Friday, November 19, 2010

Just When You Think You've Seen It All...

A guide to Overtime Jams
Guest post by Hellions referee, Beau T. Call

The ref crew for the Roast-Her bout. Hellions Miranda
Wrights, Luci D. Dreams, and Beau T. Call (top left).
Photo by Sean Hale.
Last Saturday, I had the privilege to officiate at the Jerzey Derby Brigade Roast-Her bout, featuring the JDB Corporal Punishers vs. the WB Scranton Roller Radicals. Both teams were very competitive, and at the end of the bout, it turned out that the scores were tied! This is a relatively rare occurrence at derby bouts, but when it happens, a special set of rules kick in and let the fun continue in an Overtime Jam.

Overtime Jams usually begin with an Official Time Out to double-check the scores. The score trackers will make sure that the score on the scoreboard is current. The referees are also using this time to remember the four special rules that kick in during an Overtime Jam.

The four special rules are fairly easy to remember. First of all, there will be one minute from when the Official Time Out ends until the Overtime Jam begins. This extra time is for the teams to sort out any special plays they might want to use.

Order your pocket-sized WFTDA Rules Handbook from the
WFTDA Store and don't leave home without it.
Photo by Sean Hale.
The second rule is that there is no Initial Pass. The Jammers start scoring on their first pass through the pack. This rule keeps the action going, and gives a 'sudden death' feel to the Overtime Jam.

The third rule is that there is No Lead Jammer. Since there's no Initial Pass, there isn't a Lead Jammer. Pretty logical, I'd say.

The final rule is that the jam will last the full two minutes. Since there's no Lead Jammer, nobody can call off the jam, so it will last two minutes (unless there's an injury, or the lights all go out, or that sort of thing).

Otherwise, the Overtime Jam is just like a jam in regulation time. Penalties will be called just like they were during the last hour of play, so it pays to skate clean in an Overtime Jam. Your minor penalties will also carry over from regulation time, so it might behoove a bench coach to put skaters with fewer minors in the Overtime Jam.

One observation about an Overtime Jam is that the crowd has lots of energy and gets very loud and expressive. This energy is very contagious and distracting at the same time. It's something to think about if you are a communicative skater (or if you're a ref trying to send a skater to the box).

When the Overtime Jam is over, the score will be tallied again, and the winner will be determined. If the score remains tied, there will be another Overtime Jam (with another one minute before it). This could conceivably continue until Armageddon, but even a second Overtime Jam is very rare indeed.

One final twist is that if the Overtime Jam is called off early due to injury or other unnatural endings, the running score will stand (unless it is still tied, in which case there will be another Overtime Jam). Again, this rarely happens, but it's what the rules say (Section 2.5, Overtime).

Overtime Jams and close bouts are very exciting. They are slightly different from regulation jams, but the differences are fairly easy to understand and remember. If you ever experience an Overtime Jam, you will understand how they exemplify the energy and sportswomanship which is the spirit of Roller Derby.

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