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Tag: rules

2-24: Heartbreakers vs. Shamrocks

2-24: Heartbreakers vs. Shamrocks


Join us for a holiday themed full-contact mixed roller derby game! Come cheer on your local derby team – the bout is family-friendly and a guaranteed good time.

Want to skate? Sign up here:
Skaters must be 18+ and have valid WFTDA insurance.
The cost to participate is $10 per person, payment details will be emailed to registrants

Doors open at 6:30 PM, the bout begins at 7:30 PM.

$10 Online ticket sales end midnight the day of the event.

Door Ticket Prices:
$15 – General Admission
$10 – Students and Military (w ID)
Free – Kids under 12

11-18: Annual Salt N’ Pepper Game

11-18: Annual Salt N’ Pepper Game

The officials hang up their whistles for this final bout of the season to join players together as Team Salt &Team Pepper in a full-contact mixed roller derby game! Doors are at 6:30 PM.

Get Tickets

$10 Online ticket sales end midnight the day of the event.

Door Ticket Prices:
$15 – General Admission
$10 – Students and Military (w ID)
Free – Kids under 12

Player Sign-up:

Does No One Here Care About the Rules?!

Does No One Here Care About the Rules?!

Another spring; another rule set.  What’s a girl to do?  Alas, it’s the sport we play.  The rules seem to change like the weather in March, and if you want to enjoy the sport you love and not spend the entire time in the box, then you have to hit the books! Luckily, I’ve become somewhat familiar with the new rules using my large brain and will gladly give you a run-down of how these new rules affect you.  So come, join me, we’ll walk through the glorious meadow of new rules together.

Now I have to hand it to WFTDA, this new rule set ain’t half bad. Some really great changes have been made that really tickle my fancy. First: 30 SECOND GORRAM PENALTIES. 30 seconds! Bask in the delight, people, Christmas just came early.

The Good: Power jams won’t be so brutal. With only 30-35 seconds to score points, a jammer will only be able to make around 3-4 passes if they slice through the pack like buttah, which will only result in around 15-20 points; maybe even less than that depending on how great your wall is. This is a game changer. It will definitely make bouts a little more evenly keeled and better represent the distinguishing qualities between teams.

The Bad: When 30 second penalties were announced, there were praises of joy throughout the land! People danced in the streets! Maidens were kissed by strangers! As great as it is to spend less time in the box, skaters failed to realize right away that they’ll fail out way faster, and if your jammer isn’t disciplined, she can fail out before the first half ends (and then you’re out one of your jammers for the entire second half). This means that your team has to be incredibly disciplined and play clean. I think it’s even more important to stay out of the box now than it ever was before, and whoever can stay out of the box will take home the win.

Synopsis: You guessed it! It’s the same as it’s always been. Stay out of the box.

Yielding: Thank GOODNESS this rule got changed. This was by far the most asinine rule of all time. Having to go back a full lap for having a sliver of a wheel behind the line was lame, and frankly a bit dangerous. Now a player can yield (give enough time for the opposing team to gain position) and then re-enter the engagement zone.

The Good: It makes more sense. Being able to yield instead of going back behind the entire pack while staying in bounds is a lot safer. The old rule set caused a lot of necessary run-ins and collisions.

The Bad: Sometimes an opposing skater isn’t paying attention to how close she is to the line, and you can draw that penalty.  Now, you can’t. She’ll just have to wait a few seconds and rejoin the pack.

Synopsis: I like this rule!

Cutting the Track: How many times have you tried to go back to prevent a cut and one little sliver of wheel has thwarted you?! No longer! We are free from the chains of cutting when our true intention was to yield! Well, not totally, you still have to make sure that both wheels don’t go back on the track, but this rule is the best rule ever (in my opinion).

The Good: The reason why I like this rule change is because it tried to take into account intent. I intended to yield, and because my intentions were pure, I don’t get punished for making a stupid mistake. Now, this rule doesn’t actually measure intent per se, but it does give you a break when you’re obviously just trying to get to the back of the pack and you’re skates just aren’t agreeing with you.

The Bad: It’s going to be a little harder to draw that track cut penalty now, which can really help a team out. With that, if you manage to draw the track cut penalty, it’s a 30 second power jam. Going along with what I said earlier, this will mean less power jams in general and more evenly scored bouts when teams are mostly of the same caliber. Essentially, there will be less bouts where the team has a “bad day” and the score is a blow-out. It’s also a lot harder for refs to watch for this, so mistakes will be made, and it might get a little heated because of it.

