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International teams come to Columbia for roller derby playoffs

Columbia QuadSquad in action, in an undated photo.
Columbia QuadSquad in action, in an undated photo. File photo/The State

Athletes from all over the world will converge in Columbia this weekend for the 2016 International Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Division 1 Playoffs.

As in roller derby playoffs.

The Columbia QuadSquad roller derby league will host the world’s best Friday, Sept. 9-Sunday, Sept. 11, among them teams from Sweden, United Kingdom and Portland, Oregon, for a weekend of spirited camaraderie and fierce competition at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

It’s a pretty big deal.

“Columbia doesn’t have a long history of hosting international events,” said Scott Powers, executive director of the Columbia Regional Sports Council. “The Columbia Regional Sports Council thrives on being able to bring new, different, exciting sports events to our community.”

Powers expects this event to have a $300,000 economic impact on the local economy.

Winners of the bracket-style playoffs in Columbia will advance to November’s international championships in Portland, Oregon.

Here, Columbia QuadSquad’s Maisie Osteen and Marcy Utheim pass along a few tips on the lingo. help Go Columbia readers get to know the lingo few tips on the lingo a few things fans should know if they want to watch this weekend’s event. .

JAMMER: The point scorer. Roller derby doesn’t have a ball so in some regards the jammer is the point scoring object. The jammer wears a helmet cover (or pantie) with a star on it. Each team fields one jammer per jam – similar to a time period. The lead jammer is the first jammer out of the pack on the initial pass around the track, and is awarded the lead designation.

JAM LENGTH: Two minutes, or until the lead jammer calls it off. There is no set number of jams in a match.

PIVOT: This person can take the star helmet cover from the jammer and become the jammer during a jam. The person wears a helmet cover with a solid stripe. Each team fields one pivot per jam.

BLOCKER: All pivots are blockers but not all blockers are pivots. A team can field three other blockers in addition to the pivot and these are the women who make up the pack. The are generally the bruisers of the group.

PASS AND PACK: A pass is one time around the track and through the pack. A pack is the group of blockers on both teams. They all must stay within roughly 20 feet of each other.

RULES: There are a lot, but boiled down to the most simple form – it is legally getting your jammer around the tracker faster and more often than the opposing jammer. Elbows, tripping, or a clothesline will get you sent to the penalty box. Hitting is allowed as long as legal hitting and target zones are used (such as hips and shoulders).

HOW DOES A TEAM SCORE? After the initial pass a jammer scores a point for her team for each opposing player who she passes.

MOVES YOU MAY SEE: Apex jumps; when the jammer or, sometimes, blockers jump out of bounds and around other skaters, then land in bounds.

WHO TO LOOK FOR: On the Columbia squad, Tiffany “Poison Violet” Quick has been the team’s best point scorer; Chris “Chucktown Bruiser” Sabet is one of Columbia’s biggest hitters; Stacey “Holly Hunter” Franklin, originally a roller figure skater.

THE BEST PLACE TO WATCH ROLLER DERBY: Sitting on the ground. There is “butts only” seating right outside of the ref line, which is the most fun place to catch the action.

Having the playoffs here in Columbia is big, said QuadSquad’s Osteen.

“For the new-to-derby sports fans out there, you can equate the International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs to the NBA conference playoffs,” said Osteen. “For the new-to-derby, non-traditional sports fans, it may be more easily equated to Hamilton coming to your town. With either analogy, the bottom line is, this is a huge deal. This event is drawing 10 of the top teams from around the globe, including the No. 1 team in world, to Columbia for three days of jam-packed action.

“It is an honor to host a tournament like this. but it is an even greater honor to play in a tournament that we are hosting.

THE VIBE: There will be high intensity action with some of the best squads in the world competing to continue for a championship.

THE VERDICT: If you’re a roller derby fan, how can you stay away? Some of the best teams in the world will be in Columbia! If you’ve never watched roller derby before, what better time to change that with the top-notch talent gathered here.

If you go

Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Playoffs

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 9-Sunday, Sept. 11. Doors open to the public at 9 a.m.

WHERE: Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St.

COST: $15 - $65

INFO: https://wftda.com/tournaments/2016/columbia

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