Story and photos by Mike Tripp, contributor
Things got serious at Funky’s Skate Center recently, with two roller derby teams facing off in fierce competition. Armed with roller skates, pads and mouth guards, Harrisonburg’s Rocktown Rollers battled the SuperNOVAs from Northern Virginia on Sept. 14 in a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association-sanctioned bout.
A game consists of a series of short matches, called “jams,” with a goal to rack up points as players skate counterclockwise around the track.
The rules are relatively simple.
Each bout is divided into two periods; each period is divided jams, which typically last two minutes.
During a jam, each team fields about five players on the track at a time.
One is designated as the “jammer,” indicated by a star on her helmet.
The jammer tries to score points by lapping opposing players.
The “pivots” wear striped helmets. They set the pace for the pack and check jammers about to break through.
The rest of the players are called “blockers.” They line up behind the pivots and in front of the jammers.
Blockers play both offense and defense, trying to keep the other team’s jammer from passing them while helping their jammer break through.
Scoring happens when the jammer breaks through the pack, skates a lap and begins lapping opposing players – one point each for passing any of the other team’s blockers.
If the jammer laps the entire pack, it’s a “grand slam” – good for four-points.
With each new jam, the players on the track change.
When the dust settled, the SuperNOVAs topped Rocktown Rollers, 188-149.
The Rocktown Rollers have called Harrisonburg home since 2008. Their next home bout – the last of the season – is Saturday, Oct. 19 against Jersey Shore Roller Girls at Funky’s Skate Center.
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