Featured Skater: Smushella deVil

Name: Smushella deVil

Number: 42

Year you started roller derby: 2018

Where are you from originally? Green Bay, Wisconsin

Name a fun little known fact about you: I love art! Before my math days I used to create a lot. In the summertime I still try to draw regularly and sew at least one thing.

How did you get involved with roller derby? A friend took me to a bout in Green Bay when WFTDA first started up, but you had to be 21 to join. I remember thinking it was the coolest sport I’d ever heard of and being impressed by the intensity. So ten years later when I moved here and saw the ad for KRD’s fresh meat program, I had to try it out.

How did you pick your name? Nothing exciting. My husband came up with a bunch of different ones, and I chose my favorite.

What is your pre-derby sports/skating background? I’ve always been into sports, but the most skating I’d done pre derby was rollerblading around town as a teen. Most of my athletic background is in long distance running and martial arts. I definitely think my training in Muay Thai helped me pick up derby. Cardio, balance, and knowing how to get hit have all come in handy.

Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby?  I went through the fresh meat program where M.I. and a group of veteran skaters taught us how to skate and play derby. Last year was my first season. We traveled to Wisconsin for Uff Da Palooza, and the floors were SO sticky. I got much better at turn-around toe stops that weekend since I was terrified to plow stop.

Do you have a pre-game ritual? Haha, yes? I get kind of nervous, so I look at myself in the mirror and remind myself, “I do this for fun.”

What is your position of choice? I like Jamming, and feel my strengths are more advantageous to it. Although the physical demand is exhausting it’s also rewarding. I just wanna go fast!

How would you describe your derby playing style? Since on average I am smaller than my opponents, I try to use that to my advantage. Currently I’m just kind of slippery, but I’d like to combine it with strategy. My personal training focuses on being more explosive and getting better at juking.

What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track? Not getting smushed by Team Unicorn (Madison)!!! (Jk but not really) There was a spin move I learned last year at Miracle Whips’ bootcamp. Pulling it off in a game to get out of the pack was a really cool feeling.

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 full time physics student at Michigan Tech, and it has definitely helped. Physics is everywhere! I think having a good understanding of forces and momentum has influenced how I learn the sport. When I work on new skills I can’t help but imagine where all the force vectors would be.

What advice do you have for people who want to play roller derby? Come to our bootcamp and try it out! Derby is a fun and rewarding experience.

And lastly, favorite places in the Keweenaw? I love the trail along the canal and downtown Houghton. The path is beautiful and tours close to coffee, books and (most importantly) the skatepark!