Synopsis: Hey, don’t cut still.

Well that’s all I’m going over today, folks.  I know not all of the rules were addressed, but make sure to read them over yourself at here. Knowledge is power! And knowing the rules will give you an upper hand in any bout. See you on the track!


The Original Skankster

Non Skating Officials – Heart and Soul in Roller Derby

Non Skating Officials – Heart and Soul in Roller Derby

For many years I had been interested in roller derby, despite having never attended a bout. It wasn’t until I met two co-workers, Unchained Malady and Mollytov Maguire, who spoke so enthusiastically about their league, FoCo Girls Gone Derby that I finally decided to go to their 2013 Season Opener home team bout. I was sold.

After attending a New Recruit Informational Meeting shortly thereafter my derby dreams began to blossom. I was GOING to be a skater and I was GOING to skate in my first bout before the end of the year. I admired and idolized other skaters in my league, listened to their advice and pushed myself to become a better athlete. However, my body had other plans…

Towards the end of my 5th practice as a new recruit I sustained a patellar dislocation to my knee, a common injury amongst female athletes and the 9th I had experienced the same injury. Discouraged, I began the long road back to skating. For those considering skating themselves, I have since found training tips and gear to help prevent knee injuries like this.

Once seeded the love of derby can only continue to grow. Before I even began skating as a new recruit, I was invited by the league to attend scrimmages and learn the rules of Women’s Flat Track Derby as an NSO (thanks to my derby wife, ZZ Stardust.) Team Flamingo (nickname inspired by the pink official’s shirts) became my home as I worked to get back on skates.

For the Non-Derby readers, NSO stands for Non-Skating Official. NSO’s are volunteers, sometimes injured skaters like me, who LOVE the game of roller derby and want to be involved. We do a variety of jobs during a bout, including penalty tracking, inside/outside whiteboard, scorekeeper, lineup tracker, penalty box timing, Jam timer, and collecting/submitting bout stats as Head NSO.

It may not sound as glorious as being a skater, but it’s also a lot less work. It can also make for an awkward vibe when players with your league try to talk to you in the penalty box and you have to ignore them. Or maintaining neutrality by not cheering for your friends or gasping at a hard hit. Oh, also there is 100% less dancing…

But for a Bout to be a Bout, we NEED NSOs. Imagine the chaos were there no one to keep score and determine the victor? Or make sure that players serve their penalties for unsafe play? Or keep time to determine the end of a jam? Collectively, NSOs make roller derby happen!

Luckily for me, if there ever was a perfect league to learn NSOing positions, FoCo Girls Gone Derby is the place. FCGGD boasts four dedicated WFTDA Level 2 Certified NSOs: Bladeybug, JewJew Bee, Shake n Break &Whistle Blower (also a skating official.) All of which are happy to teach, share WFTDA knowledge and advice.

The more time I spent learning various NSO positions, saturating myself in numbers and statistics, the shape of my derby dreams shifted. The aspiration to join the Micro Bruisers travel A team was replaced with the desire to travel MORE by officiating tournaments, and someday gain the knowledge and experience to officiate a championship tournament. I’m already looking forward to NSOing at Slaughterhouse Derby GirlsMayday Mayhem tournament, and hope to go to Casper, Wyoming for the Wyoming Roller Derby Cup. These opportunities allow NSOs to develop their skills and meet officials and skater from all over the country.

Mind you, not every NSO gets certified or seeks to travel, just as bout after parties aren’t for everyone in the league. Many NSOs love the league and devote what time they can to volunteer wherever they’re needed. It’s an easy sport and community to love. Everyone’s experience with roller derby is different and there’s a spot for all.

This month I’ll be celebrating my one year derby anniversary. Looking back, it wasn’t the year I thought I’d have, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. I look forward to what the future holds, and should my knee hold up I plan to get back on skates for Team Zebra as a skating official. Yay, roller derby!

