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QUIZ TIME: How well do YOU know the rules of Roller Derby?


With the current WFTDA ruleset running to 419 pages (and rival codes of a similar length) how well do YOU know the many intricate rules of modern roller derby? Whether you’re a referee or a wannabe, take’s FUN QUIZ and find out how you rate…

Q1. You are Head Reffing a closed door game. First whistle hasn’t yet been blown, when the captain of the away team, Team Black, calls for an official review. They want to formally complain about the home team’s photographer, who is standing in a designated photography square in centre track. Said photographer is a staunch naturist and, although he has placed a sock over his genitals out of politeness, he is otherwise completely naked. The away captain says this is distracting Team Black’s players, although Team White say they are fine with it. What should you do?

Q2. Team White’s jammer had served twelve seconds in the penalty box when the previous jam ended. During the break between jams an elderly spectator approaches the box, and following the “give up your seat for the elderly or pregnant” tradition used on public transport, Team White’s jammer vacates the seat for her. The Head Ref asks the old lady if she could move to one of the other penalty box seats (all of which are empty) to allow the jammer to serve out the remainder of the seated element of her penalty. The old lady refuses saying she “likes this seat, thank you very much”. What happens now?

Q3. You’re Head Ref of a prestigious open door game (part of British Championships) in front of a large crowd. The first whistle sounds and both teams begin skating around the track clockwise rather than anti-clockwise. They are following all the rules of the sport, but are doing so in the opposite direction of play. Initially confused, you allow the first jam to run as if no rules are being broken. Team Black’s jammer ‘scores’ eight clockwise points to Team White’s three. Calling an official timeout before the second jam, you are informed by the jam timer that the popular hypnotist Paul McKenna is in the crowd and was seen entering both teams’ locker rooms prior to the game. It seems the players have been hypnotised into skating the entire game clockwise by Mr McKenna, so he can get a better view of the action from his seat below turn three (which is now turn two). The British Champs representative in attendance is keen that you don’t postpone or abandon the game. What now?

Q4. Team Black have a myriad of players with brightly coloured hair. Team White only have two in their squad of fourteen – one with largely cyan hair (Directions Lagoon Blue), the other with a pastel pink shade (slightly washed out Manic Panic Cotton Candy). Midway through the second period, with Team White leading 213-86, their pink haired player fouls out on seven penalty box visits. She’s the first player on either side to have fouled out today. Does anything special happen? PLEASE NOTE: This game is being played under the USARS ruleset rather than WFTDA’s.

Q5. Three blockers – two from Team Black, one from Team White – are sent to the penalty box just as a jam ends. Team White’s jammer is already in the box. The four players chat amiably about the television series Game of Thrones during the break between jams, but just as the next jam begins one of the Team Black players says her favourite house [in the show] is the Lannisters. Her team mate laughs sarcastically and says they’re rubbish and the Starks are best. The Team White blocker says she likes the Tullys. The argument between the Team Black players is getting heated, with them now shouting and gesturing at each other. The Team White jammer is due to return to track, but stays standing in the box, trying to calm Black’s blockers down. The Team White blocker adds that she also likes the House of Greyjoy. Fearing that the confrontation will escalate, one of the NSO penalty timers folds up an empty chair and whacks all four players around the head with it, rendering them unconscious. You whistle to end the jam for safety reasons as the EMTs attend to the downed skaters. All four quickly come round and the EMT says they are safe to continue after sitting out the requisite three jams. As Head Ref, what’s your correct course of action in this surprisingly common situation?

Q6. There are only five minutes left on the clock for an evening game in a sports hall with skylights. There’s a full moon tonight, although it has been obscured by cloud until a few moments ago. During a timeout for track repair, you hear a kerfuffle on the Team Black bench and look across to see that one of their players has transformed into a werewolf. Said player immediately vacates the bench and bounds into the crowd, where she/it begins tearing out the throats of screaming spectators whilst howling loudly. It’s a little distracting, but is taking place beyond the limits of the track (including ref lane). As Head Ref, what should you do?



