Monday, March 17, 2014

5.9.21 Actively maintaining a stopped position (e.g., via braking or receiving an assist), or maintaining clockwise momentum, while impeding an opponent.

Today’s rule comes from the Direction of Game Play section of the rules. It is a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. This rule has very quickly caused some to believe that the WFTDA rules now prohibit skaters to use a “stop”, such as a plow stop or a toe stop, to block opponents, because doing so would require them to be in a position of that stop, thus a “stopped position”. This is not true. In this rule, the phrase “stopped position” refers to the position on the track where a skater is. If a skater is moving on the track, then they are not stopped, they are moving. Stopped means that a skater’s skates are not moving at all. In fact, it is defined in the Glossary of the rules as “A skater not making any directional movement with their skates”. So, a skater that is in the plow stop position, for example, and is impeding an opposing skater, but with their skates still moving in a counterclockwise position, they are still blocking legally because their skates are making directional movement, and in a legal direction. Although they are in a “plow stop position”, that is not what today’s rule refers to. They are actually making a booty block, which is one of the most basic types of blocks in roller derby.

For an example of a block that would meet the definition in this rule, think of a skater blocking backwards, on their toe stops. This is inherently not illegal, so long as the backwards skater is still moving CCW. However, if their skates stop all directional movement, and that skater maintains their position on the track while stopped, and continue to impede their opponent, they will receive a penalty. That would be maintaining a stopped position via braking.

For an example of maintaining a stopped position via an assist, consider the plow stopping, booty blocking skater, but this time they have a teammate skating backwards in front of them, on their toe stops, that is helping stop the booty blocking skater. If the blocking skater comes to a stop because the assisting teammate has been successful at braking, and while stopped they continue to impede their opponent, then the booty blocking skater will receive a penalty, even though they came to a stop as a result of their teammate’s assist.