Roller Derby is a contact sport played by teams of five skaters on a thin rink. The two positions are blockers and jammers, and the lead jammer has the right to stop the jam. Points are awarded when jammers pass through the group a second time. Roller Derby has its roots in the Transcontinental Roller Derby, which started in 1935, and has since evolved into a primarily female sport.
Roller Der is a contact sport played by professional and amateur teams. It has morphed primarily into a sport for female players. The rules vary between leagues, but usually two teams of five players each skate counter-clockwise on a thin rink. The two positions in Roller Derby are blockers and jammers, and the pivots are blockers that set the initial pace at the start of the derby.
The Roller Der jammers try to outrun the group and the lead jammer is the first to do so. The lead jammer has the right to stop the jam, and the decision to do so is considered strategic. Points are awarded when jammers pass through the group a second time. Blockers do their best to stop opposing hecklers, but must also help their own hecklers move through the pack by doing what is known as whipping. Whipping means pulling or pushing the jammers, and jamming ends when overridden by the master jammer or when a certain amount of time is reached, such as two minutes.
The Roller Der style of sports entertainment has its roots in the Transcontinental Roller Derche which was started by film publicist Leo Seltzer in 1935. Pairs of skaters circled a rink in 11 1/2 hours each day to try and skate the equivalent of approximately distance between Los Angeles and New York City. Seltzer took his event to several cities and charged admissions to spectators. Eventually, the show morphed into the sport we know today, as new rules and strategies were added.
International Roller Speedway, sometimes called Roller-Catch, began touring Europe and the Philippines in 1937, two years after Seltzer’s event. Other roller teams sprung up in the 1960s, but Roller Derdi Seltzer, then run by Leo’s son Jerry since the late 1950s, was the only one that had ever been truly popular. It lasted until 1973 when they closed it, incurring high overhead costs. Attempts to revive the sport weren’t a great success until the early 21st century, when mostly women’s Roller Derby teams began forming in many cities across North America.