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.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/688899114482281

Thursday, March 13, 2014

5.9.15 Any block by a stopped or clockwise-moving skater that forces the receiving opponent off balance, forward, backward, and/or sideways, but does not cause an opponent to lose relative position, or the initiator or a teammate to gain relative position.

Today’s rule comes from the Direction of Gameplay penalties section. This is a kind of a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. That is, this rule is modified from the previous version, as well as moved to a new section. Prior to this version, a clockwise or stopped block that included physical contact was a penalty if there was any impact to the receiving opponent, regardless of level of impact. If a skater was skating clockwise and made contact with the shoulder of an opponent, pushing them off balance even a little, that skater would receive a penalty. Now, any clockwise or stopped block - those which include physical contact and also positional blocks - that only forces the receiving skater off balance is no longer a penalty. This change was made to bring the impact spectrum of clockwise blocks inline with the impact spectrum of most other contact penalties.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/687135214658671

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2.5.1.2 All rules regarding inactive Jammers apply. The initial Jammer is inactive as soon as they have removed the Star, and the Pivot-turned-Jammer is inactive until they have put the Star on with the stars visible.

Today’s rule comes from the Star Pass section. This is a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. Thankfully, the entire star pass section has been rewritten. Unlike the previous procedure to transfer the position of jammer, the new procedure is very straightforward. The jammer removes their helmet cover, hands it to the pivot, both the jammer and pivot must be holding it at the same time, and once the jammer lets go, the pivot has become jammer. Of course, this procedure must happen with both the jammer and pivot upright, in bounds, and in the engagement zone. This is a big change from the way it used to work, which was that the pivot would still be the pivot until they put the jammer helmet cover on their head. This led to some confusion because in the last couple versions of the rules it wasn’t entirely clear if the pivot had to keep their helmet cover on their head when they put the jammer helmet cover on their head. Some people thought they had to keep it on, and others thought they could take it off first. Now, there’s no worry about it. The pivot must have the helmet cover on to receive the star pass, but once the jammer lets go of the helmet cover, the pivot helmet cover doesn’t even matter anymore. At that point the pivot has become a jammer, but is inactive until they put on the jammer helmet cover. This makes it much easier once the star pass has happened since the pivot-turned-jammer has no risk of going out of play before putting on the helmet cover, nor is there any question what scoring pass the pivot-turned-jammer is on, since they are the jammer immediately, and thus finish the current scoring pass as soon as they leave the engagement zone ahead of the pack. There is no requirement to put on the jammer helmet cover unless they want to start scoring points.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/686765401362319

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

1.11.2.1 If, during a team’s first official review of the period, the Head Referee determines that an officiating error was made in relation to the objection, the team will retain their Official Review.

Today’s rule comes from the Official Reviews section of the rules. This is a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. It is a subrule of a rule that has been modified in this version. Rule 1.11.2 no longer allows a team up to one Official Review per period. Instead, it guarantees a team at least one Official Review per period. That may seem like weird language, considering everyone knows that each team gets only one Official Review per period. Thanks to today’s rule, that is no longer true. Today’s rule explains that if a team calls an Official Review and makes an objection, and the Head Referee determines that an officiating error was made in relation to that objection, then the team will retain their Official Review. In fact, it is nearly impossible to change the wording of this rule to be any more clear. About the only part of this rule I would hope to see clarified a bit further would be the phrase “officiating error”. After all, this phrase can be understood in different ways. Some situations are simple. If a team calls an Official Review claiming the jam referee forgot to report NOTT points for opponents in the penalty box, and it is determined that the jam referee did, in fact, miss those points, then it can be easily said that there was an officiating error. However, if a skater is given a penalty, and their team objects to it in an Official Review, during which the consensus of the referees is that the penalty was incorrectly called, would that be considered an officiating error? I would personally err on the side of yes. After all, incorrect is synonymous with erroneous.

