Featured Skater: Amelia HitsHart

Name: Emily Shaw, Amelia HitsHart  

Number: 724

Team History: KRG

Year you started roller derby: 2017

Where are you from originally? Most recently I called Traverse City home. Now I live in Houghton and it’s becoming my new home.

Name a fun little known fact about you: I am a stamp collector. I started stamp collecting (philately- I recently learned this word and was geeked about it’s relevance to me) used stamps as a kid, took a hiatus for years, and only recently returned to it. Yard and estate sales are the best places to collect them, although I will occasionally buy a limited edition set from the post office. As a kid I organized the stamps by country; I was infatuated with the names of foreign lands, and learned some geo-political history along the way, too. Now a days I organize the stamps more aesthetically, and am working on unique ways to display them so that I can share my fascination with images and icons that nations and cultures memorialize on stamps.

How did you get involved with roller derby?  I learned about roller derby while I was living in TC. Unfortunately my work schedule prevented me from getting involved. When I moved to Houghton for grad school, one of the first things I did was look up roller derby. I’m notorious for overcommitting so I decided to wait a semester before getting involved, just to make sure I could manage it. I reached out in Jan/Feb of this year and KRG was experimenting with rolling-recruitment, so I was the guinea pig. I went to a couple of open skate practices and loved it. I bought my gear and here we are.

How did you pick your name? I’m all about strong women (probably why I dig derby). Amelia Earhart broke barriers and made history. While I was in TC, fantasizing about being able to be a part of a team, I came up with it. Side note, I also tried to dream up something great for Georgia O’Keefe, my favorite artist, but I just couldn’t create one I liked.

What is your pre-derby sports/skating background? I’ve always been pretty athletic: softball, swimming, and soccer as a kid and crew team in college. Now it’s derby, biking, hiking, swimming, and occasionally running.

Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby?  I’m still in my rookie year. I learned because everyone on the team took time to share their skating tips with me. During one of my first open skates, we were doing some drills, I kept falling and was getting visibly frustrated. One of the vets cavalierly said “If you’re falling it means you’re pushing yourself”. For me it clicked, playing derby isn’t about never falling but about trying things often enough that you’re falling for a new reason.

Do you have a pre-game ritual? I  wouldn’t call it a ritual, but I tend to get pretty serious as soon as we start gearing up. That’s just my way of getting in the zone and mentally preparing myself for the game

Do you have a favorite motivational quote? Nothing comes to mind.

What is your position of choice? Upright

How would you describe your derby playing style? Fresh meat style

What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track? Most of my accomplishments thus far are personal- gaining enough skating confidence to try something new in a game or trusting myself and my skills enough to make a move. [In a recent game] I had the awareness to bring the opposing jammer back, that was a big accomplishment for me.

Have you held any leadership positions in leagues? How have those positively impacted your personal roller derby career? I haven’t held any leadership positions yet. As I learn more about derby as a sport, and KRG as a league I’d love to be a part of it’s growth.

What is your job outside of roller derby? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby? Outside of derby I am a grad student at Michigan Tech. This is going to be a bit meta, but science is everywhere and in everything, which is what gets me so excited about it! When we’re doing science we are trying to answer questions and improve our understanding of something- and that’s not just researchers it’s everyone. I’m fortunate enough to do work that allows me to answer questions that I have and contribute to our understanding of fish contamination and how that contamination affects people. My focus now is looking at contamination levels in nearshore fish species (i.e carp and smallmouth bass) but in the future I hope to look at how fish contamination affects holistic human health.

What advice do you have for people who want to play roller derby? Do it. KRG welcomed me with open arms, lent me gear so I could try it out,  and encouraged me, always.

And lastly, favorite places in the Keweenaw? Swimming in Lake Superior or in view of one of the many lighthouses in the area.