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.
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.
Some of them come dressed to kill in flashy colors,
tiger prints in florescent green,
Many are decorated with tattoos.
Their clothes sometimes take a beating.
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.
The 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.
The 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.Once 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.The 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.
Because of all the blocking and pushing, the game gets a little rough at times.
Blockers 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. Unlike 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.
Here 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.
Here a blocker is trying to prevent the jammer from passing.
This 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.
This jammer has broken through the blockers who turn to try to help their own jammer through.Often 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.
A group of blockers tries to hold the line.
An individual blocker tries to obstruct the jammer.
Players get hurt.
Hearts and souls are in the game.
They plan their strategies, play their hardest, and strive to win. They are competitors.
12 thoughts on “Roller Girls – a Scoot and Shoot event”
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
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.
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!
Thanks. You should go sometime. It was fun.
this was fun. I learned a lot and got to admire your pictures. I bet it was a lot of fun, a lot of noise and a lot of pictures!
It was a lot of fun. I may go again.
Very dynamic action shots, Christine, and good portrait captures as well.
Thanks William. I have a lot to learn. For now, how to use Adobe Lightroom. . . It’s always something.
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.
That is so kind of you. I’m trying. But I realize I have much to learn. I do enjoy photography though.
And they do it all while wearing roller skates! LOL I couldn’t even stand up on them, let alone plan a strategy.