Monday, July 8, 2013

3.2.1 A Pivot is a special subset of a Blocker. A Pivot must be wearing the Pivot helmet cover to have any of the Pivot position rights or privileges; otherwise the skater who is holding the Pivot helmet cover is a Blocker with the only distinction being that they can gain those rights and privileges by putting the Pivot helmet cover on. The position of Pivot cannot be transferred. It is not mandatory to field a Pivot Blocker.

Today's rule comes from the Pivot Blocker part of the Skater Positions and Identification section of the rules. This rule has been revised a bit in the most recent version of the rules. It has had a couple parts added to it. For starters, this rule explains what the pivot blocker is, which is, in essence, a blocker for all intents and purposes. However, the pivot has the ability to gain special rights and privileges that non-pivot blockers are not able to gain. These include being able to receive a star pass and take over the position of jammer, as well as line up before a jam on the pivot line. In the previous version of the rules, the rules regarding the pivot were revised just a bit to make it clear that a pivot would have to put on the pivot helmet cover to gain these rights and privileges. Here are the small revisions in this version.

First, the phrase "who is holding the Pivot helmet cover" was added in this version. This phrase doesn't actually change the meaning or intent of the rule. However, it makes it more clear that the only skater that may gain the rights and privileges of a pivot is the skater holding the pivot helmet cover. Now, not every skater may hold the pivot helmet cover. 3.2.2.2 allows the pivot to begin a jam with the helmet cover in their hand or on their helmet. Thus, if a skater begins a jam with the pivot helmet cover on their helmet or in their hand, they will be the pivot for that jam. The second revision to this rule help clarify that point.

Thankfully, the WFTDA included some language in this version of the rules that had been removed from the previous version. This rule now says "The position of Pivot cannot be transferred". This is incredibly unambiguous language. So, to tie it all together, the skater who begins a jam with the pivot helmet cover on their helmet or in their hand is the pivot for that jam - the only pivot for their team in that jam - however, they don't gain the pivot's rights and privileges unless the helmet cover is on their head. If they are holding the helmet cover, they may put it on and gain those rights and privileges. As mentioned at the end of the rule, a pivot is not mandatory. In fact, some teams choose to never field a pivot at all. Although the role of pivot has historically been the skater that either "leads the pack" or "sets the pace of the pack", as quoted from some of the roller derby demo jam scripts I've heard, the pivot really is just another blocker with the extra rights and privileges. As well, if a team earns a penalty, and it is not immediately clear who the penalty goes to, it may go to the pivot, if there is one. An example of this are Failure To Reform penalties. If a team is failing to reform the pack, and there is no skater immediately found to be responsible, then the penalty will go to the pivot.

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