1) An official review can only be called in respect of events that occurred in the previous jam (Rule Since the game has not yet begun, Team Black have called an official review illegally. Consequently Team Black forfeit the game.

2) As the Team White jammer willingly gave up her seat, she must sit on the old lady’s lap, as must any further penalised Team White jammers (Rule Should either the jammer or the old lady refuse this arrangement, the jammer shall be removed from the game and Team White should source correctly sized skates and safety gear for the old lady, who must serve out the remainder of the jammer’s penalty period before taking her place on track (Rule

3) You’re well aware the game is being played counter to all designated direction of play rules [too many to list here]. Knowingly allowing this to continue would result in you being banned from reffing future sanctioned games, with the additional possibility of a large fine and/or custodial sentence. Although the WFTDA ruleset doesn’t explicitly address the situation you find yourself in – we’re promised the next rules update will – following the precedent set in last year’s Canadian Champs game between Vancouver Velociraptors and Ottawa Wahpedals, you should declare the first jam void and restart the game. Before it begins, arrange for Paul McKenna to hypnotise yourself and the other refs, NSOs, bench crews, announcers and British Champs rep into thinking that clockwise is the *correct* direction of play. (Don’t bother getting him to hypnotise the audience – 98% of them won’t notice the difference anyway.) Since you are no longer ‘knowingly’ allowing a breach of the rules, proceed with the game as ‘normal’.

4) Everyone knows that WFTDA rules on hair colour state a team must have at least one skater with blue, green or turquoise hair PLUS one skater with pink or bright red hair in their charter roster of twenty (Rule 2.8.3). Also that at least one of these two players should feature in the game day squad (Rule However, there are no rules or sanctions relating to that player fouling out or being expelled over the course of the match. USARS rules are far more strict, however, specifying at least one blue haired AND one green haired player in each roster of twenty, in addition to one pink/red. In cases of turquoise hair, this should be categorised as blue if the cyan content outweighs the yellow (measured using software with an eyedropper tool on a photograph taken under white light) by a factor of 48% or more; otherwise it counts as green. Of these three colours (green, blue, pink/red) a minimum of two need to be present in any game day fourteen. More importantly: “If at any stage, a team’s squad – due to injury, expulsion or foul outs – contains just one (or none) of these three hair colours, a forfeit is declared. The game is awarded to the opponents by a points differential equivalent to the Pantone colour number of the most recently departed player’s hair.” (See USARS Rulebook section on hair colouring, pages 117-121.) That’s what should occur in this case.

5) All four players heads’ struck the chair. Since the NSO was holding the chair at the time, this is interpreted as the same as if the players had all struck the NSO directly. Consequently, all four players should be expelled from the game for gross misconduct (Rule 5.16.28).

6) The WFTDA rulebook doesn’t contain anything about werewolves! It would be ridiculous to expect it to. Instead, you should apply the section (9.4.4) relating to zombie infection. Treat the werewolf player as if she was a zombie player. In this case, since she was not on track when she ‘turned’ and is not currently interfering with play, declare her as removed from the contest due to ‘injury’ and carry on with the game as normal. If there’s a chance that the werewolf player will run out of audience members to devour before the game is completed, you should drape pieces of raw meat around the neck of one of the least important NSOs. If it looks as if the werewolf player may be considering encroaching into the area of play, said NSO should wave her/his arms about, shout “here doggy, doggy” and act as bait to lure the werewolf player away from the track – ideally to another well populated area of the venue, such as a café or crèche.

If you scored 5-6: Well done! You could give top UK refs like Cherry Fury a run for their money. If you scored 3-4: A good effort. You clearly know most of the basic rules, but need to study a few of the more obscure ones if you’re to make it as a so-called ‘zebra’. If you scored 1-2: You tried your hardest, but you should probably focus on something less complicated than roller derby refereeing. Bio-molecular engineering, perhaps? If you scored zero: Idiot.

Why aren’t there more quizzes on Get in touch if you know the answer.

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