Monday, July 1, 2013

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Image found here.
Every change or rule you make in any social group or structure will have unintended and unforeseen consequences, especially if the law didn't take into account long term development of the society it controls.   It can't be helped; it happens and then the group has to figure out if the original law is worth keeping  The philosopher and economist Adam Smith called it the "invisible hand" of governance.  Oh Q, it's too early to talk about invisible hands and philosophers; give me a concrete example.  Ok. So, the government, in an attempt to stop forest fires sets up a system where no fires in the forest are tolerated, natural or otherwise.  This is a short term solution, which stopped fires from happening, but also stopped the natural process where dangerous undergrowth which would normally be kept under control by small, natural fires.  Twenty to thirty years later,  forest fires burn out of control because they have so much fuel.  Ugh.  Sometimes it feels like no matter what we do to make things better, we screw something else up, like rule changes.

We are now experiencing the law of unintended consequences in derby, and I think it's making our game less exciting to watch.  It's been six official months since the murdering of the minors.  People have slowly adjusted and life is back to normal again, right?  Wrong. Now, if  jammer cuts one blocker from the opposing team, she's in the box, no questions asked.  I know that a jammer has bettered her position by cutting one blocker, but was the position bettered enough to throw her in the box?  Was the position bettered enough to give the other team a possible thirty points?  It depends, where did the cut take place?  Did she accidentally cut someone while being mobbed in the pack, or did she cut the last opposing blocker?

If she cuts the last opposing blocker, absolutely throw her trangressing butt in in the box, but come on.  Does a cut of one opposing blocker in the pack really merit the possibility of the other team scoring more than they might in five jams?  I seriously doubt it.  Is cutting one person equivalent to a high block, back block or low block?  I don't think it is, and I hate when I see a jammer who has realized she has made a mistake and cut someone try and correct it.  Too late!  You're whole team is screwed!  Yes, I know it makes every blocker feel like a rock star when you knock the jammer out and take her all the way back through the pack, but if the major cut went back to the cutting the last opposing blocker, you could still have your rockstar moment. It's also really really boring to watch one jammer knock the other jammer out and take her all of the way around through the pack.  Yes, you're a better skater, but it's dull to watch and dull to be a part of.  It used to be exciting when Shenita Stretcher used to do it when there were minors, because it was an exceptional circumstance, but now it is common place.

Should it be ok for someone to yield to a skater they have cut?  I think it's something to think about.  At the beginning of the jam, if a jammer false starts, she has to yield to the other harm no foul.  Could something similar be done with the jammer yielding at a cut to the blocker she cut?  Maybe.  Would it be tough for refs to call?  Maybe.  I'm just trying to think out of the box.  (See what I did there?)

I like to compare the latest rule set derby to playing technically proficient jazz music; it's exciting and wonderful if you're the one playing it, but for the rest of us listening to it?  Enh.  I'm worried that we are killing off the fun of our sport with the technicalities.  My friend Mike had a saying.  "Just because you're really good at masturbating, doesn't mean I'm going to pay money to watch."  I worry what's going to happen to our sport in the future.  It's hard to watch some of these bouts at ECDX this year because they are technically perfect, but rather dull as a fan.  Just my two cents.

And don't get me started on the new multi player block rule.  ;)


  1. I like the idea of allowing yielding or if they do cut then no points for that pass. I think that they should change the rules so that jammers never to the box. they just don't accrue points for the passes that they make while accruing penalties.

    1. Right. Just trying to figure out a better way to deal with these ridiculous power jams.

  2. Ah, Ms. Q Tion, you are excruciatingly delicious in your insight!!

  3. That Mike guy sounds pretty clever. And super good-looking, too.

  4. Thanks For Pointing That Out.....Mike .