Monday, July 29, 2013

The work horse of derby stops. BACK TO THE BASICS!

It's so funny, derby loves to embrace the newest bestest thing ever.  Turning around to block backwards, toe stop craziness, and passive offense.  Unfortunately, we tend to forget to focus on the basics, and I've noticed that a lot of newer skaters don't seem to have a good proficiency when it comes to plow stopping on the track. 
Image found here

But Q, I'm ever so much better at toe stopping than plow stopping.  Tough!  Plow stopping can be the most practical stop you can use to end the reign of a jammer sprinting through the pack.  I know, I know, plow stopping in a wall can be seriously intimidating for any skater.  Nobody wants to trip their own teammate, or show that they can't stop with the rest of their wall, but plows are an effective stop when done correctly.

First of all, no two people do plow stops the same way.  I'm six feet tall, and I'm going to perform a plow stop completely differently than a person who is five feet tall.  Weight makes a difference too.  Someone who weighs 180 pounds will have a different form than someone who weighs 100 pounds, so watch a lot of people do stops and figure out what might work for you.  There are tons of plow stopping videos on You Tube to check out as well.

When I see people having problems with their plow stops, I look at their feet first.  A lot of people tend to not position their feet correctly, and they can never actually "land" a plow stop because of it.  I had read about a nifty way to practice and learn how to plow stop off skates, and I actually got a chance to try it out with a group of awesome guinea pigs the other day at practice.  We went outside of the skating rink we practice at, and tried sprinting down the hill and stopping with a plow stop in skates.  We would sprint for four sidewalk sections and then plow stop, and then do it again, all of the way down the hill.  It really helped!  You naturally position your feet in the correct way to plow stop because you have no choice.  We looked like bloody idiots running down the hill in our protective gear (because as you know, all derby skaters are clumsy off skates) but it really helped people "feel" how their feet should be positioned.  (Heels out, toes in)

But you'll look goofy as hell while doing it.

The second thing I notice is when people are having issues with plow stops, I see people with soft wheels on their skates. UGH!  If you're still using Poisons to skate on a normal floor, please trade up to harder wheels.  If you have a crazy slick floor, then keep rocking those Poisons, but if you have a normal floor and you use Poisons as a crutch, switch them out please!  Sometimes you need to have harder wheels to complete a plow with any sort of success.

The third thing I see people struggle with is the width of the plow.  So many skaters tend to spread their legs as wide as possible and keep them wide as they plow.  This works really well until you try to plow in a game with a hoppy jammer pushing you out twenty feet over and over again.  When you plant your legs wide, wider than you can easily move back in to a more narrow stance,  you may be able to stop but you can't move laterally.  Also, a wide plow stop does not work in a wall, for obvious reasons.  In a wall, one footed plows work so much better.  Practice your single footed plows, both on the left and right sides.  I can't tell you how important it is when you're holding the inside line,  to have a strong left plow!  I have found that if I don't force myself to practice something, I never will.  When I have down time at practice, I work on skills that I don't have a good grasp of.  Nobody is going to hound you to work on your weaknesses, that's your job.

Good posture counts in a plow stop.  So many skaters have a great plow stop, until a jammer challenges her by pushing right through a wall due to the lack of correct plow posture.  So many people think that they're low and in a great plow position, when they're really just bent over at the waist.  Work on what I call "The Gorilla Stance" when you're plow stopping. Bend your knees to get low, drop your butt to the floor and keep your upper body erect.  Use your back to keep that jammer from pushing you down the track; as Quadzilla once said "Your back is the biggest and strongest part of your body.  Use it to block people!"  He's right, but to be able to do that you need to have a strong core.  I can't stress core work outs in derby any more strenuously than I do, so get out and do them! 
Or "Girlilla"  Image found here

Chomping may be the way you fix your sloppy plow.  Here's a good description of what people have been referring to as chomping.  I learned to do "chomping" from watching the speed skaters during their relays.  Instead of doing an aggressive stop like a hockey stop or even a toe stop, the speed skaters we practiced with would do a stepping plow.  They would literally take small steps in a plow stance and practically stop on the spot.  I asked one of them why they did that stop and he told me it saved his wheels from getting burnt out; I thought that was pretty cool, but I was more impressed with his ability to go from a sprint to a dead stop in a few steps.  I tend to do a stepping plow when a jammer is relentlessly pushing on my wall and I don't want to trip up my team. 

