Monday, November 26, 2012

~New WFTDA Rules for the 2013 Season~

    Just when you thought you knew derby, the rules CHANGE!  Starting January 1st, 2013, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is adapting a revised roller derby rule set. You can find the rule set in length here:

Here are some of the big changes you will see in the 2013 season:

LVRG Head Referee,  Bob Lloyd
1.      One whistle will start game play simultaneously for both blockers and jammers. This will eliminate the slow play starts we have been seeing in the past.

2.      There will be NO MORE MINOR PENALTIES!  Instead, some minors from the old rule set will now be upgraded to MAJOR penalties. Some of these include direction of play blocking, and cutting one opposing blocker or more than one of your own teammates. 

3.       Hands, touching and different contact: with the elimination of the no minors ruling, players may now touch opponents for up to 3 seconds (without changing their relative position or knocking them off balance).

      So who is in charge of enforcing all of these WFTDA rules? The referees, or as we call them, our zebras.  This year, our zebra pack is lead by WFTDA Certified [head] referee Bob Lloyd. We sat down with  Bob Lloyd and asked him a little bit about the refereeing aspect of derby and how he stared with the team:

Tell us about your history with the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls (LVRG):
      I started officiating women's flat track roller derby back in June of 2008.  I went to high school with Tortellina Temptress, a member of LVRG, and came to watch her play.  I had been to a few games, and really enjoyed what I saw.  One day, I saw an advertisement on MySpace (yeah, THAT long ago!) that LVRG was looking for volunteers, referees, and officials.  Right away I sent a message to the league saying I wanted to come help out.  I hadn't been on roller skates in about 15 years, but I really wanted to try something new.  4 years and 80 some bouts later, here I am!  Since I started, I've learned to skate, learned the sport inside and out, and met hundreds of new, interesting people I would have never met, otherwise, best of all - I met my wife, Heather, through roller derby!

How long does it take to be eligible to be certified? What makes up the qualifications?  
     There really isn't a time that it takes to become certified, it depends on how actively you pursue it, and how well you officiate.  The WFTDA has minimum requirements, which they publish on their website (, but those are really some bare-minimum requirements.  It took me about 2 1/2 years of working actively towards certification, until I felt that I met the requirements, and the expectations of the WFTDA skaters and officials.  Some officials may take less, or even more, time until they earn their certification.

     Officials are considered qualified for a certification level based on their performance, experience, and ability. Officials are reviewed by their peers through evaluations that are submitted for the official when he/she works a regulation or sanctioned (ranked) bout.  These evaluations are reviewed by a referee certification committee (made up of skaters and officials from many different leagues) who votes to award certification to an official, in addition to the official passing a rules and skating test.  Higher level certifications are available for officials who excel and have a large amount of high level officiating experience (at tournaments, for example).

What advice do you have for someone who is intrigued by becoming a Roller Derby official, but is not sure on how, what, or why they'd pursue such?
      Just get out and do it!!  It's so much fun!  - Seriously though, we will be having recruitment and meet and greet sessions at the beginning of the 2013 season, and are always looking for good, dedicated volunteers.  Keep your eye out on Lehigh Valley's home page for more details about meet and greets and officials recruitment sessions.  If you just can't wait, you can contact the recruitment e-mail for Lehigh Valley and someone will get in touch with you.

Why would someone want to be a roller derby official?  
     Most likely, they're a glutton for punishment!  After that, it's the excitement, the fast paced action, and the challenge of officiating the hardest sport to officiate.  Period.  Roller Derby is a unique sport in the way it's officiated (it doesn't stop for penalties, like hockey or football do, for starters), and that challenge is what keeps me coming back for more each season.  Also, the ability to meet so many great people, travel all over to officiate in so many different places, and to challenge and push yourself are all great reasons why someone would get into officiating roller derby.       At the end of the day, it's rewarding to know you've done a good job, called a fair and even bout, and given the skaters the best bouting experience possible. I am definitely proud to be a WFTDA official, and to be affiliated with Lehigh Valley.  But at the end of the day, I know I've done a great job if no one's noticed me.  Part of being a great official is letting the skaters be the stars of the show, it's their bout, their sport, I'm just there to make sure it all goes smoothly.  Though, I definitely rock my WFTDA track jacket when it's getting a little chilly outside. 

To learn more about officiating for the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls, please contact us at:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to all of the LVRG officials that volunteer. Your hard work and dedication is appreciated throughout the league.