Nellie Shovett

Secret Identity: "Erin Ferrell"

What's your day job?

Graphic Artist

When and how did you get into derby?

I was bumming around on Facebook waaaaaayyyyy back in 2011 and saw a post about a meeting to start a roller derby league. I think I had about 45 minutes before it was to start. I ended up with about 15 or so people sitting around a picnic table in a park off Ingleside talking about the beginnings of the Middle Georgia Derby Demons. That evening, I was putting on some rental skates for the first time in 10 years. We all really had no clue what we had just gotten ourselves into.

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How much of your time would you say you dedicate to roller derby (or roller derby related activities) in an average week?

When I played, there was at least 2 - 3 hours every day where I was either practicing or working on the business side of the league. Luckily, there are a lot more people now to help spread out the work! Nowadays, my lazy retired butt doesn't have to do as much.

What kind of athletic experience did you have before getting involved with roller derby?

I was a rink rat until middle school, but that was the extent of my athleticism.

What's the most meaningful lesson you've learned from roller derby?

I've got 2 phrases I picked up from derby: "Is this the hill I want to die on?" and "Not my circus, not my monkeys." Roller derby is so much more than just playing a sport, especially when you're still learning and building up a league and team. You've got to learn how to run a business as well, and when you're in a group with a bunch of loud spoken, strong willed people, it's really easy to get lost in the weeds. So the best way to survive is you learn to pick your battles (phrase 1) and mind your own damn business (phrase 2).

What advice would you give to a new skater?

Don't compare yourself to the other skaters you see on the track. Compare yourself today to who you were yesterday. We all bring so many different strengths to this sport, and you don't want to miss yours because you're worried about someone else's. And always remember that every person you see out there was in your place at one time, so we all know just how you feel, and we're rooting for you all the way!

Why is being a Middle Georgia Derby Demon important to you?

This league is my baby. I've been there since its inception. It changed my life by making me stronger and wiser. I've cried, I've laughed, I've bled, I've argued, I've cheered, and I've loved with MGDD every step of the way. It will always be one of the great loves of my life.

What's on your bout day/practice playlist?

Who's your derby idol and why?

Switchblade Siouxsie from the Atlanta Roller Girls. I was 99% a blocker when I played, and she had this calm, badass strength that I just wanted to emulate. It's also fun to embarrass her when I get to talk to her by being all goofy and fangirly.

Favorite post-bout/practice meal?

Pizza is life.

Hobbies outside of roller derby?

All the theatre. I've been acting onstage since I was a teen, but in my derby retirement, I've been able to start directing, too, which has just been amazing.

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Inspirational quote:
If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.
- Patches O'Houlihan