Roller derby league strives for improved league culture

After recent accusations of racism and bullying within their league, Derpshire Roller Derby have now publicly responded:

“We acknowledge these problems in our league and have taken action.
We have re-selected our All Stars team roster under new and improved criteria to show our commitment to a league culture free of bullying.”

“If a player is known to have committed bullying, racist acts or sexual harassment, they are no longer eligible for the All Stars team.”

“As well as playing skill, we now take into account a player’s positive contribution to a fun, safe and diverse league culture, and just how nice they are as a person.”

“Attendance and contribution to league work, which were previously optional for our All Stars players, will also form major criteria for selection in the future.”

“It has meant quite a change to our All Stars roster, but we believe that this is a step in the right direction.”

In other news: The Derpshire Roller Derby All Stars Team has fallen from #9 to #364 in WFTDA ranking over the course of the last week.


What is your men’s roller derby scandal?

Men’s roller derby events, teams, organisations and individuals have been involved in a number of scandals recently.

Now Anticlockwiseblog exclusively invites you to play along and be part of the men’s roller derby fun.

If you were involved in men’s roller derby, what would be YOUR men’s roller derby scandal?

Find out below!
(Click on image to enlarge.)


Breaking News: Men’s Team USA stripped of title and medal

The Men’s Roller Derby World Cup (MRDWC) organising committee have announced that Men’s Team USA are to be stripped of their World Cup winning title, gold medal and any honour they may claim to have bestowed on their country.

It has recently come to light that during the recent Men’s World Cup championship game, Men’s Team USA players commemorated a former team player, who left the team due to sexual harassment and assault allegations, by displaying his skater number on their bodies.

Following this controversy, the MRDWC organising committee have announced their decision that Men’s Team USA are to lose their titles and medals.

MRDWC organising committee spokesperson Number Guy commented:
“Team England will receive the gold medal, Australia will move up to silver and France will receive a well deserved bronze medal.”

A number-displaying Men’s Team USA player commented:
As a man, who has never been subject to sexual harassment from this person or anyone else, I think I can say that that time he lent me some wheels was so much more representative of his character than the dozens of times he harassed women and abused his status in this community.”

We were just thinking about how our top notch friend didn’t get to play, and forgot that it’s because of actions that he willfully inflicted on other people.”

Being 100% honest, we just didn’t think of those sexual harassment allegations as anything more than a hassle for our friend and the team.”

Sexual harassment is just not something that I ever think or worry about.”

I’m truly sorry that my friend got caught.”

I still think we are great representatives in this female-dominated sport.”

Meet the gatekeepers of roller derby

Meet the gatekeepers of roller derby, here to ensure that you do roller derby the ‘right’ way.

Scally Swag, of the Derpshire Rollergirls, thinks that you should have a skating background to play roller derby.

Emordnilap, of the Fartfordshire Rollers, thinks that you shouldn’t play roller derby if you don’t know all the rules.

Edge of Glory Hole, of Hyrule Rollerderby, thinks that you are not a real roller derby player if you only want to play recreationally instead of competitively.

Demi Gorgon, of the Podunk Rollergirls, thinks that to be a real roller derby player you have to train six times a week and only eat nutritional yeast.

Irusu, of Ottery St. Catchpole Rollerderby, thinks real roller derby players would never miss training to go to birthdays or weddings.

Itchy Bitchy Spider, of Blackacre Roller Derby, thinks that people who take a derby break for a while don’t get to be part of the roller derby community anymore.

Hinkypunk, of the Basingrad Rollers, thinks you shouldn’t play roller derby if you don’t identify with the punk-culture-origins of the sport.

Galactic Bulge, of the Dongcaster Rollerboys, thinks that hockey boots are the only boots for derby.

Will-o’-the-wisp, of the Dumfries Dumbelles, thinks that you are not a real roller derby player if you use a toe stop.

Zurg, of Cittàgazze Rollergirls, thinks that you are not a real roller derby player if you wear a tutu instead of compression pants.

Pareidolia, of the Whoville Rollergirls, thinks that you are not a real roller derby player if you are not that into watching games.

The Third Wheel, of Mouseton Rollerderby, thinks real roller derby is played on the banked track.

Escape Goat, of Woop-Woop Rollerderby, thinks you are not a true roller derby skater if you like skating backwards more than forwards.

Bellyfeel, of the Lame County Rollers, thinks that a real roller derby player should also want to do bowl skating.

Eggcorn, of Aerilon Rollerderby, thinks that you are not a real player if you sometimes decide that a drill is not safe for you.

Moan-a-lot, of Calisota Rollerderby, thinks that you are not a real roller derby player if you don’t want to analyse your game footage.