Derby Love,
Danger A-Gogo

P.S. Hello reader, thanks for stickin’ with me so far. Perhaps you’re interested in officiating yourself, either an NSO or skating referee? Well we’d LOVE to have you! Email us at

Last Year’s Bucket List and MORE…

Last Year’s Bucket List and MORE…

Alright ladies, exactly one year ago I wrote a New Year’s Resolution blog post about what my plans were for the year to make my roller derby experience as awesome as possible.  Now I’m here a year later, shame-stick in hand, looking back to see whether I accomplished the goals I set for myself.  Did I make it? Did I become the most wonderful, productive derby girl of all time?  Read on and find out!

1. Learn the Rules.
Hmmmm. Rules rules rules.  My most favorite thing about roller derby…NOT.  I know, I know, the WFTDA rule book is not as exciting to read as Fifty Shades of Grey, but it’s well worth the effort. It’s also a bit tricky, because a new rule-set comes out every year, but I have to say that I dusted off the ol’ rule book this year and hit the books hard. I gotta tell you, I learned a lot!  In fact, it saved me a few trips to the penalty box, so if you’re looking to reduce your time off the track, the rule book is the place to start.

2. Make it to RollerCon.
Mission accomplished!  In fact, I was the only girl from our league there.  It made me a little sad, because I didn’t know a whole lot of people, but I have no regrets about going.  RollerCon is definitely the place to go if you need a new spring in your step- er- I mean skate.  With a ton of classes taught by the best roller derby players in the world, they’re tailor-made for each skill you’re trying to pull off next.  With scrimmages, merch, bouts, and parties, RollerCon is the Mecca for any roller girl.  While I was there, the Ark Valley Rollergirls, a league not far from my town took me under their wing and pretty much adopted me for the week.  It was so amazing to hang out with these ladies; they were kind, fun, and I had a blast with them.  With all of the relationships I cultivated, things I learned, and experiences I had, I’ll definitely be making the trip again this year!

3. Win One MVP Trophy at a WFTDA sanctioned bout.
Promises, promises.  Unfortunately I only managed to accomplish this one 50% of the way through.  I won an MVP trophy for a home bout (which I kicked BUTT in BTW) but my goal was to win one during a travel team bout.  I wanted the ladies of the other team, who had never seen us in action, to see me as a valuable asset to my team. Call this a selfish goal if you will, I understand, but can you blame me for wanting to ROCK THE BOUT??!  So this goal will be rolling over to this year, and somehow, someway, I will accomplish it!  That being said, doing what’s best for the team is more important than making yourself look good, so be a team player and rock the bout!

4. Jump the Apex.
I totally jumped the apex, once. ONCE.  But I did it! So it’s practice, practice, practice until I do it again. And again. One day it will be rainbows and cupcakes over that apex jump, so I’ll just keep on truckin’ until it happens.

5. Be Awesome.
Hmmm…can I truly answer this one objectively? Last year I vowed to stop complaining, work out, eat right, and leave it all on the track.  Did I do that? Did I accomplish my goal of being awesome?  Heck yes I did!  I focused a lot on my nutrition this year and making sure I worked out a few days every single week other than derby.  I also stopped playing it safe and tried hard to push myself during practice.  This is probably the most important thing you can do to better yourself. Set goals, set timelines, and then push push push!

So in the spirit of the new year, follow my lead (which is excellent) and set your own Roller Derby New Year’s Resolutions!

Cheers to a great new year,

The Original Skankster

Official Review: My Year in Roller Derby

Official Review: My Year in Roller Derby

“Yes, I officiate roller derby.” I say that phrase a lot; often to the surprise of people I meet on airplanes, at conferences, or even when I am with my friends and family. People usually ask me a ton of questions about the sport, the rules, what I do; and quite often, provide commentary about how surprised they are that roller derby is even around anymore.

As I prepare to celebrate my cough*36th*coughbirthday next week, it dawned upon me that I quietly celebrated another milestone last week, the conclusion of my first year in roller derby.

It was with more than a little angst that I agreed to volunteer with our local roller derby league, FoCo Girls Gone Derby in September of 2012. At the time, I had some exposure to roller derby through my then local (now WFTDA Apprentice League) Appalachian Roller Girls (ARG) in Boone, North Carolina. Although I had watched several bouts, witnessed many wicked hits and celebrated the wins and loses with ARG at their after parties, looking back, to say I knew anything about roller derby would be misguided and just plain wrong.

