Roller Derby

On Sunday night Jesse, Pete, Keller, Mandy, Cathryn, Tony, Ernie, and I got together to experience CT Roller Derby. We headed over to Roller Magic in Waterbury for the Carnival of Carnage!

It would be the violent meeting of the Iron Angels and the Bone Crushers.

I was rooting for the Iron Angels.
Pete was rooting for the Bone Crushers.

We got there about an hour early, which wasn’t entirely necessary as there was plenty of standing room. So we played some skiball and I won a sweet sheriffs badge.

Huge Crowds had gathered for the showdown.
huge crowds!

The show started with team introductions. First, out came the Iron Angels. They were introduced one by one. Pearl Jammer, Pam Terror, Tina Colata, and Dead End Allie were the four main Iron Angel Jammers. They were fast, furious, and dressed for the part.

Then came the Bone Crushers. For their introduction, the bone crushers skated into the rink with Bats, chains, and other weapons of serious destruction. The crowds cheered ferociously for their home team as they were introduced to Chick Norris, the Ether Bunny, and Ivanna B. Choo.

The Roller Derby MC’s then went into a “how to” for roller derby. This was extremely useful, as none of us had any idea how the game was played. If anyone out there notices anything wrong with my explanation, just throw up a comment and I’ll make a correction.

As I understand it, there are three different kinds of roller girls.

The girl with the star on her helmet is the Jammer. It’s her job to get points.
The girl with the stripe is the Leader, she sets the pace of the pack and guides the blockers.
The rest are blockers, their job is to help their own team’s jammer through the pack and smash the heck out of the other team’s jammer.

Also in that picture is a ref. For obvious reasons, he’s wearing a clown wig.

While some rinks are banked, this was a flat track. The game consists of three 20 minute periods. Each 20 minutes period is broken up into “jams.” A jam starts with the setup show below. The ‘Pack’ which consists of the leaders and blockers, starts skating at a whistle (shown at the blue line). Another whistle a few seconds later starts the Jammers (shown at the red line). The jammers have to bust through the pack. The first jammer through is declared the ‘lead jammer.’ She has control over the rest of that particular jam and can call it off at any time by repeatedly tapping her hips (huge strategy here). Once through, the Jammers get points by passing their opponents blockers. For each blocker passed, they get a point.

How to?

Sunday’s game was fantastic! I was heavily rooting for Pearl Jammer and Pam Terror. Those girls can Skate!

The last 5 minutes were extreme. The Bone Crushers had a commanding 15 point lead. Normally, this would be near impossible to recover from. But not for my Iron Angels! In the second to last round the Bone Crushers made a bunch of mistakes. Elbows were flying! Before you knew it, the Bone Crusher’s Jammer and two of their blockers were sent to the penalty box!


And boy did they take advantage. Blcokers Nelly Knuckles and Bettie Mercury dominated and kept the Bone Crushers under control. The Iron Angel Jammer lapped the bone crushers FIVE TIMES bringing in ten points for the team.

I was going freakin’ nuts. Pam terror looked destroyed. These girls were exhausted.

There were two seconds left on the clock. Enough time to start one last jam! COULD THE IRON ANGELS GET THE 5 POINTS NEEDED TO WIN THE GAME?!?!

The Jam Started.

In action!

The blockers were especially vicious. Each Jammer was knocked down repeatedly as they tried to break through the pack. Suddenly, out of nowhere the Bone Crusher Jammer pulled some SICK moves and swung in front of the pack. She was declared the lead jammer! She IMMEDIATELY tapped her waist to end the round… and the Bone Crushers were victorious!

I clapped politely as Pete cheered heavily.

I can assure you, I will attend as much of the CT ROLLER DERBY season as possible. In September there’s a rematch between the Bone Crushers and the Iron Angels. My angels will have their vengeance.

Check out this YouTube video of Pearl Jammer being taken down mid-pack. You’ll here my disappointed sigh at the fall of one of our best Jammers. The video’s a bit dark, but hopefully you can still get a good feel for the mayhem.

I think it’s safe to say that good times were had by all.

The gang

After the Roller Derby we went to the After party at a local Waterbury bar. It was just a fantastic night.

Hannah Granade of the L.A. Derby Dolls sent me an e-mail with some excellent additives to my rules explained above.

My league doesn’t wear helmet panties and doesn’t have a Pivot. We’re a banked track league and run by different rules..but I *coach* The OC Rollergirls so I understand a bit of flat track derby. Full flat-track rules can be found here.

