Apr 222010
 

Hey Derby obsessed.  It’s Madie here again.  This time taking you deeper into the world of quad skates and booty blocks.

In my last entry, you learned the basics of the sport of flat track roller derby.  Today, I’m going to talk about something I considered as seldom seen as cool inline skaters (sorry guys but its all about the quads). A procedure called duh duh duh duh wait for it…

PASSING THE STAR!

Here, Rock Bottom and Sour Patch Kid would've been secret lovers...in my mind.

First, a basic explanation.  Pivots, the ladies with the striped panties, and jammers, the ladies with the star panties, have a special relationship.  In my mind I always treat this as some sordid affair that takes a lot of work, which is the reason for its rare occurrence.

The procedure known as “Passing the star” occurs when a jammer takes her panty off and passes it to the pivot, who puts the panty on her helmet and skates on as the jammer.

The reason for my affair idea is because only the jammer and pivot are allowed to touch the panties.  If for some reason they drop the panties, only the pivot or jammer can recover it.  And it is possible to drop them because blocks are legal for attempting to prevent a star pass.

There are a few catches to this:

If the jammer who wants to pass the star is the lead jammer, the second she takes off her starred panty she forfeits that position and the jam continues without a lead jammer.  If she decided to remain jammer after taking off her helmet cover and puts it back on, she still has lost the lead jammer status.

Passing the star can only be done legally inside the zone of engagement.  The zone of engagement is 20 feet in front of and behind the pack.  So say a jammer was exhausted and fell way behind the pack, a pivot couldn’t fall way back and get the star to go on and score points.  That jammer would have to push until she was in the zone of engagement.

The star cannot be passed back to the original jammer or to anyone else after the pivot takes it.  This sucks because maybe that pass didn’t do anything for the team’s point predicament.  Or the original jammer was doing better than the newly elected.

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Ms. Volatile goes charging around the pack (Photo by Maggie Bowles)

Now I’ve only ever seen this once in my short nearly 8 months of roller derby and trust me when I say you never really know when it’s coming, and it’s quite hard to catch.  It was when my team played the Psyche Ward Sirens of Houston Roller Derby.  I was watching the merch table (kind of but I was missing an impeccable match so I sort of watched the table and bout from a spot rather distant from both). What I saw was our lovely, loudmouthed jammer Heidi Volatilee go charging into the pack with no avail (HRD is a kickass league).   She screamed something that I’m sure was unintelligible to nearly everyone and next thing I know Rock Bottom is slipping the jammer panty on over her pivot panty and pushing her way out of the pack.

Afterward I asked Rock Bottom about it and she said she had no idea it was going to happen.  And honestly I didn’t see it happen.  I saw Heidi as the jammer, then Rock as the jammer.  If this had been an official account that was all I could give. No more, no less.

So passing the star is almost some sort of mythical act, like something you’d see in Harry Potter. But it happens.  And if you catch it, you’re a lucky one.  Trust me. Watch this video a million times so you can prepare yourself for catching a glimpse because that’s are there are.  Glimpses.
Toronto vs Detroit

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