Central New York, Sports

Roller Derby: Contact Meets Compassion

CNY Roller Derby athletes explain what it's like to be a part of the team. (c) 2018 Frank DeLuca

By Frank DeLuca ROME, N.Y (NCC News) – Skates, pads, a helmet, and grit.

These are the four essentials to roller derby, according to athletes competing in the Central New York Circuit.

But one CNY Roller Derby skater suggests there’s a little more to the sport than the hard-hitting, fast-paced action on the track.

“I feel like we are a very close family. It’s grown as my second family,” CNY Roller Derby athlete Taylor McLain said. “There’s one girl I look up to who’s like my big sister.”

The team meets on Tuesdays and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy Civic Arena in Rome. Go to the team’s website for more information on how to reach out or join the team.

If Rome is too far, you can find one closer to you. There are 32 teams located in New York, according to Derby Position, including:

Roller derby teams consist of three positions:

  • Jammer – The point scorer on each team; points are scored for every opposing team member passed on the track. The jammer can take multiple laps to score more points. The lead jammer can call off a jam at any time.  (Stars on helmet)
  • Blocker – The blockers try and prevent the opposing jammer from making it through the pack, while also trying to create space for their own jammer to pass through. (No helmet design)
  • Pivot – The pivot may be converted to a jammer during the jam with a “star pass,” where the jammer transfers his/her helmet cover to the pivot. (Stripe on helmet)

The WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) is the international governing body of women’s flat track roller derby. It is responsible for establishing guidelines and rules for the sport, which you can view here.

A jammer (wearing a green helmet cover) makes her way through the pack. (c) 2018 Frank DeLuca