Sometimes people are scared of plow stops because they have weak ankles.  I have horrible ankles, but I have a good plow stop because I've worked and worked on strengthening my ankles, thighs and core. If you have weak ankles, and a lot of us do, please take a gander at some of the exercises found here.  I know it's scary when you have weak ankles because it seems like plow stops are a prime way to destroy your feet, but if you strengthen your ankles diligently, a plow won't stress them out too much.

So there ya go.  Plow stops...rediscover them!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shit Talkers and Track Squawkers

Ever have that game where someone on the other team is just running her mouth at you the whole time?  I think it's hilarious when a blocker or jammer on the other team is just talking non stop shit at me.  I relish it.

There is one fact that I've noticed after five years of playing derby, being around derby peeps and watching a lot of people play.  Approximately 90% of people who play derby cannot focus on derby and talk at the same time.  Yes, my findings are not scientific at all, but I'm telling you that people who talk crap are not focused on their game.  They can't. It's like that old saying "He's so dumb he can't walk straight and chew gum at the same time."  People aren't dumb, but derby takes a hell of a lot of concentration, and most people can't communicate and concentrate at the same time.  So, if you're on the track and the opposing blocker is just running her mouth at you, just smile and keep on doing what you're doing.  Her mouth is keeping her focused on you, and not your jammer.  That's a win win situation for any blocker.  Keep talking shit at me while my jammer gets your point, please and thank you!

  This is how I see squawkers. Image found here.
Unfortunately, sometimes these blockers can be on your team.  Ugh.  It seems like there is always at least one hot head in each league, and boy, she can be a real detriment at times.  First of all, I fully believe that mouthy players in games are mouthy players at practice.  They are on the track refs and critics and just plain mean to their teammates when they are playing against them in a scrimmage.  Everyone knows that one girl that nobody wants to block because they will get an earful of bitching and moaning.  I imagine people like this were the little kids that made up rules to the neighborhood games you played, and then changed them when they weren't winning.  Eventually they grow up to be track squawkers.

So how do you muzzle a track squawker?  First of all, make sure she's squawking, and not actually giving you good feedback.  If she's really a squawker,  you as a single player in your league don't have much power over her track talk, but you can control how you respond to it.  Don't respond.  Keep doing your job.  Don't acknowledge it, especially to her.  Use it as practice for a game where you're going to have to deal with an opposing team who is mouthy on the track.  If the bitching and moaning was unbearable, take it to your captain or coach, quietly.  Let the chain of command handle it, because if you get butthurt and react to the squawker, you're just a part of the problem.  Nobody wants that, except for the squawker!

Look, some people lose their mental crap on the track once in a while; it happens.  Be kind, it might happen to you too at some point.  Just don't let it become a habit!

Monday, July 22, 2013

World Cup Arglebargle

I love derby; people are so completely and utterly passionate about every aspect of our sport.  Derby people are so protective of our sport, and we are incredibly opinionated.  We all know what's best for our sport, right?  Exactly.

So, when I read about Blood and Thunder tweaking the rules for the World Cup competition, I made sure my safety harness was in place and got ready for a derby roller coaster of outrage, hope, gloating, and more outrage.  Did I mention outrage?  Am I the only one who giggled at the competing FB pages of "Save the Jammers" and "No Mercy in Derby"?  I doubt it.  People are fired up and I'm so excited that we have opened a serious dialogue in our sport about some of the things that might be making our game a lot less fun to play and watch.

First of all, I must say that I am in no way associated with Blood and Thunder.  I am not involved in the World Cup as anything but a fan, and I wasn't even planning on watching the next one because I found that witnessing Team USA pummel the other countries into the ground repeatedly is less exciting than doing housework.  Yes, Team New Zealand has the best intro ever, but for the most part, I really wasn't that interested in taking the time to watch the competition.

