for being out of position at the pack starting whistle when she: 6.13.5.2.1 is touching on or beyond the Pivot line. According to 6.15.3.2.1, if a Blocker is touching beyond the Pivot line at the first whistle, she is considered out of position. However, today’s rule, 2.4.4.2, says that she is in position because she is in bounds. That’s where the contradiction exists. That being said, false start penalties exist to penalize skaters not lined up in the correct starting position, regardless of the confusing language in 2.4.4.2. Although it says that Pivots and Blockers are in position if they are on the track, they are technically only in position if they are in the correct starting position at the first whistle. If they are not in the correct starting position (as determined by 6.13.5 and 6.13.6) then they will receive false start penalties. Also, as part of this rule, it explains that a Pivot may put on her helmet cover after the jam has begun, so long as it is in her hand when the jam start whistle blows. If the Pivot helmet cover is not in the hands, or on the helmet, of a skater at the jam start whistle, then it is not considered in play and that team will not have a Pivot in that jam. If a Pivot cover has been thrown to a skater on the track, but is still in the air when the whistle has blown, it is still not considered in play, and may not enter play after the first whistle.

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