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Author Topic: Falling small, but into an opponent?  (Read 2853 times)

Offline neurotic

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Falling small, but into an opponent?
« on: February 17, 2017, 09:52:27 am »
Here's the video that started me thinking of this. White jammer loses balance while running forward and falls forward into blue jammer's legs, knocking her down.

For the sake of argument, let's say the white jammer fell small. (I don't think she did in this case, but it could easily happen.) Under the 2017 rules, would the falling-small exception still apply, considering that she fell directly into an opponent's legs? The relevant casebook scenarios are C4.1, in which someone falls small and an opponent trips over them, and C4.2, in which a jammer lands out of bounds on a failed apex jump and slides in bounds into an opponent's leg. The reason given in C4.2 for issuing a low block even if the jammer falls small is that 'their forward momentum back onto the track means that they are a safety risk for more than just a “small” space'. My gut reaction is that this scenario should be treated more like C4.2 than C4.1 because the jammer's momentum carried her forward into the opposing jammer's legs, even if her forward momentum didn't continue after she fell, and because falling directly into an opposing skater's legs is more dangerous than simply becoming a tripping hazard. Is this a reasonable interpretation, or am I putting too much of my own preferences into the rules?

Btw, I realize the bout in the video was played under the previous ruleset, but I figured it made more sense to discuss how it should be called under the 2017 rules. That said, I think the language of 5.3.12 in the old rules supports my preferred interpretation: 'A Skater who habitually falls in front of opponents, causing them to stumble, fall, or
lose relative position, even if the Skater “falls small.”' (emphasis added)

Offline Vanilla VICE

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Re: Falling small, but into an opponent?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2017, 02:00:22 pm »
Fall Small is an exemption that was given once you were down and not sliding. Contacting people on the way down or while sliding while down (even if small) can be ruled as initiation and subject to the rules of low blocking or blocking while down.

Watching the video I believe this would be called the same under the previous rules or the current ones. It looks like a low block to me, but if you don't call the low block here you are not calling it because you're ruling the contact didn't cause the opponent to fall not because it was some type of fall small exemption. Causation is still factored in. The referee is basically saying "yeah I saw that low contact but I feel like they would have fallen even without it based on the other things going on". I agree with your gut reaction.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 02:04:08 pm by Vanilla VICE »
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Offline Kabong

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Re: Falling small, but into an opponent?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 12:02:36 pm »
The Keep in Mind for C4.1 says the same thing as the old 5.3.12: [rule]Keep in Mind: Were this the third time White Blocker had caused an opponent to fall in this manner, they should receive a penalty. While “falling small” mitigates the safety risk of a Skater falling on the track, excessively falling with impact represents a larger safety risk that should result in a penalty.[/rule]

I would argue that falling small is meant to exempt you from being considered the initiator specifically when down and tucked, but this would be more akin to initiating a block to someone's knee. This block isn't a specialized low block, it's a general block to an illegal target zone that had a clear initiator and clear impact (the recipient going down). I agree with your and Vice's assessment.
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