Video: About the Bout and the Thrill of the Spill
“We all fall down at some point. It’s what you do when you get up that matters!” – Helen Wheels, Denver Roller Derby
This video segment was filmed on May 27 at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, when Maiden Milwaukee won the championship bout against the Rushin’ Rollettes for the first time in the team’s 11 year Brewcity Bruisers league history.
In Roller Derby terms, a game or competitive match is called a bout, and each half is thirty minutes of play time. It is a contact sport with five members on each of the two teams that roller skate counter-clockwise around a track.
Points are scored during a series of short matches, known as jams, in which a player is identified as a jammer and must lap members of the rival team. Both teams attempt to block the opposing jammer while assisting their own jammer, requiring the other four skaters to simultaneously play both offense and defense for up to two minutes.
Certain styles of blocks and other actions during play can earn a penalty from referees, forcing a violator to serve time in a penalty box for thirty seconds and leaving their team short.
One special blocker can be designated as a pivot by wearing a striped helmet cover, allowing the player to become a jammer during the course of play. A jammer wears a helmet cover with two stars for identification, while the blockers keep their helmets uncovered.
Play begins with blockers from both teams forming a pack between the rear jammer line and the front pivot line. The first jammer to get beyond the pack and pass all the blockers at least once becomes the lead jammer, and scores a point every time they lap any skater of the opposing team. Points can only be scored after the first complete lap has been made.
A team roster consists of 14 players, who usually rotate on the track between jams. A jam will end after two minutes unless signaled sooner by the lead jammer, by placing both hands on their hips. The team with the most points at the end of the bout wins.