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If the top-level derby players in the country are getting called out on cutting the track penalties like it's going out of style, is it just growing pains from adjusting to the 3.1 ruleset, or is something broken?

Gnosis from Derby News Network has an interesting answer to that question on his blog right now about cutting the track penalties from his perspective as a fan.

His main point is that ("Cutting the track penalties are issued when any part of the returning skater's skates, body or equipment are touching the floor inside the track boundary") is too strict and creates too many penalties against skaters who really are trying their best to follow the rules.

This comes right on the heels of a maelstrom of penalties for cutting the track handed down at Eastern and Western regionals, which proved to be a game deciding factor in some of the closer bouts.

As a skater, nothing leaves a worse taste in your mouth than knowing your team could have won a bout if only your girls hadn't spent so much time in the box. I mean, warming the seats in the Sin Bin is one thing if you're out there roughing the other players up and really being a bad girl, but sitting out on technical calls really bites.

For fans, though, I wonder if it's sucking the fun out of the game in a different way. Spectators usually have a casual understanding of the rules to begin with, and it must look to most of them like some sort of penalty cakewalk where the prizes are random 1 minute rests. After all, no one likes to see their favorite jammer taking up residence in the penalty box jam after jam when they can't see that she's done anything wrong. Even if your team is enjoying the benefit of a 1-jammer jam, can it really be that entertaining to watch your jammer slam the points down on the opposing blockers when the other team has no way to score?

But more than that, is it unfair to the skaters, or is it a disservice to the fans to create a situation where the referees can remove the only point-scoring player from half of a scoring round for a rule infraction that doesn't always impact the other team negatively?

In any other sport, something like that might be called game-fixing. In roller derby, it's called the breaks.