First of all, I’d like everyone to know that I’m typing this in Helvetica for the sake of irony. Secondly, let’s talk underwear.
Panties, also commonly referred to as chonies, underpants, underroos, unmentionables, and many other things, are the root of many rules in the game of flat track roller derby. In the style of Bill Nye the Science Guy, I’d like to discuss a couple of them.
This is how dumb I am, ok? I’m currently working on my WFTDA Level II Officiating certification, so I’ve been reading the rules really heavily these days in preparation for my WFTDA official certification rules test. I came across the passing the star chapter, or 3.5 in the WFTDA rules document, and I read through it then said to myself, “Uh, what?” Side note: I often find myself very confused by the wording in the rules document, but let’s talk this particular instance out.
18.104.22.168 – If a helmet cover falls to the ground, or is removed from play by any means, it may only be recovered by the Jammer or Pivot.
The way this is worded lead me to believe that I had uncovered the greatest strategy that derby girls would ever know. Just remove the opposing jammer’s panty and BAM!, she’s no longer the jammer and can’t score. For those of you not in the know, BAM! is an onomatopoeia, the likes of which I hold very dear feelings for. This new and amazing strategy would lead to immense amounts of revenue for Wicked Skatewear et al in the form of “She can’t score when her panties’ on the floor!” t-shirts, hats, buttons, etc.
I’m going to give you a quick rundown of the events that lead to this conclusion, however briefly I held it, so that derby nation doesn’t think I’m a complete idiot. This next paragraph is going to be smoke and mirrors, derby nation, because I am, in fact, a self-avowed derby idiot, but here’s hoping.
I work for the US Coast Guard as a Search and Rescue Controller and Federal Law Enforcement Agent. This week I was working overnight shifts of the 13 hour in length variety. When nothing is happening on the happy gulf coast of Texas, I am left with next to nothing to do aside from shining my little black boots until you can see yourself in them. For those who are interested, you can see yourself in them. And I can see up your skirt, too. On this particular evening, they were so shiny the little leprechaun from the hit 1993 classic “Leprechaun” (featuring Jennifer Aniston and Willow) would have been distracted for weeks yelling “Shiny, Shiny, Shiny” all the way home whilst chasing Jennifer Aniston’s happy ass. HELL YES run-on sentences! Moving on. It goes without saying that I was tired, bored, and reading the WFTDA rulebook, which wasn’t helping matters. Hence, I was like, I’m totally going to snatch a jammuh panty and she gonna be like, “Oh no you didn’t.” And the refs’d be all like “WAIT, WHAT?!” while they threw up their closed fists to the NSO’s signaling no points were earned on that pass.
Unfortunately I eventually concluded that no, you cannot just up and snatch an opposing jammer’s panty off of her helmet to keep her from scoring points. The rules state that if a jammer panty is removed, the jammer forfeits her ability to accrue points until the panty is secured on the helmet of the pivot or is returned to her helmet. So I’m thinking to myself, just pull off a bitch’s panty while she’s hauling ass and she will have to go ALL the way back around the track to pick it up because the rules also say this:
22.214.171.124 – A helmet cover may only be recovered in the normal course of counter-clockwise skating. Neither backwards nor forwards skating in the clockwise direction to retrieve a dropped helmet cover is allowed. The Jammer or Pivot may skate out of bounds to retrieve a dropped helmet cover.
GENIUS! However, the rules don’t outright say you can’t do this, but I’ve determined that this would be considered an illegal procedure. If for whatever reason, though, the jammer’s panty is removed as a result of legal actions (for example, she put her panty on all half ass like and it just happened to come off), she forfeits lead jammer status if she’s lead jammer AND she can’t score points while it’s not on her head. Just something to think about and holy crap someone please correct me if I’m wrong because I’m dying to just snatch a jammer panty off of somebody’s head mid-jam and see what happens.
Now let’s talk about the striped underpants, specifically, what happens when more than one pivot is fielded by any particular team for a jam.
6.13.7 – More than one designated Pivot for a team on the track after the starting whistle. The penalty is issued to the Pivot who was the last Pivot to enter the track in that jam. If the referee is unable to determine the last Pivot to enter the track, the referee issuing the illegal procedure must penalize the Pivot on the track closest to the referee who calls the penalty. After the whistle, the referee must instruct her to return to her bench if she is an extra skater on the track (see Section 6.13.6). Any Pivot starting in the penalty box is the designated Pivot for that jam.
Let me set this up for you, there are 3 blockers from team WE CAN’T COUNT and 2 pivots. Obviously, including the jammer, that’d make 6 players on the track and the rules state the extra pivot will be returned to her bench and issued a penalty in accordance with the above circumstances.
Now what if you have 2 blockers from team STRIPE BLIND and 2 pivots? Can the second pivot just remove her helmet cover to become just another blocker?
Player positions refer to the position a skater is playing in a given jam. A skater is not limited in the number of positions she may play during a bout, but is limited to playing one designated position at a time. A maximum of four Blockers and one Jammer from each team are allowed on the track during play; only one of the Blockers may be a Pivot Blocker (see Section 3.2 – Pivot Blocker and Section 3.3 – Jammer).
As it turns out, the answer is no and here’s why. What would happen if a team fielded too many jammers? You wouldn’t allow the additional jammer to just remove her panty and remain on the track. The standard is the same for the pivot position. She’s got until the jam starting whistle to figure out that she’s extra or just a blocker and adjust. If she has the cover on at the whistle, she is returned to her bench with a minor illegal procedure penalty.
Now for my disclaimer, I am in no way the end all be all on the WFTDA rules or their interpretations. For all things WFTDA rules you should trot your shiny hiney over here to the WFTDA rules page. They’ve got all sorts of amendments and clarifications and other whatnots posted in addition to PDF versions of the rules and hard copies for order. These are not to be confused with gadgets and gizmos aplenty, nor whose-its and whats-its galore. On the real, if you ever have any rules questions you should go to there, derby nation, and submit them to the WFTDA rules committee where they will be reviewed and scrutinized to the utmost accuracy of WFTDA ruling and you shall receive an answer.