I am a Roller Derby Referee (though it feels like ages since I’ve had my skates on though). For those that know nothing about Roller Derby, here’s my brief explanation.
It’s a fast-paced game played by two teams of roller skaters on a flat ellipse track. Each team fields five skaters at a time, one point scorer, or “jammer”, and four “blockers” who are there to prevent the opposition Jammer from scoring.
The Jammer scores by passing each of the opposition blockers. The blockers can stop the jammer from getting past by hitting or physically blocking them using legal hitting areas.
There are quite a few ways that skaters can get a penalty, most of them through hitting in an illegal manner. A penalty will result in the skater going to the box for thirty seconds (which is a long time in Derby!)
The game can get very intense, and needs seven on skates referees to try and catch all of the penalties as they happen. Add to that a number of off skate officials whose job it is to keep score, track penalties, and time skaters who have been sent to the penalty box.
Here’s a video to help you make sense of it all:
Now, did that make sense? Good, let’s continue with today’s writing challenge…
Outside pack rear. Favourite place. Whistle blows. Black jammer takes lead. Double pip, the pack moves on. Back block? Can’t be sure. No call. Red three one four. Cut. The pack moves on. Now we’re at speed. The air in my face. Jammer approaching. Watching the back as she slams through the pack. Shifting focus as they grind to a halt. No grace in my T-Stop as I shudder and freeze. No pack. A rush of bodies rearranges themselves clunking and thrusting. An elbow here and a knee pad there. Three fall down. No call to be made. The pack moves on. Twelve toots blow. We’re done.
Ten off. Ten on. Checking their numbers. Two stars, and the bin. Five seconds. Pip. Crouching hunched and poised. Watching the Jammer psyching the blocker. Like a leopard in the wild you know she’ll get her prey. Double pip. Black is lead. The pack moves on. We pick up the pace. Almost too fast. I need to drop back. Our guys losing the front. I swim hard against the tide. Crossovers in anti-derby direction one eye on the pack as they cascade apexes swiftly. Waiting to take up the front as it races on by. Carelessly switch and backwards I go. One eye on black eight three six. The other on red seven zero nine. Somehow I need to know where I’m going. Multiplayer call from the rear inside pack. No pack from the front. We slow. Reform. Take a breath. We’re off. Jammer in the box. Power jam. Now it’s a race. Now I’ve got sweats. Pounding my wheels to floor. These girls can shift. Out of bounds block for red four three two means that I’m playing dodgems as she exits the track. Close calls and no calls. The pack moves on. Twelve toots blow. Two down. Dozens to go.