Now, there is the possibility to question other parts of this rule. For example, this rule does mention a team’s “first official review of the period”. This actually makes sense. After all, if a team uses an Official Review, and the Head Referee determines officiating error, then that team retains their Official Review. However, the phrase “retains their Official Review” means that they don’t get another one; they keep their first one. Which means that every Official Review is always their first Official Review of the period. However, while 1.11.2 says that teams are “guaranteed one Official Review per period”, it doesn’t specify a maximum number of Official Reviews they may have, such as the previous version of this rule did (“allowed up to one”). Therefore, if a team can have more than one Official Review in a period, why does it matter that they may retain their first? Of course, these are all questions that may be asked, but aren’t necessary. After all, when looking at how the rules work in the context of the game, and comparing the imperfect language to the intent of the rule, it is understandable to see that the point of this rule is to allow a team to retain their Official Review in the case of officiating error, but only once. No, this isn’t clear, hence the questions I mentioned above. Therefore, a team or a Head Referee may try to argue their case for either being granted or denied a second Official Review (after the first one was not retained), and not be incorrect to do so. As I have mentioned many times in the past, in cases where the rule isn’t 100% clear, and is interpreted one way and not the other, the important part is consistency. If a Head Referee allows one team more than one Official Review (when the first isn’t retained), then they must allow the other team the same opportunity, to be fair.

All things being said, it is my interpretation that each team gets one Official Review per period, and it may be retained in the case of officiating error, but only after the first time an Official Review is called in each period.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/686282581410601

Monday, March 10, 2014

1.4.3.1 If an Official Timeout is taken with 30 seconds or fewer remaining on the period clock, the period and lineup clocks will begin running once again when the designated Official indicates that the Official Timeout is complete.

Today’s rule comes from the Periods section of the rules. This is a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. It is a subrule to a rule that has existed in a couple versions of the WFTDA rules. 1.4.3 explains that if a jam ends with less than 30 seconds on the period clock, another jam will not be started unless a timeout or Official Review is called by one of the two teams. In previous versions of the rules, the same rule included a provision that if an Official Timeout needed to be taken within this time, then after the official timeout was over, the period clock would expire and the game would be over. There was even an official Q&A published that said that an Official Timeout should not be taken with less than 30 seconds on the period clock, but that if the Head Referee must take one, then the period clock would expire and the period/game would end. If this happened at the end of the second period, that would mean that an Official would have caused an unnatural end to a game, since neither the period clock nor the jam clock would have caused the end of the game. Thankfully this has been remedied.

Today’s rule allows for an Official Timeout to be taken with 30 seconds on the period clock or less without causing the game to end. Instead, the designated Official - this could be the jam timer, the head ref, or another official; it is purposely non-specific - signals the end of the Official Timeout by blowing a long rolling/swooping whistle blast (per the WFTDA Officiating Standardized Practices) after which the period clock is restarted. Once the period clock has been restarted, it will either end, at which point the period/game is over, or a team may call a timeout or Official Review, which will cause an additional jam to be run. This allows for a natural end to the game, if an Official Timeout is called with less than 30 seconds left in the second period. If the period clock runs out of time, then the period clock has caused the game to end. If a team chooses to call a timeout or Official Review and an additional jam is run, then the end of the jam will cause the end of the game. The exception to this is if the additional jam ends prior to its natural conclusion (the jam clock expiring or the lead jammer calling off the jam) with time left on the jam clock, but not on the period clock, then the Head Referee may call an additional jam, per rule 8.2.6.3. Note that they may, but are not required to, which means that there is still a chance that a game may have an unnatural end. Such an end is certainly rare, while games ending due to Official Timeouts being called in the last 30 seconds was a lot less rare of a situation. Again, thankfully this is no longer a problem, thanks to today’s rule.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/685888714783321

Friday, March 7, 2014

2.5.1 Pass Procedure: In order to transfer the Jammer position to the Pivot, a Jammer must hand their helmet cover (the “Star”) to the Pivot. (Removing the Star will make the Jammer inactive; see Section 2.3.3) The Pivot must be grasping the Star when the Jammer releases it. Upon the Jammer releasing the Star, the Pivot will be considered the Jammer, and the prior Jammer will be considered a Blocker. They retain these new roles until the end of the jam.

