Roller Derby Divas: Part Two
Massive falls and devastating spills.
That's what you can expect to see during a roller derby bout. But as the Eerie Roller Girl's will tell you, there's much more to the sport.
"There's a lot of hitting, a lot of blocking, a lot of speed, a lot of balance and agility," said Eerie Roller Girl Coach Karoline Swanson. "A lot of skill is actually involved in roller derby."
It's a five on five game consisting of a short series of matchups called jams. Each team designates a scoring player, known as a jammer. The rest of the team are called blockers. Just as the name indicates, their goal is to protect the jammer.
"Basically, the blockers are trying to stop the opposing jammer from getting through the pack by hitting and positional blocking with their butts and shoulders and hips," said Eerie Roller Girl Katrina Putnam. "Bascially, every person after the original pass, that's a jammer, passes there hips successfully without any penalties...they get a point."
While the players are female, there is some male involvement. The men of derby serve as referees.
"There's minor penalties and there's major penalties," said Putnam. "Minor penalties, you can get four and then that is a major and then you go to the box for a minute."
This year, the Eerie Roller Girls have 10 bouts scheduled. They will play teams from Pittsburgh, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. Even though there are 35 players on the team, only 14 make the roster.
"The rest of the girls who didn't make roster are here to practice and get experience," said Swanson. "If we do an exhibition and what not then they'll get that experience as well."
Practice, that will allow them to one day step in the rink and compete at as an Eerie Roller Girl.