The Penalty Box

I was sitting here this evening thinking about the games I have played in thus far in my Roller Derby career. It’s not often that I have been sent to the penalty box, either for an accumulation of minors, or for major penalties. I can clearly recall how often I have been in the box, perhaps plus or minus once or twice, but I’d say in the past 2 years, approximately twelve times. Seven of those were in one game causing me to be ejected. Nearly every one of those has been due to some sort of cutting the track major or an accumulation of minors for the same reason.

I’d say that’s pretty decent, in fact, most of those were in the earlier games I have played and most recently it has been a rarity to see me sitting on the seat marked with a J. I’ve learnt to be more aware of my surroundings, to watch my footwork and to pay more attention to the person who has knocked me out of bounds. I’ve also learnt how to stop myself quicker and I’m in the motion of getting my mohawk stops down (something I could always improve upon).

This is not me bragging by any means, but rather thinking about the progression I have made as a skater, my advancement in understanding rules and game play and where I have to work from as a basis when I am back on skates. Everyone has something to learn, myself included.

And that’s really what is on my mind at the moment. It’s very frustrating to play amongst and to see skaters who have a mentality of them not needing to continue to learn, that they have reached their peak and deny any constructive criticism or guidance. Ego’s get in the way and rather than functioning as part of a team, the singular mind mentality seems to kick in and at that point cracks begin to emerge.

I believe that everyone should try and have the opportunity to play as both jammer and blocker at some point in time. I’ve learnt from being both, and particularly from being a jammer that a pack doesn’t function correctly when their is the singularity mindset. And to be quite honest, it’s unsettling when you are hurtling towards apposing blockers, not knowing whether those girls on your team have your back, because they have wasted their energy getting the big hits and ignoring the position of their teammates.

I’ve been that blocker, getting completely distracted by my own game rather than the game as a whole. But I think i’ve learnt, and am still learning, that it’s more important to know where every one of your teammates is and to anticipate the needs of your jammer whilst maintaining the control of the opposing jammer.

These are just some random thoughts, but with it i’d like to share this quote.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

And ask this question, as a blocker, what can the jammer do better for you, and likewise as a jammer what can the blockers do for you to improve the effectiveness and fluidity of game play?

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