Tuesday, July 31, 2012

6.10.6 Out-of-Play skaters will be warned to re-enter the Engagement Zone and will be penalized if they do not immediately attempt to return to Engagement Zone.

When a skater leaves the engagement zone she is, by definition, out of play, and may not engage or assist. When a skater goes out of play, a referee may give her a warning, which includes a hand signal and verbal cue. I say "may" because there's the possibility that the warning may not happen before a penalty. After all, penalties take precedence over out of play warnings, per: Issuing penalties takes priority over issuing warnings. A warning does not have to be issued in order for a penalty to be given. Issuing penalties is always the priority over issuing a warning of any sort.

If a skater goes out of play outside the engagement zone and engages an opponent before a referee has the chance to give a warning, she will receive a penalty before hearing a warning. Whether they receive a warning or a minor penalty, blockers who are outside the engagement zone must reenter the engagement zone or face penalties, or further penalties if they've already been penalized.


Monday, July 23, 2012

‎6.10.7 During a no pack situation skaters will be warned that there is no pack and will be penalized if they do not immediately attempt to reform the pack. During a no pack situation, out of bounds skaters must re-enter the track and reform a pack.

Today’s rule explains what happens when the pack is destroyed. When there is a no pack situation, the referees will warn the skaters with the appropriate hand signal (two hands flat palmed and in the air, facing each other) and verbal cue (“no pack”). Once there is no pack, both teams must immediately attempt to reform the pack. That means, if the pack was destroyed because all the Blockers from one team are skating in the front, and the other team in the back, the skaters in the front must slow down and eventually stop until a pack is reformed, while the team in the back must speed up until a pack is reformed. For the team in the front, the entire team need not slow down. Only one skater is needed to form a pack, so the rearmost skater may slow down and reform the pack without the other skates going penalized. It must also be noted that they aren’t required to skate clockwise to reform the pack. If the rearmost Blocker just stops, she has met the requirements of reforming the pack. Similarly, with the team in the rear, the entire team need not speed up to reform the pack, so long as one skater, the foremost, does so. Of course, this must be an attempt to reform, not an attempt to look like an attempt to reform. What does that mean? There’s a distinct difference between attempting to reform and looking like attempting to reform. The action a skater in the rear takes to reform ahead must look different enough from the action they were performing before the pack was destroyed, or else they will get a penalty. I know this sounds confusing, but it really is pretty simple. If you’re the foremost skater in the rear team, and the refs shout “no pack!” then you need to speed up to reform the pack. Simply going the same speed is not an attempt to reform.

The last part of this rule talks about out of bounds skaters during no pack situations. This is an important rule for skaters who get goated. Consider the scenario I mentioned above, with one team in front and the other team in the rear. However, this time the team in rear is goating an opposing Blocker, and then knock her out of bound, which destroys the pack. If the goated skater who is now out of bounds does not return to the track, she may receive a failure to reform penalty, as she is likely the skater most able to reform the pack.

As always, and as repeated in many rules throughout the rule book, both teams are responsible for reforming a pack. That means that one or both teams may receive a penalty for failure to reform.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012 The maximum height for a player’s number on the arm/sleeve is four (4) inches.

Last week I posted rule 3.7.5, which requires skaters to have their skater number on each arm or sleeve. Today's rule requires that number to be a maximum four inches high. This prevents skaters from having giant numbers that become illegible during the fast pace of roller derby. After all, the number on the arm/sleeve is there for visibility, particularly for the referees to be able to properly call penalties on skaters.


Monday, July 16, 2012 The minimum height for a player's number on the arm/sleeve is two (2) inches.

Last week I posted rule 3.7.5, which requires skaters to have their skater number on each arm or sleeve. Today's rule requires that number to be a minimum two inches high. This prevents skaters from having half inch high numbers which are practically invisible during the fast paced action of roller derby. After all, the number on the arm/sleeve is there for visibility, particularly for the referees to be able to properly call penalties on skaters.


Thursday, July 12, 2012 Numbers may be placed on the hip or thigh in addition to the arm/sleeve.

While section 3.7.5 requires skaters to have their skater number visible on their arm or sleeve, nothing prevents them from having it visible on their hip or thigh as well. While it is not common practice at all, some skaters have had their skater number stitched into their uniform bottoms. A skater having her number placed on her hip or thigh is similar to the arm or sleeve as it is on the side of the skater, which makes it easier for a referee to see her number when her back is not visible to the ref. Of course, for this reason, skaters may choose to not make their number more visible, so as to “deter” refs from making calls on them. I can assure every skater, this is not the case.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

3.7.5 Each skater participating in a bout must visibly display her number on each sleeve or arm. Numbers must be of high contrast and easily legible. Handwritten numbers on the arm are acceptable.

Today’s rule is the one which has made the Sharpie company a lot of money from the roller derby community. Section 3.7.4 has all sorts of requirements for skater numbers on each skater’s back. However, referees can’t always see a skater’s back, therefore the rules require each skater to have her number on her arm for ease of calling penalties. Numbers on a skater’s arm do not have to be handwritten, which is why a lot of people wear customized arm bands with their number on them. However, handwritten numbers are acceptable, which is where the Sharpies come in. However, with Sharpies, the numbers tend to rub off with sweat and contact, and this rule doesn’t require the numbers to be on a skater’s arm only at the beginning of the bout, but throughout the bout. So skaters with handwritten numbers, or any other sort of removable number, must make sure their number is legible throughout the entire bout, or else risk receiving a penalty. Some skaters prefer to write their number on the sleeve of their jersey, or sometimes have it embroidered, printed or ironed on the sleeve. All of these are acceptable, so long as they meet the definition of high contrast and highly legible.


Friday, July 6, 2012

6.10.4 Jammers may not initiate engagement with Blockers outside the Engagement Zone. If a Blocker initiates engagement with a Jammer outside the Engagement Zone, the illegally engaged Jammer may counter-block and go unpenalized. Likewise if a Jammer illegally engages a Blocker outside the Engagement Zone that Blocker may counter-block and go unpenalized.

Today’s rule comes from the Out Of Play Penalties section. All too often when a Jammer is racing away from the pack, one of her opponents chases her to get one last chance to engage her. Very often, these chasing opponents leave the engagement zone right on the heels of the Jammer. If the chasing Blocker realizes they are out of play, and decide not to engage the Jammer, the Jammer may also not engage the Blocker, even if they feel threatened. However, if the Jammer decides to engage the out of play Blocker, the Blocker may counterblock legally. This is contrary to other parts of the rules, which explain that counterblocking is held to the same standards as blocking. However, this rule is an exception to all the other rules. To sum up, if a Jammer decides to block an out of play, they will receive an Out Of Play penalty, and the Blocker being engaged may counterblock legally.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012 Scoreboard Operator: A game will have one scoreboard operator. The scoreboard operator posts the score from the scorekeeper and the penalties from the penalty tracker.

Today’s rule comes from the Non-Skating Officials (NSO) section. The Scoreboard Operator is considered an official in a game. While many scoreboard operators also operate the official period clock, and usually the official jam clock, doing so is not required by the rules. The primary responsibility of the scoreboard operator is to post the score from the scorekeeper. That means they should not be posting the score directly from the Jammer refs. Interestingly, this rule also says that the scoreboard operator posts the penalties from the penalty tracker. I have actually never seen this happen, nor heard of it happening, ever. In fact, I don’t know of a roller derby scoreboard program that has this ability. This rule has existed since version 2.1 of the WFTDA rules, so I can only imagine at some point the intent was for penalties to be posted visibly on the scoreboard.