Roller derby scrimmage in Rotterdam


Derby girls from all over the Netherlands and Belgium came together yesterday in Rotterdam for a scrimmage, an unofficial bout. Our very own Orangemaster was there to block for the white team, and I sat in the suicide seats and took pictures.

For those who do not know anything about the sport, here is a short, illustrated explanation. Two teams of five women race around a track, dressed both to impress and so you can tell them apart (in this case one white and one black team). The only men allowed on the track are the referees who dress in black and white stripes.

Each team has one jammer and four blockers. The jammer wears a star on her brain bucket, and can score points by passing the blockers. The one with the stripe on the helmet is called the pivot, and is the head blocker. In this photo the pivot is Amsterdam Derby Dames’ Nasty Moves, a.k.a. my co-blogger Orangemaster.

After a jam, which lasts for two minutes or until the lead jammer calls it off, the teams may bring on fresh skaters.

The jammers start a few metres behind the rest.

Once the starting signal is given they try and get to the pack…

… which is eagerly awaiting their arrival.

The jammers try and squeeze past the blockers, who try to avoid this by use of brute force …

… until the jammer spots a gap …

… and then, sweet release, and points scored for the team.

And that is how roller derby is played. Spectacular to watch, and judging by skaters sometimes crashing out with plain fatigue, tough to play.

Preparation of the track somewhere deep in Rotterdam’s public transport zone 5300—yes, that zone.

Nice turnout.

Before the scrimmage both the skating and the non-skating officials were presented to the spectators.

Madame speaker explained how it worked and commented throughout the affair on what was happening.

Being a jammer must sometimes feel like being a lone gazelle, lost on the plains of the Serengeti.

The jammers that arrived in casts and wheel chairs showed that these events sometimes end in tears and broken bones, but yesterday it was all smiles and hugs.


  1. ApocalypSo says:

    Great post!! Wish I was there!

  2. Puppi The Queen of Chaos says:

    You are a master words and vision! I’ve been trying to explain it in a million different ways but end up tripping over my own tongue!! I’ll be showing this one around!!

    Puppi The Queen of Chaos
    (Madame Speaker) (XD)

  3. Branko Collin says:

    Thank you!

  4. […] Essen for their first ever official match (there was a scrimmage of mixed Dutch and Belgian teams a couple of weeks ago, which is a practice match). This also made it the first ever bout of any Dutch […]

  5. […] which designated scorers need to pass a pack of blockers for points. We covered the basics before in an article about the first unofficial match (‘scrimmage’) last […]

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