When I headed off to my first “practice” as an official, I didn’t even own a pair of skates. I arrived at the roller rink, picked out my size 10 rental roller skates and then had a quiet epiphany; I hadn’t put on roller skates in over 20 years. *Flashback Alert*: Picture it, the late 80’s/early 90’s; as a young middle schooler taking a trip to the roller rink and skating to the then coolest Madonna or Tiffany song, ya, that was my last go around with roller skating.

I put my gear on, and off I “skated” (editorial commentary here: to say that I was “skating” is probably an overstatement. What I was actually doing was balancing on 8 wheels and gently rolling forward praying to God, or frankly any deity that would listen at that moment, that I wouldn’t fall.). Sure, on a Saturday night at a bout, you see how athletic and quick the skaters and officials are, but quite frankly, you don’t get to that point without falling. You see, there’s LOTS of falling in roller derby. Lots. Did I mention that we fall? A lot.

You might guess that I am terrified of falling, and at that time, I would absolutely, unequivocally agree that falling and getting hurt is what worried me most about roller derby. To call myself an athlete prior to joining derby would make anyone who knows me, laugh out loud. Heck, it would make me laugh out loud.

Regardless of my fear, I told myself that I really wanted to experience this sport and to eventually become the best official I could be. So off I “skated” (reference editorial comment above) in the outside official’s lane while the skaters whizzed by me at an amazing clip. I cringed every time a skater came within ten feet of me or when their body slammed into the ground around me. What I started to notice was that every time they fell they literally bounced back up like popcorn. Falls seemed to mean nothing to these women, in fact, it was an expectation that at some point you were going to fall and fall hard.

It wasn’t until about a month into my derby career that I was beginning to feel more confident on my skates, and was quite happy with my progress. I had practiced my crossovers, my “controlled” falling and my stopping skills. I was skating with the big kids, the A-Team Micro Bruisers, now at practice and then it happened.

I was skating in the outside lane for officials when the scrimmage jam ended. The skaters on the track were rushing off, the next line of skaters were rushing onto the track, I was skating to my position for the next jam when, standing before me was a skater. We made eye contact, I zigged, she zagged and BOOM, we hit each other, hard. The contact was hard enough that we both spun around, fell to the ground, me hitting my head on the track and the skater landing on top of me.

I was dazed and confused as to what had just happened. It took me a minute to get up and rattle the cobwebs out of my skull, but then I realized I had just experienced my first real “fall” in derby. Sure, it hurt, but more importantly, in my mind, had “survived” a brush with derby death! Let’s be honest, those next few jams all of my fears of falling getting hurt came rushing back into my head. While the first fall didn’t kill me, I was sure that something similar would happen again and I would get really hurt.

As we continued the scrimmage, three or four jams later a skater while falling down herself, unintentionally slide tackled me to the ground. Many people, sans me, saw this happening as they described it, in slow motion, but didn’t have time to “warn” me. Unlike the first hit which I saw coming, this one took me totally by surprise and I went down like a sack of Idaho’s best potatoes. What surprised me more than the fall however was, much like the skaters I bounced right back up and resumed skating.

After that scrimmage, I realized that I had this incredible energy and drive when it comes to derby. I never expected roller derby, of all things, to become such a positive influence in my life. My derby experience has not only taught me about skating, but also about the importance of getting up after you fall, whether it’s on or off the track.

I’ve grown to love this sport and I couldn’t be happier knowing that derby will be an integral part of my life for a long time to come. I look forward to celebrating more derby anniversaries in the years to come.

Thanks for a great year!

Whistle Blower



First Year Stats for Whistle Blower

  • # of Bouts Officiated as a Skating Official: 23
  • # of Bouts Officiated as a Non-Skating Official: 26
  • # of Tournaments Officiated: 4
  • Furthest Distance Traveled to Officiate:
    • 1224 miles for Rolling Along the River Tournament. Sioux City, IA (Driving Roundtrip);
    • 2040 miles for Wild West Show Down, Bremerton, WA (Roundtrip Flight)
  •  # of Derby Crushes: 4
  •  # of Derby Wives: Still Zero. Nada. Zilch.
  •  # of Derby Weddings Attended: Just 1 real one (Love you HardKore Ken & Warchick Barbie!)
  •  # of derby friends: Too many to name, but I am so fortunate to have each of them in my life!