Introducing The Derby Nerd

Lady Gagya makes some space for Land Shark.

Like any other sport, you need to watch a lot of roller derby to really understand it. But it doesn’t take too long for all of that violent frenzy to turn into something a lot more coherent. For me it happened in Montreal during a La Racaille game. I know that because I clearly remember the moment, seeing the extraordinary Iron Wench cutting her way through a pack, grabbing jerseys, accepting assists, dodging shoulders. It was at that moment when I realized that all of the chaos was actually quite orchestrated.

It’s been a few years now since a sudden surge of roller derby in Canada saw teams emerge in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton, and other cities very soon after. We’ve gotten to the point now where the sport in Canada (at its very best) has developed to nearly the highest levels. It’s an exciting time to be a derby fan, and things just seem to keep looking up.

Almost as soon as I had my moment of derby clarity, my sports brain took over and I started to think of different ways to statistically compare the jammers. After a few false starts, I eventually developed something that I’ve been calling “The Jammer Quotient” or JQ. Its inspiration is varied, but basically it gives points to jammers based on their rankings in five different categories (total points, points per jam, plus/minus, jam %, and lead %). The top jammer in each category gets 10 points, the second 9, the third 8, etc (some fantasy sports players may recognize this points system). It might sound complicated, but it all adds up to one simple number between 10 and 50.

I’m working on a practice JQ comparison based on CN Power’s resounding 199-49 victory over the Rideau Valley Vixens on February 27th. A one game analysis isn’t ideal, especially a bout so one sided, but it’ll make for a good practice run.

I’ll post it shortly.

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