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.


Roller derby to be played in opposite direction in honour of Australian Hydra winner

This last weekend saw the Victorian Roller Derby League (VRDL) from Melbourne, Australia win the Hydra in the 2017 WFTDA championships.

The WFTDA have now announced that roller derby will be played in the opposite direction for one year until the next WFTDA Championships to honour the Australian Hydra winner.

WFTDA spokesperson, A Blessing and a Purse, commented:
“Since toilet water swirls the opposite way in Australia, this seemed like an appropriate way for the WFTDA to celebrate the international success of roller derby.”

“Here at WFTDA headquarters we had carefully planned out how we would celebrate in the case of a non-USA winner.”

“If a Canadian team had won, we would have changed the official language of the WFTDA rules to French. Also, instead of going to the penalty box after a penalty, skaters would have just had to apologise to the skater they fouled.”

“If a British team had won, we would have switched the track and the ref lanes around. And, in addition to the current time out regulations, teams would be allocated two tea time outs per game.”

Sport Court wins Hydra at WFTDA Championships

The winner of this year’s WFTDA Championships is Sport Court!

Sport Court successfully won over all the derby teams it encountered, leaving devastated skaters in its wake.

Crispy Demons from VRDL commented:
“We are crushed, we really thought we’d win the Hydra this year.
We predicted that we would encounter Sport Court in the final, so we targeted our training accordingly. But it just wasn’t good enough.”

“The power of Sport Court is too strong. Even with all our preparation, we didn’t feel like we were really playing our game.
Our jammers fell and our blockers stumbled. Maybe next year!”

Sport Court even beat the referee crews, who experienced frequent falls and felt that their communication and judgement when making penalty calls was severely impaired.

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.

Gotham players to be more villainous than ever at this year’s WFTDA championships

With the 2017 WFTDA championships approaching, the players of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars team have vowed to be their most evil selves yet.

Gotham have long been known for their villainous style of playing roller derby, which involves never smiling and wearing the derby equivalent of a black turtle neck as their uniform (made by the most evilest of sponsors!).

But this year Gotham have vowed to take villainous roller derby to a whole new level.

An anonymous player from Gotham commented:
“We have been working very hard on this. We want to win and we want to do it in the most evillish of ways.
We have not won the Hydra in the last two years, because we had turned soft. But this year we are back!”

“We will smile less than ever. We don’t care how good you are, Gotham does not smile!
We always want to look like we are having a bad time. We are here to win, not to enjoy roller derby.
We will not allow any cracks in our armour of evil. One time Bonnie Thunders was seen smiling, so we shipped her off to Smiley-Muesli Land.”

“To be the most evil team, we will applaud whenever an opposing player gets a penalty, we will signal to the referees for extra penalties any way we can and, meanwhile, we will act shocked when we get called on penalties. And we are all getting our teeth sharpened tomorrow!”

“Nobody cheers for us, but we will cheer for ourselves after every jam.
*Villainous and joyless laugh.*”

“And finally we are also changing our hashtag from #HiveMind to #HornetsNest.”

Watch the action on November 3-5 live in Philadelphia or on and ESPN2.

WFTDA Officials Certification System to be replaced with Magic 8-Ball

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) have announced the long-awaited end to the restructure of their Officials Certification System: the certification panels are to be replaced by a Magic 8-Ball.

In the past, certification panels served to assess officials’ rules and officiating knowledge and skill in order to provide certification of officials.
Certification, in turn, signifies an official’s excellence and qualification to officiate sanctioned and regulation roller derby gameplay.
The assessment of which officials are deserving of certification and have the skill to officiate WFTDA and MRDA tournaments will now be carried out by a Magic 8-Ball.

Heffalump, a WFTDA spokesperson, commented:
“We are happy to present a unified certification system that will better meet the needs both the WFTDA and the MRDA membership than the previous certification program.
We think this new Magic 8-Ball-based system will be better at identifying skill in roller derby officiating than the old panel-based system.”

“We have listened to the derby community and believe that this will be a much better, more reliable and less biased way to find the best referees and NSOs for staffing our tournaments.”