Marco Polio, of the St. Elsewhere Rollers, thinks that you are not a real roller derby player if you don’t care that much about the after party.

Mute Point, of the Hull on Earth Rollergirls, thinks that men should not play roller derby.

Existential Dreadz, of Ruritania Roller Derby, thinks you are not a real roller derby player if you don’t want to spend your money and time going to boot camps.

Higgs Busom, of the Auchterturra Rollers, thinks that you are not really part of roller derby if you are an official or volunteer.

Hetero sapiens, of Uncanny Valley Rollerderby, thinks that only competitive players should get to buy fancy skating gear.
She also thinks that only travel team players should get to have a team jersey and a derby name.

Angel’s share, of the Coruscant Rollers, thinks you are not a real skater if you need different wheels for different floors, while Devil’s cut, of the same league, thinks a real roller derby player would carefully select their wheels for a given surface.

Mondegreen, of the Waikikamukau Rollers, thinks the 27 in 5 are the most essential indicator of a roller derby player.

Moon Bean, of the Slippery Slope Rollers, thinks that to be a true roller derby player you need to pay homage to Jerry Seltzer and his Dad.
She also thinks that you cannot play without knowing why the player number 1 has been retired from use.

Confabulous, of the Hicksville Rollergirls, thinks that trans women should not play in the WFTDA.

Aromantic compound, of Y, thinks that you are not a real derby player if you don’t play through the injury.

Earworm, of the Spoonerville Rollers, thinks a real skater would not wear protective gear during outdoor skating.

Fermat’s Last Diadem, of No Man’s Land Rollergirls, thinks that mothers shouldn’t play roller derby, because it takes them away from their children.

[Cetacean needed.], of Yourleague Rollers, thinks that YOU shouldn’t play roller derby because you are not good enough.

Amount of ‘allowable harassment’ is directly proportional to skating prowess and derby fame

Studies have shown that the amount of sexual harassment that you can get away with in the roller derby community is directly proportional to your skating prowess, level of derby fame and how much you are considered to have ‘done for the community’.

Researchers commented:
“We have essentially created a conversion chart, where you can see what level of sexual harassment you are ‘allowed’ to inflict on others in the derby community based on how much of a derby celebrity you are.”

“To give a few examples, if you coach about twenty skaters, you get to touch some butt.”

“If you own or represent a skate company, you can be known as “handsy” across the community, but people will still pay to come to your bootcamps.”

“If you are a mid-range jammer of a great team, then you can get away with sending some unsolicited dick pics to other members of the derby community without any real consequences.”

“Top player on a national team? You can creep all over the young recently-graduated-from-junior-derby players at Roller Con.”

“You are officials crew head at a big WFTDA event? You can try and get people to sleep with you in return for getting to be on your crew and nobody will say anything.”

“If you are really derby famous, or an after-party-legend, you can pretty much do whatever you want at events like tournaments and Roller Con. The roller derby world is your oyster.”

Expanding on these results, the researchers commented further:
“Our results also confirm that you cannot get away with such things if you are a nobody in derby, like a beginner, recreational skater, or an NSO.”

“We have also found these trends to be true for non-sexual harassment and bullying in the roller derby community. The more derby famous you are, the worse you get to treat others.”

The researchers concluded:
“These results were surprising to us, as we previously thought roller derby was somehow magically different from other sports or the rest of the world.”

“The data seem to suggest that roller derby has roughly the same proportion of dickheads as everywhere else. And that using shoes with wheels does not make you any less of a dickhead even if you are really good at it.”

Roller derby World Cup overwhelmingly attended by statistics experts

This year’s roller derby World Cup in Manchester, England, has been overshadowed by controversy over its complex team ranking and seeding system.

Fortunately, social media surveys have shown that the event is overwhelmingly attended by statistics experts, all of whom could have easily come up with a much better system.

Czech Me Out from Team Whatislava commented:
“I definitely could have come up with something better if anyone had asked for my opinion. I mean, I don’t know if I would have actually wanted to put in the time to do it. And maybe I would need to know more about like maths and stuff. But I still think I could have done a better job.”

Dutch Majal, fan of Team Netherlands, commented:
“Why didn’t they just do like that system that they often do. You know?”

Norse Job from Team Arendelle commented:
“I never thought about different ranking systems and their pros and cons before today, but now I am outraged.”

Canadian fan Omnomnom de plume commented:
“They should have used chi-square. That’s a thing, right? Or maybe a bell curve.”

An anonymous team coach commented:
“Our team didn’t really care until we saw that this system didn’t put us in first place.
We didn’t pay attention to these details in the run-up to the event and we don’t care what other factors are taken into account, this is about us right now.”