Today’s rule comes from the Passing The Star section of the rules. This is a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. This rule is probably the most helpful change in this rulebook, as far as understanding gameplay and how to officiate it is concerned. This is how a star pass now happens. The jammer removes their helmet cover, hands it to the pivot, and when the jammer lets go, the pivot is now the jammer. Simple as that.

Now, let’s look into the nuances of this change. There are a few important things that must happen for this procedure to result in a star pass. For starters, as this rule says, both the jammer and pivot must be grasping the jammer helmet cover at the same time before the jammer lets go for the pass to be considered legal. This means that the helmet cover must be directly handed off. If the helmet cover isn’t held simultaneously, even for an instant, by both the pivot and jammer, then the helmet cover must have been thrown, passed by other players, or picked up off the ground. None of these types of transfers are legal, per rule 2.5.1.3. As well, both the jammer and pivot must be in play for the transfer to be legal. That means they must both be upright, in bounds, and in the engagement zone, per rule 2.5.1.1. If one or both of them are out of play, then the star pass will be illegal.

Other star pass section rules will be covered in future posts, due to the fact that the entire star pass section was rewritten.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/684490991589760

Thursday, March 6, 2014

6.1.2 Penalties expire after 30 seconds served in the Penalty Box. Each penalty is timed separately and individually.

Today’s rule is from the Penalties section. This is a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. This is a rule that a lot of people have been waiting for. Penalties are now only 30 seconds, which is half the length they’ve been since the first version of the WFTDA rules. Everything else regarding times of penalties has remained the same. Skaters are still instructed to stand with 10 seconds left in their penalty, a standing skater will still mean their seat is open, for a third blocker to sit in, jammers still trade places in the penalty box, etc. The only difference is that a single penalty is 30 seconds long.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/684045218301004

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

6.3.4.1 If the other Jammer is seated in the box before the first Jammer has returned to the box to serve their time, the second Jammer will remain in the box until their penalty is complete, or until the first Jammer is once again seated, whichever comes first. When the original Jammer is once again seated, they will serve the remainder of their first penalty, plus the amount of time served by the second Jammer. This combined penalty time will be served by the original Jammer regardless of the other Jammer’s actions from this point forward.

Today’s rule is from the Both Jammers Penalized/Both Jammers Off The Track section. This is a new rule in the most recent version of the WFTDA rules. This rule handles a very confusing situation that is, thankfully, also a rare one. To understand the situation, one must understand how concurrent jammer penalties are handled. 6.3 explains that when a jammer is seated in the penalty box serving their penalty time, and the other jammer sits down in the penalty box, the first jammer is released immediately, and the second jammer serves only the same amount of time as the first jammer. 6.3.11 explains that if the the first jammer seated in the penalty box is serving more than one consecutive penalty and has more than 30 seconds left, then as soon as the second jammer is seated they are released immediately, and the penalty time of the first jammer is reduced by 30 seconds. The point of these rules is to have jammers sit for the same amount of time for even numbers of penalties, so as to maximize the time that jammers are on the track.

Where today’s rule comes in is when the first jammer leaves the penalty box before their penalty time is complete, and the second jammer sits down in the penalty box before the first jammer has returned. Prior to the inclusion of this rule, it was unclear how long the second jammer would have to sit, since 6.3 only handles a situation where the first jammer is still seated in the penalty box. This rule now explains how to handle the situation. For starters, it must be noted that today’s rule is a subrule of 6.3.4, which explains that a jammer who has left the penalty box before being officially released by a penalty box official must return to the penalty box to serve the remainder of their time, no matter how small an amount, and that they are also assessed a penalty. That means a jammer who leaves the penalty box on their own with 2 seconds left of their penalty time unserved will have to return to the box, where they will then serve 32 seconds of penalty time; 2 seconds remaining from their first penalty, and 30 seconds for the penalty for leaving the box early.