Until now.  

With the announcement of the possible rule tweaking, I suddenly am interested in watching the World Cup again.  Why?  Well, I want to see what will happen when you tweak the rules.  We have high level players at the tops of their game working with these new rules, and everyone can watch.  This isn't a typical Beta testing where only a lucky few will see, with unknown teams with unknown skill levels.  This is the best of the world playing, and coping with new rules.  Of course I'm going to watch.  It's either going to be a train wreck or totally awesome, but it won't be boring.
Am I for the rule changes?  Well, I'm not a giant fan of the mercy rule.  I love cheering for the underdog, when they do finally score against a Goliath like Team USA.  Who didn't love the one point Team Scotland scored on Team USA?  I understand that other sports have a mercy rule, and we should probably get on board, but I'm still not for it.  Let them play.  Isn't that what all of the hoopla has been about in the first place, letting the players play?

Also, I look at the rule modifications that they proposed, and I start feeling bad for the refs and NSOs.  First of all, substitutions during a bout might become really difficult to track.  I guess those inside white boards are going need to be tweaked, or maybe derby will finally go all digital.   I don't envy the penalty box in dealing with the proposed changes, and I especially don't envy the score keepers and jam refs.  This whole rule change will keep people in the middle hopping around, that's for sure!

I think it's brilliant that the World Cup has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet to the derby world. "We are trying something new, and if you don't like it, suck it." It's their game, and they can tweak the rules if they want to.  This kind of controversy makes people take stock of how they define derby,  and there is nothing wrong with that.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Team USA Try Out Experience with Ginger Clobbers

 My teammate Ginger Clobbers shares her experience in trying out for Team USA.  It's a good read and gives all of plenty of skills to be honing as skaters!
Photos by Hale Yeah, writer at  and you can find him here!

 The second of three tryouts for Team USA occurred on Monday July 1,
2013, in Feasterville, PA, closing out the ECDX weekend. I was one of the
hopefuls on that intense but exciting day. I had the opportunity to skate alongside some of the best in the country. Representatives from Gotham, Philly, Boston, Charm City, Atlanta, Tampa, River City, Maine, Steel City, Texas, and several other leagues were there. A total of 150 skaters were signed up for tryouts, and
the competition was fierce.

I arrived 10 minutes before the announced door-open time of 10 am, and there was already a long line of skaters ready to sign their waivers and get started. Each of us was assigned a jersey color (black, white, or red) and a group number (1 or 2). We were expected to warm up on our own and be ready to start at 11 am. I stepped out on the floor determined to skate my best and give it everything I had. The Team USA coaches, Buster Cheatin’ and Endless Justin, definitely asked for a lot from each hopeful. We were challenged both mentally and physically; the coaches were trying to push us to our limits.

The schedule of the day was to do several drills meant to evaluate our skills and abilities, followed by a cut and then scrimmage. The first skill we demonstrated was stops, plows and hockey stops on both sides. We had to stop on the whistle and then sprint out and be prepared to stop again. It was grueling to try to stop in as short a distance and as small a space as possible over and over in quick succession, and there was a point where I thought I might pass out (it was hot in there!). But I survived, and I was pretty pleased with my showing.

We went through one-on-one blocking, two-on-one blocking, and threeon-one blocking, rotating so that we played blocker and jammer positions.  We were asked to block facing both forwards and backwards in each scenario. After three and a half hours of drills, I found myself extremely exhausted.

But, man, I was having fun! At around 2:30 we were given a break to eat and rest up while the coaches decided on scrimmage teams. I did not expect to be chosen, as I looked around at all the talented and experienced skaters surrounding me. And I was correct. Only 32 were chosen to scrimmage, and I was not one of them.

