Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This Is Not a Bitching About the New Rules Blog

It's 2013 and the new rule set is upon us all. Some leagues were smart and started training with the new rules since the end of November; oh how I wish our league could have done that instead of taking a long break at the end of the season, because this is going to be an extremely awkward transition for a lot of people.  Everyone is going to feel the weight of the new rule set, from jammers, to blockers, coaches and refs.

First of all, jammers are going to have to give up cutting anyone!  We all know that jammers sometimes would say "eff it" rather than deal with a particularly tenacious blocker, and cut the track.  Now if you're going to say "eff it" then you might as well say it on the way to the box.  Enjoy telling that to your coach you decided to say "eff it" as he or she is pulling his or her hair out.  Also, jammers, stay the hell away from the outside!  I know, you're fast and it's worked out for you in the past, but now if a blocker takes you out of bounds, they have the quicker path to get behind you.  Don't give them that advantage!
Theme of 2013
 Blockers now are more powerful than ever; you can completely change the course of the game just by knocking a jammer out and moving back.  Of course, you're also changing the direction of the game by making the whole pack skate backwards.  Eep.  Watch out for those unintentional clockwise blocks!  Also, blockers, we're all going to have to be ready to ACTUALLY DO REAL OFFENSE INSTEAD OF THAT PASSIVE CRAP.  Oh, did I say that last part out loud?  Sorry.  What I meant to say was all blockers have to be ready to stop the other team from going backwards, or knocking that blocker out of bounds immediately.  You know, play derby.

Coaches, you get the joy of possibly losing your prime jammer due to box trips; I know a lot of leagues have been relying on a three to four jammer rotation.  Gone are those days, folks.  Are you training up new jammers in your league?  Are you working on everyone getting those jammer skill drills?  Being a jammer is no longer an exclusive position; everyone should be ready to grab the star and GO GO GO!  Does that mean you have to work more on footwork or endurance?  Hell yes.  HELL YES!  I'm getting derby rabies.  I need to take it down a notch, or wash my mouth guard.

Finally, there are the referees.  Let's all take a moment to thank the zebras who now have to become experts on the fly during scrimmages and early season games.  Right now, there are a million discussions going on in the ref world, and most of them are so esoteric that no derby skater would ever come up with those scenarios in a million years, but the refs are ready, JUST IN CASE.  The first game I played in this season actually had a jammerless jam; welcome to the future of derby, everybody!   Many refs are focusing hard on calling those cut tracks; I'm sure they feel a lot of pressure to get that call exactly right because it has such a giant impact on the game.  In fact, from the couple of games and scrimmages I've played in so far, it seems like that's the call they are the most focused on.  Just remember, Zebras, there are other calls to be made out there.  You have a plethora of ways to make derby girls and guys cry!

As the season progresses, I'm sure some team will figure out a way to "game the system" and ruin it for everyone, but right now it's great to be at the beginning of something exciting!  Rules don't change often in derby, so just imagine how cool it is to be at this point in history with our sport!



  1. But when the skaters make it SOOO easy to call Cutting the Track or Out of Play (Failure to Return) we just can't help ourselves :-)

  2. I'm not in a member league so I am not privy to the internal discussions that take place, but from my observations so far it really seems like there is a focus among officials in tightening up out of play calls. Goating seemed to be abandoned at some point last year in favor of intentional pack drift destruction (I suppose because it is easier and applies 10 feet sooner) but it seems to have come back. As someone who is a frequent target of this, I am not thrilled, but otherwise I am all for it. Yay for effort and controlling the pack instead of destroying it.