Jewel City Rollergirls win first home game
Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 22:08
After two years, Huntington's first flat track roller derby team finally got to experience home field advantage Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Boyd County Community Center in Catlettsburg, Ky.
The Jewel City Rollergirls won their first home bout, defeating Marietta, Ohio's Hades Ladies 351-192.
Jewel City's team co-captains Audrey “Gravy, Baby!” Hamoy and Jen “Jen Ittles” Billups, both graduate students at Marshall University, were excited about finally playing a home bout. Until Saturday, they were exclusively a traveling team, playing as far as Roanoke, Va.
“There's an different energy when you play at home that you can't really recreate if you're not there. Everyone's cheering for you, not against you,” Hamoy said.
The bout began with a 'Demo Jam,' written and narrated, in part, by Erin “Annie Knuckles” Hart, a player for Charleston's Chemical Valley Rollergirls. She explained the rules, penalties, positions and scoring.
In each bout, there are two 30-minute periods, with a short break in between. In each period, there are several two-minute intervals in which points can be scored, called jams. At the beginning of a jam, four Blockers from each team assemble behind a starting line, and one Jammer from each team, designated by a star on her helmet, stands at a second starting line behind the Blockers. A whistle sounds, and the players take off.
The Jammer's objective is to score points. She must make it through the pack of Blockers and skate a full lap around the track. Starting with the second lap and ending with the completion of the jam, every time the Jammer passes an opposing player, she earns a point for her team. The first Jammer to get through the pack is known as the Lead Jammer, and can end the jam at any point by tapping her hips with the palms of her hands held flat.
The Blocker's objective is both offensive and defensive. They help their Jammer get through the pack and score points, while trying to prevent the opposing team's Jammer from doing the same. In contrast to earlier incarnations of roller derby, hitting with hands, elbows, heads and feet is not permitted, as is contact above the shoulders, below mid-thigh and from behind.
As shown by Saturday's bout, scores regularly reach into the hundreds.
“You kind of feel like a superstar,” Billups said. “Because you have so many people that know you cheering your name.”
The co-captains were pleased with how the team played, but said there is always room for improvement. They said they want to work on taking better advantage of 'power jams,' in which the opposing Jammer is in the penalty box and unable to score points. Power jams can seriously affect the outcome of the game, as they did Saturday.
Next month, Jewel City takes on the Greenbrier Roller Vixens in Ronceverte, W.Va.
Charlie House can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.