Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Last weekend I went to Utica for the weekend.  I was running the Boilermaker (5K) on Sunday, and there was conveniently a Utica Roller Girls game that Saturday night.  Perfect!

So, I got to the venue and sat down next to Eloda Sarcasm (Hellions love to  road trip out to Utica!)  I was excited to watch some derby because I am usually just PLAYING it.  Not 5 minutes into me being there, however, someone asked if I'd like to help out with the bout.  OK, sure!  There was free t-shirt in it, so why not? ;)  

PS, do you like my dress?  Funnily, it happened to be featured on a blog post by a girl I just met, Courtney, this weekend.  Who knew I had style?

Working the box
It takes a lot of people who put on a roller derby bout.  Besides skaters and referees, you also need Non Skating Officials (NSOs).  These people are responsible for keeping score, tracking penalties, and moderating the penalty box, among other things.  I got to work the box with Beau T. Call (one of our refs - he was just NSOing this bout though) and a girl from Utica.
Penalty Timer for iPhone/iPod touch

In roller derby, you can have no more than 5 players in the box at once - two blockers from each team and one jammer.  When a player is sent to the box, they serve a one minute penalty, and the timer stops inbetween jams.  So -- we're we going to use 5 stop watches??  

Nope!  Luckily, in the age of the iPhone, there's an app for that.  Between the three of us, it wasn't too bad at all.  Somewhat confusing at times, especially if there were more than 3 people in the box.  But all in all a good introduction to NSOing for me!  Plus, I still got to watch the game, and pretty much from the best seat in the house.  However, mad props to Ursula, who is our usual "penalty mistress."  She can penalty time for every player in the box pretty much without blinking an eye.  Much respect to our NSOs for doing the jobs that make the bout happen and go smoothly.  Thank you!


  1. Technically, you could have up to 10 skaters in the box! Although the odds of having all 10 and not 9 are REALLY slim, way more than other values.

    While the iPhone app is cool, it doesn't complete the WFTDA Statsbook paperwork and it doesn't account for having more than 3 people from the same team in the box (when there could be up to 5).

    Bravo for filling in as an NSO! A league can never have too many experienced hands available for bouts.

    Pop Quiz: If there are only seats for two blockers and one jammer per team and if people are sitting in the seats, blockers are waved off, how is it possible every single skater on the track could be in the box at once?

  2. Ahh, Bitches, I am so stumped by this Pop Quiz! As someone new to NSOing, penalty timing, I just don't know!

    Maybe if both teams got into a huge brawl on the track? LOL. I hope some other people weigh in. Maybe stop by in a few days with the answer??

    I'm posting on twitter, maybe someone will know!

  3. when a skater is in her last 10 seconds, she stands, which means technically the seat is free so another skater can come in.

  4. You can't have 10 skaters: for one thing, you have to have a blocker on the track from each team, so the refs really shouldn't be sending off that last blocker. But, you can very rarely have 8 if you have 3 blockers from each team and both jammers (which is possible in certain highly specific circumstances), but that's a situation that can't last longer than 10 seconds.

  5. I thought some more about arcady's comment. I think you could have 4 blockers from each team in the box at once... two that are standing during their last 10 seconds, and the other two who have just sat down in the seats due to a penalty. This could be happening to both teams at once, so that's all 8 blockers.

    As for the jammers:one could be seated in a seat as another is entering the box due to a penalty. And all this could be happening as the crazy blocker scramble.

    Therefore, all 10 players in the box at once.

    I know that arcady said you have to have at least one blocker on the track from each team, but I think my scenario might still work. But then again, by her logic I can also see how you might only be able to have 6 blockers and a jammer at once.

    Is this anywhere near correct or are we totally off base? Hope we can get an answer!

  6. If the refs are paying attention, the last blocker from, e.g., Team A would recieve a "COLOR, #, PENALTY, REMAIN ON THE TRACK" because otherwise there would be no pack. And the same thing would happen to the last blocker from Team B. (EDIT: Arcady covered this situation)

    But even if there were only one blocker left, how could she commit that last penalty? There's no one left to cut or elbow... I guess she could commit a heinous Skating Out Of Bounds... But why? Or I guess she could be bad-mouthing the refs for leaving her all alone...

    And if there was a dust-up, the refs would probably call off the jam and sort it all out in the Official Time Out.... You would see more Explulsions than penalties though.

  7. Those who say that a team must have a blocker on the track are correct. It doesn't always happen that way.

    According to the rules, you could have 8 skaters in the box. In reality, referees often send that last blocker off to the box and leave it up to the penalty box people to waive them off. Again, in reality, a penalty box person with an empty seat will probably seat that blocker. It would behoove the blocker to sit and serve the penalty as fast as possible rather than skate off, get waived off, go back on the track, then be sent back to the box in less than 10 seconds.

    With at least one blocker from each team standing, you could have three blockers from each team. I'd argue in practice, I've seen 4.

    Then for the jammers...

    If jammer A is released from the box when jammer B arrives and jammer A is sent back to the box before jammer B's time is up, the game will continue without a jammer until jammer B is released. Also, if both jammers reach the box at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME, they both serve 10 seconds. So you can, really, have two jammers seated at once, not just on their way to be seated.

  8. How great to read all of these golden nuggets! We're over here, all the way in Belgium - preparing for our first home bout in the beginning of 2011. Since it's a first for us, I'm already starting to gather as much info as possible. We could really use all the help we can find. So thank you for posting all of this.

    Love and sweets from Belgium and the Gent Go-Go Roller Girls. Betsy Boombox (Bout Production GGGRG)