“Remorse Code” or Ms. Morse?

“Remorse Code” is a member of the Middle Georgia Roller Derby Demons.  Also known as Stratford’s middle school Latin teacher, Ms. Lindsey Morse, “Remorse Code” has been participating in roller derby for around a year and a half.

“A friend of mine in California plays for a team out there and posted about it on Facebook a lot, and I used to skate as a kid and was looking for a way to stay in shape, so I decided to give this a try. I went to a meet and greet and fell in love with the sport,” Morse said.

To prepare to join the team, Morse began skating again two summers ago, but broke her ankle during a practice, forcing her to stop for a few months. She started skating again in January 2014, and began to practice again in March 2014. She did not skate this season competitively due to her ankle, but hopes to be able to compete next season. Morse helped the team by working at the matches.

Roller derbies may seem complicated, but the rules set by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association are not very hard to pick up on. Each team has a jammer, also known as the point getter. The job of the jammer is to work through the pack, and go around the track to lap the pack and pick up points for her team. The rest of the people in the pack are known as the blockers. The blockers job is to clear a path for their team’s jammer, while also trying to block off the opposing team’s jammer to not let her through the pack.

Five people from each team are allowed on the floor at a time. Four of these players are blockers, and one of these players is the jammer. The blockers then line up together between the “Pivot Line” and the “Jammer Line” marked on the track to form the “pack.” The two jammers line up behind the Jammer Line. The jammers wear a special cover over their helmets with a star on it to indicate that they are the jammers. Skaters with the helmet cover with a stripe on their helmet are called the “Pivot.” The pivot is the lead blocker for each team and normally makes the play calls.

When the first whistle is blown, jammers can begin to work their way through the pack, but they do not earn points for this. After the two jammers complete the first lap, the first jammer to make it through the pack and clear all the blockers from the opposing team is known as the “Lead Jammer.” Referees indicate which jammer is the lead jammer by using a special hand signal. The lead jammer has two minutes to make it through the pack as many times as she wishes, picking up points for each opposing team’s blockers that she passes. If the lead jammer wishes to end the two minutes early, she motions by repeatedly putting her hands on her hips and then putting her hands in the air.

If the lead jammer is sent to the penalty box, she loses the status as lead jammer, and the other jammer is allowed to get points. Jammers can be sent to the penalty box for destroying the pack by leaving the track, or by skating out of bounds to get around the pack. Blockers can be sent to the penalty box by blocking with hands, forearms, helmets, elbows, feet, legs, tripping the jammers intentionally, blocking while 20 feet behind or in front of the pack, blocking a jammer in the back or head, or blocking a player while out of bounds. If a blocker is sent to the penalty box, the lead jammer can still pick up points for passing her while moving through the pack. A player is in the penalty box for 30 seconds during the two minute period.

Senior Drew Daws and I attended a roller derby match of the Middle Georgia Derby Demons in November. “I actually had a lot of fun at the derby. All the people there were very welcoming and made the whole event entertaining,” Daws said.

Morse got us seating in what are known as the “suicide seats.” The seats are on the actual floor where the match is taking place, so there is the slight chance that a member from the pack or one of the jammers may fly into these seats, landing on the spectators.

“I was a little nervous to sit in the suicide seats when I heard why they call them that, but it was cool to watch the roller derby from that point of view. I had never been to a roller derby before, so it was interesting to sit courtside and watch the match play out,” Daws said.

Not many people know about the Middle Georgia Derby Demons, but it is an interesting event to go watch. “It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I had no idea there was a roller derby team in Macon, and how many people came out to support and watch the teams. It was a fun event to go watch,” Daws said.