HARLINGEN —There are new beginnings and new ideas but, most importantly, the RGV Bandidas are hoping to cultivate new energy.
After playing in McAllen for the entire 2015 inaugural season, the Bandidas Roller derby team is heading to Harlingen.
On Saturday, the RGV Bandidas will be taking on Las Tejanas of San Antonio (of the Alamo City Roller Girls League) in their season opener at HotSkating Roller Rink with the bout starting at 7 p.m.
In total, the RGV Bandidas will play six home bouts this season.
One of the reasons the team is calling Harlingen home this year is because of its central location.
“Harlingen suits us better because it’s more of a middle point for the people that are coming from Brownsville and McAllen,” said Airam Alvarado. “Most of us veterans are still coming from McAllen, but we’re hoping that the move to Harlingen will create more opportunities to recruit new talent in this area.
“We are named the RGV Bandidas so we couldn’t just be based off one location, so now with this location we feel like we are living up to our name more than we were last season.”
The Bandidas are always looking to recruit new players to their “fresh meat” program. Anybody 18 years and older interested in joining is encouraged to do so. The Bandidas consists of players between the ages of 18 to 45.
This season the team returns 12 veterans from last season and has 15 new recruits.
Tickets to Saturday’s match is $5 for advance general admission, $10 for advance suicide box seats, $8 for general admission at the door and $14 for suicide seats the day of the bout.
WHAT IS ROLLER DERBY? Roller Derby has been referred to as the fastest growing sport for women and the RGV Bandidas are looking to capitalize on the roller derby revolution.
Roller Derby is played on an oval track and there are five players on each side (one jammer and four blockers). The jammer are the ones that can score points, but first they must get through the pack once before they can score. On their second pass through the pack, the jammer can score one point for each member of the opposite team they pass.
The blockers play both offense and defense, and either try to stop the opposing jammer or assist their own jammer.
Each game consists of a series of jams and at the start of each one, the blockers line up on the pivot line with the jammers behind them. The first whistle the ref blows will allow the blocker to begin skating around the track and when last blocker passes the pivot line the second whistle will go off, releasing the jammers.
BLOCKER — A skater whose purpose is to stop or block the other team’s jammer from passing. However, at the same time they must also aid their jammer to score.
JAMMER — The skater on the track who can score points. The jammer will always be identified by the star on their helmets.
LEAD JAMMER — The first jammer to emerge from the pack, without receiving a penalty, will be designated by the referee as the lead jammer. In doing so they will have the advantage to call off a jam.
CALLING OFF A JAM — By securing the lead jammer role, the jammer can call off a jam by tapping her hands against her hips. This strategy can help prevent the other team’s jammer from scoring points.
PACK — Is the mass of blockers skating around the track together.
PIVOT — Is the blocker who stays to the front of the pack and regulates the pack speed. The pivot can be identified by the stripe on their helmet.