Writog? A writer-photographer. Citizen journalist. Unless indicated otherwise all content, text and images, here at www.writog.com (C) Copyright 2006 - 2017 Luke T. Bush

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Location: Plattsburgh, New York, United States

Writog: writer-photographer.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jamming With The Jills


I've never been sports-minded* but I'm open to checking out something different, especially if it's an opportunity to hone my photo skills. So Saturday evening I attended my first roller derby event, a scrimmage held at the City Recreation Center (AKA the Old Base Gym).

If you're not familiar with roller derby, here's brief explanation using the black team - blue team analogy. (Considering how rough the sport can be, those are appropriate colors.) All the skaters race around an oval track. For each period of play there is a major grouping of players -- both black and blue -- forming a pack (blockers). Twenty feet behind that formidable array are two "jammers," one black, one blue. 

When the whistle blows, everyone starts skating. Each jammer has to work her way through the pack, her teammates helping her along while her opponents block her from getting ahead and scoring points.

That's a very simplified explanation and this YouTube video does a better job:


The local team, the North Country Lumber Jills, started out strong, having a 30 point lead on the opposing team, the Black Ice Brawlers. The Brawlers' strategy seemed to be allowing the Jills to lead a bit, wearing themselves out. The Brawlers saved their strength for a push in the second half to win. Final score: Jills - 84, Brawlers 101.

(Man, I'm starting to sound like a rabid TV sports commentator. Where's the mouth wash?)

Like I said I was interested in seeing how well I could handle imaging an indoor sporting event with dodgy lighting. Jamming through a difficult shoot. Trying different methods, using available light or filling in that light with some flash or using flash as the dominate light source.

So I was paying attention to the game but from a different perspective. Even though I'm not into sports per se, I can appreciate the skill and determination of athletic competitors. I wanted to bring out through images the effort it takes to compete in roller derby, the forward drive to score, the fight through the pack, aided by teammates while being blocked by opponents. Not an easy sport, even with the helmets and padding. Sometimes hard falls are taken. But the players get back up and keep the momentum going. Just like life.

As competitive as it was, the scrimmage never got out of hand, either the players or the audience. No one got verbally abusive or violent, unlike some Little League baseball games I've heard about.

Below are links to photos I took during the event. The Jills are attired with red plaid team colors.

This link will take you to the entire set:


And embedded below is a slideshow of the same images:

* One time an unidentified company used to run a classified newspaper ad under Employment that stated it was looking for "sports-minded" people. I never took the bait but I talked to someone who did. He told me the ad was for an insurance company.

The sports-minded angle was a way to sell insurance. An agent would meet a stranger and bring up the topic of last night's game. That was an opening to turn the stranger into a policy owner.

I'm glad I never wasted time checking out the story behind that job. I'm not insurance-minded.


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