Roller Girls – a Scoot and Shoot event

On the evening of May 10th, Scoot and Shoot visited the Roller Derby at Cincinnati Gardens. This was a particularly challenging photographing venue. There was low light and high action. I used a high ISO from 1600 to 3200, and had my lens wide open at an f-stop of 5.4. In some cases I tried to pan with the jammer. Mostly, I wanted to share with you the excitement of the Cincinnati Roller Girls.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _01

The names alone will make you wonder—Cherry Choke, Cincy Psycho, Candy Kickass, or Hannah Barbaric. Rough and tough names for a rough and tough sport.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _02Some of them come dressed to kill in flashy colors,

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _03sparkly shorts,

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _04tiger prints in florescent green,

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _05or stripes.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _06Many are decorated with tattoos.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _07Their clothes sometimes take a beating.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _10 I’d never been to a roller derby before. I always thought of it as a rough race. But now I know more. The woman above is a jammer for the Cincinnati JV or Varsity “B” team, the Violent Lambs. The jammer for each team is the only person who can score points, and she does it by passing opposing team members.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _12The rest of the skaters make up the pack. They try to block the opposing jammer. The game is played in 2-minute jams started by a whistle.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _13The jammers start each jam behind the pack. The first jammer to get through the blockers is awarded the lead jammer. The lead jammer can decide to end the jam before the 2 minutes are up if it is to her team’s advantage to do so.Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _14Once the jammers have made it through the pack, they skate quickly around the rink and then they each begin to score a point for every opposing skater they pass in a lap, including the opposing jammer and penalized skaters who are sitting on the bench. (I’m not sure what actions result in penalties, or time-outs, but they happen quite regularly.) The refs skate around in the middle of the rink, call out  penalties, and keep track of the points each jammer earns.Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _15The jammer’s teammates not only try to block the opposing jammer from passing, but also set up blocking to help their own jammer get through.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _16Because of all the blocking and pushing, the game gets a little rough at times.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _17Blockers often try to push the jammer out of bounds. When that happens the jammer has to go to the back of the group and try again. Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _18Unlike my previous, uneducated impression, roller derbies are not just rough free-for-alls. The young women care about the game and how their team is doing.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _19Here two jammers are going against each other. If the lead jammer falls behind, she can stop the jam so that her opponent does not score any more points.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _20Here a blocker is trying to prevent the jammer from passing.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _21This jammer has decided to end the jam. Her signal to the refs is raising her bent arms up and down. The ref blows the whistle; the skaters stop. And a new jam begins. Usually, (perhaps always) a new team of skaters takes over each time the jam ends.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _23This jammer has broken through the blockers who turn to try to help their own jammer through.Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _24Often the jammers are the smallest skaters. If they can’t push their way through, they can sometimes squeeze through small openings and at times jump over obstructions. Maneuverability is important in a jammer.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _25It’s an intense sport.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _26The women play hard.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _27A group of blockers tries to hold the line.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _28An individual blocker tries to obstruct the jammer.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _29Players get knocked down.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _30

Players get hurt.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _32The action is fast.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _33Hearts and souls are in the game.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _34They give it all they’ve got.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _35They want to win.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _36They push ahead.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _37They stand their ground.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _38They plan their strategies, play their hardest, and strive to win. They are competitors.

Roller Derby 2014-05-10- _39They are women.

12 thoughts on “Roller Girls – a Scoot and Shoot event”

  1. This is not like the roller derby that I remember watching on TV when I was a kid. Where is the inclined track? And where are the motorcycles? Oh, wait–I guess that was Rollerball. Interesting to see a resurgence in roller derby.

    Tossing It Out

    1. My husband Mark also commented on the flat track. Apparently there are flat-track derby teams. The Cincinnati Rollergirls is the area’s first all-female amateur, flat track roller derby team. So it says in the program. It was fun to watch, even without a motorcycle.

  2. We have a local roller derby team called the River City Dames that is pretty popular. I have never seen the play but it is a big attraction around here and they raise money for different charities which is a neat thing. Great pics!

  3. I am sooo impressed!!! You learned how the game was played and took these excellent pictures all at the same time. And they were all action shots with the girls speeding past you. Congratulations.

  4. And they do it all while wearing roller skates! LOL I couldn’t even stand up on them, let alone plan a strategy.


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