April 11, 2013

Lumberjills provide entertainment in North Country

PLATTSBURGH — If you are looking for a rough sport with a lot of action in Plattsburgh, you don’t have to go very far to find one.

The North Country Lumber Jills are a roller derby team that practices three times a week and has meets once a month at the City Recreation Center in Plattsburgh. The sport can be violent but is extremely exciting to watch. The Lumber Jills play teams throughout the Northeast from February until November.

Erin McGill, president of the Lumber Jills, said a movie helped the members come up with the idea of starting a team.

“In February 2010 some of the original members and I went to go see the movie “Whip It,” which is a movie about roller derby,” McGill said. “We started looking online for teams that are close to Plattsburgh, and we found there was a league in Montreal and a league in Burlington, Vt. So we went to the Green Mountain Derby Dames in March 2010 and talked to the girls that were there, and that is how we started forming the Plattsburgh roller derby league.”

There aren’t many positions in roller derby, but each position is crucial. The three positions are a jammer, blocker and pivot. Ashley Lester, who joined the team March 2011, is a blocker and an occasional pivot.

“The jammer is on the line to start while the three blockers and a pivot are right behind them,” Lester said. “The jammer takes the role of scoring points for each team. The blockers try to stop the jammer from getting through the big crowd of people known as the pack, and the pivot’s job is to control the speed of the pack and be the communicator in the pack.”

Scoring in roller derby may sound a bit confusing. Jammers have 60 seconds to skate around other blockers and jammers, and the more times you skate around the blockers and jammers, the more points you get. You get a point for each skater you go around. Once the time is up, the teams must reset, and new a jam time starts. To stop the scoring, you must get out of the group from the opposing team and put your hands on your hips for the time to stop.

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