Hakuna Patata from Team Nuevo Rico commented:
“With 38 teams, they just needed a 38-tiered approach.”

Most people commented:
“Maths is scary. Make it go away.”

Count von Count, the creator of the ranking system, commented:
“Look guys, it’s really simple: teams play several games in a circle and then we combine the relative strengths with information from a team poll about which teams they thought were the coolest and using point ratios and a least-squares minimisation with ranking S-curve and has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?”

“And obviously all of this is subject to change if you complain hard enough.”

Roller derby ruins BBC Sport for everyone

BBC Sport recently announced that they would be broadcasting the final day of this year’s Roller Derby World Cup, held in Manchester, on the BBC Sport website.

This announcement by BBC Sport was met with an outcry from self-proclaimed sport fans on social media, who saw the inclusion of an additional sport as a clear sign of decline for BBC Sport.

Those sport fans who managed to find the roller derby announcement amongst the dozens of posts about football, rugby and tennis that day, proclaimed how the inclusion of a single Roller derby event had effectively ruined BBC Sport for everyone.

Paul from Slough commented:
“Roller Derby is not a real sport.
It doesn’t have the athleticism of football, darts, snooker or other sports that are currently shown regularly on BBC Sport.”

“The uniforms those girls wear, with their short shorts and tank tops, just don’t look serious and athletic.
Nothing like a classic rugby shirt that makes you look like the glorious bumblebee that you are.”

“It’s not about sexism, it’s just that roller derby in particular is not a real sport”, commented Gavin from Hull, who would also never watch women’s football or women’s rugby.

“If we include roller derby, then what is next? The Triwizard Tournament? The Hunger Games? It’s a slippery slope.
We already have all the sport diversity we need with football, darts, and the roughly five different kinds of rugby-like sports currently shown on BBC Sport.”

When asked about the importance of equality and inclusiveness in sports, sports fan Simon from Blackpool commented:
“Whenever I watch the footie, my wife gets to fetch me beer and snacks. If that’s not inclusiveness in sports, what is?”

“I’m all for inclusion.”, said Matt from Milton Keynes, “I watched the heck out of women’s Olympic beach volleyball.”

“The idea that women might do something that isn’t for my entertainment is unsettling.”

“I just don’t see why my licence fees should pay for this?”, said Steve from Bradford whose licence fees also pay for a lot of other stuff on the BBC that he does not watch, like say, news or documentaries.

Dave from Walsall commented: “The idea that football might not be the most important thing in everyone’s life scares me and my fragile ego. If football is not important, maybe neither am I?”

Responding to the criticisms, BBC sport commented:
“We are happy to show Roller Derby.
It is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with a particularly exciting viewer experience and with a World Cup held in Britain this year.”

“We are only showing the final day, and therefore the highest-level match-ups at this event and we are only showing it on the website.”

“We also made sure to use a picture of male roller derby players to represent the sport on our website to not scare our usual fan base too much.”

“Yesterday alone, we updated our viewers on over 300 football matches of various levels, as well as player transfers, birthdays and court dates.”

“If BBC Sport can show every move of the U17 section of Bumbletown Football Club then we think it is also fine to occasionally show the very highest level of other sports.”

“If you don’t like it, then on the 4th of February, instead of armchair warrioring on our social media, don your best smart-casual rugby shirt attire, take your fragile masculinity, go outside, tweedledum down to the local park and maybe play in or engage with one of those sports you apparently care for so much.”

“And for the rest of you, come and watch the Roller Derby World Cup on Sunday, 4th of February live on the BBC Sport website and connected TVs.”





Announcer is most important person at roller derby bout

Roller derby announcers are the most important people at roller derby games, say roller derby announcers.

Roller derby announcers commented:
“The announcer is the main person you need to make a roller derby bout function. People really only come to bouts because of the announcers. Nobody would come to roller derby events if we weren’t there.”

“We know the game better than everyone else, better than the players, the fans and the officials.
This is why you need us at bouts.
Without our engaging play-by-play commentary, roller derby is a pretty dull and incomprehensible sport.”

“We inform people of things they could not possibly know any other way, like which teams are playing, how many points were scored in that jam or who is on track right now.
Without us, the viewers would have no idea what is happening.”

Fake News, a member of the Association of Flat Track Derby Announcers (AFTDA), commented:
“People love listening to me and my opinions.
When there is a break in the action, for example during a time out, I like to tell people fun facts about myself, like that I’m hungry or how many hours I have already worked that day. People love to hear about that stuff. After all, they are pretty much there to hear me talk.”

