I chose to feature Shell as the April Skater of the Month because Shell is an inspiration to me! She’s got guts for days, tons of heart and never gives up. She showed up to boot camp in jeans and looked like Bambi on ice and had enough drive and determination to learn all she could. I still tell the story in fresh meat training of how she came up to me in our first month and said, “Bash, hit me as hard as you can. I want to know what it feels like.” I was taken back by this little spitfire and while I didn’t hit her then, I did hit her in her first bout ever. Shell was jamming and I lifted her up off her skates over and over again. Her mom hated me for a little while! The thing I love most about Shell was that she got right back up. Every. Single. Time. She hugged me after the bout and told me how much fun she had. Shell is always asking me (and everyone) for feedback and really tries to apply it. She is the true definition of what a derby player is and the best part is that I know she will be totally surprised that I wrote this. Look out for her this season and in years to come!
A truly deserving skater, an awesome person, and April’s Skater of the Month! shellATTACKacardia!!!
How did you get into playing roller derby?
I saw an ad somewhere (I can’t remember where) and I noticed the outfit the derby girl had on was wild and crazy … and I liked it! I hadn’t worn roller skates since elementary school, but I was looking for something in my life to distract me from the day-to-day. I looked up the website for NHRD and saw that the first boot camp was coming up. I showed up (in jeans) to the first boot camp. I can remember being greeted at the check-in table by you and immediately felt welcomed and excited! I regretted my attire almost instantly and felt like an unsteady giraffe on wheels at first. I remember the veteran skaters rolling around while they explained things to us and being so impressed by the way they looked like they were on their own two feet … but they were on wheels! At that moment … I wanted to be able to do that. I quickly learned that roller derby wasn’t about the wild and crazy outfits … this was a sport … and I wanted to be a part of it. From that day on, I just kept showing up … and I fell in love with derby and the people.
Photo by Shell’s husband
What has been the hardest thing to overcome in your derby career?
The hardest thing to overcome in derby has been myself. Derby is not only physically challenging, but it is extremely mentally challenging. I have had days that I beat myself up for not skating harder, skating better or repeating my mistakes. Although this has been a challenge to just “push on” it has also been a blessing. It’s so funny how someone in my derby family will give me that word of praise or advise that I needed exactly at that point in time. Derby is such a metaphor for life in my opinion. Life will knock you on your ass … (hard and painfully) but you have to GET UP. Derby has shown me just how determined I can be.
How did it feel going from fresh meat to winning NHRD’s Rookie of the Year?
Call me a sap, but it was probably one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had. I looked over at my mom during the awards ceremony when they called my name and I just started to cry. She said, “That’s YOU … go get your award!” It felt so good to be recognized by such an amazing group of people that I have learned so much from.
Any derby role models? Any favorite teams?
My role models for derby are right here in New Hampshire. I could pick out a trait of each skater on my league that I admire. As far as a role model for derby, it’s hard to pick just one. I have received so much encouragement and guidance from a lot of people on the league. Bash and Pammy always believe in me, which helps me to believe in myself. They have taught me so much! Ovie, Priss, Crue, Deck, Pixie and Spots have given me some great tips and encouragement as well. SFOD has a jammer pool of awesomeness. I would definitely say each one of them are my jammer role models.
Do you have a bout day routine? What’s your favorite pre-bout food?
I have only had one season so far to experience bout days. So far my bout days have consisted of hanging out in the morning, drinking coffee with my derby wife, Lani, my hubby Mike, and or my mom just relaxing. Then the nerves kick in and I try to force down breakfast consisting of whatever I feel like. I usually top that off with a prayer and a Red Bull, then i’ts go time. I know, not that healthy of a bout routine. I’ll have to tweak that somewhat this season.
What has been the most positive thing that you’ve gotten out of derby?
So much positive! Where do I start? I have so much fun skating and I just truly enjoy the game itself. I’ve met some amazing women who are true athletes. I feel so privileged to be a part of a league that allows me to be trained by such amazing skaters. I’ve enjoyed so many great times that were initiated by derby. All the bouts, parties, parades and charity events that I wouldn’t have been a part of if it weren’t for derby. My family has been transformed into derby fans and it brings me so much joy to have them at my bouts cheering us on, and they never seem to stop amazing me with their love and support. Derby has also snowballed into giving me a whole new motivation for my physical fitness, too. I have been working out on my off days of derby at the gym or with Freak Factory New England. I can feel my body changing for the better and it feels great!
What are you looking forward to most this season being on the Queen City Cherry Bombs?
I’m looking forward to becoming a better skater overall. I feel like with each season there is so much opportunity for growth. I want to get myself in shape so that I can jam faster, harder and score some points! I’m super excited to travel with my team and to experience bouts against opponents who I don’t know. I also look forward to some great times with my teammates on and off the track.
Flyer by Jena Cotreau
What advice would you give to anyone looking to join NHRD?
My advice would be to DO IT! There is really nothing but positive gains you will get from derby. It’s awesome too that we have the recreational team now that allows you to join and learn derby without the commitment right off the bat. Then when you fall in love (not if, when) with derby you can get yourself drafted to a team. It’s the perfect venue to meet great people, get an awesome work out, and to have so much fun!
You can see Shell skate this month at the NHRD Season Opener bout on Saturday April 12th at the JFK Coliseum in Manchester. At 5 p.m., the Granite Skate Troopers will take on the defending champs, the Nightmares on Elm Street. At 7 p.m. Shell’s team, the Queen City Cherry Bombs, will take on Maine Roller Derby’s Calamity Janes. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and first whistle will be at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Kids 10 and younger are always FREE!