Lone blocker on the track!

Welcome to the situation. Sadly, the Jersey Shore got to this phrase before we did, but we like the name…so screw ‘em.

The normal format of these situations will be that we will explain a real-life problem that we have seen on the track (and we will take submissions). We’ll then give readers a chance to respond on the way they’d handle it if they were the player involved. We’ll do ref ones as well.

To give you a sense of how we’d like to see these play out, we’ll give you a few examples of possible solutions. Rules wonks will likely debate the suggested methods ad nauseum. They may be plain wrong. We encourage such polite conversation.

Today’s situation:

The Twin Cities Terrors took on the Saint Louis Gatekeepers on August 21st. This men’s match was part of a huge doubleheader, and the Gatekeepers won by about fifty. About halfway through the bout, a colossal screwup on the TC Terrors bench (hi, guys!) took place. With two blockers in the box at the start of the jam, the TCTs sent out only David Deckham against a full pack. Dex is a rookie; in fact, it was his first bout. What’s more, he was sent to the track as a blocker, not a jammer.

You’re starting to see the problem, aren’t you? It gets worse. Jam starts. Gatekeeper jammer gets the LJ almost immediately. Dex’s teammates get out of the box, only to be sent back almost immediately, so he’s basically alone on the track. Dex has already been goated and contained, but the Gatekeepers take it a step further and knock him out of bounds…and start moving clockwise.

So imagine you’re that player. The jammer is bearing down on you at a decent ten-second-a-lap rate. You’re all alone, and you’re getting knocked out and clock-blocked by a full pack. What do you do?

First of all, in a situation as described – There is no pack. Pack’s defined as an area of the track where the largest number of inbounds, forward-moving players of both teams are currently skating within twenty feet of one another. If there’s only one team on the track, there’s no pack. So, with that said:

  1. Simulation. Men tend to take a lickin’ and keep moving. If the player goes down instead of taking it and getting knocked out, the player can’t be caught out of bounds. If you stay on the track, you have more control of your position.
  2. Stand there and wait for the clock blockers to come back. You are not required to move backwards with the clockwise team. Yes, the jammer will score on you, but you don’t have to help them by moving backwards. Remember: the jammer scores by passing an opposing player, not their own team.
  3. Start skating with the jammer. Oh, this is a BLATANT rules violation, but stay with me. Again, the jammer scores when they pass a member of the team on the track (regardless of whether or not they are part of a pack). In the case described, a pass means an automatic five points. So the player could start pacing the jammer out of bounds and stay out of the every-ten-seconds trap. The player will get a major for every pass he makes of the opposing skater who knocked him out, but he’ll get them when he comes back in bounds. What if he never comes back by the time the whistle blows? The player would have those majors resolved at the end of the jam. He’d probably get sent out on seven majors, but the important thing is that the opposing jammer would not score. Nasty abuse of rules. Bad skater!

What else would you suggest?

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