Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

New rules aim to create 'more intense' bouts

The Tsunami Sirens roller derby team has made great strides entering its second full season as both an organization and a competitive squad.

The Sirens' season debut bout - they host Southern Oregon Roller Girls of Medford at 6:30 p.m. today at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds - will be a test of a different stripe. Women's roller derby's governing body, the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, has implemented rule changes for 2013 that require the Sirens to adjust their strategies.

Among them: Jams, or two-minute scoring periods, will start on a single whistle. In the past, blockers went on one whistle to set themselves up, with point-scoring jammers following on the second whistle.

"That changes everything," said Siren Amanda "Amazon Chic" Graves. "You have to be on right away."

The WFTDA has also eliminated the concept of minor penalties. Every illegal hit will send a player to the penalty box right away.

"I think it's going to make the sport better," Graves said. "It'll be more about playing the game than knocking people down - even though that's my favorite part."

"It's going to makefor more intense bouts," said Andrew "Pork-Chop Express" Bascochea, the head non-skating official for the Sirens. "They tried to do that to (make bouts) go a lot faster."

The hope is that faster and more intense bouts lead to better fan experiences in the long run.

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