Perfektenschlag, a frequent attendandee of roller derby bouts commented:
“The sound set up at roller derby bouts is always pretty bad. I can literally never hear what the announcers say. They are just talking into the void.”

Roller derby player is overly proud of uncontrolled hit

Low Polly, of the Derpshire Rollergirls, was seen being overly proud of a highly uncontrolled hit that she performed during a recent Derpshire Rollergirls vs Fartfordshire Rollers bout.

Low Polly comments:
“It was such a great hit. I completely took out the opposing jammer.
I mean sure, my hit took me entirely out of bounds, but I really floored that jammer and that’s what counts.”

“I may have been completely useless to my team for an extended period of time after my hit, but that’s not what matters.
I also took out two referees by accident, but that just makes me more awesome!”

“Controlled gameplay is really overrated.
In fresh meat they teach us about being controlled and falling ‘small’ and stuff. But all that is not so important in actual roller derby gameplay.”

“In fact, my reckless style of play gets me all the player awards.
You might say that my complete lack of regard for other people’s safety almost gives me an unfair advantage: I’m not held back by unnecessary safety-related caution.”

Dorothy Fail, captain of the Fartfordshire Rollers says:
“Yeah, she is known for being a danger. But our team still voted to give her the best blocker award.
When we discussed awards on our way to the hospital, she was the player that stood out the most.”

Low Polly commented further:
“My uncontrolled hits are not illegal!
There are no rules against this, so why should I play differently?”

“It doesn’t say anywhere in the WFTDA rules that you have to finish a hit inside the track, or upright or in any control whatsoever.
So this is clearly not something that is considered important in the game of roller derby.”

What if the star were a potato?

Passages from the 2017 WFTDA roller derby rules where the word ‘Star’ has been replaced by ‘Potato’:

Rule book:

The Jammer wears a helmet cover with a potato on it.

Skaters may not change positions during a Jam, except in the case of a Potato Pass.

The Jammer is denoted as the Skater in visible possession of the Jammer helmet cover (a.k.a. “The Potato”) at the beginning of the Jam.

If a Skater is serving a penalty as their team’s Jammer, no teammate may begin the Jam in possession of the Potato or behind the Jammer Line.

If there is neither a Skater serving a penalty as the Jammer nor a Skater with a visible Potato, then the team has failed to field a Jammer for the upcoming Jam and will be penalized accordingly.

The Potato may only be carried by the Jammer wearing it on their helmet, or by that team’s Jammer or Pivot holding it in their grasp.

Other Skaters may not control the Potato, and the Jammer and Pivot may not hide the Potato (examples include putting it in a pocket or hiding it in a uniform).

Only Skaters who begin the Jam as Jammers may become Lead (so a Pivot who receives the Potato cannot become Lead).

The Lead Jammer will lose their Lead Jammer status if they commit a penalty, intentionally remove the Potato (once it is on), or have the Potato intentionally removed from their head by a teammate.

The Pivot may control the Potato (pick it up, move it, etc.) even if they are not the Jammer; for example, to recover it and return it to the Jammer.

2.2.4. Passing the Potato
A team’s Jammer may transfer their position by handing the Potato to their team’s Pivot while both Skaters are upright, in bounds, and in play, and while neither the Jammer nor the Pivot is en route to, or in queue for, the Penalty Box.

Upon releasing the Potato into the Pivot’s grasp, the position of Jammer is passed.

If the Potato is passed illegally, the initial Jammer remains the Jammer and the initiator of the Pass should be penalized. This includes:

  • releasing the Potato into the grasp of a Skater other than their Pivot
  • releasing the Potato into the Pivot’s grasp while one of the two parties is down, out of bounds, out of play, or en route to the Penalty Box
  • releasing the Potato into the Pivot’s grasp while the Pivot is in queue for the Penalty Box (even if the Pivot is not yet en route)
  • releasing the Potato into the grasp of a Pivot who is not wearing the Stripe

If the Pivot comes into control of the Potato through any other means (for example, by picking up a fallen Potato), a Potato Pass has not taken place.
Accordingly, the Pivot does not attain the position of Jammer and thus may not put the Potato on their own helmet. They may hold the Potato in their hand, drop it, or return it to the Jammer.

Non-Pivot Blockers may not wear helmet covers or have any markings on their helmets that could be confused for the Stripe or the Potato.

Jammers only “earn” a pass if the pass occurs while the Jammer is wearing the Potato on their helmet with the potatoes showing.


The Potato:
The Jammer helmet cover, which has two potatoes on it, one on each side.