Now, if the second jammer were to sit down with the first jammer not yet returned to the penalty box, they would not be able to switch with the first jammer. However, since they are serving a penalty, they must sit for some time. Therefore, today’s rule explains that if the second jammer is seated before the first jammer returns to the box, the second jammer will sit and start serving their penalty time. If their penalty time ends before the first jammer returns, then the second jammer will be released as normal. If the first jammer returns to the penalty box and sits down while the second jammer is serving their time, then the second jammer will be released, and the extra penalty issued to the first jammer for leaving the box early will be reduced to the same amount of time the second jammer served, which they will serve along with the remainder of their first penalty. For example, if the first jammer leaves early with 2 seconds left on the clock, they will have to serve 2 seconds plus 30 second for leaving early. If the second penalized jammer sits down before the first jammer returns and has served 15 seconds when the first jammer sits back down, then the second jammer will be released, and the first jammer will sit for 2 seconds plus 15 seconds. This way, both jammers will serve some time in the penalty box, but the time they are on the track is maximized.

For a graphical representation of this rule, please see this image.
https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/photos/a.181998988505632.41070.169028706469327/683572041681655/?type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/683572198348306

Monday, March 3, 2014

2.7.4.4 A skater’s number may include only Arabic numerals and Latin letters (uppercase or lowercase, but see Section 2.7.4.2, without accents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

Today’s rule is from the Uniforms section of the rules. This rule has been change in the most recent version of the rules to properly clarify which characters may be part of a skater’s number. Previously, this rule said that a skater’s number had to be alphanumeric. Unfortunately, alphanumeric could be interpreted more than one way. There have been many who have said that alphanumeric means any letter of any alphabet and any numeral from any language. Clearly, due to the rule change, alphanumeric meant only the combination of Arabic numerals and Latin letters. These are the numerals and letters used in English, which is a nearly universal language around the world (or at least universal enough). Now, it is very important to note that this requirement is only for a skater’s number. Something misunderstood about the rules is that there are effectively two numbers that are dealt with: skater/roster number and uniform/jersey number. The skater/roster number is the number that is put on all the penalty and score tracking sheets, the inside whiteboard, that the refs use to issue penalties, that must be written on the skater’s arm/sleeve, and that must match if it appears on their helmet or hip/thigh. The uniform/jersey is the skater’s number, with a possible addition of small character’s before and/or after the skater’s number, that appears on the back of a skater’s jersey. Thanks to rule 2.7.4.6, a skater’s uniform number may include these small characters, which must be 2 inches or less in height, while their skater number must be at least 4 inches in height. That means you may see a skater’s jersey that has zero or more characters 2 inches or less in height, followed by at least one and up to four characters that may be a combination of only Latin letters and Arabic numerals which must be at least 4 inches in height and contain at least one numeral (this combination is the skater number), followed by zero or more small characters 2 inches in height or less. The small characters are purely optional, and are the only part of the jersey that may contain characters that are not Latin letters and Arabic numerals.

Now, it is important to note that the word “alphanumeric” has been removed entirely. It is important to note this because there was an interpretation that existed previously, albeit a rare one, that believed that the small characters allowed by 2.7.4.6 could also only be alphanumeric. That is definitely not true now, if there was any doubt before. The rules do still use the word “characters”, but for a specific reason ”Characters" is still used for 2.7.4.6 because they are not part of the skater number, thus they are not limited to just the letters and numbers specified in rule 2.7.4.4. They can be anything. A character is simply just a representation of something in a text or font. For example, on computers, anything that shows up in a text field is a character. This could mean a letter, a number, a symbol or punctuation mark, as well as ASCII characters, Wingdings, Webdings, etc. A character is effectively anything. However, the skater number is limited to characters that are only Latin letter A to Z and Arabic numerals 0-9. For a good definition of what “character” means in this context, see this Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_(computing)

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/682742568431269