I was disappointed but not disheartened. I had achieved my goal, to come out and skate with some of the best roller derby has to offer, and to give it my all. I had done this and more. I was proud of what I accomplished at tryouts, and at no time did I find myself saying, “I can’t do this,” or “I shouldn’t be here.” I learned many things on Monday, including where I stand as far as my skills and what I need to work on to make the cut next time. I am pleased that these are in line with my personal goals, so I must be on the right track! I also brought home valuable drills to share with Carolina so that all of us can improve.

You may ask yourself, do I have what it takes to tryout? I think it’s a great experience and would recommend giving it a shot, but here are some things I think you need if you want to get the most out of the experience. Obviously, you need a solid understanding of the rules and current strategy. You must have strong basic skating skills (stops, lateral movements, use of your edges, etc). The coaches are looking for skaters who work well with others and as part of the team. They want versatility and will be selecting players who are effective as both blockers and jammers. Most importantly, you have to give it your all in every second of every drill in tryouts because the competition is so tough.

I was inspired by all the amazing athletes who tried out for Team USA. There was such talent, passion and pure determination in the skaters who participated. I had a great time at tryouts, and I would do it again in the future. I went into it all with no expectations of making the team but with the hopes of learning about myself as a skater.  I left with a few new friends and a great deal of pride in what I can accomplish.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What's Next? After you've had your "oh shit" moment on the track.

We all have "oh shit" moments on the track.  We give up the inside line to the opposing jammer, we cut the track when we jam, we back block the living hell out of the wall, and we all think, "Oh shit!  Why did I do that?" 
What just happened? Photo by Joshua R. Craig

You did that because it's derby.  Derby is a game in which the team that makes the least amount of errors wins; it's sad but true, and nobody is perfect.  Even Bonnie Thunders, that demigoddess of derby, has to pass the panty once in a while!  So, the first thing you need to do is allow yourself to screw up.  You're going to screw up on the track, and the sooner you accept it, the better your game is going to be, both mentally and physically.

So what do you do after you have an "oh shit" moment on the track?  Do you wallow in your mistake?  Do you take time to "show the world I screwed up", shrug your shoulders, make a face, or do you try to figure out what you can do next to make it better?  My personal mantra on the track is "What's next?"  What's next keeps me from getting into my own head and getting down about my errors.  It also keeps me engaged in the game, and I tend to be able to switch quicker from defense to offense and vice versa.  I can anticipate what the other team might do and because I'm thinking "What's next" sometimes I can do something about it.  Sometimes I pick the wrong thing to do, but you always have another chance to do the right thing.  If our sport is one where the team who makes the least amount of errors wins, it's also a sport where you can have a second, third or fourth chance, and that's pretty great.

I see so many people afraid to take risks at practice.  They're afraid that people are judging them, and nobody wants to be seen as anything but a badass on the track.  We all love our teammates, but we're also competing against them, and nobody wants look like weak sauce in front of the competition.  Don't get all bound up in not making mistakes, how else are you supposed to learn?  So what if you screw up?  Have your "Oh shit" moment in the safety of practice, not at a game, if you can help it.  Remember, you're not the only one out there trying to play a game, so if you screw up, your teammates have your back!  Most of the time, they're not counting your mistakes!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

To the Entitled: Part Three

Just when I think derby is winning the war on dealing with entitled members, I get a spate of emails and messages from people in leagues all over the place dealing with a group of entitled skaters.  Is it cyclical, like the seasons?  Or the moon phase?  Is there a tropical storm season of entitlement?
Image found here

I've spent a lot of time and effort in my blog to help people realize that entitlement is one of the seven deadly sins of derby teams.  It is destructive and it can take the joy out of skating for people if it is left unchecked.  Ever get a blister from skating?  It seems like a small injury, but it nags at you.  It hurts, it makes you miserable and sometimes it becomes the focus of all of your attention.  Entitlement is the blister on the foot of a derby league.

How does this happen?  Why does it keep happening?  What can we do to stop it from happening in our leagues?

