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Roller Derby 101: Rules And Lingo
Everyone knows the basics of roller derby – skaters in wild outfits, fishnet stockings and chinstrap helmets round an oval track at a frenetic pace bashing into each other. But there's much more to it than that. Derby rules can vary from league to league but here are the rules the Hurl Scouts learned: 
 Roller derby is a race. One skater – known as a JAMMER – must get through the pack and pass all of her opponents in order to score points. For every opponent a jammer passes, she scores one point. If the jammer can't get past her opponents the team scores no points at all. Jammers receive additional points for lapping the other team's jammer. 
 Teams are made up of 5 skaters. In addition to the jammer, each team also has a pivot and 3 additional blockers. The PIVOT's job is to keep track of the team's jammer, call out plays and signal the blockers to speed up or slow down in her defense. The BLOCKERS have the high-adrenaline task of keeping the opposing team's jammers from passing them and scoring. 
 Blockers skate together in a PACK. 
 The jammer has 60 seconds to score – this time period is known as a JAM. Each game, known in roller derby as a BOUT, has two 12-minute periods. The lead jammer can CALL OFF THE JAM at any time by putting her hands on her hips. 
 Full body contact, such as HIP-CHECKING, is allowed in blocking but players cannot grab, yank or trip one another. They must keep their arms bent and may not use any part of the arm below the elbow. Players who foul another player get a penalty of one minute. Severe fouls can result in the loss of a player. 
 Blockers can also ASSIST jammers with movies like THE WHIP, in which a blocker grabs a jammer's arm and pushes her forward with momentum, or THE TRUCK-AND-TRAILER, in which teammates skate, with one (the truck) pulling the other (the trailer) from behind 
 The key to roller derby is not just skill but strategy and, as in football or basketball, smart plays can take the other team by surprise And some other facts about Roller Derby: 
 Despite the rules, and despite protective equipment including mouth guards, helmets, knee pads and elbow pads, roller derby fights and fouls do happen and injuries are common – ranging from the sport-specific "FISHNET BURN” and bruises to broken bones and concussions. 
 Most amateur roller derby leagues welcome new recruits, even those who haven't skated in years or at all, and provide training. Players, who come from all backgrounds – from lawyers to nurses to stay-at-home moms -- learn how to skate at high speeds, dodge obstacles, fall without injury and jump on moving skates 
 There are now more than 400 amateur roller derby leagues worldwide . . . and counting . . .


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