“We would like to apologise for the delay in re-opening the certification program, but we believe the wait and hard work will pay off for the future of roller derby officiating.
After the long break during the re-structure in which no certifications were processed, we are now happy to announce that we are accepting applications for officials’ certification once again.”

In answer to whether there would be any changes to the application process for officials seeking certification, Heffalump explained:
“As before, you will need to submit game evaluations and certification test results, which will be carefully considered by the Magic 8-Ball.
And, just as in the past, certification will continue to be an entry requirement for officiating the WFTDA, and now MRDA tournaments, to ensure a high level of officiating at these events.”

WFTDA rules to be translated into Klingon, Elvish and Dothraki

Already, versions of the WFTDA rule book are available in English, German, French and Spanish.

The WFTDA have now announced plans to translate the rules of flat track roller derby into more languages, including Klingon, Elvish and Dothraki.

WFTDA spokesperson Ebony and Irony commented:
“After translating the WFTDA rule book into German, French and Spanish, Klingon seemed like the next logical step.”

“We wanted to focus on languages that are relevant to the roller derby community.
We want to ensure that players, officials and fans can access the important WFTDA rules documents and information in the language of their choice.”

These new versions of the rules will be available on the WFTDA website as soon as possible but the WFTDA are looking for volunteers to help with the translation task.

Ebony and Irony commented:
“If you want to be involved in the translation process, please get in touch with the WFTDA rules committee.
You will need to include a sample of your work by translating a rule of your choice into the relevant language.”

“You can also contact the WFTDA rules committee for any further language translation requests of the rule book.”

“We are currently prioritising Klingon, Elvish and Dothraki.
But in the future we are planning translations into Latin, Parseltongue, simple English, Minion, Pirate, Newspeak, Emojis and Scottish.”

Breaking news: WFTDA Championships update

Exclusive news update from the 2016 WFTDA Championships in Portland.

Jammer eats actual baby.
“I’ve always found that phrase confusing. Well, I’ve certainly protein loaded now.”

Sports court still worst court.
Better options said to include wood, concrete, royal and legal court.

All games so far ended in hugs, not fist fights.
Male players confused.

Gotham think they are ‘the good guys’.
Disagreeing with this is literally everybody.

Scientists discover new types of geometric shape in roller derby walls.
First reported sighting of a rombangle and a trimond outside of computational simulations.

Referee to be treated for jamnesia.
“One second I knew it all, the penalties, the points, the passes, and then suddenly … It was all gone!”

‘Rotational violence’ to blame for global warming.
But TNOB’s new helmet technology laboratory are on the case.

Bay Area skaters seen secretly attending backward skating bootcamps

Following their recent loss against Montreal at the 2016 WFTDA Playoffs, skaters from Bay Area Derby (BAD) have been spotted secretly attending beginner’s bootcamps on backwards skating.

BAD, an otherwise high-level team, have become known for their continued use of flat, forward-facing four-blocker defensive walls, while the rest of the derby world moved on to dynamic walls, often featuring blockers facing backwards and physically bracing the walls.

This year’s WFTDA D1 playoff in Montreal saw BAD being defeated by the hosts themselves in the game for third place and hence being barred from attending the 2016 WFTDA championships. This is the first time since 2012 that BAD have not made it to the championships, even coming in third place overall in 2014.

It has been suggested that BAD’s result in this year’s competitive season may be linked to their strategic choices.

A BAD skater, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented: “I had heard of backward skating and of ‘braced walls’, but I had never seen those things in person. Then I saw other teams do them at playoffs and I thought to myself: ‘Why aren’t we doing that?'”

BAD skaters have since been spotted up and down the country at numerous roller derby beginner bootcamps with an emphasis on backward skating and dynamic walls.

Another anonymous BAD skater commented: “I’m like a complete beginner at these backward skating bootcamps, skating alongside fresh meat skaters from other leagues.”

“I have to keep my attendance at such bootcamps secret though. I always wear a neutral top and no golden helmet. And a fake mustache, just to be sure.”