First of all, I think entitlement is an especially thorny issue in derby because we have a weird set up in our sport, which makes us a unique entity.  "For the skaters, by the skaters" is a great DIY ideal, but in the practical everyday running of the league, this tends to cause a lot of problems if there isn't excellent communication in the league in question.  Let's face it, leagues don't always communicate well.  "That's how we've always done it and new people need to figure out our way" tends to be the ruling philosophy, which works if someone knows all of the unspoken rules of a league, but if they're new they're probably clueless.  Also, if a league has skaters who are "awesome" and aren't held to the same standards that everyone else is, ie. volunteer work and attendance, then why wouldn't newer skaters think they can act the same way.  If you don't want entitlement issues in your league, don't foster entitlement with any of your skaters.  Pure and simple.  Either we all work, or this league doesn't succeed. 

A few people have written to me with an interesting conundrum.  To cut down on the butthurt, their leagues have had the skaters self evaluate their performances; what shocked the people reading the evaluations was that a majority of skaters ranked themselves ridiculously high, even the newbies.  Wait, what?  How does that happen?  Well, I really think that we foster this kind of warped self image to skaters, by not giving honest and helpful feedback.   Nobody likes to crush the dreams and hopes of a newbie skater, but when we say "You're doing great!  You're amazing" without giving the skater a context for that level of feedback.  When we say those things, what we really mean is "You're doing really well for a newbie!"  or "that was great, because a month ago you could barely stop without falling down."  We edit ourselves because we don't want to crush a newbie; unfortunately, newer skaters don't understand the context.  They hear "you're awesome" and that's as far as it gets.  It's no shock that many skaters develop a twisted and inherently skewed perception of their skills.  Add to that the fact that many newer skaters don't get to venture out of their leagues to mingle with other skaters, so they don't have a good perspective of what "Good" is.  Let's face it, the definition of "good" is graded on a curve in derby.

How can we minimize entitlement?  Basically, we need to communicate better.  We have to act better too, and be clear with our expectations.  If we don't model how we want people to behave in our league, we're going to keep getting more and more entitled waves hitting our sport, and ain't nobody got time for they say.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Glades: A Report Card

 I'm slowly becoming convinced that there is no way to bring roller derby to the small screen without certain stagnant and trite tropes.  Ok won.  You can't do a TV show with derby in it without trotting out these tired ideas, and the Glades is no different.

Image found here
 The Trope List

1.  Five minutes into the episode....the abuse word is mentioned.  Whee!  All of the cop episodes that involve derby do this.  'The victim has bruises, she must be an abuse victim."  I don't know, maybe this is an indictment about women in general, but I'm tired of hearing it on shows with derby involved. On a personal note, I had bruises before derby, but that's because I rarely look where I'm going and I'm just plain clumsy.

2.   BY DAY SHE WAS A BANKER!  BY NIGHT SHE WAS A DERBY GIRL!  MUHAA HAA!  Lord, I'm tired of this.  By day I'm a graphic designer, by night I'm a graphic designer who plays roller derby. Hey, at least they showed one of the derby girls with a good and normal job. Of course, two of the derby girls were involved in some kind of weird girl gang before derby.  We're all violent, right?

3.  Team tattoos.  Ok, I'm sure there are teams that get tattooed together; I have derby tattoos, but they're mine and mine alone.  No offense ladies, I like you guys a lot, but I don't want to have the same tattoos that you do.

4.  Blood.  Fighting.  Ugh.  I am not thrilled when I see a knock down drag out fight taking place on these shows with derby, but once again I feel like TV producers don't think derby lives up to it's reputation, so they have to spice it up with fights and blood.  I know, I know, a lot of police shows like to spice up all sports with fights and blood, right?  Not as much as they like to do it with derby.  People still have an outdated vision of derby in their heads, so "Give the people want they want!"  Bleah.

5.  The nerd boy/girl always is the one into derby and has to explain it to the cool cop. Of course it's the nerd. Yea for the nerds!  The cool kids are too cool to know about derby, right?

