While both jammers can score for their teams, controlling when the jam ends is a strategic advantage, as a jammer needing just a few points late in the match can end the jam as soon as she gets them. A jammer finding it particularly easy to pass through a pack in which her opponent’s struggling, on the other hand, could opt to let the jam continue as she racks up points.
Lead jammers usually end jams by touching their hands to their hips.
While jammers try to navigate through the pack, the blockers try to stop them. Tripping and elbowing can land a player in the penalty box, but anything short of that is usually fine, and derbies often become pretty physical.
“You can use your entire body to slam somebody as long as you keep your elbow in,” Hoff said.
“You really have to have strong blockers to help your jammer get through, and you have to have strong blockers to stop the other jammer from scoring. ... You have to have good jammers and good blockers for the game to work.”
Because so many Sugar Skulls are new to the sport, Hoff said its not yet known who will be the team’s jammers and who will be the blockers.
Hoff herself has been skating for the last three and a half years with the South Central Roller Girls in Ada. She said a friend living in McAlester contacted her about coaching here.
“I think they’ll do really well,” Hoff said of the Sugar Skulls, but first they’ll need to overcome their inexperience. The Sugar Skulls are by far the newest of the approximately 12 competitive roller derby teams in Oklahoma.
Hoff said she learned of roller derby through the 2009 film “Whip It,” then attended a live match in Stillwater before joining the Roller Girls.