The Rocktown Rollers take on SuperNOVA

The Rocktown Rollers cruise around the track together before the start of their bout against the SuperNOVAs at Funky’s Skate Center in Harrisonburg, on Sept. 14.

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.

“AKA V” holds the American flag during the national anthem at the start of the Rocktown Rollers bout against the SuperNOVAs.
Pack Rat sports a mohawk as she coaches the Rocktown Rollers.

Listen to the Rocktown Rollers explain their noms de guerre

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.

Jammer Sadie Masochist cruising after breaking away from the pack.

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.

NOVA blockers Dopamean, Blonde Fury and Battle Gnome try to keep Rocktown’s pivot from opening a hole for the jammer to slip through.

Blockers play both offense and defense, trying to keep the other team’s jammer from passing them while helping their jammer break through.

SuperNOVAs’ jammer, Major D, goes down hard.

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.

Rosie the Riot, the jammer, pushes past a NOVA blocker .
Rocktown blocker Bad Mom (right) goes after NOVA jammer Isle Race U.

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. 

Rocktown Roller’s GiggleHertz greets fans just after the match’s end.
All’s well that ends with a group photo.

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.

Bad Mom gets a running push during halftime.

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