6.  When derby parties, it parties hard.  The Glades might have outdone the other silly TV shows with this one.  They showed the teams getting together and drinking the night before a bout.  I don't know about your team, but my team won't do that.  We might go to a meet and greet, and drink a lot of water and eat together, but we won't drink alcohol.  Sorry television, we're athletes, and athletes are kind of boring if we're training correctly.

Things They Got Right

1.  Hooray!  They corrected the word game to bout!  Huzzah!  At least nobody called it a match.  (That's just a pet peeve of mine.)

2.   Yea mouth guards!  They were wearing mouth guards and made a show of taking them out before they talked to the cops.  Yea!

3.  One derby girl said about her team, "We fight our opponents, not each other."  I hope that's becoming true all over derbydom.  Start being a team.  Rely on each other, fight for each other, and don't talk crap about each other.  Be A TEAM!

4.   They had some good skating and real skaters and refs!  Hooray for showing real skating!  I saw some jumps and blocks and jukes and heard the correct whistles.  Accuracy like that helps to make the derby believable. 

So, all in all, I'd give the Glades a C.  It wasn't as terrible as the The Bones episode, but it wasn't as positive as the Hawaii Five-O episode.   After watching the three derby episodes in question, I'm pretty sure that it's impossible to bring derby into a cop show without turning it into a trip to the Side Show.  I would really love to have derby understood by the "mainstream" public out there, but we're going to have to be the ones to do it, not television or movies.

So get to it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Derby Etiquette Part Duh.

I get a hodge podge of emails and messages about random derby questions, and I like to lump them together in derby etiquette blog posts. I'm not going to "Dear Ann Landers" this one, but suffice to say that any issues I bring up in an etiquette blog have been raised by people who read my posts on a regular basis.  I am always looking for material, and I promise to never out you if you submit  questions.  Serious or humorous, I'm always looking to help people out when it comes to derby dos and don'ts.

First of all, let's start with #1, literally.  I hope nobody on your team is sporting the number one on his or her jersey, because that's a big derby nono.  Back in 1937, at least 18 people on a touring bus of derby skaters and support personnel died in a wreck.  The number "1" was permanently retired from all roller derby teams as a tribute.  I haven't seen any #1s out there yet, but just let your freshmeat know it just isn't done in derby.  Also, it would be a really arrogant number to take, or is that just me? Maybe it's just me.

Moving on.

Photo by Joshua R. Craig
Seems like more teams are having issues with the pregame greet line or "high five line."  Yeah, that surprised me too, but evidently some teams are opting not to slap hands with the opposing team. Don't be rude! Just do it!  It's good form.  I don't care if you don't like the other team; you don't have to be best friends, just be civil, and this is a tradition in our sport.  At the end of the bout, slap hands with them too, and then go and thank the refs.  Please don't give me that crap about "I'm a germ-a-phobe and I just can't slap hands with people."  You play derby, and according to experts, you're covered in microbes.  Get over it and be polite.   Also, you'd better give every little kid that is there a high five at the end.  You are a hero to them; don't burst their bubbles because you lost or had a crappy game.  They don't see you as losers. 

Derby peeps, I know we do this as a semi-hobby/semi-obsession; we sometimes find ourselves biting off more than we can chew.  What am I talking about?  Well, I've noticed a trend of derby people flaking out of derby commitments.  Everyone gets excited when invitationals are first announced, but then reality hits, or laziness hits, or forgetfulness hits and people start backing out.  This is not ok.  If you're going to sign up for something, make sure you are willing and able to do it!  It's not ok with an invitational, it's not ok with events hosted by your league, and it's definitely not ok when it comes to games your league is involved in!  Yes, I know that sometimes real life steps in and says "I don't think so" to your plans, but if you're consistently flaking out on events, don't make the commitment in the first place.

Finally, dealing with league emails is my last topic.  Never hit the "reply to all" option if you're just answering one person!  We all get two hundred eleventy bazillion emails on a pretty regular basis, and ain't nobody got time for a "reply to all" with a side comment in it.  Reply all is the bane of many derby leagues!  Try to keep the clutter out of your league member's email boxes!  Avoid the reply all!

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.  ;)