The girl with the stripe is the “Pivot”, she sets the pace of the pack, assists her Jammer out of the pack with a whip or a bump and is the last line of defense to keep the opposing Jammer from exiting the pack.

The “star” can actually be passed between one team’s Jammer and their pivot and then the pivot can become the Jammer under certain circumstances. It’s really difficult to pull off and hardly any leagues do it.

The starting set up is:



The “Pack” consists of 2 teams, each with 1 Jammer, 1 Pivot, and 3 Blockers (our banked track league can get a bit more specific..using Jammer Assist, Blocker Assist and Primary Blocker positions within the pack).

A Jammer is eligible for “Lead Jammer” status only if she’s exited the pack “cleanly” the first pass through. That means she can’t commit a penalty and still become the Lead Jammer. She’s not allowed to block illegally, or step out of bounds and still become the Lead Jammer. In flat track roller derby the Lead Jammer is the skater who exited the pack cleanly *first*. In banked track roller derby the Lead Jammer is always the Jammer in the lead.

The Jammers exit the pack, race around the track (they can hit each other outside the pack) and on the second pass through they score points for each opposing player they pass.

Thanks Hannah Grenade!

16 thoughts on “Roller Derby

  • 5/8/2007 at 10:56 am

    Does this league have a website?

  • 5/8/2007 at 11:17 am

    I would just like to point out that Mike D was the worst Skeeballer of the three, and I never got my soda! Roller Derby RULES!

  • 5/8/2007 at 12:15 pm

    Yes, I was definitely the worst.

    But both of your Skeeball stations had more balls than mine! For whatever reason, I was boned with a mere 5.


  • 5/8/2007 at 12:17 pm

    Wow…I checked out thewebsite and it is awesome! Ifyou read this hannah can you shed a little light on how this whole thing got started? I’d be interested in how you and your band of teamates got together. How does one become a Roller Derby gal/referee.

  • 5/8/2007 at 12:23 pm

    On the back of the CT Roller Derby pamphlets there was a little “wanted” poster for:
    Roller girls

    and more! I would recommend looking up a local derby squad, checking out a match and then talking to one of the participants.

    All sorts of history can be found HERE.

  • 5/9/2007 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks for the write up, Mike.

    Hope to see you at future CT RollerGirls games! We’re going to have another brutal match up between the Bone Crushers and the WidowMakers on June 10th.

    Here’s the flyer, it’s gonna be a good one!

  • 5/9/2007 at 9:29 pm

    Wouldn’t miss it for the world. Though I must admit, after a night of cheering on the Iron Angels, my loyalty is with that team. I’m disappointed I missed the first showdown.

    Who won that first match between the Iron Angels and the Widow makers? It’d be awesome to have a running scoreboard (perhaps with highlights!) on the website.

  • 5/9/2007 at 9:59 pm

    Hey Mike! Fawkes here (of the Iron Angels) Glad to hear the team made a fan of you; they played their hearts out! I spent most of the game at the ER sadly, but hopefully we’ll see you at the next bout and again in July when we’re up against the Widowmakers! PS the WM won the first bout!

  • 5/9/2007 at 11:13 pm

    Girl Fawkes! I was disappointed to hear about your shoulder injury. Hope it’s feeling better.

    BUMMER about the Iron Angels loss against the Widow Makers!

    Next time, when Girl Fawkes is on the track and Mike D is cheering heartily from the stands, I have no doubt that the Iron Angels will be victorious.

  • 5/10/2007 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for posting the link, and for all of your support!

  • 5/10/2007 at 9:50 am

    Oops!! The Fox61 coverage is actually from the first match between the Iron Angels and the Widow Makers, not from this previous Sunday’s bout.

    Thanks for the correction Darla D.

  • 5/10/2007 at 4:54 pm

    Hey! Glad to hear you’re a fan! I had a freakin’ blast at my big debut! And I’m really glad to hear you’re now a loyal fan. Make it a point to come say hi at the next bout.
    And by the way, couldn’t you find a videoo of me not getting knocked on my ass?!

  • 5/10/2007 at 9:06 pm

    Pearl Jammer! Awesome job Sunday! Our group was very impressed with your jamming. You are definitely a force to be reckoned with.

    Ha Ha! I actually had a few videos without crashes, but really, that video is pretty good at showing the effort and “give it everything you got” attitude of the CT Roller Derby Girls.

    I can’t wait to see you guys at it again.


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