Friday, September 26, 2014

Officials' Review: Tracking the Failed Star Pass

Way back in our Inaugural Post we briefly detailed the positions for the 7 Skating and 12 Non-Skating Officials for a fully staffed game. Each of these Officials has their own tasks and, as we saw with the Penalty Code Telephone drill, they tend to communicate and interact linearly:

  • a Ref calls a skater for a penalty
  • the Penalty Wrangler relays it to the Penalty Tracker
  • the Penalty Tracker records the penalty code and relays it to the Inside Whiteboard

There are occasions though, when an action (affectionately referred to as “breaking derby”) will take place that will affect multiple positions at once, and even cause the NSOs to have backtrack what they have recorded on their portion of the Interleague Game Reporting Form (IGRF) paperwork. These are the moments where an official’s training, communication, and awareness are really tested. They can be confusing and stressful, but for many of rules/procedure nerds among us they are like candy.

One of the most infamous of these occasions is when a Jammer illegally passes their helmet cover (the “star”) to the Pivot. Passing the Star is covered in section 2.5 of the rules, it explains how the Jammer position may be legal transferred, as well as the ways the Jammer or Pivot may be assigned an Illegal Procedure, specifically a “Star Pass Violation” penalty.

Tracking the Failed Star Pass (based on a true story, kinda)

Before Jam 1 the WHITE and BLACK teams send out their skaters, and the Line Up Trackers and Score Keepers record their info.

The Jam begins, the BLACK Jammer (58) makes it through the pack and earns Lead Jammer status. The WHITE Jammer (31) is unable to make it through the pack. Realizing this her Pivot, WHITE (41), reaches over the BLACK Blockers and removes the jammer’s star helmet cover, skates out of bounds, puts the star on over her striped helmet cover, and skates off as if she were the Active Jammer. Even in the shuffle of the pack it is clear to the NSOs that a Star Pass has occurred, although due to the layout of the venue they do not all realize that it was an illegal pass, and so they record it on their respective paperwork.

The Jammer Ref calls WHITE 41 for a Star Pass Violation, she exits the track, and begins making her way to the Penalty Box. At this point the NSOs realize the pass was illegal, and know they have to modify their paperwork appropriately.

As WHITE 41 approaches the Penalty Box she is directed to a Blocker seat, even though she is still wearing the star helmet cover.

While it might not seem too intimidating written out in slow motion, when you fill the picture in with skaters, announcers, a crowd, and set it in motion… keeping track of shenanigans starts to feel like a skill for your professional resume. In scenarios like this effective communication between the officials can be the difference between a smooth exchange, like the one above, or an Official Timeout trying to figure out “what just happened.”

If you’ve had a wacky situation like this let us know in the Comments section below.

Duck N. Shover - POD’s Head of Officials & Interleague Liaison

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