This month, we're re-introducing Kell's Inferno as our May Spotlight member. You may remember her previous featured appearance on this blog, in December of 2015 - now we have some follow up questions!
Since the last interview, you've done more announcing. Can you tell me about that - what you love, what you find challenging, etc?
I have announced almost every home game I have not skated in for the last year and a half. I love being able to really watch the game and relay play by play to the crowd. I think having an experienced derby player help announce the game can be very beneficial for the crowd, giving sort of an "insider perspective" to what is happening on the track. Most of the games I announce are for our juniors, The Marionettes. It is very exciting to see these young skaters progress in skill level over time and they are really fun to watch. I'm going to fangirl for a moment here.... a few of my favorites to watch are Alleycat, who has become such a strong jammer; Neanderdoll, one of the captains who is a really great utility player with a fiery personality, and Venom - so tiny, yet so fierce!
As for what is challenging..the thing I find most challenging is probably not what those who know me would expect ...everyone who knows me knows I have a potty mouth and curse like a sailor. Just as I do at work, I can control myself when I need to, like when I am on the mic. My husband actually thought me announcing was a bad idea and that I wouldn't last as an announcer because of my foul mouth. He is shocked I haven't cursed on the mic. (Not that he has even heard me yet; he would rather watch me skate.)
The most challenging thing for me is when there are errors - this can be one of two things, a team/skater error or an officiating error. For example: a jammer is calling it off when she is not lead jammer. I am not the coach so I cannot yell to her that she is not lead. Another example: a jam ref does not indicate the jammer lap point on a scoring pass when in fact there should have been one. I always remind myself that I am not there to make a call or give my opinion about what should have happened and I always relay the calls the officials made. I really enjoy when I see officiating errors get corrected because of great teamwork and communication between the officials.
You're a strong jammer, and you spent the 2016 season as a primary jammer for the Muñecas. Has that changed your take on the game at all?
Honestly, it's sort of taken me back to my derby roots. Many people probably don't realize it, but when I began my derby journey 10 years ago, I started as a jammer for the Hard Knox Roller Girls Brawlers (B-team). However, I really wanted to make the All-Star Team and an All-Star jammer, I was not.
My coach said to me, "You may not be the best jammer, but you are a smart jammer" so I think it made perfect sense that I found the role of Pivot to be my home on the track for so long. I took so many successful star passes over the years, now I joke, "if you are too good of a Pivot, you may end up jamming.". Honestly though, when the Muñecas lost 3 of our 4 primary jammers at the end of 2015, it seemed to make the most sense that I should be the one to don the star once again. The team needed me in a different role so I had to step up to the plate. I have to say, that our captain, Leigh Featherstone, helped me to believe that I could actually do it. (Sometimes I think she was wrong though... and to quote the movie Lethal Weapon, "I'm too old for this Sh!t").
I think that being a Pivot has made me a better jammer and also vice versa. As a jammer, I feel more patient on the track to see holes my team makes for me. Also, having skated in the pack with some of my teammates for so long....we have some good nonverbal communication, and I swear some of them can read my mind! I see a lot more opportunities for offensive and defensive plays for the team as a whole. The team even named an offensive play after me, called the Kell's Yeah; it was an idea I had for a quick offensive move in a certain situation on the track when I was jamming.
You've seen a lot of rules changes throughout your years with the sport - do you ever miss things like two whistle starts or minor penalties?
Not really but it is fun to reminisce about some of those things....like cougaring/poodling to get your 4th minor as a blocker instead of a jammer. That was always a strategy I liked, not that I really miss minor penalties, however! Recently, I went out of town to visit family and went to my very first banked track roller derby game. It really brought me back, seeing some of those older rules, like the double whistle starts. I was intrigued by some of the rule differences, like the blocker starting box for example. As for rule changes, I just sorta go with the flow.
What's your favorite RollerCon costume challenge? Both that you've participated in and in general?
I do LOVE costumes and dressing up! Honestly I think derby has helped me with the confidence to wear some of the ridiculous boutfits I have worn over the years (firefighter, cat woman, witch, etc). As for RollerCon, I think my favorites I have participated in would be: Halloween vs. Christmas, I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to dress as a character from one of my favorite movies for Team Halloween, Jack Skellington, face paint and all. And I think #1 would have to be last year's Strippers vs. Burlesque. Burlesque was red (one of my favorite colors) - and, yes I skated in a bustier, ruffle bustle and panties, fishnets and a garter belt. I was a little worried about a wardrobe malfunction so I was prepared with red pasties just in case. ;) I have definitely learned that nothing is too much for RollerCon!
Some of my favorites to watch so far have been Fasholes vs. Tomboys, and of course Magic Mike vs. Chippendales.
And finally, can we see pictures of your cats?
I would love to show you pictures of my cats (I don't do instagram often but when I do, it's to show pictures of my cats!) I have 3 fur babies! Sienna, Alexi, and Smokey!