Passing the Potato – Potato Pass:
The act of transferring Jammer status, which is accomplished by the Jammer handing their helmet cover (the Potato) to the Pivot.

2017 Scenarios:

White Jammer removes their helmet cover and attempts to hand it to White Pivot. During this process, the Potato falls, touching out of bounds. White Jammer leaves the track to retrieve the helmet cover.

Outcome: No penalty.


Scenario C2.15
White Jammer removes their helmet cover and directly hands it to a White Non-Pivot Blocker. White Jammer releases the helmet cover.

Outcome: White Jammer should be penalized for initiating a Potato Pass to an illegal recipient.

Rationale: White Jammer may only pass the Potato to their Pivot. They may not pass the Potato to a Blocker, regardless of the reasons for which they pass it.

Keep in Mind: If White Jammer had not let go of the Potato, or if White Blocker had refused to accept it (by letting it fall to the track rather than taking control of it), this would be an incomplete Potato Pass rather than an illegal one. Incomplete Potato Passes are not penalized.

Keep in Mind: If White Jammer were holding the Potato and White Blocker wrested it from their grasp, it would have been White Blocker who initiated the illegal Potato Pass, and thus White Blocker would be penalized.

Scenario C2.16
White Jammer removes their helmet cover and hands it to White Pivot. Before White Jammer releases their grip on the Potato, White Pivot is knocked out of bounds. White Jammer then releases the Potato to the out of bounds Pivot.

Outcome: White Jammer receives a penalty for passing the Potato to an ineligible Pivot.

Rationale: Although White Jammer attempted to pass the Potato while White Pivot was eligible, a Potato Pass is a single point of exchange: the moment at which the Potato is released.

Scenario C2.18
Red 21 is the Jammer. They remove their helmet cover and throw it at Red 45, who is the Pivot. Red 45 (still the Pivot) catches the helmet cover and hands it back to Red 21 (still the Jammer). Both Skaters grip the Potato, then Red 21 releases it. Red 45 maintains control of the Potato and puts it on their helmet.

Outcome: Red 45 is now the Jammer.

Rationale: Throwing the Potato is an incomplete Potato Pass, not an illegal one. Catching the Potato (out of the air) is the same as retrieving it (from the floor), so the Pivot is not required to let the Potato fall to the track first. Once Red Jammer clutches the helmet cover, they reestablish their control of the Potato regardless of whether the Pivot lets go or not. They then complete the Potato Pass in a legal fashion.

Scenario C2.19
While moving through the Pack, the Potato comes off Red Jammer’s helmet and sticks to White Blocker’s wrist guard. White Blocker pulls the helmet cover free and drops it outside the track boundary.

Outcome: White Blocker is not issued a penalty.

Rationale: White Blocker gained temporary possession of the helmet cover and dropped it out of play. Because White Blocker did not intentionally attempt to remove the Potato from Red Jammer’s helmet, they should not be issued a penalty for accidentally coming into control of the Potato as long as they immediately relinquish control of the Potato. The Potato may get moved as part of normal gameplay, but may not be controlled by anyone other than the Jammer or Pivot.

Keep in Mind: If White Blocker had not touched the Potato, which was stuck to their wrist guard and allowed Red Jammer or Pivot to recover it once they are aware of it, no penalty would have occurred either.

Keep in Mind: If White Blocker had pulled the Potato off their Velcro, but not immediately relinquished control of the Potato once they removed it from their wrist guard, a penalty would have been issued.

Scenario C3.18
Red Jammer completes their first trip through the Pack and has passed one opposing Blocker when they remove the Potato. While the Potato is off, the three other opposing Blockers commit penalties and are sent to the Penalty Box. The Jam ends while Red Jammer’s Potato is still in their hand.

Outcome: One point.

Rationale: Red Jammer was not able to earn points while the Potato was off, but they still receive the point earned while the Potato was on.

Keep in Mind: If Red Jammer had put the Potato back on before the end of the Jam, they would have earned points for the other opposing Blockers as soon as the Potato was back on their helmet.

Scenario C4.60
The Jam starts and White Jammer quickly earns Lead. Red Jammer immediately pulls off their Potato and tries to pass it over their opponents’ heads to Red Pivot, but is unable to do so. Red Jammer stuffs the Potato into their jersey so they don’t have to hold it as they work their way through the Pack.

Outcome: Red Jammer has hidden the Potato from their opponents, also hiding the fact that they are their team’s Jammer. Red Jammer is penalized.

Rationale: It is unsporting to attempt to hide your role in the Jam.

Keep in Mind: If Red Jammer had held onto the Potato instead of hiding it in their jersey, no penalty would be issued because they would still be visibly in control of the Potato.