HE SPORT OF ROLLER DERBY
first became popular during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It began when owners of skating rinks sought to attract patrons by holding endurance events, a concept that rivaled contemporary dance-a-thons. Contestants would continuously skate laps around the clock, and those who endured longest would win modest prizes. As the popularity of these competitions grew, mishaps that would occur on the rink gave way to attendees coming just to watch the spectacle of falling skaters. It wasn't long before event planners decided to make battle a fundamental part of the action.
Through the 20th Century, the game evolved into a professional sport.
Although many variations evolved, the rules of the modern game are as follows. Two teams compete for points in two 30-minute periods, during which each consecutive play is called a jam. Each team has five players on the track at a time -- four blockers (defensive) and one jammer (offensive). The jam begins when the starting whistle blows -- the blockers skate first, moving together in a pack. A second whistle blows, and the jammers begin to skate after them, racing to pass through the pack. The jammer who breaks through first is termed the lead jammer. After one lap, the lead jammer attempts to pass through the pack again, scoring one point for each opposing blocker she passes. The jam is finished either when the two-minute clock runs out, or the jammer places hands on the hips signaling the end of the jam.
A hundred years later, the next generation of derby is stronger than ever. The Psycho Derby League (PDL) tests the mettle of female athletes from around the globe as their teams vie for the ultimate prize, the Silver Wheel. We at the Skate Sports Network are proud to bring you complete coverage of events through our exclusive microsatellite broadcasts in Holographic-Video3 (HV3)*.
*Where available. Call your microsat service provider for details.