What is roller derby?
Flat track roller derby is a fast-paced contact team sport that requires speed, strategy, and athleticism. The flat track version of the sport evolved in 2001, and has quickly grown to encompass more than 400 leagues worldwide.
Everyone lines up on track, 4 blockers from each time in front of the jam line, and 1 jammer from each team behind the jam line. The whistle blows.
The jammers race to pass through the pack, at which time no points are scored – but the ‘lead jammer position is established. They continue to race around the track a second time and attempt to fight their way through the pack again. The jammers score one point for each opponent they lap as long as they pass that player in bounds and without penalties.
The jammers may continue to race and score points for two minutes or until the lead jammer ‘calls off the jam’, by tapping her hands on her hips. Generally, a jammer scores four points each time she makes it through the pack within bounds and five points if she laps the other jammer. The winners are the team with the most points at the end of the game..
PENALTIES & RULES
No pushing from behind (on an opponent)
No deliberate falling in front of another skater
No use of elbows as a weapon to the chest or face
No blocking 20 feet ahead of or behind the pack
No grabbing or pulling a skater from the ground
It is illegal to GRAB, HOLD or PULL an opposing player
A jammer can be put into the penalty box which creates a scoring opportunity for the opposing team known as a PowerJam (or PJ!). If both jammers end up in the penalty box, the first jammer in the box is allowed back on to the track as soon as the second jammer reaches the box.
This video gives you an idea of how roller derby is played:
The DIY spirit that drives the sport allows roller derby leagues to create their own unique identities and adapt their structures to reflect their local communities.